#BookReview by Lou of #Damage by Caitlin Wahrer @CaitlinWahrer @JenLovesReadin #Thriller

Damage
By Caitlin Wahrer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Damage is compelling and one that grips from the very start. Thanks to Penguin Random House for gifting me a copy to review. Read on to discover the blurb and my review below.

Damage

Blurb

Sometimes, the true story is the hardest to believe.

TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. When the police get involved with this family in crisis, all the cracks will start to show…

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

Review

Chilling, atmospheric, visceral, emotional and absolutely grips from the start! It’ll make you take a sharp in-take of breath!

Set between 2019 and 2015; Detective John Rice is on the case and Nick is the victim of a sexual assault. Tony Hall is his brother, who along with his wife, Julia want to protect him. Tony and Julia have their relationship issues and what’s happened to Nick furthers that stress.

This in a way tells an important story with a deep subject matter – it shows a young man being sexually assaulted and both brothers being damaged, not just by this, but the book also hints at the sort of man their father is. It shows their raw emotion and reaction, which is so heartrendering. This is all handled with realism and sensitivity, especially when it comes to Nick meeting Lisa who questions him. It’s a very moving book with the way the characters interact with each other and how they are affected by the secrets that spiral through the book.

The level of high intensity is consistent throughout the book. As much as it is an emotionally affecting read, it is powerful and so much so, it’s quite hard to put down. It magically draws the attention in, even though the subject matters within it are hard ones. 

There are twists and turns as a result of so much damage being caused to people, that are deeper and darker than expected and that grip ferociously to the very end as the effects are huge and cause behaviours to spiral out of control.

Buy Links

Waterstones                   Amazon

#BlogBlitz by Lou – Info about #Thriller – Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant – Happy Publication Day to @helengrantsays @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours

Too Near The Dead
By Helen Grant

Blog Blitz – Blurb and About The Author

Today I am delighted to present to you a bit of info about this new thriller – Too Near the Dead, set in the Perthshire countryside, Scotland. Today is exciting as it is publication day, so you can get your hands on it if you so wish, from now! Find out more in the blurb and then about the author as well as how to buy this new addition to the ever popular “Tartan Noir” genre.
Thanks to Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to share this info with you and to Fledgling Press for gifting the info you will see in this blog post.

Too Near the Dead 1

Blurb 

Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much…

For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside.

Barr Dubh house is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams. 

Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them – not even death…

Too Near the Dead - Love Books Tours P1Buy Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Near-Dead-Grant/dp/191228040X/
The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.

About the Author

Too Near the Dead Twitter 1

Helen was born in London in 1964. She showed an early leaning towards the arts, having been told off for writing stories under the desk in maths lessons at school.


Helen went on to read Classics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, and then worked in marketing for ten years to fund her love of travelling. Her two most memorable travelling days were the one spent exploring Damascus in Syria and the day she went to the Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur to see the romantic blockbuster Beta.

In 2001, she and her family moved to Bad Münstereifel in Germany. It was exploring the legends of this beautiful old town that inspired her to write her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, which is set there.

Helen now lives in Scotland with her husband, her two children and her two cats.

#BookReview by Lou Waking The Tiger by Mark Wightman @mark_wightman @HobeckBooks #Thriller #HistoricalNoir

Waking The Tiger
By Mark Wightman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Firstly, congratulations to Mark Wightman for making it to the Shortlist for Bloody Scotland with Waking The Tiger. What an achievement for a debut novelist!
This, readers, is a stunning, captivating thriller that is historical noir. Discover more in the blurb and my review and check out the eye-catching cover. It is stunning! You can also find out more about this author below. Thanks to Hobeck Books for gifting me this book.

Waking The Tiger cover

Blurb

For fans of Abir Mukerhjee and Donna Leon, Mark Wightman’s brilliant debut novel is historical crime fiction at its very best.

Singapore, 1939

A young Japanese woman is found dead on the dockside, her throat slashed

Inspector Maximo Betancourt is working a new beat, one he didn’t ask for. Following the disappearance of his wife, his life and career have fallen apart.

A distinctive tiger tattoo is the only clue to her identity

Once a rising star of Singapore CID, Betancourt has been relegated to the Marine Division, with tedious dockyard disputes and goods inspections among his new duties.

Who is she? And why are the authorities turning a blind eye?

But when a beautiful, unidentified Japanese woman is found murdered in the shadow of a warehouse owned by one of Singapore’s most powerful families, Betancourt defies orders and pursues those responsible. What he discovers will bring him into conflict with powerful enemies, and force him to face his personal demons.

Review

Waking The Tiger coverThis is a thriller that grips in the depths of mysterious characters and as much crime as it has in beauty. Readers are in for a treat!

Firstly, there is a wonderful map with a key beside it, which aids beautifully for the location. There is also some cleverly placed mild humour, which adds some entertainment, that adds to the light and shade of this twisty historical noir.
You wouldn’t guess it was a debut, making Mark Wightman an author to look out for, for this and future books.

The descriptions, right from the beginning are integral to setting the scene and it is done so well and add colour and life in a contextual sense. Immediately a picture forms that leads you deep into this compelling thriller.

The characters Kuo and Betancourt are ones that are compelling to know more about as their lives are anything straightforward. There lies the theme of being a bit of and outsider and not being a total fit creates intrigue about them.

There is a richness in the historical facts, which adds some colour as it is quite dark underneath. Readers are led into the depths of crime and down to the ports and trade routes. There is theft of government bonds, human trafficking. Guthrie is caught up in so much in this thriller that easily hooks you in, with its themes and situations that readers will recognise historically and contemporarily.

Buy Link – Amazon

About the Author

Mark Wightman was born in Edinburgh before growing up in the Far East, first in Hong Kong and then in Singapore. He is fascinated by exploring the elements of history that lie at the margins, where the recorded facts have either faded or been hidden. After a successful career in media technology, Mark completed master’s degrees in Creative Writing at the Universities of Edinburgh and East Anglia, where he received a distinction for his debut novel Waking the Tiger. Mark was the winner of the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival, also for Waking the Tiger, and was selected to be one of the seventeen UNESCO City of Literature Story Shop emerging writers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He lives in Scotland.

 

#Review by Lou – The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter- Happy Pubication Day @Alice_Hunter_1 @AvonBooksUK #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

The Serial Killer’s Wife
By Alice Hunter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Seeringly intense with the bone-chilling factor and a great twist, it may leave you just a bit stunned for awhile after. Take a look at the blurb and my full review of what else I think of this book.
Thanks to the publisher, Avon Books for gifting me this book.

Blurb

The Serial Killer's WifeThey’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

The Serial Killer's Wife

Review

DI Manning is on the case in The Serial Killer’s Wife. Chapters seemlessly flip from Beth to Tom to Katie and you can see the story build up through the years and how they all become linked and where Tom and Katie met and got to know each other 8 years ago, and how Tom is now married to Beth in the present time. It’s easy to get caught in the romantic entanglements, especially between Tom and Katie, all those years ago.

There is beauty and intensity and suspicion to be found throughout. It makes you question and wonder about Tom that gives an uneasiness. The juxtopositions of the beauty in the writing and the horror of what is actually going on comes from adept storytelling and very adept writing.

The ending is quite a twist and it’s a good one…

The book has some gritty, gripping, chilling themes that show that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Take a look at the acknowledgements too as there’s a little note within that saying when the book was written and a bit more that could be interesting for readers.

#Extract of Termination – The Boy Who Died by Richard T. Burke @CazVincent @RTBurkeAuthor #Thriller #TheDecimationTrilogy

Termination - Out Now - Banner

I am delighted to host an extract of Termination – The Boy Who Died by Richard T. Burke. The second book in this groundbreaking trilogy, of which you can find out titles below, after the extract. This has humanity and the global population as high up there topics, and a virus (Orestes Virus) that Antimone with the goal of finding a cure with his uniqueness. Check out more in the extract and then find out more about this thriller/crime fiction author.

Termination book cover (1)

Blurb

Antimone Lessing returns in book two of the ground-breaking Decimation trilogy.

Nearly twenty years after the Orestes virus swept across the earth, finally there is hope. Women are no longer dying within seconds of giving birth. For the first time in two decades, the global population is on an upward trend.

As the world returns to normal, Antimone is back on the athletics track and a single race away from achieving her lifetime goal of winning the Olympic 1500-metre Wheelchair gold medal.

But a deadly new threat has emerged, one that could reverse the fragile recovery and spell the end of humanity’s time on the planet. Could Antimone’s unique biology once again provide the vital clue to develop a cure?

When the details of her past become exposed, ruthless forces prepare an audacious plan to kidnap the first woman in a generation to survive childbirth. Now, the only hope for her survival and that of her young family may rest with the one person she trusts least in the world.

Extract

Thursday 12th June 2036

Infant Creche, Bani Waled, Republic of North Africa

Four weeks before the Olympic wheelchair final

“Sit still,” the woman said in Arabic.

“No,” the three-year-old boy replied, angling his head away.

She grabbed a tissue from the nearby box and tried to wipe the child’s nose. He wriggled in her arms as she attempted to reach the twin trails of mucus dribbling down his face. She tightened her grip and pulled him closer. The boy’s struggles intensified. He lashed out a foot and caught her in the stomach. Her hand immediately released his wrist, moving to the rounded bump protruding from her belly.

“Ibn kalb,” she muttered under her breath. The words must have come out louder than she intended because the little girl, playing with the doll two metres away, glanced up sharply. She had just called the annoying brat the son of a dog. In truth, the identity of the boy’s father was a mystery. Like all the children under her care, his mother had died in childbirth, probably moments after a multiple birth. The doctors would have given her fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs she released, then impregnated her with the sperm of a member of the ruling elite.

The woman gently rubbed the point of impact. In less than a month, she would suffer the same fate. She was already finding it hard to sleep at night. The rapidly expanding bulge in her stomach prevented her from getting comfortable. During the last inspection, the midwife had informed her she was expecting quadruplets. Not that she would ever get to see them. Within moments of severing the umbilical cord, the virus would transition to its active state. I hope I’m no longer awake when that happens.

The previous week, a cousin told her the Americans had developed a cure. Their women could give birth without fear of dying. It was typical of the infidel devils to keep such a discovery to themselves. No doubt it suited their purposes to reduce the number of true believers. It was her duty to help replenish her people’s population, but that didn’t make the burden any easier to bear. Why do I have to die?

Her eyes swept the room. The children played in groups of three or four. There were nineteen of them in total, twelve girls and seven boys. As well as releasing more eggs in the mother, the drugs raised the ratio of female to male foetuses. The rulers needed women to increase population numbers, but few, if any, would live past their teens.

The woman glanced at her watch. In half-an-hour, it would be time for the midday sleep. She was supposed to stay awake to supervise the children, but she would often try to grab a few minutes of rest herself. The combination of the energy-sapping heat and the steady, rhythmic whump of the ceiling fan were already making her feel sleepy. Nobody will notice. She closed her eyes and leant back in the wooden chair.

A tap on the knee jerked her out of her drowsiness. The boy with the snotty nose stood in front of her. He held one hand to his face. The other tugged at the black material of her robes. She swatted away his grubby fingers. He dropped the raised arm, revealing a trickle of blood originating from his left nostril and mingling with the trail of mucus. 

Why can’t he just leave me alone? With a groan, she reached once again for the box of tissues and tugged one free. When she returned her attention to the child, the red trail had developed into a stream. A reedy wail escaped from his lips. His open mouth revealed a rose-coloured stain on his tiny, white teeth. He balled his hands into fists and rubbed at his eyes.

The woman dragged him nearer and dabbed at the blood now gushing from his nose. Within seconds, crimson fluid saturated the tissue. She tossed it on the floor and grabbed another handful from the box.

The boy lowered his hands and grasped at his throat. His brown irises now sat amidst a labyrinth of burst veins where moments before there had been only white sclera. The boy’s chest heaved as he tried to suck air into his oxygen-starved lungs. A wracking cough culminated in a spray of blood and mucus into the woman’s face.

She wiped the glutinous mass away with her sleeve and levered herself upright. By the time she reached her feet, the child was convulsing on the floor. She lowered herself to one knee beside him, grunting with the effort. The boy writhed on the ground, his frantic movements creating red streaks across the discoloured white tiles.

What should she do? They hadn’t trained her for anything like this. She placed a hand on his chest to still the jerking spasms that rippled through his body. With a final twitch, the child lay still. Is he dead? That isn’t possible.

The sound of crying drew her attention away from the prostrate child. She raised her eyes to see three other children, each writhing in a pool of blood. The rest of the group backed up against the crude, childish paintings distributed along the roughly finished walls. As she watched, two more burst into a fit of coughing, hacking up gobbets of bloody phlegm.

The woman staggered to her feet, raising an arm to cover her face with her sleeve. Everywhere she looked, children were bleeding from their mouths, noses and ears. She took a step forwards as one of the closest victims stopped moving. Is this some sort of chemical attack? She turned in a full circle. Every single child in the room now either lay still or twitching in their bodily fluids. The mingled smells of blood and faeces assaulted her nostrils.

She stumbled to the mirror above the sink and studied her reflection: no nosebleed. The whites of the terrified eyes staring back at her remained clear. No blood emerged from her mouth or ears. Why am I the only one not to be affected?

When she turned around, every single child sprawled motionless on the floor. Those that faced her stared back with open, unseeing eyes.

The woman lumbered across the room as fast as her bulk would allow. When she reached the door, she fumbled with the lock and stumbled outside into the stifling midday heat.

“They’re dead,” she screamed. “The children are all dead.”

 The Decimation trilogy:

Decimation – The Girl Who Survived
Termination – The Boy Who Died
Annihilation – Origins and Endings (out 12 Sept 2021, now available for pre-order).

About The Author

Richard T. Burke Author ImageRichard T. Burke is the author of crime thrillers with a twist. To date he has written six novels, The Rage, The Colour of the Soul, Assassin’s Web and the Decimation trilogy:  DecimationTerminationAnnihilation (out 12 Sept 2021, now available for pre-order).

Richard also contributed short stories to anthologies by Bloodhound Books and Corona Books.

Richard lives with his wife, Judith, and daughter, Emily, in the village of Rotherwick in north-east Hampshire, UK.

Richard T. Burke on Social Media

Author Website:                   www.rjne.uk
Twitter:                                   twitter.com/RTBurkeAuthor
Facebook Author Page:      www.facebook.com/RichardTBurkeBooks
Amazon Author Page:                     author.to/RichardTBurke   
GoodReads:                         www.goodreads.com/ricky_reader

#BookReview by Lou – The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #TheWildGirls #Thriller

The Wild Girls
By Pheobe Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once started, I had so much fun reading The Wild Girls. It is entertainment with trepidation, intriguing notes, travel and terrific energy within those pages in this stand-alone book, that will keep you hooked into this thriller until the end. It’s a luxury retreat at a safari and birthday party with a difference.

Thanks to HQ Stories for gifting me the book.

Find out more about it in the blurb and then read onto my full review and find the praise, website and  buy links too.

The Wild Girls

Blurb

FOUR FRIENDS.
A LUXURY RETREAT.
IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…

THE TEACHER
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…

THE MOTHER
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…

THE INTROVERT
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

THE HUNT IS ON.

Review

The Wild GirlsThe writing is dramatic and carries a terrific energy, even when it is something as simple as a letter dropping through a letterbox!

It’s entertaining, finding out about the lives of Grace, Alice and Hannah the sub-characters ( the main characters, as seems to be a style, which I have grown to like more, have parts of chapters to themselves). There is also quite an introduction of the characters, leading up to the first chapter. There’s Grace, who recieves an invitation to Felicity’s birthday in Botswana; Alice (and Tom) who appears to be having financial issues; Hannah (and Chris), who have a young family. These are The Wild Girls!

It has much intrigue surrounding Felicity’s invitation. There is more than meets the eye to it and it isn’t as simple as an invite and that isn’t just the location, this involves how it insinuates how relationships between The Wild Girls have been, prior to this, which is said within the book.

Deception Valley Lodge Complex adds an unexpected twist to the accomodation in the gorgeous setting of Botswana, with the African plains, wildlife and Limpopo River, not least as to how it is all set-up and there are messages abound from Felicity, which add mystery and intrigue. There are notes and messages abound from the birthday girl, but the book becomes twisty and has an unexpected sinister and feel with tension and mystery building about the birthday. This is a book with many surprises within it. It has a feel of Agatha Christie’s – “And Then There Were None” in a sense, as people’s feelings, insecurities and life stories start to tumble out and somone vital is missing, so the hunt is on to find out what is going on as it turns out the birthday party gathering isn’t all as is seems and far from what the guests were expecting.

Part Two has many revelations and set before Botswana. This is more deftly done than expected as it is as interesting as Part One and pieces things together. It is cleverly written and writing it this way round works very well and flows incredibly well from what went on previously in the first part. It’s a chance to see the characters outwith Botswana and how they interacted with each other then. Part way through, I was hoping for at least a part 3 and it came and plunged the characters to their present time in Botswana and the pace picks up again and the tension builds another notch and it is breath-taking or gasping in the darkest way, which may also make your spine be chilled to the bone as the biggest and deepest revelation of them all comes out.

In a world where foreign holidays are a bit off the cards just now, this book does well in replacing that travel in its vibrancy and the wonderful premise of a birthday party.

Praise for The Wild Girls:

‘Combines a beautiful, exotic location with a slithering, unsettling sense of suspense. A page-turner, full of secrets and reveals’ Adele Parks, Platinum

‘A delightfully sinister tale’ Crime Monthly

‘Tense, well-paced and with a cast of relatable flesh-and-blood women, The Wild Girls is an exhilarating, read-in-one-sitting ride’ Louise Candlish

Links and Buy Links

The Wild Girls 

Phoebe Morgan’s Website

Waterstones

Bookshop.org

Amazon