Today I have a review of the Un-Family, a twisty psychological thriller by Linda Huber, thanks to Hobeck Books for inviting me to review.
For better, for worse
Wildlife vet Holly’s life seems blissful: husband Dylan is the man of her dreams, she has a rewarding career and a lovely home. And yet, a tiny niggle is growing daily. Dylan is becoming increasingly remote – but why? Holly is determined to mend the fissure in their relationship. But a shocking discovery changes everything…
Then there’s Dylan’s family: his wayward twin Seth and their widowed mother Elaine, who is rather fond of a glass or two of sherry. Nothing in Elaine’s life is easy, bringing up teenage granddaughter Megan while the family grieves the loss of Megan’s mother.
A tragic event rocks the foundations of the family, and Holly’s life starts to unravel. Dylan drifts ever further away. Megan is left uncertain and alone, while Seth falls deeper into himself.
The bonds that once bound the family together are breaking. Can they ever be repaired?
The Un-Family is a psychological thriller with an incredibly dysfunctional family at its heart. It’s a slow burner but it’s intriguing and a page-turner of secrets and lies, but the beginning and ending are explosive! The characters are deeply complex and authentic in feel and is an oddly compelling read. The themes include love, addiction and obsession.
This is how to watch one family implode. On the face of it, the family could be like any happy family. Holly is very happy with being a vet and her career is progressing well. Dylan is just the man she’d always desired. All on that, on the surface sounds like a perfect romance. Scrub that! This is dark, complex and twisty and there’s more than just a touch of toxicity in the air.
An event occurs that rocks the family and everything starts to fall apart in quite chilling and spectacular fashion as the family start to break apart. Instead of any of them coming together, they drift further apart and volatility emerges. Along with a volatile situation, the tension builds and has you gripping on to see how it could all end.
Today, I have a later than planned (due to circumstance the publisher and blog tour organiser are aware about and have been kind) review of Suicide Thursday; the latest book by Will Carver. It is pitch perfect and dark, with just enough light to show readers another glimpse into society’s darker images, darker thoughts and realities and yet it is incredibly compelling and a page turner… Discover more in the blurb and then my other thoughts about Thursdays and more pertinently, the book in my review. Thanks first to Random T.Tours and Orenda Books for the invite to review.
If words could kill…
Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.
He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to
be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with
her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a
story beyond the first chapter.
Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction.
When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first
time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike
Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most
recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended
… and a series of text messages that Mike received before his
death point to something much, much darker…
Will Carver is known for dark and twisty plots than show those darker corners of society and this doesn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for something so unique and a page turner with a plot that lingers in your heart, mind and soul afterwards, Will Carver is your man. It is often thrilling to see an invite to review these books and then to see where the plot takes you and if this look into parts of society not really written about like this, can be pulled off again. Turns out the author absolutely has managed to again. First I want to say something about Thursdays in general and then onto the book.
Turns out Thursdays are days I might take to hibernation. They used to be one of the great days of the week, more or less predictable, but safe. Now, however it don’t seem as wise to step outside as they once were. There are certain crime books and thrillers that now specifically happen on a Thursday and this is one of them. It makes me wonder if I can get all those authors together to persuade my employer I should have every Thursday off and then a Friday as a bonus to celebrate the fact I survived the Thursday…
Now onto the book…
Suicide Thursday hits you deep in the heart and yet compels you to read on. The intermittent text messages are as stark as an arrow going through your body. There is Jackie who is quite religious, then there is Eli, whom she knows cannot finish anything he starts. Readers of the book are privy to see what he begins to write in the book he has began. There’s also Mike who is also very troubled and having a hard time in life. As a reader and observer to the characters lives, I found myself increasingly pulled in by the interesting dialogue and thought processes of the characters, especially in texts and in a chat room with a person whom is known as fake therapist, that truly stand out and enhance the storytelling. It is poignant and thought provoking. The deeper you go, beyond the superficial and any day to day life, the darker it becomes and the more there is to discover about how Thursdays are and why the book is called Suicide Thursday and without the book being in distinctive parts, life before and after Mike’s death are revealed. It becomes apparent that there is more to be uncovered about what Eli will do, whether he will continue with therapy or not and whether he will finish his book or not and just how will it all end?…
Today, at a time of day a bit later than normal due to personal circumstance, I am on the blog tour to review both The Patient and The Politician. Some dark humour going on here as I find myself being an actual patient, although very different from that of the book, thankfully, and the fractured bones I have will heal. Sense of humour is still intact, so I see the unintended black humour and irony in being laid up and reviewing a thriller called The Patient first. Really first of all I thank the publisher – Head of Zeus and Tim Sullivan for contacting me to request I reviewed the books and what a pleasure it was. I have reviewed them both together. First discover the blurbs and then my reviews.
No fingerprints. No weapon. No witnesses. Can DS Cross prove it was murder?
DS George Cross doesn’t rely on guesswork and he has no time for false assumptions. He is a detective who goes off the evidence in front of him, not ‘hunches’ or ‘gut feelings’. He does not know what these are.
THE CLOSED CASE
When a young woman is found dead, the Bristol Crime Unit is quick to rule it a suicide as the woman had a long history of drug abuse. But her mother is convinced it was murder, saying that her daughter had been clean for years and had been making strides in a new therapy programme.
As an outsider himself, DS Cross is drawn to cases involving the voiceless and dispossessed and, here, the evidence states that this woman was murdered – Cross just has to prove it. But under pressure from his boss to shut down the case, and with numerous potential suspects, time is rapidly running out to get the answers that this grieving family deserve.
Perfect for fans of M.W. Craven, Peter James and Joy Ellis, The Patient is part of the DS George Cross thriller series, which can be read in any order.
A ransacked room. A dead politician. A burglary gone wrong – or a staged murder?
DS George Cross loves puzzles – he’s good at them – and he immediately spots one when he begins investigating the death of former mayor Peggy Frampton. It looks like a burglary that went horribly wrong to most but George can see what others can’t – that this was murder.
After her political career ended, Peggy became a controversial blogger whose forthright opinions attracted a battalion of online trolls. And then there’s her family: an unfaithful husband and a gambling-addicted son. With yet more enemies in her past, the potential suspects are unending.
Cross must unpick the never-ending list of seedy connections to find her killer – but the sheer number of suspects is clouding his usually impeccable logic. He’s a relentlessly methodical detective, but no case can last forever. And politics can be a dangerous game – especially for people who don’t know the rules . . .
Perfect for fans of M.W. Craven, Peter James and Joy Ellis, The Politician is part of the DS George Cross thriller series, which can be read in any order.
DS George Cross is on the case in both The Patient and The Politician, which can be read as stand alone and in any order.
The Patient is the first book I read. skills are not his fortè. It soon becomes apparent that D.S. Cross is on the autistic spectrum and is quite high functioning. It makes for some interesting and different interactions around the office as banter is not his thing but he gets fairly fixated on crime solving. He works for the Major Crime Unit (MCU) in Bristol. The death of Sandra’s daughter looks like suicide or an accident, but Sandra believes it was murder. DI Campbell, meanwhile isn’t happy about Cross re-opening the Felicity Wilson case. This in itself poses questions as to why and causes some tensions between those two and Carson, that then increases the compelling nature to continue to read on. There is the themes of suicide and assisted suicide, which is interesting and also the fact that it was assumed the victim had indeed committed suicide, but D.S. Cross and her mother, especially the mother, are adamant to look again to uncover the murderous truth.
The Politician is Tim Sullivan’s latest book is also compelling and rather intriguing. There is the death of former local politician and ex-mayor Peggy Frampton that is the next case for DS George Cross to solve. In retirement she had some strong opinions about construction companies that resulted in her being trolled (shows the state of society and truly highlights the issue surrounding how people choose to (mis)behave). What a life Peggy lived, so much in the limelight, but all was not rosy. She had her enemies, which are uncovered as the police dig deep into the corners of her life, even her husband was unfaithful to her.
In both books, the further the surface is removed, the darker the under-layers become!
Both books have their red herrings to successfully throw readers off the scent a bit and to cast doubt in their minds when trying to figure out who the perpetrators are. The lack of obvious evidence in both books adds intrigue as all the signs initially point to a suicide (The Patient), a burglary gone wrong (The Politician), which even though, given the nature of the type of crime books they are, adds exceptionally well to the thriller as it is more pieces of the puzzle, of people’s lives the police (and reader), needs to piece together and the more taut it becomes, the deeper the investigations are dug into.
Tim Sullivan writes intriguing plots and complex characters with thought provoking themes in a way that makes them compelling. The endings could possibly be stronger, but these are books worth investing time in what fast becomes engaging storytelling in both The Patient and The Politician. These are the 3rd and 4th in the series. I have not read the first two, but that doesn’t detract from the 2 I have read as I felt I got a good grasp of the recurring characters and the mysteries are complete by the end of the books.
Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for such an immersive Scandi-Noir that is Wolf Pack, that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to solve the crime. Thanks to Random T. Tours and publisher Point Blank for inviting me to review and for the book. Discover the blurb and my whole review below…
When there’s a pack on the hunt, nobody’s safe…
After the traumatic events of the past year, Tuva is back as deputy editor reporting for the
Gavrik Posten, but her world will never be the same.
A closed community
Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, heavily armed and completely cut off from the
A missing person
A young woman, Elsa Nyberg, goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound.
Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her?
A frantic search
As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon
she herself is in danger of the pack turning against her. Can she make her way back to safety
and expose the truth?
Will Dean’s most heart-pounding Tuva Moodyson thriller yet takes Tuva to her limits, both
professionally and in her personal life. Can she, and will she, make the right choice?
Open to the first page and a silent gasp was let out. This Scandi-Noir set in Gavrik and Visberg in Sweden already feels darkly immersive. The opening is in what seems scenic, but this beauty has a rawness that cuts any thoughts of even momentary serenity. It almost throws you straight into something bloody, like he’s already setting up the reader for something even deadlier and cruel.
Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn. Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. The farm itself is shrouded in a dark atmosphere and mystery that is on the edge of your seat stuff. Tuva herself suggests it is like a commune. As for Elsa, people assume she has taken off as it isn’t the first time she has ran off and on the whole, don’t seem too concerned, except this time it is very different from before, even Chief Björn is subdued and the police are concerned as proceedings develop.
The tension within the book just keeps notching up a gear. It’s very hard to put down because Will Dean’s created a story that just makes you want to read with no stopping and it keeps you guessing as there are a few possibilities with there being suspicious characters around.
It isn’t often that I read Scandi-Noir, but when an opportunity to review Wolf Pack appeared I just knew I had to go for it. I am so pleased I did. This is one of the best Scandi-Noir authors I’ve read in a while. This book was fabulous from start to finish. It is a sharp page-turned. Whether Scandi-Noir is your go to genre or you’ve never picked one up before, I wholly recommend Wolf Pack.
Each book on this panel had murderous books set at parties. The talk was fascinating on many different levels as the authors talked about some of their books content and their influences. It was all very entertaining too. Before I knew it, an hour was up and this part of the party was well and truly over. All books mentioned are available now.
Panel: Clare Mackintosh, Chris Brookmyre, Lin Anderson
There are links after my write up to reviews I wrote previously on books by Chris Brookmyre and Lin Anderson. There will be one on Clare MacIntosh’s book in the near future.
Clare Mackintosh is the author of 5 bestsellers.
The Last Party, she says is set at a New Year’s Day party, held in a luxury resort on the border between England and Wales. She talked of bridges being built and all is going well, until someone is murdered…
Clare MacIntosh talked about not mentioning Covid as she doesn’t ever refer to current affairs or fixes a time in her books because she wants her books to be timeless, but she does fix a place. What was interesting, however, was the angle she chose to allow to feed into her book, that was Covid related, and that was her fascination of how people were crossing borders into different parts of the UK. She also touched upon Air B n B homes popping up in Wales and the “incomers” and how, I’m a way she is an “incomer”, so talked about how anyone moving, tries to fit in and how important that is to blend into the community.
She was asked about her police background and whether it a blessing or a curse. The blessing seems to be that it is useful for research, but the curse is knowing too much and remembering to fictionalise it. It was also fascinating hearing about how she fell into writing by accident in a way and how demanding working in the police was, especially the impact on her family life.
Chris Brookmyre talked about it being set on a fictional luxury island, that he has put people on, who you perhaps wouldn’t normally put together and how they have secrets to hide. He also says it’s about friendship and forgiveness.
She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.
He talked about how he thought writers were influenced by lockdown parties going on for those not abiding by the rules (politics was mentioned, because I guess, how could they not, by all of the authors), and how they created their own parties on a written page and virtual parties.
Chris Brookmyre also talked about creating tension between groups of people and his writing style and influence in a way of knowing you’re at the end of a chapter is fascinating and may remain in my mind. It turns out the end of Eastenders, with those drums and the end of a chapter have something in common – they both want you to tune into more, so it sounds like those dramatic Eastenders drums at the end of each episode and thinking of this, can help when knowing if the tension or dramatic effect of a chapter is there, or whether it is finished or has more to be written.
He talked about the island he set his book on and wanting a sense of isolation and also to portray the different levels of friendship you have with different people. He also talked about how he was conscious of the links between this book and Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ being made, but talked about how that was retribution and how his book is about having secrets and having to forgive.
It’s a stand alone psychological thriller, set in Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands and the outrage villagers have of a party house going to open.
Someone went missing 5 years ago and was never found, until now, creating all sorts of suspicion in the small village.
Lin Anderson talked about The Party House and how there is one bottom of a road she knows and how her friend had lots of highly entertaining stories to tell.
She talked about lockdown and the time where people were trying to flea to remote places to try and ‘escape’ Covid. It was interesting to hear what a sudden influx of people from all over felt like to locals, which features a bit.
The book is written with 2 view points, both with secrets and lies. She talked about small villages and how people talk and think they know everything about you (so true) and how this features.
Lin Anderson also divulged how her dad worked in the police force and ‘interrogated’ her in her childhood, much to the audience’s amusement, which then led onto some hilarious stories about real criminals being caught time and time again – one continually drew smiley faces after committing a crime, thinking this was clever, but of course was caught.
So, all in all, an enjoyable and entertaining talk is given by these 3 authors, so if you ever get an opportunity to watch them, I highly recommend you do so.
Now, I have mentioned how I have read and reviewed The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre and The Party House by Lin Anderson, both of which are absorbing and enthralling thrillers, which I rated 5 stars. Here are links to those reviews and also a previous talk I saw with Chris Brookmyre.
Today I am excited to be on the blog tour for Cousin Ask, thanks to Hobeck Books inviting me and for a copy of the book for this suspenseful thriller
RUN FOR IT!’
Were they also Ash’s last words?
A chance meeting with a school friend of Lottie’s brings Hannah a new case. She’s confident Sandlin Private Investigations can find out who’s responsible for the recent threats at Eliza’s house. But, as she and Lottie begin to unravel the facts of the present case, they also find themselves involved in a longstanding mystery.
Three cousins, once as close as siblings.
Ash, the black sheep Grieving Ash loved her dad deeply, but swore no one else understood her. She’s been missing for twelve years, and is now presumed dead.
Eliza, the peacemaker Eliza, rebuilding her life after heartbreak, inherits everything.
Scott the ‘baby’ Scott, broken and bitter, inherits nothing.
What made Auntie Miriam so angry that she left nothing in her will to Scott? And why did Scott and Eliza make a pact all those years ago never to admit the truth about the disappearance of their cousin Ash?
Ash may be presumed dead, but somehow, she’s still causing trouble. Ultimately, the case can’t be solved without answering the question – what really happened the last time the three cousins were all together in Lullaby Woods?
Cousin Ash is missing and the question is, what really happened? What occurred in Lullaby Woods?
This is the second book in the Sandlin series, the first is Swindled. It’s a strong second book that intrigues and grips, piquing curiosity in the lives of the characters, who have many issues surrounding grief in many forms and money.
Eliza and Scott are no longer close and Eliza is point blank adamant he will not receive any money, so is determined not to follow her aunt’s wishes. Scott however feels very entitled Then there’s Ryan – Eliza’s ex husband. He’s all partnered up and kiddied up. As if him moving away from Eliza and leading a new chapter in his life isn’t enough for Eliza to cope with, he’s now wanting her money.
Things take a more sinister turn when Eliza starts to feel threatened as she gets left weird messages, gifts and signs such as her fence being vandalised. Hannah Sandlin PI is soon on the case. It is quite some case to unravel and as it does, it holds quite a lot of suspense. There are secrets, money disputes, and Ash’s disappearance all packaged up in a twisty, gripping plot that needs unravelled to reveal the concealed truths.