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Psychological thrillers

The Woman Next Door Cass Green

Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa’s daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven’t been so close. Hester has plans to change all that. It’s obvious to her that despite Melissa’s outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester’s help. But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa…

This is a dark contemporary psychological thriller, there’s no doubt about that. At times the antics of Heather and Melissa are so outrageous it takes your breath away and at others they make you smile wryly. But no matter how weird the characters are, or the plot becomes, this book works on many levels. Cass Green’s writing is superb, but am I the only one who thinks this book is reminiscent of the monologues in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads? Or am I showing my age?

Click on the book cover to go to the Amazon.co.uk book page.

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Where There’s Smoke Simon Beckett

Imagine not knowing the father of your child. Not knowing his name, what he looks like, or what sort of person he is. Although she is desperate for a baby, that is something that Kate Powell cannot accept. Single and independent, she likes to be in control of her own life—even if it has, somehow, become strangely shallow and meaningless. Then Kate meets a man who seems to be the answer to all her problems. But we all know appearances can be dangerously deceptive.

This is a creepy tale about how people can take on the identity of other people with disastrous results. The twisting and turning plot keeps you interested, with well-formed characters and a premise that the reader can identify with.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Click on the book cover to go to the Amazon page.

 

The Widow Fiona Barton

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil. But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

This was billed as a psychological thriller and much hype surrounded it for many months. But I have to confess to being rather disappointed in it. It is a sound story, well told, but not psychologically gripping, and as a result of all the misplaced hype I felt very let down, which is not fair on the book, nor on the author. The Widow is a really fascinating story, well told and a very interesting read.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Click on the cover to go to the Amazon book page.

When She Was Bad Tammy Cohen

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

I don’t think I’ll ever look at co-workers in the same way again! This was a fresh take on the psychological novel and boy did it work. The story is told from the viewpoint of each of the characters in turn and with every chapter we learn a little bit more about them. That’s when the twists and turns start. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the story, Ms Cohen goes and throws yet another curved ball. A great story, well told. Totally gripping.

I received a copy of the novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Click on the cover to go to the Amazon book page.

 

Different Class Joanne Harris

After thirty years at St Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. But every so often there’s a boy who doesn’t fit the mould. A troublemaker. A boy with hidden shadows inside. A new broom has arrived, bringing Powerpoint, sharp suits and even sixth form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even twenty years on haunts his teacher’s dreams. A boy capable of bad things.

I was particularly interested to read this novel being an ex-teacher but also having had some experience of the public school system in England. This novel epitomised the buildings, tradition, characters and the pervading atmosphere. It could be any public school, anywhere in England and that is where the strength of this novel lies. It is grounded in realism, with wholly believable characters, both masters and children. I found it enthralling and couldn’t put it down. When I finished the book, I felt I had lost old friends. Simply terrific.

Click on the cover to go to the Amazon book page.

 

The Sister Louise Jensen

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend. When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

This is a first rate psychological novel, and from a debut author to boot! This novel seriously plays with your emotions. You grieve with Grace at the death of her friend. You mourn with her the dying of her relationship with Dan. You cheer for her as she finds a new best friend. And then the chills start to run down your spine.

No spoilers here folks, suffice it to say that this is yet another fab offering from BookOutre who have an uncanny knack for finding the best unpublished crime and psychological thrillers. I received a copy of the novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Click on the cover to go to the book page on Amazon.

 

 

Daisy in Chains Sharon Bolton

Famous killers have fan clubs. Hamish Wolfe is no different. Maggie Rose is reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win. Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

I just love Sharon Bolton’s books and this one is right up there with the best of them. It is atmospheric, moody, dark, obsessive and the two main characters were beautifully drawn. Every time I read about Hamish I had shivers up and down my back. Maggie Rose is reclusive and defensive, but that’s because she is hiding a secret from the world, but especially from Hamish and from the police. She is a mult-layered character in her own way, just as Hamish is in his. I liked the format Ms Bolton uses to tell the story, with letters, documents, reports, emails etc. To say too much about the plot would means spoilers so I’ll have to be content is saying that this is an outstanding but utterly different psychological crime novel. Go read it. You’ll love it. My thanks to the publishers and to NetGalley as I received a copy from them in return for an honest review.

Click the cover to go to the book page on Amazon.

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