Happy Publication Day for The First Lie By A.J. Park @AJParkauthor #Thriller #TheFirstLie

The First Lie
By A.J. Park

A blog piece by Lou

Happy Publication Day to A.J. Park. It certainly sounds like a page turner. Check out below, all the fabulous quotes and a blurb that might just get you hooked to read the whole book. If it is your bag, then there are buying links at the bottom of the page. I thank Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blog blitz.

“A. J. Park is a master of suspense who knows how to keep readers hovering tensely over the edges of their seats.”
Sophie Hannah

THE FIRST LIE BY A.J. PARK

“This is a real page-turner. I finished it in one go!”
Martina Cole

A husband and wife cover up a murder. But the lie eats away at the fabric of their relationship and things unravel till they can’t trust anyone – even each other.

“A great thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.”
Luca Veste

THE FIRST LIE COVER

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was the first lie?

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.

Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn’t deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.

But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can’t trust anyone – even one another…

But there is much more at stake than anyone realises – and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade…

“Fast-moving, gripping, the ground shifting perpetually beneath your feet as you read… I read it in one sitting.”
Alex Marwood

THE FIRST LIE all quotes

Available as a paperback, ebook and audio book.

Links:

Waterstones Paperback: http://tidd.ly/553cdf07

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KNl4rt

*please note I don’t get paid anything for this and I am not affiliated in Waterstones or Amazon or anything at all for that matter.

Review of #MustRead – Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley @vbradleywriter @simonschusterUK #RandomThingsTours #CrimeFiction #Thriller #MustRead #Reviews

Before I Say I Do
By Vikki Bradley
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I am so delighted and happy to be on this blog tour for Before I Say I Do. I am so thrilled to be able to share this treat of a book with you. You’re in for a book that is addictive to read, a book that twists one way and then another, a book where the bride is far from your average woman about to be married and has dark, dark secrets. They are the darkest secrets and just who is the bride really and where is her groom? This is a psychological thriller that you will see time runaway from you as you read and you may well just have a need to discover the answers. It’s a great book for your tbr pile (to be read pile)  Read on to discover the blurb and my full review…

It is also with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to the publisher Simon Schuster for supplying me with a print/physical copy of the book.

About the Author

Before I Say I Do Vicki Bradley Author PicVicki Bradley is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She
has had a varied career, as a uniformed response driver in Brent and then as a detective Constable in Southwark CID. She has managed High Risk Sex Offenders and worked on the Serious Organised Crime Command. She is currently on a 5-year career break to focus on her writing. Vicki completed a Creative Writing MA at City University in 2016. Before I Say I Do won the Write Here, Right Now competition, came 3rd in the First Novel Prize and has been shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer 2017 and Peters Fraser and Dunlop Prize 2016. She enjoys travelling the world and climbing
mountains. Vicki lives in London with her husband.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Blurb

Winner of the inaugural Write here, Right Now Prize 2018, in partnership with the
Bradford Literature Festival.

Her dream wedding is about to become her worst nightmare Julia is nervous and it’s not just because she’s about to get married. There’s a lot that her soonto-be husband, Mark, doesn’t know – and she is determined to keep it that way.
As she walks down the aisle, spotting Mark is his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness- her past can’t catch her now. He turns to face her…
But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man. Because Mark is missing.
And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Review

Firstly the by-line To Have, To Hold, To Hurt, sets this thriller up so well, as does the stunning cover. Like a bride with her groom, I am in the clutches of the book from the first page. The book joins readers up with Julie Talbot on her wedding day to Mark along with best friend and bridesmaid – Lucy Webb. From as early as the first chapter the intrigue heightens and you know there’s something in Julie’s past and there is one sentence, about wondering if the registrar knows something, that hooks you in even more. It is by far a normal wedding day, not with a missing groom, who Alana Loxton, recently demoted MIT officer to CID officer, is on the case to discover what happened, along with DC Dominik Kowalski. This is a fast-paced book that goes wonderfully between the bride and her feelings and  the investigation into Mark’s mysterious disappearance as CID search for clues as to what may have happened, until the two collide and her past catches up with her. The writing is excellent, from the emotions to the detailing of what is going on. Before you know it, you’ve reached page 100 and just keep reading as someone from the past turns up.
The book also goes a bit into forensics, which is good. It all gives a full picture to the investigation.

The tension ramps up as the story progresses, as does the murkiness of Julia’s past and who she used to be associated with. I won’t spoil it for you as to what her past actually entails as it is part of the crux of this story, which twists one way and then another. The bride – Julia Talbot, as readers will discover is not exactly your average bride as more dark, dark secrets come into the forefront as you will discover as you read it and also discover more about Johnathon Cane and where he fits into her past as it all get more and more sinister. The senetence structure to build the tension works so well. To put the book down is like when something is so hot, it sticks to your skin and hard to release. This book is hard to put down. The climax is quite something to behold and will leave you sighing with relief from the tension when you’re done.

This is such a great book, a must read book even, from this debut novelist, that will have you clutching onto it, tight, until it finishes, like an ordinary bride would with her groom.

Before I Say I Do BT Poster

The House Guest by Mark Edwards – a 5 Star, Chilling, Sinister Thriller @mredwards #Thomas&Mercer #TheHouseGuest #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Review

The House Guest
By Mark Edwards
Rated: 5 stars *****

I saw The House Guest on Mark Edward’s Twitter page and got rather interested in reading it. The cover looks fabulous as it leads you in and quite frankly I wanted to know who The House Guest is, so it’s a great title; but I need more than that to get me interested as I don’t judge a book by its cover, so I delved a little deeper and to my finding, I did become intrigued enough to ask if I could read it. It is thanks to the publishing company Thomas & Mercer for accepting such a request and for allowing me to review.
This page-turner psychological thriller, by multi – best-selling novelist, Mark Edwards is published on Wednesday 3rd June.

About The Author

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people.
He has sold 3 million books since his first novel, The Magpies was published in 2013, and has topped the bestseller lists several times. His other novels include: Follow You Home, The Retreat, In Her Shadow, Because She Loves Me, The Devil’s Work and Here to Stay. He has also co-authored six books with Louise Voss.
Originally from Hastings in East Sussex, Mark now lives in Wolverhampton with his wife, their children, three cats and a golden retriever.

His website is www.markedwardsauthor.com   or you can find him on Facebook @markedwardsbooks
Twitter @mredwards

Blurb

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

The House Guest is the chilling new psychological thriller from the three million copy bestselling author of Here to Stay and Follow You Home.

The House Guest.png

Review

This is a book with unimaginable twists and turns and danger with a House Guest, a stranger, to look after a home. Would you ever do that? It’s a fast-paced, chilling, all consuming and absorbing psychological thriller to say the least, with the emphasis on chilling…

Set in New York, instantly the house-sitter, Eden who has arrived in a sodden, drenched state, claiming to be a friend of Jack and Mona Cunningham as she meets Adam and Ruth. Ruth is an actress and has bagged herself a role in the new Broadway play – Dare after appearing in a film called The Immaculate. Adam is a playwright and has just finished a piece to start meetings with. It all seems quite a relaxed, almost jovial and serene atmosphere and they get to know each other and how they know the Cunninghams and their line of work – psychology and domestic wellness, except the situation does seem all a little weird as to how all 3 end up spending time together.
The tone used in the book is great. It’s so easy-going and relaxed and fits perfectly for the young people who haven’t long been in their adulthood years. The book pulls you in and the atmosphere changes just at the right moments. It’s a skilled hand writing the words, as some odd behaviour happens at a pool at a park.

When Jack and Mona return to their home, it all turns very creepy and sinister as it twists and there’s a need to know just who Eden really is and where Ruth also disappeared to. That serene, but somewhat odd atmosphere of before, becomes intense deftly as the situation becomes stranger. Gabriel is another suspicious, sinister character. There are twists and turns to make you gasp and want to read more and more with intensity, especially to discover more about Eden and who she is, what she is doing and for what purpose.
It’s chilling to say the least as the twists and turns increase in intensity in atmosphere and in the events that are going on. It isn’t until the end that you feel you can be at ease and breath…

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin #TheSecretsofStrangers #RandomThingsTours #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #Review #MustRead

The Secrets of Strangers
by Charity Norman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Tense, compelling, touching, The Secret of Strangers is an excellent read. I can well see why the author has made it to the Radio 2 Bookclub and with a previous book – The Richard and Judy Bookclub. It is with thanks to the publisher Allen & Unwin that I have the great opportunity for reviewing The Secrets of Strangers – a stand-alone novel. It’s a Must Read thriller set in a cafe and one, I am ecstatic to share with you as a tale of one gunman and three hostages unfolds. I loved this book so, so much!!! Read on for more info and my full review, that I’ve approached from a slightly different angle this time of writing it.

About the Author

The Secret of Strangers Charity Norman Author PicCharity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.

 

Secrets of Strangers Cover

Blurb

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller After the Fall.

Review

This book is absolutely terrific and so unputdownable. Sleep eluded me. I didn’t want to get to the end because I seriously didn’t want to have to leave this book and yet I really, really needed to see how it would all end. It was seriously that good and it’s a book I imagine I will read again someday. I was pulled into this book gripping book within the first few pages and time knew no bounds as it ticked on by as the pages turned ever so easily from one to the next, never stopping to look at a clock.

Told through 6 main characters – Abi, Eliza, Mutesi, Sam, Neil, Rosie as they more or less take on the chapters, this is a captivating book which is incredibly well-written and the more I read, the more I want to keep going through the intensity of what is ultimately an eloquently told story within the premise of a hostage situation in a cafe. This is a story of the time of being taken hostage and the very human story surrounding this and how people get to know each other a little more and about the secrets they have.

Meet the characters:

Neil is quickly established as being homeless, but used to work for a company making medical equipment. He used to be a teacher prior to being made homeless and has quite a story to tell.

Abi works as a barrister and has worked on many cases. She has also been struggling to conceive, even with IVF with Charlie. It’s emotive.

Mutesi cleans in the church – St. Judes and is a nurse in a carehome and you wonder what more there is to her, which is discovered in the book.

Eliza works for the MET in the serious crime unit and is also a hostage negotiator. She has a family – a teenage son and a husband – Richard who is self-employed. It was all love at first sight, whilst travelling on a train on the beautiful East Coast Railway. A line I have travelled often on, as has many people. She has quite a role to play as is involved in negotations.

Sam at 8 years old, helps around his parent’s farm and is keen to be a farmer and less keen on school, where he gets support for his dyslexia. I do love how his dad likes when the school is on summer holidays and comes across as having a terrific attitude to them. This is until tragedy strikes. Everything changed! Psychologically everything changed. There is a powerful theme within that, handled sensitively and so well as destruction ensues. More secrets come out and there’s some cause and effect that is presented in the story. There’s some sinister goings on with him being manipulated for years. It is interesting to see how and why he ends up where he is as an adult.

Rosie – despises her dad- until she really needs his help that is and is interesting how that unfolds

The rest of my thoughts on what is an exceptional book

There’s a lovely sounding cafe called Tuckbox, whose usual hustle and bustle is disturbed one day when a gun man walks in and the atmosphere rapidly changes and there’s a real sense of urgency in the writing as circumstances change.

 The tension that builds is just phenomenal, as is the clarity of writing and that with the music references that are scattered throughout works so well together.
What else that is is so great about reading this book, is it is so easy to follow because it flows so well from character to character. The book really is like looking into The Tuckshop Cafe and seeing exactly where each character is and what’s happening in each of their lives at every step of the hostage situation they find themselves in.

You feel the anguish of each person as the hostage situation builds and also at times, an almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they try and find hiding places to keep safe. Also as tension builds up, so do the characters as readers get a deeper insight into their lives.

There’s the sense of danger and delicacy of negotiating the hostage taker, that is written so naturally and well.

What else can be said, except, this is an exceptional book that I highly recommend as a Must Read.

Do follow the rest of the tour too.

The Secrets of Strangers BT Poster

 

#Review of What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott @stephaniewscott @wnbooks #WhatsLeftOfMeIsYours #RandomThingsTours #PsychologicalThriller #BlogTour #Debut #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Mustread

What’s Left of Me is Yours
By Stephanie Scott
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

This is a blog tour I was particularly interested in joining because it is a fictional piece, absolutely based on fact, on a newspaper article seen in the Times in 2010. It’s a story with a humanity about it, but is also a wonderfully presented psychological as it builds up the picture of what happened to Rina. With thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto her blog tour, and for the publisher for supplying a print/physical copy of this book, that I must say, has a beautiful, elegant cover that draws the eye in.
So today I present my review of the newly published book What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott. Please also find below, a short piece, that goes further into what inspired her to write this story. I’ve given it 4 stars, but it is so close to being 5 for me in my opinion.

Whats Left of Me is Yours BT Poster.png

 

stephanie scott is a Singaporean-British writer who was born and raised in South East Asia. She read English Literature at the Universities of York and Cambridge and holds an M.St in Creative Writing from Oxford University.
She was awarded a British Association of Japanese Studies Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on WHAT’S LEFT OF ME IS YOURS and has been made a member of the British Japanese Law Association as a result of her research.
She has won the A.M. Heath Prize, the Jerwood Arvon Prize for Prose Fiction, and runner up in the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award for an early draft of the manuscript.

Blurb

A gripping debut set in the Japanese marriage break-up industry and inspired by a true crime, from award-winning debut novelist Stephanie Scott.
Within the Tokyo underworld there is an industry which exists to break up marriages. It is known today as wakaresaseya – agents who, for a fee, can be hired by one spouse to seduce the other and provide grounds for divorce on favourable terms.
When Satō hires Kaitarō, a wakaresaseya agent, to have an affair with his wife, Rina, he assumes it will be an easy case. But Satō has never truly understood Rina or her desires and Kaitarō’s job is to do exactly that–until he does it too well. While Rina remains ignorant of the circumstances that brought them together, she and Kaitarō fall in a desperate, singular love, setting in motion a series of violent acts that will forever haunt her daughter’s life.
As Rina’s daughter, Sumiko, fills in the gaps of her mother’s story and her own memory, Scott probes the thorny psychological and moral grounds of the actions we take in the name of love, asking where we draw the line between passion and possession.

“A Beautiful Debut” says Louise Doughty on the cover (author of the very successful Apple Tree Yard and other novels).

What's Left Of Me - Cover

Review

Firstly, let’s start with that cover, so beautiful, so full of curiosities and elegant. This book is eloquently written as it takes readers into the landscape of Japan and sensitively forms a story that inspired by reality, but is a work of fiction. 

This a psychological that asks just where is the line drawn between healthy love and unhealthy possession. It shows the blurring of those lines through a few points of views and how this can lead up to such tragic consequences. It’s also a story of an actual, shocking industry that exists to break up marriages. It’s quite a hidden underworld I had no knowledge of, until I read this. The book sometimes also reads like it could be real with police incident reports also included, throughout as the story unfolds. I feel they play an important part to the narrative.

Kaitaro wants Rina (Sarashima’s mother) to return to photography and even buys her an expensive camera and already, near the beginning you can see a little bit of tension. Then readers will meet Shamiko, entering a legal career at the bar in Tokyo.
This is essentially a book in search of truth. The truth of what happened to Ms Sarashima’s mother and her determination to seek it as she speaks to people who may have worked on the original case within the justice system in the courthouse.

Some of what occurs is especially chilling within this mysterious story, that looks like has been well researched as it shows off some, perhaps lesser known parts of Japanese culture.

The book is a rich tapestry as it shows through a few characters eyes what happened. Within that, it also shows Rina’s life first hand and how she met Kaitaro and the seeming, romance of it all and how she sadly met her demise. 

There is mostly a satisfying enough conclusion as facts are discovered and lives move onwards. It is definitely one I am pleased is at least as interesting and good as I had hoped. It was a book that had a premise that captured my attention as soon as I had heard about it and on the whole, it held my attention. All in all, this is a very good debut novel, that is worth investing time in.

 

The Inspiration

‘In 2010 I read an article in The Times on a murder case in Tokyo where a marriage break-up agent had strangled his lover when she discovered his true profession and threatened to leave him. The agent was arrested at the scene and swiftly confessed, but as he was speaking to police detectives he said “I loved her. I love her still.” And it was this, the humanity of the original story which drew me. The agent claimed that he had felt trapped by all the lies he had told his target over the course of their relationship, but that he had truly come to love her, that he could not live without her. I was just newly married at the time and I wondered if what he had said was true – could you truly love someone and kill them?’

#Review of Murder at the Music Factory by Lesley Kelly @lkauthor @sandstonepress #BookReview #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Murder at the Music Factory
By Lesley Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Murder at the Music Factory is the latest Health of Strangers book by Lesley Kelly and I am just so pleased to have been asked to join the blog tour by Scottish publishers Sandstone Press, whom I also thank for sending my a physical print copy of the book to review. With its music, a gun man and all the intrigue, it makes for a great read. I can see why Ian Rankin rates Lesley Kelly.

About the Author

Lesley KellyLesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past 20 years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won several writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story Award in 2008. Her debut novel: A Fine House in Trinity, was long listed for the William McIlvanney award in 2016. She can be followed on Twitter @lkauthor where she tweets about writing, Edinburgh and whatever else takes her fancy.

Click for Social Media Link: 
Twitter Link

Blurb

The body of Paul Shore toppled onto him, a stream of blood pooling around them on the concrete. Bernard lay back and waited to see if he too was going to die.

An under cover agent gone rogue is threatening to shoot a civil servant a day. As panic reigns, the Health Enforcement Team race against time to track him down – before someone turns the gun on them.

Leley Kelly Murder at the music factory

Review

A pandemic, music and a gunman in Edinburgh, Scotland , well, this book certainly is a thriller to behold.

It’s quite something to read a book with a pandemic and live through one in real life and I am glad to say that there are bits of a normality to be found here and there and some wit in some of dialogue, that lifts it. Murder in the Music Factory is book 4 in The Health of Strangers series. It works as part of the series and as a standalone, so you can jump straight in.

The North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team (HET) are back in this brand new book – Murder at the Music Factory, part of the Health of Strangers series, that once you’ve started, you see what a great series it is. It is worth joining a week in the life of this team (the book is split into days of the week).
The books were an alternative Edinburgh, where a virus is rampant, but now fiction and fact have somewhat collided (the books began way before this current virus pandemic). Foresight is perhaps a wonderful thing, or maybe it isn’t, who knows in this instance, but one thing I do know, is it is there and this is a very good book.
I know people are worried at this time, but this is still an excellent thriller of a book to read. It isn’t just about a virus. There’s a gunman at large who Mona and Bernard need to track down and a vulnerable witness needs to be protected.

More foresight, but perhaps not quite as it is in our new reality for this time. In the book, schools are closed, the NHS carries on, but electives are cancelled. A lot like now, except in the book it’s because of the gunman, all the same, it is in-escapable that this (minus the gunman thank goodness), has become a reality and thank goodness for the NHS.

There is some entertainment to be found in this book and I do like that Bernard has a need for chocolate. I’ve read that quite a bit around social media, that chocolate is a must for people right now too.

There’s a bit of familiar music mentioned within the book, that is carefully placed and works really well. This book, although was, at time of writing, like all of this series, set some time in the near future, and now sees a bit of fiction and realiy weaving together, actually has some lightness in parts of it. There’s life away from work, which gives the book a bit of humanity about it and a bit more insight into the characters.

To read a book about, not just a thriller, but one that has a global pandemic going through is surreal, no doubt about it and I’ve used a lot of my resilence to complete the book, so I could review for you. These are unusual and worrying times and I will say that I do hope that everyone is staying safe and are well. That being said, it is still a very well-written book and one that is still worth reading, whether it is your book of choice for now or later, because one day, whenever that may be, things will return to normal. Who knows if they will in this series of books or not, but they will in the real world.
Take care and keep safe and thank you in advance for reading my blog post on this blog tour.