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Magpie By Sophie Draper

Magpie‘Magpie’ is the latest book by Sophie Draper.

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan. But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart. Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?

A dark and bleak story, ‘Magpie’ follows the story of Claire and Duncan before and after the break down of their marriage as well as the disappearance of their teenage son. Seen from the narrative of both people as they deal with the sudden changes to their lives and repercussions that they embark on. To the outside world, they are a happy couple. Duncan’s vetinary business is thriving and Claire plays the role of the stay at home doting wife, even though she longs more from life. She is miserable in her marriage and makes plans to leave Duncan, but it seems that when she escaped the unhappy marriage, she was still no happier in life, particularly when her son disappears.

There’s an interesting mix of characters from the bullyish Duncan who is abrupt and short with humans, but with animals, he’s kind and gentle. He’s nasty towards Claire and makes her feel worthless and insignificant which is difficult to read at times. Claire, was once a confident and happy woman but now questions everything around her and puts her son’s safety and happiness before hers at all times. Joe is also an complex character, althought not diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, he shows symptoms of the illness particularly his obsession with going out with his metal detector.

At the forefront of the story is the breakdown of a marriage, a son’s disappearance as well as a discovery of secrets and lies that made for interesting reading. The story is written cleverly in past and present tense and this was interesting twist that really pulled the reader in. Atmospheric, suspenseful and filled with drama, ‘Magpie’ was a vividly written story that captivates the reader from the first page.

You can buy ‘Magpie’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

An Island Christmas By Helena Halme

An Island Christmas‘An Island Christmas’ is the second book in the ‘Love On The Island’ series by Helena Halme.

It’s time for Alicia to enjoy her first Christmas back on her beloved Islands with her family. There’ll be traditional dancing around the tree and sipping mulled wine in front of a cozy fire. But peace is broken by Alicia’s estranged husband, Liam, who springs an unwelcome and devastating surprise, while her ex-lover, Patrick, tempts her with an altogether different kind of future. Alicia faces impossible choices to keep her family together.With her world crashing around her, can Alicia create the idyllic Island Christmas she’s always dreamt about? Meanwhile, Brit, Alicia’s best friend, returns to the Islands to lick her wounds after a particularly bloody break-up with an Italian chef. When she meets her new boss, the Captain of a Baltic cruise liner, sparks fly. Brit can’t help but fall quickly in love with Jukka, but when she discovers his murky past, she fears her heart is about to be broken yet again. Are the rumors about Jukka true, or just typical small island gossip?

Set in Sweden, this story is seen through many narratives adapting to new lives. Alicia is trying to get through an unhappy marriage, come to terms of the sudden death of her only son as well as becoming a grandmother for the first time. Brit is starting a job and life after discovering the man of her life isn’t who he made out to be.

The multiple perspectives give an interesting insight into the story, women from different generations going through situations, from infidelity, motherhood and grief. The story is an emotional and tender book that really engages with the relatable situations and people. The setting of the story was particularly wonderful and I thought that the author’s vivid descriptions were a lovely addition that really pulled the reader in.

A new book in the series, ‘An Island Christmas’ filled with drama, love and loss this book is a charming and festive story.

You can buy ‘An Island Christmas’ from Amazon.

Woman In The Water By Katerina Diamond

Woman In The Water‘Woman In The Water’ is the latest book by Katerina Diamond.

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed. Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them. What’s their connection to the body in the river? Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

Woman In The Water’ sees the return of crime fighting duo DS Adrian Miles and DS Imogen Grey.

The story starts with Adrian discovering a young woman in the water, presumed dead until he saves her. When she regains her consciousness, she remembers nothing but suddenly one day, she disappears. Adrian finds himself obsessing with the woman and case, as a child he witnessed domestic abuse and finds himself consumed with finding her and keeping her safe. But as Adrian and Imogen investigate the case, Adrian delves into dark places that impact him in the worst possible way.

Katerina’s books have always been very dark and gory, bringing the reader to the dark side of human nature but in this book, it’s not just gruesome, but also unsettling as one of the main characters has to go through a terrible ordeal. She handles the story with care and sensitivity but also includes the harrowing police procedure and the aftermath that the victim has to endure.

Again Katerina has delivered a story with twists and turns that really pull the reader in. With unreliable characters, suspicious people and the complex relationship between the investigating duo as thru embark on new territory.

Although ‘Woman In The Water’ is the latest book in Katerina’s series, I found it to have an extremely different slant to her previous books. Even though it included the crime duo that we love, the usual gore and suspense that kept us on our toes this book included a topic that is seen rarely reported due to the shame and the absolute terror of it but Katerina brought it forward in her writing which was commendable.

Written with care and precision, this book tackles issues of abuse on many levels and makes for heartbreaking and gripping reading. Extremely unsettling in parts, ‘Woman In The Water’ is a fantastic new book from Katerina Diamond, filled with twists and turns that shocked you to the gore, this book stays with you long after you reach the final page and if anything may give people the courage to speak up if they were in similar circumstances.

You can pre-order ‘Woman In The Water’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 9th January 2020.

Haylen Beck Writers Tip

Haylen Beck

Haylen Beck is the pseudonym of Northern Ireland writer Stuart Neville, an acclaimed, Edgar-nominated author whose crime fiction has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and made best-of-year lists with numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

Today Haylen shares his writing tips for aspiring authors.

Simply writing more. A common mistake writers make is finishing one novel, then flogging it to death instead of getting on with writing the next one. Really, the only way to learn to write is simply to write..

Read more about Haylen and his writing journey

It Happened On Christmas Eve By Kirsty Greenwood

It Happened On Christmas Eve‘It Happened On Christmas Eve’ is the latest book by Kirsty Greenwood.

The top three reasons why I do not like Christmas are as follows:

1. It’s super cheesy
2. Everyone drinks boiled red wine that tastes like air freshener and pretends they enjoy it
3. Last year the man I was in love with decided that Christmas Day was a perfectly decent time to reveal that he did not feel the same way about me

So you can see why, on Christmas Eve, it’s totally reasonable for me to just want to get home from work as soon as possible, close the curtains, eat my weight in noodles and watch horror movies until the whole thing is over. My boss, Marcy, has other ideas. Her son Adam broke his leg ice-skating and now she needs me to accompany him on his last minute Christmas errands around Notting Hill where we live. It wouldn’t be half as bad if Adam wasn’t the most irritatingly confident, annoyingly enthusiastic Christmas-giddy man I’ve ever encountered. And, well, a whole lot sexier than I expected he’d be…

If you’re a fan of festive books but have limited time on your hands, then I would thoroughly recommend Kirsty Greenwood’s novella. At only 87 pages long, this book was perfect to curl up with and enjoy with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

In this book, we meet Phoebe, an aspiring interior designer who hates Christmas, despite everyone around knee deep in the festive spirit, she’s not interested in spreading Christmas cheer. Until her boss asks her to pick her son, Adam up on Christmas Eve from the airport. What should have been a straight forward task instead turns into an ordeal as Phoebe has to escort Adam around the Christmas crowds in a wheelchair as he broke his leg whilst he encourages her to get into the festive mood.

The pair of them make for an entertaining couple, as they clash over their opinions on Christmas, love and life and usually end up in lovely situations with disastrous results. Adam is charming and warm and combined with Phoebe’s dislike for pretty much everything, they provide loads of humour and warmth in this story.

A romantic story where Scrooge meets Santa Claus, ‘It Happened On Christmas Eve’ is a deliciously fun and heartwarming story that sees the welcome return of Kirsty Greenwood and an added bonus is an inclusion from Kirsty’s upcoming book called ‘Nora Tucker And The One’

You can buy ‘It Happened On Christmas Eve’ from Amazon.