The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford

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Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind—or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her… or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

I remember seeing The Pocket Wife everywhere for a while a year or so ago and thinking it was a book I wouldn’t mind reading.  But, somehow, it never went further than that until I saw it at the library a few weeks ago – at which point I picked it up, without much thought or, if I’m honest much in the way of expectations.

In fact, if people hadn’t started saying how much they enjoyed it when I posted a picture of my library haul I may well have ended up taking it back unread as other books I had picked up that day were definitely higher up my to read list.  If I had, then I would have been missing out on something because people were right – this was a really good book and I really enjoyed it.Read More »

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

33128934Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Stillhouse Lake was one of those books I picked up from Amazon because it sounded good but might not have read quite so quickly if it hadn’t been for me deciding to join in with Janel at Keeper of Pages Criminally Good Book Club (not that I’ve been that active as I then immediately dropped out of the online world for a week in order to read books!). Still, it was the kick I needed and I am so glad I did because I really enjoyed this, my first book by Rachel Caine.  Read More »

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly madly guiltySix responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

Liane Moriarty is one of those authors I have always felt slightly guilty and embarrassed not to have read.  I have seen rave reviews of her books online and there was so much hype around Big Little Lies when it came out earlier this year that I felt I had to be missing out on something.  So, I finally got my act together and got myself a copy of Truly Madly Guilty.  Why this one?  Because it was the only one available at the library if I’m honest and that’s where I was when the determination to read her at last struck.Read More »

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

35789068The observant amongst you will have noticed I haven’t been posting on the blog this last week.  Cold Blood was one of the reasons.  I needed to read it, and didn’t want anything getting in the way of my reuniting with Erika Foster, a favourite detective from a favourite series.

Those self-same observant people may have also noticed that I haven’t started this post out the way I normally do, with the goodreads book blurb right next to the title.  It’s still here for those who want to read it – but at the end because I was worried it would give too much away for a book that holds a lot of twists, turns and surprises.  This is too good a story for spoilers (in my humble opinion!).Read More »

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

imageIt was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.

After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura’s travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest…a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning…

Where to start with Follow You Home – there are so many twists and turns it is hard to describe it without spoilers, which I always want to avoid.  It starts with a mid-30’s couple travelling across Europe and making the mistake of falling asleep on a train as they head into Romania.  This mistake leads to missing passports and their being thrown off the train into a dark night with no phone, no map, and no way of knowing where they are going. Read More »

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

The ThirstThe murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.

Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.

The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.

But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.

After writing the other day about series I am never going to catch up on, today I’m reviewing one that I have managed to stay up-to-date on – the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo.  This is number 11 in the series and I have read each one – in order no less!  The first four or five I thought were brilliant.  I came to the series late then read them all in a matter of weeks.

After that I eagerly awaited each new release and, whilst either through familiarity or writer fatigue, some that followed weren’t as good as those first books, I still kept reading because a) I loved Harry Hole as a character and b) Jo Nesbo has some brilliant twists and turns which do really keep you guessing till the last page.Read More »

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

99 red balloonsTwo girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

So as well as a title that sends me back to my teenage years and memories of watching Top of the Pops, 99 Red Balloons has everything I look for in a psychological thriller – missing children, family secrets and a story that slowly comes together through the eyes of a number of characters, none of whom seem to be quite telling the truth.

And I got all that and more, with a book with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings plus a “wow” moment about two-thirds in that had me pause for a second so my brain could readjust and rethink everything I had read so far.  You’ve got to love those moments and it completely changed the book for me.  Read More »

Nothing Stays Buried by P J Tracy

Nothing Stays BuriedWhen Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to a crime scene in a heavily wooded city park, everything about the setting is all too familiar. And when they discover a playing card on the victim’s body, their worst fears are confirmed there s a serial killer operating in the city for the first time in years.

Across town, Grace MacBride and her unconventional partners at Monkeewrench Software find themselves at both personal and career crossroads. Weary of the darker side of their computer work for law enforcement, they agree to take on a private missing-persons case in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota.

As the violence accelerates in Minneapolis, Magozzi and Gino soon realize their killer is planning to complete the deck, and they enlist Monkeewrench to help stop the rampage. As a baffling tangle of evidence accumulates, the cops and Monkeewrench make the unlikely connections among a farmer s missing daughter, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing that brings them face-to-face with pure evil.

After recently rediscovering the Monkeewrench series with number 7 (Cold Kill), I was excited to see number 8 already available on net galley and jumped at the chance of reviewing it.

There are so many things that make this a great series: the bleak Minneapolis weather (last time it was snow, this time tornadoes) which make everything feel a little bit dark and dangerous; the clever plotting with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings; and the characters, all of whom I like and a few of whom I love.Read More »

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, where men and women are kept apart

by high walls and barred windows,

there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.

For one bright evening every week

they come together

and dance.

When John and Ella meet

It is a dance that will change

two lives forever.

After recently writing about how I don’t read either historical fiction or romance novels and asking for suggestions, The Ballroom turned up in my mailbox as part of a reading round robin I am taking part in (organised by Sarah at Sarah Withers Blog).

Set in 1911 and focusing on the relationship between John and Ella, two residents of an asylum who only meet on scheduled Friday dances, this book couldn’t have been further from my regular reads. Yet, I really enjoyed it, showing me just how important it is I step outside my comfort zone once in a while.Read More »

At Wave’s End by Patricia Perry Donovan

51DtlH7OsaLWhen her estranged mother wins a Jersey Shore bed and breakfast in a lottery and heads east to survey the prize, Faith Sterling fears her mother has fallen victim to yet another scam. Their visit to the B & B confirms her suspicions. Wave’s End is not as advertised—it’s nowhere near the beach, it’s sorely in need of an overhaul, and its finances are shaky. But despite Faith’s attempts to dissuade her mother, Connie Sterling is determined to try her hand at running the inn.

A frustrated Faith heads back to Brooklyn, dreading the havoc her mother’s proximity will wreak on her well-ordered and successful life. She doesn’t have to wait long. When a supersized hurricane pummels the East Coast, Faith reluctantly agrees to return and help her mother run Wave’s End…temporarily.

But just as inn life settles into a comfortable rhythm, a grievous secret about Wave’s End surfaces, threatening the inn’s future and fraying the already fragile mother-daughter bonds.

After reading and enjoying Donovan’s first novel, Deliver Her, I was excited to pick up At Wave’s End, which was released earlier this week.  On the surface, it sounds like a very different book and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as a result.  Thankfully, I was wrong because all the ingredients that made me like Deliver Her are here too (slight pun intended there as this is a book with a chef as a central character…sorry, couldn’t help myself!).Read More »