#BlogTour Come a Little Closer by Rachel Abbott

Rachel Abbott is one of the UK’s most successful bestselling independent authors and I am delighted to be taking part in this brilliant BlogTour for her newest novel Come a Little Closer featuring DCI Tom Douglas. As part of my post today I am taking part in a Writing Challenge, which includes the first paragraph as a writing prompt and four items that have to be included in the challenge. To top off this blog post my review of this captivating read is at the end.

About the Author

Rachel Abbott was born just outside Manchester, England, and spent most of her working life as the Managing Director of an interactive media company. After her company was sold in 2000, she fulfilled a lifelong ambition of buying and restoring a property in Italy. She now splits her time between homes in Italy and Alderney, where she writes full time. She has published six full length novels and one novella, and her seventh Come a Little Closer was released 13th of February 2018.

Follow @RachelAbbott on Twitter or RachelAbbott1Writer on Facebook

Look out for #ComeALittleCloser

Visit rachel-abbott.com and rachelabbottwriter.com

Buy Come A Little Closer

About the book

They will be coming soon. They come every night.  Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath. Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said.

Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later. These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family…

When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? How many more must die? Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped?

Writing Challenge

Rachel Abbott has written the opening paragraph to a dark and twisty thriller and challenged bloggers to finish the story. Armed with just the opening paragraph (in bold) and four key objects (a bath, a facebook post, a single lightbulb and a glass of sweet sherry) from Come a Little Closer, we have to finish the story she started.

Prompt

Gemma had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember. As a child, she had blamed the cold, ancient house they had lived in – its endless corridors had too many closed doors for people to hide behind, too many secrets concealed in the shadows. But now there was no excuse. Her flat was modern, open, with huge windows.

It made no difference, though. Each night of the long winter months as she stood outside the block, she imagined all the doors she would have to pass before she reached her own, wondering if the lights in the hallway would be working, or whether they would flicker and go out, leaving her blind in the inky black void. Alone with her fear.

Perhaps she had always known that this day would come. She took a deep breath and stepped into the silent entrance, her heels tapping out a warning that she was coming on the polished concrete floor of the long corridor.

———————————————

To distract herself from the shadows and the imagined dangers lurking in the dark corridor she thought about what she would do when she finally reached the threshold of her door. A steaming hot bath filled with blue bubbles smelling like fresh ocean waves, well at least what she wished the ocean smelt like. Fishy, salt infused air doesn’t really inspire the same imagery. The bath water had to be piping hot, so her skin would turn a lobster red, because tepid just wouldn’t cut it. Relaxing in the bath also meant spending time with her latest acquisition from the small book shop around the corner. Engaging with fictional characters, preferably hot as hell with a penchant for danger and wild wild women, was her guilty pleasure.

Needless to say Gemma was the wild woman in this fictional scenario. Books made the hair on the back of her neck stand up and replaced her worries with faux fear. It wasn’t the same as feeling real fear. Facing her demons, facing her life. As a treat she would have a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge ice cream. Just a small one, enough to placate the inner chocolate addiction, but not enough to alert the cult for the overweight, also known as Weight Watchers. A bowl of ice cream that would melt into a puddle of liquid chocolate, as she languished in the steaming water. To take the edge off she would usually allow herself the pleasure of a small port glass of Bailey’s liqueur, except she had emptied the bottle during her last bath-time excursion, so the only thing left with any alcohol content was a bottle of sherry her mother had given her last Christmas. Not that Gemma was a sherry drinker, but hey when needs must then a glass of sweet sherry it is.

She breathed in deeply, a fragrance flashback triggered the scent of her bath suds in her nose. Gemma let out a little sigh of anticipation, which came out in more of a stuttered gasp as her nose captured a whiff of something acrid instead. She turned her head towards the smell, increasing her pace in anticipation of a possible danger, although her head was saying ‘maybe a cat has marked their territory’ her gut was whispering ‘maybe the psycho is sat in the shadows waiting for the perfect prey to come along.’ Yeh, her inner voice was a bit of killjoy and a scaremongerer.

Why was the corridor so void of any light? It was darker than usual, right? Gemma was sure of it. Instead of a warm yellow glow every five meters or so, the light in the corridor had been reduced to a single source of light. The lightbulb above apartment 13b. Gemma’s apartment. The one place she felt at ease, at home and safe. Was that a sound? Her breath started coming in short gasps.The pacing had become a fast walk, almost a pathetic panicked run. Gemma tore open her handbag and searched franticly for her keys. ‘Almost there, Nearly there,’ she panted. There is something, someone in the dark, waiting for her. Wanting to hurt her. She can feel it.

The keys jangled in her shaking hands, as she tried to insert the keys in the lock. Not an easy task while you’re looking over your shoulder every few seconds and expecting a blow to the head with a heavy object at any minute. Or a gloved hand covering her mouth, cutting off her air and dragging her backwards towards her violent death.

Okay. Open. She slipped through the doorway and slammed the door shut as fast as she possibly could. Lock, chain, bolt. Inside. Safe and breathe. Exhale.

Gemma tossed her shoes off and threw both bag and coat onto the nearest piece of furniture. Pulled her phone from her pocket to take a quick peek on social media before her bath. ‘Just for a few minutes,’ she muttered to herself. She was looking forward to the heat, the alcohol. Numbing herself from the inside and outside kept her sane when the fear threatened to overcome all her senses.

Gemma felt the anxiety fall away slightly, as she read snarky memes, political rants, bouncy goats and a facebook post with cute fluffy kittens.

She saw, rather than heard the note being slipped under her door. Out of the corner of her eye, a white sheet of paper with bold black letters. Every instinct screamed at her to ignore it, but another part of her was drawn to it. Her legs buckled as her brain processes the words…I’m waiting outside in the dark for you Gemma. Do you wanna come out and play?

——————————————————–

Review

There can be no doubt Abbott is honing her skills with every book, as her plots become more intricate and her characters become like old friends to her readers.

Rachel Abbott likes to skate between the black and white areas of right and wrong, to shed a light on the vulnerable in our society, and the secrets hidden in plain sight. In Come a Little Closer the hidden, the missing and the ones who go unaccounted for are given a voice, albeit a small one.

This is the seventh book to feature DCI Tom Douglas, and it feels as if he is just getting settled in for the long run. He is a straight talker with a penchant for breaking the rules, and yet his worst enemy is his own guilty conscience.

Have you ever asked yourself whether someone would miss you or question your whereabouts if you suddenly disappeared? How long would it take for someone to notice you are gone? There are plenty of men, women and children without a support system, who just vanish from the face of the earth and fall prey to people seeking the invisible of our society.

There is another important aspect of this story the author has slipped in, which is perhaps far more important than the main plot. What can you do when someone you used to love becomes an abusive insidious leech you can’t get rid of? When the system can’t help you and it ends up protecting them instead of you?

DCI Douglas is flummoxed by his new case and isn’t sure where to start. A young woman with no identity, who seems to have gone to her death willingly or rather to her murder. It seems as if she might not be the only one. Where are these women coming from and who are they?

A few decades a ago I went to a seminar led by a leading FBI profiler and expert on paedophiles and serial-killers, and he made two adults, myself being one of them, pretend to be children walking on the pavement. He played the perpetrator in the car. He winds down his imaginary window and says something quietly, I couldn’t hear so I stepped towards as he said Come a little Closer and grabs me and throws me in his imaginary car. That is exactly the kind of criminal Abbott is excellent at imbibing and then creating on paper. The type we are surrounded by, but never see coming, because we are taught from a young age to ignore our gut instinct. In a way we are all Judith.

This is just a little taste of the compelling read and the questions you may encounter. Rachel Abott writes a fast paced riveting thriller that pulls the reader in opposite directions. The plot is nefarious and also simple in its complexity. It’s realistic, which makes it relatable and there are aspects of it that will ring true for some of the readers.

Be prepared for a read you won’t want to put down.

Buy Come a Little Closer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk manThis has a distinctive 70s/80s film and television vibe, which isn’t always a given even if it is roughly set in that era. (Stranger Things vibe is a more accurate reference for younger readers) It also has a Stand By Me flair, that essence of nostalgia and friendships formed in childhood, and to top it off Tudor delivers a subtle layer of creepy horror a la Stephen King.

It has the innocence of days gone by, days when children played outside all day and stayed out till dark. Before technology captured the youth of today and started captivating them with visions of the future. A long time before the monsters who come for our children multiplied to an insurmountable number.

It’s 1986 and Eddie and his friends use chalk men to communicate secret messages to each other. The kind of game that appeals to the secrecy children covet even if it lacks any kind of complexity.

Eddie’s story starts when he witnesses an extremely violent accident, which binds him to the victim and to the man who helps to save her. Mr Halloran becomes a confidante and a saviour to Eddie, whilst Eddie becomes the instrument of his demise.

A few decades later the horror of their childhood is brought back to life when one of the boys decides to rake up The Chalk Man murder, and so begins a journey to the past to discover the truth and the lies.

Tudor brings the whole package with this story. The tension increases as the tale unfolds, and the reader can feel the creepy vibe throughout. The Chalk Man takes on a life of his own, especially in Eddie’s dreams and daily life. It’s an absorbing read and the ending is the cherry on top of the ice-cream sundae.

Oh and FYI Tom Baker is the best Dr.Who. Just Saying.

Buy The Chalk Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

the fearFear, shame and confusion go hand in hand in this story. Lou is still haunted by her past and the way it follows her like a lingering bad smell.

Unfortunately this tale of grooming and abuse carries the misnomer of love, because that is what paedophiles convince their victims it is. What is even more tragic is how many people confronted by these scenarios or read about them think that it is about a convoluted love story. It isn’t, it’s about a child being preyed upon by a sexual deviant.

It isn’t a vivacious Lolita seducing an unsuspecting older man, and then crying rape after the event. This is how the majority of society sees situations like this. It is easier to put the blame on a naughty little girl than to accept we have men and women in our midst who want to have sexual relations with children.

Lou has to live with the doubts of others, the recriminations and the guilt of not knowing whether she was to blame, and yet at the same time fearing the person she knows was to blame.

After the death of her father she returns home to sort his belongings and his house, and finds herself drawn to the man who took her childhood away from her. She walks a fine line between complete terror and the need for Mike to admit his guilt. Nothing too outlandish or unachievable until she stumbles upon proof that he is in the middle of stealing another childhood.

The Fear is a crime hidden within a crime with a stark layer of reality throughout. As a reader you feel empathy for the child Lou used to be and the adult still suffering from the fallout of being groomed by a predator. Although Lou feels guilty for getting revenge and trying to save someone, I applaud her temerity and her courage.

I think Taylor has written a well-timed story in the midst of the #MeToo movement and chorus of voices speaking out about abuse against girls and women in our society. Shedding a light on the hypocrisy victims encounter and the fear that sits in the back of their neck for the rest of their lives. It’s a captivating read with some hard home-truths. At the same time it is an equally compelling psychological thriller, so kudos to Taylor for bringing the two together.

Buy/Pre-order The Fear at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @callytaylor @AvonBooksUk

Visit cltaylorauthor.com

The Fear – Pub. date 22.March 2018 published by Avon Books Uk

Read The Lie by C.L. Taylor

Read The Accident by C.L. Taylor

#BlogTour It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

 

If you haven’t heard any whispers about this book or come across it somewhere then it is my pleasure to introduce you to It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell. I am also thrilled to host a brilliant Q&A with Michele Campbell today. Enjoy!

About the Author

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

Follow @MCampbellBooks @HQStories Visit michelecampbellbooks.com

Buy It’s Always the Husband

About the book

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump. How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

Q&A

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know). I’ll answer with the book I’m currently reading, because it’s SO good that I can’t think of anything else at the moment.  The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, which is the story of two sisters in occupied France, and so vivid that I feel I’m living it. I am toying with the idea of writing historical fiction. It’s inspiring to see an author make the past come alive so completely.

Books or authors who have inspired you to put pen to paper? The best way to learn to write is to read, so why not read the greats? I have always drawn inspiration from the classic authors I studied in high school and college, authors like Edith Wharton, Scott Fitzgerald, George Eliot, Jane Austen, and Henry James. Not because they wrote great “literature”, but because their stories were compelling and accessible and always featured the best, most nuanced characters.  Their work thrills, inspires, elevates, educates — but also can’t be put down. In more recent times, you see this in the writing of authors like Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and many more.  I’m not by any means trying to compare my writing to theirs, but you asked who inspired me, so….

The last book you read which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)? Lol, wallet-wise, it’s definitely the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I love a rollicking time-travel romance — who doesn’t?  I read all the books, then when I heard the tv series was coming I had to subscribe to the cable network that was showing it just to watch that one show.  A pretty penny, but worth it.

Are you more of a movie night or series-binger kind of person?  A series-binger, utterly.  When there’s a great film out there I will make an effort to get out and see it, but in recent times I feel that the most interesting, suspenseful, character-driven stories, and the ones that most speak to me as a female reader, are to be found on television.  Film has become very focused on super-heroes, hardware and special effects. In the past year I have devoured quite a few wonderful series from tv, including Big Little Lies, The Crown, Stranger Things, Outlander (a favorite book series of mine as well), Game of Thrones and others.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet ?Henry the VIII or any of his wives, so I can pick up plot tips for a sequel to It’s Always the Husband. 😉

You explore the depth of friendship and loyalty in your story. A topic, which I think will resonate with many readers.

In relation to that and the events in the book I think the most obvious question is whether Kate, Aubrey and Jenny really are friends or are they just acquaintances of convenience? Both.  They came together at a very intense and vulnerable moment in their lives, when they’d just started at university.  Each girl has her own issues and problems that come to the forefront in the first year.  Because of this, they bonded in a way they never would at any other time.  That friendship, and co-dependency (your term, but a very accurate one), was real.  They turned to each other, and there were moments when they genuinely loved one another.  But the glue that comes from shared values and experiences was lacking.  They were always susceptible to turn on one another in a pinch, and, well, you see the results.

I am really interested in the inspiration for this story. Is it based on personal experiences, life in general or just a fictional war of friendships and betrayal? I took inspiration from my own college days, and also from the fact that I was living in a college town at the time I began writing the book.  I knew I wanted to write about female friendship gone very, very wrong.  I needed a setting that would explain why three extremely different women, who have little in common and are clearly bad influences on one another, might form an intense friendship.  I found the answer in memories of my own freshman year of college.  You leave home for the first time and are suddenly surrounded by kids your own age, who may be smarter, prettier, richer, and, yes, nastier than you. That moment is incredibly intense, fraught with drama and peril as well as learning and growth.  I think it makes for a very compelling read!

Would you agree that there is an element of co-dependency between Aubrey and Kate? Absolutely, and with Jenny, too.  Aubrey and Kate are both damaged by their childhoods.  Kate has lost her mother at an early age, and had difficult relationships with her father and — as she tells it — a succession of wicked step-mothers.  She has the means to indulge her sorrows in bad behavior without ever paying the price.  But she needs acolytes, as well as loyal retainers to clean up after her.  Aubrey adores and worships her, and Jenny keeps order.  Kate needs them, but they both need something from her.  Maybe it’s access to her glittering social world, or the stamp of approval that comes from her great name.  Aubrey is extremely intelligent but simply not equipped emotionally to navigate the world of Carlisle College.  She grabs onto Kate like a life preserver, much to her disadvantage.  And over and over again, Jenny cleans up the mess.  Why? Jenny is worth paying attention to.  She’s not the splashiest of the three main characters, but she’s perhaps the cleverest, and always has an ulterior motive.

Is it always the husband, unless it’s the best friend. The two people, aside from family, who tend to be closest to a person. Was exploring the aspect of betrayal being so close to loyalty and love being so close to hatred, intentional on your part?Yes, completely intentional.  Suspense and psychological thrillers by nature explore the dark impulses that exist in the hearts of normal people. Those impulses are most likely to be awakened when our most intimate relationships go wrong.  I’m much more interested in that dynamic than I am in the motives of psychopaths or serial killers.  There are two unnatural deaths in this book, either or both of which could be called a murder.  Both deaths are the result of slow-burn emotions by people who would never think of themselves as criminals.  My goal is to get the reader sufficiently inside the heads of these “killers” to understand and even empathize with their actions.  Maybe we’re all capable of murder, given the right circumstances.  That’s what scares me.

Throughout the book Kate makes decisions which make it appear as if her intent is to harm or upset the apple cart. Are these the actions of a traumatised young girl/woman or is she a narcissist? Great question.  To me, the answer is, both.  But the reason I’ve given each of the three main characters her own chapters is to allow the reader to get inside her head. Each reader can then answer this question for herself.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, especially the odd ones. Thank you for the fantastic questions.  They are all so interesting, and really made me think.  A very enjoyable interview.

Review

Loyalty and friendship play a major role in this story, especially the friendships between women. The friendship between Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny is forged during their college years. The three of them are from different walks of life and are thrown together when they become roommates, which is the beginning of this tale of betrayal and secrets.

Kate returns to the roost, and her friends, after many years of hiding from the truth. Well that isn’t really true, Kate is only interested in the here and now, and herself. So nothing has really changed except maybe that her friends are now no longer as willing to put up with her narcissistic ways. Friends can become enemies in a heartbeat.

Campbell examines the boundaries of the friendship between the women. How would you define loyalty between your best friend and yourself? Is there really any such thing as complete and utter loyalty or true friendship? Personally I think you have to go through your absolute worst times to find out just how tight your friendships are.  Count the people still stood there after the walls have come tumbling down around you, and the majority of your so-called friends have suddenly forgotten you exist, there is no better eye-opener.

The other element of the story the author explores is whether or not we are all killers at heart. In some of us the urge just sleeps more deeply than in others. Also whether the still developing brain of a young person makes them as culpable as an adult committing the same crime. A rash decision, a gut reaction with fatal consequences. It could happen to anyone, unless of course it isn’t an accident at all.

Kudos to Campbell for the ending, it’s sneaky and done in an almost nonchalant way. You sort of think it’s that person, then get diverted by a few red herrings, and end up being surprised.

It’s Always the Husband is an in depth look at our closest relationships and if they can weather the darkest of secrets. It also examines the thin line between love and hate in friendships. Is there really any such thing as loyalty when your own survival is at stake?

Buy It’s Always the Husband at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#BlogTour The Confession by Jo Spain

You’re in for a treat with this cat and mouse game of a read by Jo Spain. The Confession is a the kind of read that keeps you on your toes and captivated till the last word.

About the Author

Jo Spain’s first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and went on to be a top-ten bestseller in Ireland. She has writte two further in the series, featuring DI Tom Reynolds. Jo has has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament and is now writing full-time. She lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

Follow @SpainJoanne @Quercusbooks #TheConfession

About the book

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal? This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who

– of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

Review

Don’t we all carry an element of guilt around with us, perhaps some more than others. Secrets can erode the foundations of relationships. Guilty secrets can destroy lives. This author takes us on a riveting journey of doubt, blame and meticulous planning in this well thought out crime story.

Spain has woven the criminal activities of the bankers involved in the financial crisis of 2007 into this story of a senseless violent murder without any real rhyme and reason. Risk-taking banks, and greedy bankers caused what many economists consider to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Harry is one of those bankers and Julie is his wife. The wife who sat and watched as a stranger bludgeoned her husband to death. Did shock and fear make her freeze or is there another more nefarious reason she didn’t lift a finger to help him?

The reader follows the story of Julie and the killer, as the police try to connect the dots in this supposedly spontaneous crime. Their childhoods, their relationships and their past in general. There must be some reason why JP walked into that particular house and picked that man.

Spain presents the perfect game of strategy between her protagonists with no prior connection to each other. Whilst both are busy evading the truth in an effort to keep the police in the dark, they re-evaluate their choices in life and how they paved the path to murder.

With compelling characters and an engrossing premise, Spain plays the long game with her plot. She keeps her readers hooked until the very last word.

The Confession by Jo Spain will be published by Quercus in hardback on the 25th of January 2018.

Buy The Confession at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#RandomThingsTour

#BlogTour Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany

Today I am pleased to take part in the BlogTour for Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany. It is a psychological thriller filled with trauma, suspicion and an erratic main character, who is just waiting for her ‘killer’ to strike again.

About the Author

Amanda Brittany lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two dogs. She loves travelling, and visiting Abisko in Sweden inspired her to write ‘Her Last Lie’.

She began writing fiction nine years ago, and has since gained a BA in Literature, a Diploma in Creative Writing, and has had 200 stories and articles published in magazines globally.

When her younger sister became terminally ill, Amanda’s hope was to write a novel where her royalties went to Cancer Research. ‘Her Last Lie’ is that book, and all of Amanda’s royalties for downloads will go to that charity. ‘Her Last Lie’ is her debut novel.

Follow @amandajbrittany @HQDigitalUK

Visit amandabrittany.co.uk or writingallsorts.blogspot.co.uk follow amandabrittany2 on Facebook

Buy Her Last Lie

About the book

She thought she was free of the past. She was wrong.

Six years ago Isla was the only victim to walk free from Carl Jeffery’s vicious murder spree. Now, Isla vows to live her life to the fullest and from the outside it appears perfect.

Determined to finish her book Isla plans her final trip to Sweden, but after returning from Canada and meeting a man she never thought she would, her life begins to derail.

Suddenly Isla is plagued by memories of the man who tried to murder her, and the threat that he could be back causes her to question everything, and everyone around her.

This debut psychological thriller will have you closing down social media accounts, looking over your shoulder, and hooked until the very last line. Perfect for fans of Sweet Little Lies, Friend Request and Louise Jensen.

Review

Isla has never really dealt with the trauma of nearly being killed. To her family and friends she appears to be fine, but they are unaware of the turmoil beneath her cool exterior. When her would-be killer gets the chance to be released her anxiety and fear resurfaces, which is when she starts to question her relationships and her life in general.

Suddenly the love of her life doesn’t seem to be the perfect partner, and her eyes start to wander. She feels as if it is impossible to confide in anyone around her, because keeping up the pretence is much more important than relieving herself of her worries.

There seems to be a certain level of victim-blaming going on, aside from the obvious people who believe in the innocence of the perpetrator of course, it’s subtle but it’s there. Questioning her need to conquer her fears by travelling the world again, thereby in their minds putting herself in the direct path of danger again.

I can understand Isla wanting to take back control of her life again, however I didn’t really understand her reluctance to discover the result of the appeal. Correction, I comprehend the denial and the fact that it isn’t happening if she doesn’t acknowledge it, but it is in direct contradiction to her taking back control of her life.

Towards the end of the book the author presents an interesting conundrum. Has Isla escaped a killer to return to a killer? Her blog appears to tell a completely different story about her personality. Who is the real Isla? The woman who fears the return of a killer and is supposedly content with her life and relationships or is it the risk-taker, the passion-seeker and the liar?

Brittany delivers a master class in red herrings and subterfuge to deliver a gripping story of recovery and survival. She highlights the dangers of social media and how laissez-faire our attitude is towards it. Adding names without faces and often complete strangers. Do we really know what or who is lurking behind every profile?

Her Last Lie is a lesson in secrets, lies and people who live double lives, especially the people who aren’t the person they appear to be. It’s an attempt to peer behind the masks we hide behind to keep ourselves safe.

Buy Her Last Lie at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

final girlFascinating premise, especially from a purely psychological point of view. The mental state of the sole survivors of massacres. The way they are hounded by the media, and considered both miracles for surviving and mistrusted because they did. They also often suffer from survivors guilt and PTSD.

Quincy has no memory of the event that took her innocence and fills her with constant fear. She can remember before and being saved afterwards, but the murderous middle bit evades her completely. She has no memory of how she lost a house full of friends to a murderous lunatic.

Therein lies the problem. She can’t fill in any of the details, which makes the police suspicious. Perhaps not about her guilt, but about her hiding something. Then again you just don’t know.

The press knows her as one of the three Final Girls. Now one of them is dead and the second has turned up on Quincy’s doorstep. At first Quincy feels sympathetic towards Sam, but their new friendship starts to tear when Sam starts to show interest in the one person Quincy feels belongs to her. Coop is her saviour, her protector and just hers in general.

Sam starts to place Quincy in situations that make her act instinctively, unfortunately her instinct seems to indicate a predilection for violence. A survivor of violence, who has impulse control issues and the instinct to punish someone physically. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Sager wants the reader to consider the psychological aspects of the trauma,but at the same time consider why only one out of many managed to emerge from such violent altercations. Casting a huge shadow of doubt over the lucky survivors.

Fear, guilt and anger make this psychological game of chess a gripping tale of suspense, which will make you question everyone and everything.

Buy Final Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @riley_sager  @EburyPublishing

Visit rileysagerbooks.com