Anne Bonny #BookReview The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin #Mystery #Thriller @FaberBooks “Silence, solitude and peace were at last to be hers”

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The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Jolted from sleep by the ringing of the telephone, Imogen stumbles through the dark, empty house to answer it. At first, she can’t quite understand the man on the other end of the line. Surely he can’t honestly be accusing her of killing her husband, Ivor, who died in a car crash barely two months ago.

As the nights draw in, Imogen finds her home filling up with unexpected Christmas guests, who may be looking for more than simple festive cheer. Has someone been rifling through Ivor’s papers? Who left the half-drunk whiskey bottle beside his favourite chair? And why won’t that man stop phoning, insisting he can prove Imogen’s guilt?

My Review:

The Long Shadow has an unusual writing style and it was then that I discovered it is being re-published by Faber Books. The writing has a traditional style and the novel is based around an intriguing mystery. Who is targeting a lonely widow? And why?

Imogen is recently widowed and it attempting to get her life back on track. Her friend Myrtle is encouraging her to get out of her house, but Imogen is reluctant. She feels as though being a ‘widow’ is becoming her identity. Her step-children Robin and Dot and nosey neighbour Edith, fuss Imogen much to her dislike.

“Silence, solitude and peace were at last to be hers”

When Imogen reflects upon her relationship with husband Ivor, it is then that we learn that there is more to Ivor than meets the eye. Then the telephone calls begin…

The calls accuse Imogen of being responsible for her husband’s deaths. Is Imogen a lonely old widow or a cold blooded killer?
Christmas mystery with a twist 4*

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Night Visitor by @PRedmondAuthor 5* Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Horror @BooksManatee #NightVisitor

The Night Visitor Cover
The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When does a gift become a curse?

Meg has a gift. She can change lives. But when tragedy strikes in childhood she vows never to use it again.
Now an adult, she is living in Cornwall; a place where the elements themselves have a life of their own. When they call she refuses to listen, fearful of the dark places where her gift can lead.

But the dead will not be silenced. They are stronger than her. And now they have chosen she is powerless to escape…

My Review:

‘Until that dreadful day when everything changed’

The novel opens in Suffolk 1991, with sisters Meg (6yrs) and her little sister Grace and their mother Becky. They are in a café, a seemingly innocent day out. When Meg utters some simple words to widow, Edith Harris. This scene sets the tone for the novel and you instantly become aware there is so much more to Meg than meets the eye.

The novel then fast-forwards to 1992 and Meg is now at Wickenham primary school she is often taunted and bullied by the other children. We begin to learn that due to Meg’s visions/premonitions, she is treated as an outcast. She has a bullying teacher in Mrs Fisher and her classmates are quick to join in. For poor Meg life is tough; handling her visions and the shunning of her peers.

‘Please God, don’t let me ever see anything bad about my mum’ – Meg

Then novel progresses over Meg and Grace’s childhood and we learn that it was one of much suffering. The ultimate suffering for Meg is the tragic death of her beloved mother. Which sets Meg’s life on a unique course and ensures her refusal to ever accept her father’s new wife. The scenes are extremely moving and emotive, the girls plight is fully explored; and I must admit you grow to really admire Meg and her defensive stance.

‘Meg would never allow herself to trust anyone ever again’

Meg decides in order to live a happy fulfilled and ‘normal’ life it is best to close herself off to her visions and block them out. A decision she is determined to live by. . .

‘The dead couldn’t reach her. Not anymore. Her barriers were too firmly in place and none of them would ever break through and trick her again.
None but one’

The novel then jumps to 2017 Cornwall, where we are reunited with a now adult Meg. She is taking a break from her tough job at a prestigious law firm; on the West Coast of Cornwall. She slowly becomes friends with her neighbour Dan. But we also become aware Meg is deep in grief after the death of her sister Grace four months ago. Meg comes across as paranoid at moments but a lifetime of grief and emotional pain, can take its toll. She slowly opens up to Dan about Grace and even befriends some of the locals.
Then the nightmares begin. . . .

‘Only by facing it can you hope to conquer fear’

There are a series of unusual encounters, that force Meg to explore her own painful past and the local Cornish history. What she uncovers will lead to shock revelations.

I have enjoyed previous novels by this author and this one does not disappoint. The characterisation of meg is brilliant, as you the reader become drawn into her personality and story. The ending is beautifully written and clearly shows the skill of the delivery of a well-planned novel.
Expect the unexpected 5* genius

PR
Patrick Redmond
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Stranger Diaries by @ellygriffiths #NewRelease #Gothic #Thriller @QuercusBooks ‘It can be a dangerous thing, reading too much’

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The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

My Review:

The Stranger Diaries instantly grabbed by interest, a English Lit teacher obsessed with a gothic author and researching his life’s work. When there is a colleague murdered and creepy notes begin to occur in Clare’s diary!!!! #SOLD!
Great synopsis!

The novel opens with a male narrator and we eventually discover this is the work of R.M. Holland the gothic author Clare is currently researching. Although Clare is a secondary English Lit teacher by day; at night she takes adult students and has covered the work of R.M. Holland. We learn she is currently researching to write a biography on the once beloved author.

R.M. Holland is always in the background of the novel. His past, his life and his work are scattered throughout the novel.

Clare is a teacher at Talgarth High, which is located at Holland House, R.M. Holland’s previous residence. This adds to the eerie feel of the novel and even more so when Clare’s colleague Ella is murdered…
“I just can’t believe I’ll never see her again” – Clare

The novel also shows the points of view of DS Harbinder Kaur and Clare’s teen daughter Georgia. Although, it was Clare I was most captivated by. I just found her character so interesting and I kept trying to second guess her motives, choices and actions.

“I keep thinking I’m in a book” – Clare

There is a note left with Ella’s body that hints at the work of R.M. Holland. But Clare misleads detectives to believe it is a quote from The Tempest. This is when I really began to wonder if I could trust Clare’s narrative at all.

This simply is the perfect winter read, to curl up with on those early dark nights! 4*

‘It can be a dangerous thing, reading too much’

EG
Elly Griffiths
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Never Saw It Coming by @linwood_barclay 4* #Mystery #Thriller @orion_crime ‘What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?’

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Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
My own copy
Synopsis:

Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. So she says. The truth is, she watches the news for stories of missing family members, gives it a few days, then tells these families she’s had a vision. She may be able to help. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front.

Keisha’s latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She’s seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or for whoever took her to let her go. So she pays him a visit.

The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves the man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead . . .

NEVER SAW IT COMING is based on the novella CLOUDED VISION, which was published as part of the Quick Reads programme in 2011.

My Review:

I have read several Linwood Barclay novels now and haven’t been let down once! I am a huge fan of his style of writing and my favourite so far is definitely A Noise Downstairs.

Never Saw It Coming, centres around con artist ‘psychic’ Keisha Ceylon. She lives with her dead beat boyfriend Kirk and young son Matthew (10yrs). I think it is quite clear Keisha is motivated by financial means to ‘trick’ the bereaved into hearing what they want to hear. At first I felt uncomfortable reading her scenes thinking ‘how does she sleep at night?’ but then it became evident her tricks were soon to catch up with her. . . .

Keisha has recently pulled off a big con involving a local youth named Justin. When she sees the TV appeal from father and daughter Wendall and Melissa Garfield, pleading for the safe return of Ellie Garfield who is missing. It sparks an idea in Keisha and she begins her usual approach with the family in question. But Keisha isn’t quite prepared for Wendall and his offhand approach towards her. Wendall scares Keisha and for the first time, she begins to feel she may have picked the wrong family to con. . .

What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?

The novel is an intense psychological thriller, packed with shady characters and I really enjoyed the pace and the style. 4*
Next up on my Linwood Barclay TBR pile is Parting Shot.

LB
Linwood Barclay
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A House Of Ghosts by @WilliamRyan_ 5* Genius #WW1Fiction #Séance #Ghosts #Mystery #Thriller @bonnierbooks_uk @BonnierZaffre ‘A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!’

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A House Of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

My Review:

A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!
It has several themes that I absolutely adore and some that strike at my heart. It covers a multitude of genre’s it is literary, historical with a slight occult theme also. It really is 100% worth your investment in the beautiful hardback edition. *See images below*

The novel centres around several characters, mostly of the upper class and privileged of society. But as we know from history, this alone did not absolve you from the battle lines of The Great War. The novel is set in the winter of 1917 and you can fully appreciate the psychological impact of ww1 on several of the characters.

This struck very personal to me, as my great-grandfather fought in ww1 and came back having received a severe head injury. Eventually, he took his own life years later. I guess we will never truly know if it was the head injury, the psychological trauma of a mixture of both. But all I do know is he took his life via slitting his own throat and my grandfather was the one to find him at just 10yrs old. His death would leave a substantial impact on one of the greatest men, I’ve even known, my Grandad Alan.

Back to the novel itself, the central characters are Cpt Robert Donovan and Kate Cartwright. When they are summoned to Blackwater Abbey to take part in a séance to summon the dead of ww1. They have no idea, they’ll end up becoming amateur detectives themselves. The characterisation of these two is phenomenal and they work brilliantly together. What we are yet to discover, is that Kate has a gift of her own. . .

‘Any supposed contact with the dead is either the work of charlatans or some kind of group psychological disorder’ – Kate Cartwright

We learn more about each individual character present at Blackwater Abbey. Their ties to the estate and their loss of loved ones in ww1. Kate for example has lost her own brother and despite her reservations, she is desperate for some kind of communication or confirmation of his death.

‘The problem with corruption among the English upper classes wasn’t that it existed but thatg it wasn’t dealth with firmly and publicly’ – C

Blackwater Abbey is located on Blackwater island as island rumoured to be full of ghosts and the perfect location for a weekend of spiritualism and séances. That is until the stormy weather cuts the group off from access and contact with the mainland. . .

‘In a house of ghosts, the living await, their certain fate’

Eventually we are introduced to the two eccentric characters, that have been acquired to carry out the seances. Madame Freda and Count Dmitri Orlov. The séance will require 12 people and equal numbers of men and women, which requires two unwilling servants to join their number.

‘Spirits from the other side, join us’ Count Orlov

For me personally, this novel has it all. A haunted island, superstition, wartime secrets and trauma. Kate and Donovan make the perfect crime solving pair and the novel strongly reminded me of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
5* Genius

***images of Hardback edition***
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WR
William Ryan ~ W.C. Ryan
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