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Blood Orange By Harriet Tyce

Blood Orange‘Blood Orange’ is Harriet Tyce’s debut novel.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems. Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle. I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself. I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything.

It’s only April but already there have been some amazing debuts this year and I’d include ‘Blood Orange’ in that statement.

In this book, we meet Alison, a new barrister who has just been assigned to a case to defend a woman accused of stabbing her husband to death. Alison is married to Carl and they have a turbulent relationship. She drinks to deal with the stress and as much as she tries to be the perfect mother and wife, she struggles to stay away with Patrick, a man that she’s fallen for.

I loved this story, I sat up late one evening and was unable to put it down until I reached the final page and even at that, I wanted more!

The story is seen through Alison’s eyes and she’s quite a complex and unreliable character. She’s the person, who tries hard to be the best she can, but there’s always issues in the way. Her relationships are complicated and her job is intense and as she delves into her client’s case who is accused of murder, she realises that they’re not that different. She’s trying to make her marriage work but is unable to stop her affair especially when someone knows about it, however she’s unable to stop and seems drawn to drama and toxicity.

The storyline is cleverly written and is riddled with amazing twists throughout and travels at a pace that is really engaging. The characters are horrible and I felt such sympathy towards Alison as she struggles with issues and questions her onw sanity and reliability at times.

A fantastic new voice for domestic noir, Harriet has written a gripping and dark story that really pulls you in and with an ending that will leave the reader in shock. With a complicated protagonist, ‘Blood Orange’ is a suspenseful story of revenge and lust and is must read for all fans of domestic noir.

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

You Were Made For This By Michelle Sacks

You Were Made For This ‘You Were Made For This’ is Michelle Sacks’ debut novel.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there. And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors. But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.

When Merry and her husband Sam up stick from New York to Sweden, to the house that his deceased aunt left him. He thinks, it’s the perfect start for them with their new baby Connor, whilst Sam chases the dream of becoming a film director, Merry is left at home with the baby. Whilst Sam is away, Merry struggles with being a mother and pretending that she’s the perfect stepford wife, so when her best friend Frank plans to visit, she jumps at the chance for company.

Frank and Merry have a strange relationship. Their best friends but constantly are trying to outdo one another. When Frank visits, she’s surprised at how adept Merry has adjusted to her new life in the middle of no-where, but also finds herself jealous of Merry’s life and wants it for herself. Whilst Merry is trying to hide her struggles of parenthood as well as hide her mistrust of Frank as she settles into her role as Aunt Frank.

The story is written through the eyes of Merry, Sam and Frank and gives an insight into all of the characters and how all of them are hiding something and they’re not quite as perfect as we are all lead each other to believe. They are all unsettling in their own ways, Sam’s viewpoint of women and the relationship between Frank and Merry is toxic. Having been friends for 30 years, they know each other’s ticks and pretend to be best friends, but really they prefer to tear each other down, particularly Merry, who’s not as sweet and wholesome as she pretends.

The story is set in the wilderness of Sweden and this adds a lonely atmospheric touch to the story, as Merry spends most of her time alone until Frank turns up.

‘You Were Made For This’ is an exploration of motherhood and friendships, a story of lies and obsession, this story is deeply unsettling throughout. With believable characters and narrative, this psychological thriller about damaged characters and lives makes for brutal reading

You can buy You Were Made for This from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Our Kind Of Cruelty By Araminta Hall

Our Kind Of Cruelty‘Our Kind Of Cruelty’ is the latest book by Araminta Hall.

Mike and Verity have a special game. The Crave. They play it to prove what they already know: that Verity loves Mike. That she needs Mike. Even though she’s marrying another man. Now Mike knows that the stakes of their private game are rising. This time, someone has to die.

While the rest of the United Kingdom were absorbed in the England versus Sweden football match, I had my head buried in a book.

I read ‘Everything And Nothing, Araminta’s debut novel a few years ago, I really enjoyed it and thought she was an author, I’d like to read more off. So, when I received a copy of ‘Our Kind Of Cruelty’, I was keen to get stuck in.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Mike, a high powered business man who has moved back to London, hoping to reconcile with his ex Verity, who broke his heart when she broke up with him. Verity and Mike had an obsessive and intense relationship, where they played a game called ‘The Crave’. With ‘The Crave’, the couple would visit a club and Mike would leave Verity alone at the bar and they’d wait for someone to approach her. Once, someone would chat Verity up, she would give Mike the secret signal which was to play with her eagle necklace and he would swoop in and save her. So, when Mike receives a wedding invite from Verity, he sees this as an elaborate extension of the ‘The Crave’ and sets up creating the perfect life for her when he rescues her on her wedding day.

Mike is a complex character, somewhat reminiscent of Patrick Bateman from ‘American Psycho’. To the outside world, he’s a charismatic and successful business man, living the dream and settling into his new home with his partner ‘Verity’, but behind closed doors, it’s quite a different story as Mike is unravelling at the seems as Verity prepares for her big day.

This book is a dark and thrilling story and right from the offset, you can see that something terrible is afoot. The book is cleverly written and with it being only being seen through Mike’s narrative, it gives quite a rose tainted view of the world. Mike is a complex man, a gentleman but troubled and marked by his turbulent upbringing and sees solace and security in Verity and longs to be knight in shining armour, no matter the cost.

A troubling story about toxic love and obsession, ‘Our Kind Of Cruelty’ is a fantastically intense and suspenseful domestic noir that sucked me right in from the very beginning.

You can buy Our Kind of Cruelty from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Why Do I Like Writing In The Domestic Noir Genre? By Caroline England

My Husband LiesOn the book tour for Caroline England ‘s new book called ‘My Husband Lies’, Caroline talks about why she writes domestic noir.

‘My Husband’s Lies’ and my debut ‘Beneath the Skin’, published in October last year, come under the crime fiction genre. Some people have been a little surprised at this category, but the crime umbrella is huge, the sub genres ranging from cosy mystery to hard-boiled private dicks, from psychological thriller to police procedurals, from espionage to courtroom dramas. And the list goes on!

I just wrote stories that I liked without any thought of ‘genre’ in mind. However, like slipping into a pair of perfect fitting boots (Fly London platforms, particularly), I was thrilled to discover that my novels fall snugly into the ‘domestic noir’ sub genre. It has been called other things such as ‘marriage thriller’, ‘chic noir’, ‘suburban noir’ and ‘domestic suspense’ but ‘domestic noir’ seems to have stuck.

Although the tag was brilliantly named by the author Julia Crouch, the popularity of dark domestic noir stories has been going for hundreds of years. Take Shakespeare’s Othello, Hamlet or MacBeth. How about the Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. Rebecca is a perfect fit. Even the Great Gatsby! And all those fabulous old noir films – Double Indemnity, Suspicion and Gaslight. Jeopardy and fear where we should feel safe!

So, what are the ingredients of domestic noir? Well, they are set in homes or work places and there’s often a dark narrative and a sense of claustrophobic danger or unease, but I also think it’s about ordinary people (you and I) caught up in extraordinary situations. My Husband’s Lies is about three guys and a girl who’ve been tight friends since school. Without apparently a care in the world, they attend the wedding of one of them, but a guest is found on the window ledge, ready to jump. This sparks a chain of unstoppable events and throws their lives into chaos.

I like to write about deep love between people with complicated backgrounds. If you’ve read Beneath the Skin, you’ll know this and there’s more in My Husband’s Lies! I just love to get under the skin of the characters and explore what’s going on in their heads – their wants, desires, motivations and secrets. Their stories are multi-layered and complicated. I want the reader to come with me and get involved too! I’m exploring a moral grey area, so my characters are flawed, people under pressure, but that’s when they’re at their most intriguing!

Julia Crouch commented that domestic noir stories are largely, but not exclusively, the female experience. In My Husband’s Lies, there is that, but I also tell the stories of two of the male characters from their points of view. One of them obsesses about a family secret at the expense of his new marriage; another is propositioned by a man and this sets him on a confusing and conflicting journey.

Domestic noir in a nutshell? ’What goes on behind closed doors.’ This old granny expression sums it up the best. Perfect!

What’s going on behind yours?

You can buy My Husband Lies from Amazon