Anne Bonny #BookReview Ever This Day by @scribblemum Helen Moorhouse #Ireland #HistoricalFiction #Psychological #Thriller #Mystery @PoolbegBooks ‘Beautiful writing and Irish historical fiction at its finest. 5* genius’

cover
Ever This Day by Helen Moorhouse
My own copy via Kindle TBR mountain
Synopsis:

Little Frances slams the doors, and runs around the upstairs floors.
She’ll steal your pen or touch your hair, when you’re sure there’s no one there.
The nuns are meant to keep her safe, but she gets out of her own grave.
So pull your covers over your head, Little Frances isn’t dead …

On a bright spring day in London, Ria Driver sees a face she never thought she’d see again. Coincidence? Or her past coming back to haunt her? Suddenly, Ria is plunged back almost thirty years, to the time she spent as Supervisor at the Convent of Maria Goretti, a rural Irish boarding school. And although she has tried her best to forget, the memories come flooding back. Cold, darkness, isolation, loss … fear. Fear of the sadistic Mother Benedicta and her cruel punishments. And fear of the noises … the humming, the footsteps, the knocking …What was the cause of the sounds from the attic? And who was the child who should not have been there?

As events unfold, Ria realises that she can leave the past behind no longer, that her story needs an ending. And to find it, she must go back to where she swore she’d never go again.

My Review:

This novel is a cross-over of several genre’s. It has elements of historical fiction with the setting of 1942/1980s Ireland. It has a huge mystery surrounding the convent and discovered remains. It also has a real horror-creepy feel to it. I tried reading it alone at night by the light of my kindle and was seriously freaking out! The writing is stunning, despite the tough themes the author has challenged.
Envy, fear and rage this novel has it all!

What are the fabulous people at Poolbeg Books feeding their authors? This is the second novel I have reviewed this year under this publisher and both have been clear 5* Genius and added to my favourites of the year so far!

The novel opens in Ballykeeran August 1942, with a child seeking her sister Frances who is hiding. The child returns home alone. What seems quite simple, will soon become sinister as the book develops its various threads.

London 2015, Ria is a divorced, single teacher in her 50s. She has a daughter Emma now grown and flown the nest and a set of lovely friends. After a chance encounter on a London street and a related current news story, leaves Ria rattled. She begins to confide in best friend Jess and so her story begins. . .

‘That day that started the end of the story’

In 1987 Dublin, a young Ria dreams of a new life in Boston, America. But she is not within the means to afford the ticket. Jobs are hard to come by in 1980s Ireland when she spots an ad for a live-in teacher/guardian at a convent. Sitting in her bed-sit in Rathmines orphaned and penniless. The job at St Theresa’s all girls secondary school beckons. Ria is a newly qualified teacher and desperate for both money and a chance to prove herself. She considers it ‘step one of the plan’.

When she arrives at the convent, Ria is struck by the peaceful countryside and old building. She is greeted by Sister Ruth and taken to meet the mother superior Mother Benedicta. Ria is shown to her cell-like room, with a crucifix hanging above the bed and she instantly begins to regret her decision. With lights, out at 10pm and nowhere else to go. Ria will have to swallow her pride and make it work at the convent.

During her meeting with Mother Benedicta she is informed of her duties and hours. Her day will begin at 7:30am and end at 10:30pm. It is a long day packed full of order, discipline, physical activity and most of all silence. . .

‘When the mouth is closed, the mind and the heart are open to Jesus’ –
Mother Benedicta

She is given a duties pamphlet and reminded that idleness is unacceptable in both herself and the girls she will chaperone.
‘We strive for purity’ – Mother Benedicta

The novel also has the point of view of Lydia. One of the young boarding students at the convent. She describes the prison-like conditions herself. Electronic devices such as a walk-man are banned, and life is dull. Lydia only has 9 months left, until she reaches the end of her last year. Through Lydia we learn that the convent used to house younger girls in what they call the ‘baby dorm’ which is now sealed off. Strange noises are often heard to come from the room.
It is through this haunting, that a friendship will form between Lydia and Ria.

In the convent, day students and boarders are purposely separated. There are 64 boarders when Ria arrives. Teachers and nuns do not mix and with 7/8 teaching nuns, it becomes a lonely existence for Ria. When her romance with boyfriend Leonard dissolves into nothing, Ria is left more alone and deserted than ever before. When the autumn approaches, strange things begin to happen, and Ria becomes terrified of the convent in which she lives.

‘There was so much bad stuff to come – I just didn’t know it’ – Ria

With the flashbacks to 1942, we learn about the missing young girls Frances. How her mother and father are heartbroken, and the mother turns on the remaining daughter. Branded the ‘devil’s child’ the remaining sister suffers severe emotional and mental abuse and anguish.

We learn Lydia’s backstory and how she came to be living at the convent. Her familial history is similar to Ria’s and you can see how the two could form a strong bond.

Ria meets Mr Flynn (Matthew) who is hired every year to create a musical performance. The performance offers a much-needed distraction to Ria and Lydia.
The introduction of Matthew also brings Ria a friend.

When Lydia is caught with a walk-man we see the voracious pent-up rage inside of Mother Benedicta. She is a formidable woman and has every on the edge,
petrified of her temper.

“The devil is a hard worker” – Mother Agnes

Ria fears being sacked from her position and financial ruin. Which will in-turn see her turn a blind eye to emotionally abusive practices. Until one day, something so bad happens Ria vows to leave and never return. . .

‘This place is poison – I have to get away from here’ – Ria

I can’t fully express how much I enjoyed this novel for fear of leaving spoilers. But it has so many various themes and really keeps you on your toes. You become absorbed by Ria’s story and hang onto every scene that she is in.

The various themes make this novel perfect for book groups. The danger of obedience to positions of power. The women oppressed by long-held traditional values. The extremist Catholic views that are blind to the pain and suffering they cause. Lydia’s coming of age as an orphan in unforgiving times. Are all fabulous talking points. I only wish the novel came with an added extra of reading group topics.

Beautiful writing and Irish historical fiction at its finest.
5* genius

HM
Helen Moorhouse
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Ever This Day is available via Kindle Unlimited

Currently on the TBR pile:
smts
Sing Me To Sleep by Helen Moorhouse
Also available via Kindle Unlimited
Synopsis:

Some love is neverending. First love. A mother’s love for her child. This, Jenny Mycroft learns when she finds herself unable to leave her husband, Ed and her daughter Bee, despite the fact she has died in a tragic car accident.

But no matter how strong, how enduring, her love, Jenny learns that life goes on and that for the living there is still time for new love, for fresh heartbreak.

Through a series of snapshots spanning over 30 years, Sing Me To Sleep looks at the lives of three women who love, and are loved, by one man. Through heartbreak, joy and hope to the eventual dramatic events that bring all three women together.

Sing Me To Sleep is the story of how we are driven by love, even after death. A tale of what might have been, what should have been, and what was.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Hydra by @ConcreteKraken Matt Wesolowski #SixStories #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Suspense #Horror @OrendaBooks ‘such a bloody great book! 5*’

cover
Hydra by Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories #2
My own copy from my TBR mountain
Synopsis:

A family massacre
A deluded murderess
Five witnesses
Six Stories
Which one is true?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the northwest of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five key witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

My Review:

I really enjoyed the authors first novel Six Stories, it was clear to see that it was a fantastic debut novel and the author clearly had a natural talent for storytelling. I think the author brings something young and edgy to the crime fiction genre. It maybe the use of technology and crime novel surrounding a podcast. But I happen to think it is the writing style and knowledge of certain aspects of true life horror phenomenon. For example, when the lift footage of Elisa Lam was mentioned, I was instantly reminded of who creepy it is and yet it remains an unsolved case!

This podcast with Scott King revolves around Arla Macleod. A young woman who massacred her entire family one evening with a hammer! Why did this meek young woman commit murder? What drove her to kill those closest to her?

‘We rake over old graves’ – Scott king

The podcaster is able to video interview Arla, from her confines of Elmtree manor. Just the very theme of Arla being detained under the mental health act, rather than serving a lengthy prison sentence is cause for mass media speculation. Did Arla getaway easily with her crimes? Was she even mentally ill?
These are all themes Scott king wishes to explore with his podcast.

This is what makes Wesoloski’s novels so unique. They force you to question and explore why people do commit violent crimes and their personal reasoning for doing so.

In the first episode we hear directly from Arla. Although certain subjects are forbidden from discussion at the staff’s request. We also learn about Arla herself, the crime and the victims she killed. Arla lived with her mother and stepfather Stanley and sister Alice. Her biological father was violent and abusive and it was Stanley that ‘saved’ the family as they fled from Scotland to Stanwel. Stanwel is described as your typical run-down northern town, where nothing ever happens. That is until a young woman takes a hammer to her parent’s heads.

‘Her life was lived under the law her parents imposed’

Arla’s parents were right-wing Christians with firm and steadfast beliefs on issues such as abortion and LGBT rights. Arla began to reject her parents values in her teens and this seemed to inflame their attitudes towards her. With her sister Alice becoming the preferred ‘favourite child’.
Something happened to Arla, that much is clear.
But what occurred that day at 41 Redstart Road, Stanwel?

“I let them in. I let them in” – Arla

Arla talks of visions of ‘black eyed kids’ BEK, an urban myth amongst young teens. It is unclear if the BEK caused her to further seek out other occult behaviour or she was already actively seeking it out. Needless to say Arla was fascinated by the occult and the notion of escaping her current life.

Arla’s background is further explored and the details of her psychosis diagnosis. Is Arla mentally ill? Seems to be a common question in the novel and schizophrenia is known to present itself in the late teens/early 20s. So, there is more than enough room for speculation. Which I think makes for fantastic reading.

I typically avoid novels with a mental health theme, as that was my previous occupation and I hate to see it misrepresented in a novel. Statistically mentally ill people are more likely to harm themselves than others and too often it is distorted to fit a narrative in a crime fiction novel. But this was not the case at all within Hydra. The mental health aspects were backed up with knowledgeable facts. The central theme remained focused on understanding Arla, not condemning her due to her illness.
I must admit I really respect the author for that. It could have been too easy, to delve off into a tangent of mental health and loose sight of Arla completely.

As Scott King continues to interview people from Arla’s past such as her former teacher, childhood friend and holiday buddy. We learn more and more about why Arla was the way she was. Why she became so meek and introverted. Her obsession with the band Skexxixx and occult practices, is all explored.
At the same time Scott begins to receive personal threats to cease and desist with his Six Stories podcast. But he refuses to back down to the threats of an online troll.
But this troll just won’t simply go away!

‘No one wants you when the world tells you that you’re not important, that you don’t matter, that you’re an inconvenience – some people start to believe it; they make themselves unlikable’ – Angel Mawson

The novel has so many talking points, as it incorporates real-life themes within the story. In a comparison from Arla to the killers of James Bulger, we are forced to ask why the media was so quick to condemn two 10yr old boys instead of asking why they did it? The band Skexxixx is forced to shoulder some responsibility for the violent crime. Almost as if listening to a specific type of music can turn you into a killer.
But I can remember the exact same approach being used against Marilyn Manson in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting.

Why are we so quick to cling to meaningless reasons in the aftermath of a violent crime? Instead of seeking to understand the individual that felt the violent crime was their only way out!

I write my reviews days after reading the books. As I sit here now, I keep reflecting,
‘this is just such a bloody great book’.
So, there you go, this is simply put – such a bloody great book! 5*

mw
Matt Wesolowski
Twitter
Orenda Books

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

cover
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

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Author Q&A with @RebeccaLFleet – The House Swap #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease #TheHouseSwap #AuthorTalks @TransworldBooks Be careful who you let in. . .

Cover
The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet
Review to follow
Synopsis:

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . .

Q&A:

Q) For the readers can you tell us a bit about yourself and your new novel, The House Swap?

A) Hello! I’m 38, live in London, and in my day job I work as a brand strategy consultant. I’ve always written, but The House Swap is my first foray into psychological thriller/suspense. It tells the story of a married couple struggling to get their relationship back on track after a difficult few years. To this end, they decide to enter into a house swap and have a break away from home, but when they reach the new house it isn’t long before the wife, Caroline, begins to feel that their surroundings are loaded, carrying memories of a traumatic period of her life that she has worked hard to forget. She starts to wonder if it can be a coincidence – and if not, who she has just let into her own home.

Q) The novel has the unique theme of being centred around a house swap, what was the inspiration behind this idea?

A) I had noticed the growing popularity of house swaps through sites such as Airbnb and not been remotely tempted to try it myself, as I always found it a rather worrying concept – our homes are such personal and private spaces, and allowing a stranger into them without being there ourselves requires a high degree of trust. I started thinking about what could go wrong, and how it would feel if you became aware that you had opened up your own home to someone who might not be a complete stranger after all, and who had their own dark motivations for being there.

Q) The novel focuses on a couple trying to get their marriage back on track. Does this add extra depth to their characters and backgrounds?

A) I hope so! I always saw the book as a relationship drama as much as a thriller. These days, psychological thriller is a pretty broad term. For me, the tension in the book springs largely from the dynamics between the key characters, their relationships to one another and the ways in which they might undermine each other and threaten the fabric of their lives through their own behaviour. The couple in the book, Caroline and Francis, aren’t intended to be wholly likeable; the whole point for me was to show them as real and very flawed people who are trying to do the best they can in difficult circumstances – sometimes misguidedly.

Q) The novel also has a theme of past relationships and those we’d rather leave in the past. With social media and sites such as friends reunited, this has become much more difficult. Did this inspire the novel in any way?

A) I think that our attitudes to past relationship in general are very different in today’s society. The temptation to “keep tabs” on people in a virtual sense even when they have disappeared from our day-to-day lives is a strong one, and it’s almost become socially acceptable, even if we don’t like to admit it. So although this might not have inspired the plot of the novel consciously, I do think that I was aware that these days, trying to leave a relationship in the past as Caroline is doing in the book requires a lot of discipline and dedication. It’s so easy to slip back into wanting to know what that person is up to, and it’s a short step from that to still caring about them.

Q) With the psychological/thriller genre being massively competitive, does this encourage authors to think outside the box and develop new ideas and themes?

A) It’s fair to say that there is quite a bit of repetition when it comes to psychological thriller plots, which I think is pretty inevitable – there are only so many themes and ideas to go round! But yes, I do think it has become more important to try and push the boundaries of those and put a new spin on them. The funny thing is that often new trends emerge which perhaps you find yourself part of without having known or planned it; recently in the Evening Standard, The House Swap was included as an example of the new “criblit” trend (psychological suspense/thrillers with houses at their heart). At the time of writing the book, I don’t think this was a “thing”, but I suppose that sometimes there is just something in the water…

Q) House Swap is a debut novel, what was your feeling upon seeing the finished cover and promotional materials?

A) I have actually had a couple of literary novels published under a different name in a past life (!), but the experience was quite different this time. The psychological thriller genre is one that lends itself brilliantly to strong covers and promotion, and Transworld have done a great job on that. I immediately loved the cover concept of the two monochrome doors – I think it stands out nicely on the shelf and sets the right tone. And then there have been the posters, the book trailer… it is more than I had hoped for and very exciting to see it all coming together.

Q) How will you be celebrating your books launch/release?

A) I had my launch party on 3rd May, which was a great occasion! We held it in a bookshop in Notting Hill and it was the perfect chance for family and friends to come together along with people from Transworld and my agent to celebrate the book’s release. It was very much like a wedding in the sense that in retrospect I can’t actually remember much of what I said to people or even who I talked to, but I was left with the sense of having enjoyed it a lot, which is what you want really…

Q) Finally, what is next in store do you have a next novel planned and are we allowed any details?

A) Yes, I am currently working on my next book, which is in the same genre but not directly connected to The House Swap. In brief, it concerns a man who discovers that his wife is in the witness protection programme as a result of a crime involving her sister eighteen years earlier, and the action shifts back and forth between the present day and the time at which the crime took place. I won’t say too much more about it now, but hopefully it will appeal to the same sort of readers who enjoy The House Swap!

RF1
Rebecca Fleet
Twitter
Instagram

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
banner

Anne Bonny #BookReview In The Hush Of The night by @RaymondBenson 5* #AmericanNoir #CrimeFiction #Thriller #NewRelease @skyhorsepub ‘an insight into the seedy, sleazy and lucrative world of human trafficking and sexual slavery’

cover
In The Hush Of The Night by Raymond Benson
Review copy
Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author comes a gritty, riveting tale of modern crime, featuring a female FBI agent embroiled in a Russian human trafficking case.

Chicago Special Agent Annie Marino examines the case of a dead young woman who possesses a tattoo Annie has come across before—that of bloody bear claws. Several deceased women with the tattoo have turned up over the past few years, all suspected of being involved in a vast human trafficking operation.

Annie’s neighborhood friend, Jason Ward, is a young writer engaged to be married into an upper-class family from a posh Chicago suburb. Jason believes his future brother-in-law, a war veteran, is definitely a bully—but does he also have ties to the Russian mob?

Yana Kravec, a woman from St. Petersburg, Russia, has been fraudulently lured into a trafficking scheme and thrown into a horrid and seemingly hopeless situation. She is, however, determined to fight back and escape her captors.

Annie’s investigation eventually uncovers a sordid plot of procuring slaves overseas and marketing them in the US. Her interests soon coincide with those of Jason and Yana, bringing the trio together to fight against a deadly network of criminals. As the separate lives of these characters collide, their paths ultimately converge in a night of terror and survival in a Michigan forest, where they become the prey of evil men who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

My Review:

This novel is exceptionally dark and focuses mostly around human trafficking and the modern-day sex slavery trade. So be warned, it is not for those who are easily offended by scenes of violence against women. That being said, it is incredibly factually accurate. The author has researched the statistics and plight of such women, before he has tackled such a hard-hitting issue. For that I fully applaud him.

You may guess the beginning, middle and the end early on. I know I did. But that wasn’t what the story was about for me. For me, it was about two things, firstly bearing witness to the victims and the violence and degradation they endure. Which in turn would highlight how to spot signs of abuse/oppression. Secondly, it was about how government bodies seek to take down and dismantle the trafficking networks.
It delivers on both accounts, massively!

In the opening scenes we meet 20yr old Yana Kravec. Yana is a beautiful young woman in the prime of her life. She lives in St Petersburg and longs for a life outside of Russia. When she meets Nikolai Babikov. . .

‘The world was about to change for Yana Kravec. Everything would be better in America’

Sold a dream of a better life in the US, Yana Is trafficked across the country and straight into the arms of sexual sadists.

Annie Marino is a Chicago special agent within the civil right department. She deals with a wide-range of cases regarding abuses of civil-rights, from the relatively minor to the case that has plagued her entire career. The ‘Bear Claws’ case.
Annie receives a call from Detroit special agent Harrid Caruthers regarding another body, another victim bearing the tattoo of bear claws.

The victim is found inside the trunk of a vehicle, with the driver having crashed after consuming too much alcohol. The driver, Vladimir Markov is dead and can offer no insight or clues. The female victim show clear signs of sexual violence and possible torture. The police believe Markov was either disposing of her corpse or moving her from one location to another.

We then learn more about the background of the case. The previous victims and why Annie is determined to get justice for the innocent women caught up in modern-day slavery. We also meet Annie’s friend/neighbour Jason.
Jason is quite the unique character himself, he is completely different to anyone else in the entire novel. He is a young graduate, dreaming of being a writer, he longs for a bohemian lifestyle. He is due to be married into the Paley family. A local family of considerable wealth and reputation. His fiancé Natalia absolutely dotes on Jason. But there is something about her family Jason, just can’t get past.

Annie attend the post mortem for the recent victim found in the trunk of the car. It is here we learn the true extent of her injuries and suffering prior to her death. The team track down Markov’s ex-wife, but she hasn’t seen him for 2yrs. Since he left her dirt poor, choosing a life of strip joints and alcohol. The links to the strip clubs throws up a clue to the case.
Are the strip clubs tied into the trafficking network? If so which ones? And how?

The novel then reflects back, via alternative chapters, to Yana. We witness her journey to the US and what happens the moment she arrives. It does not make for pleasant reading at all. I spent the entire time, cringing in horror. But it is the reality for these young women, trafficked all over the globe.

‘The psychological damage that trafficking inflicted on a victim was, in a way, often worse than the physical torment’

Yana arrives in the US.
‘From now on, you are the property of The bear. You will obey orders. You will do whatever we say. If you try to escape, we will kill you’ – Bobby

When a young runaway teen, makes a vague phone call to her mother in Memphis. With her location being in Chicago, the team are able to assemble a rescue mission, that might not only rescue this young woman, but others out there trapped in the living nightmare too.

‘Her spirit was broken. She had nothing to live or. It was hopeless. She would never escape’ – Yana

The novel doesn’t just focus upon the victim’s it also focuses on the man that buy into this ‘trade’. There is on specific case, where as it unfolds, you can imagine the shocked family saying “they never suspected” or “he never seemed they type”. What is the type? What type of man abuses women? If this was so easy to categorise, the cases would be far easier to solve.

‘It was the ultimate humiliation, to be branded as someone’s property’

The novel is without a doubt a shocking thriller. It offers an insight into the seedy, sleazy and lucrative world of human trafficking and sexual slavery. How it operates and most importantly, what the police can do to save victims. 5*
Don’t read late at night, alone!

RB
Raymond Benson
Website
Twitter

My Review of, The Secrets On Chicory Lane also by Raymond Benson