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I Let You Go By Clare Mackinstosh

I Let You Go‘I Let You Go’ is Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel.

In a spilt second Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

Again this was a much hugely anticipated debut of 2015 and Kirsteen Astor at Little Brown Books had nothing but good reports about it. The story starts right at the moment when an accident happens and tragically a little boy loses his life. The story is then spilt into two parts, part one and two. Primarily the story is seen from the perspective of Jenna, a woman who flees to the Welsh wilds, where no one knows her and she hides herself away in an old run down cottage which has only the basic commodities. She has suffered a great tragedy and is trying to move on, she is often hunted by nightmares, but with the help of her canine companion Beau, vet Patrick and new friend Bethan, Jenna begins to find her place in life, until one day her past catches up with her. The story is also seen through the eyes of Detective Inspector Ray Stephens who was working on the case where a little boy was killed in a hit and run, unable to find a suspect for the crime, they decide to reopen the case, on the anniversary of the death. The second part of the story, follows in the same vein but also features another character who gives the story an added twist.

The bleakness and sadness of this story, makes the book completely gripping and impossible to put down. The lead characters are intriguing and relatable people, who want to either have their happy ending or finally find justice and found the person who killed Jacob, the little boy. The two types of people intervene seamlessly from the human interest part where we join Jenna on her path of self discovery and starting over and the police/investigation side, as the police, work tirelessly to bring the person to justice. As a former member of the police force, Clare writes fluidly and convincingly from Ray’s side and doesn’t over pollute with the police terminology.

The story is an incredibly strong debut and has such an amazing twist, that it was impossible to believe that it actually happened. A strongly written, believable and intensely thrilling book about guilt and where fear jumps off every page, ‘I Let You Go’ is a stunning introduction to a fabulous new voice in psychological thrillers.

You can buy I Let You Go from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Bird Box By Josh Malerman

Bird Box‘Bird Box’ is Josh Malerman’s first book.

Most people dismissed the reports on the news. But they became too frequent; they became too real. And soon it was happening to people we knew. Then the Internet died. The televisions and radios went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore.

‘Bird Box’ was Josh Malerman debut and my word, it was a terrifying one. The story starts in the present tense as the lead character Malorie finally plucks up the courage to look for civilisation after years of living in isolation with her children, Child 1 and Child 2. The chapters alternate between the past and present and make for intense reading, so much so that once I finished the book, I didn’t even want it in the same room as me! Even the dark cover is spooky featuring birds against the pitch black sky.

The story moves back to the past, to bring us up to the speed about the situation and how it all began. Malorie lived with her sister Shannon when reports started coming in about incidents where people were turning on others before killing themselves in the most brutal way. There was no reason or understanding as to why it was happening, people thought it was paranormal, religion or something in the air. With no solution, people start to close up their windows and walk around with their eyes closed. And so Malorie finds herself living alone and pregnant after a one night stand. Scared she decides to go to the house that she and her sister saw advertised and after a treacherous journey meets people like herself and once meeting this small group of people, Malorie begins to understand just what is going on.

This book is utterly petrifying which is unfortunate as I was unable to put it down. I found this story to be reminiscent of ‘The Happening’ a film that was out a few years ago by M. Night Shyamalan, but where the film ended and became a bit lighthearted, the book continued with its bleakness and intensity and left little hope for the readers. There are many gripping moments when you think you are about to find what is causing people to go insane and these parts of the book had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

The flashbacks are particularly scary and it was always at these parts that I found my heartbeat increasing and myself glancing myself furtively around the room. Josh describes scenes and situations with such vividness, that it’s hard not to imagine being there. Whereas the scenes that are set in the present, are even more gripping as Malorie and the children try to get to safety crossing a river and after years of brutish and intense training relies on the children’s hearing to help her.

From the offset Malorie seems like a cruel character, she shows no love to the children and treats them unfairly with punishment when they get their tasks wrong but once the story develops, you see some tender moments and realise that she loves the children in her own unique way.

A heart-stopping and disturbing tale that will stay with you long after you reached the final page, ‘Bird Box’ is a gripping and psychological debut that kept me awake long into the early hours

You can buy Bird Box from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Fever By Megan Abbott

As Good As It Gets‘The Fever’ is the latest book by Megan Abbott.

The Nashes are a close-knit family. Tom, a popular teacher, is father to the handsome, roguish Eli and his younger sister Deenie, serious and sweet. But their seeming stability is thrown into chaos when two of Deenie’s friends become violently ill, and rumours of a dangerous outbreak sweep through the whole community. As hysteria swells and as more girls succumb, tightly held secrets emerge that threaten to unravel the world Tom has built for his kids, and destroy friendships, families, and the town’s fragile idea of security.

Another book I was really looking to reading this Christmas was ‘The Fever’. I was raging with myself that it took almost nine months to read it, but once I started I was unable to put this frenzied book down, even though it was New Years Eve!

The story primarily revolves around the lives of the Nash family, Deenie, the daughter, her older and much lusted after brother Eli and their father Tom, who is a teacher at their high school.

Deenie is having a normal school day when one of her best friends, Lise has a seizure in class resulting in her ended up in a coma, shortly after Lise’s seizure, Deenie’s other friend Gabby also becomes ill and suddenly there is an outbreak at the school, as other girls also are struck down with the same mystery illness. The town becomes chaotic as there is no reason as to why the girls are becoming ill and fingers are being pointed at the school for bringing in a new vaccine and other people are saying that it’s the toxic lake with its suspicious green algae.

The background of the book was originally inspired by the recent story of a school in Le Roy, New York, where 18 girls suddenly developed tics and seizures without any explanation, even calling in Erin Brockovich to investigate the town for pollution.

‘The Fever’ follows in a similar way, but in a more sinister and intriguing fashion, as a small town comes to a standstill when a strange illness takes over and every girl potentially becomes the next victim.

The Nash family are fantastic leads and give the perfect insight into the situation. Deenie is best friends with the two original victims and because of this people expect her to be the next target. Terrified with what is going on, she regularly visits her friends trying to figure what has happened and could indeed she be the next person to fall victim to the strange illness. Her brother is the reluctant heartbreaker of the story. As the star of the ice hockey team, Eli is much lusted after, with girls found regularly staring up at his bedroom window, he is uncomfortable with the attention but he rarely refuses it. Tom has an interesting role, as both a parent and a teacher, his primary role is to protect and teach but this is impossible when there is no information provided and he feels that he is letting his children down because he doesn’t know what is going on. Other leading characters in the story included Deenie’s mother left her family when Deenie was a child and she regularly phoned Deenie in tears of fear never once coming to her daughters side.

This is a brilliant high school story that is cleverly written and travels at a fast pace. Packed with tension and sexuality, it was impossible to put it down. Each page offered a new twist, as speculation grew with what was causing the girls to become ill and the power of social media escalated the fear making the book chilling reading as rumours spread like wildfire.

With a terrifying cover, this book is an original story that is reminiscent of a dark and twisted fairytale about lust, jealousy and a sleeping beauty. ‘The Fever’ is a dark and worrying psychological thriller and just as its title suggests makes for extremely exciting and agitated reading that will stay with you long after you finished the final page.

You can buy The Fever from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Her By Harriet Lane

'Her‘Her’ is the latest book by Harriet Lane.

Two women; two different worlds. Emma is a struggling mother who has put everything on hold. Nina is sophisticated and independent – entirely in control. When the pair meet, Nina generously draws Emma into her life. But this isn’t the first time the women’s paths have crossed. Nina remembers Emma and she remembers what Emma did. But what exactly does Nina want from her? And how far will she go in pursuit of it?

I first became aware of ‘Her’ when I saw a lot attention about it on Twitter, people were saying it was incredibly gripping, so when I received a copy of the copy, I dived in eagerly to see if I agreed with the hype.

First off, I have to mention the cover, the blurred typeface against the lime green background already reeks of intensity making the book definitely stand out from other thrillers.

The alternating chapters are seen from the perspective of Nina and Emma. Nina is a sophisticated artist, she lives with her second husband Charles with her 17 year old tearaway daughter Sophie. They live a comfortable life, until one day Nina spots a woman from her past struggling with a little boy and all the memories from her past come flooding back. Emma is a frustrated mother with a demanding little boy. She’s given up her job to become a full time mother, but she is once again pregnant and resents that her husband gets to leave the house everyday and get a break from the madness and tantrums.

But rescue comes in the form of Nina, who finds Emma’s wallet one day and from this meeting, a new friendship is forged. But it’s a one-sided friendship as Emma confides in Nina who offers her a shoulder and support oblivious that Nina is in fact setting Emma up for a fall, making her doubt her sanity and intrudes into her life, all whilst pretending to be the perfect friend. Emma is desperate and thankful for adult conversation. She sees Nina as her light at the end of the tunnel, who is always there when the going gets tough to offer support and guidance.

From the very first line, I was gripped with this book. It’s deeply dark and twisty, as we read different sides of the friendship. Nina is consumed with a deep hatred for Emma and Emma is delighted with the new found friendship, unaware of that she met this woman earlier in life. Occasionally there are flashbacks in the story as to why Nina is compelled to feel the way she behaves but in a true captivating style nothing is revealed until the end and even at that, the conclusion leaves the reader begging for more. With the story being told from the perspective of both women, it reads like a lamb being led to the slaughter, naive and vulnerable Emma begins to trust a woman who harbours a deep resentment towards her.

Extremely tense and gripping from the start, ‘Her’ is reminiscent of ‘Notes On A Scandal’ a book I loved many years ago, another story about a female obsession, which also makes for chilling and exciting reading. Cleverly written, which draws the reader in, ‘Her’ is a fabulously sinister story of revenge and jealousy, that get grittier with each page. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then ‘Her’ is a must read for you.

You can buy Her from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Long Fall By Julia Crouch

The Long Fall‘The Long Fall’ is the latest book by Julia Crouch.

How far would you go to protect your secrets?

Greece, 1980. Emma takes part in a shattering, violent event. An event to which she is anything but an innocent bystander. She is only eighteen, but this marks her fall from innocence. It will haunt her for the rest of her life.

London, now. Kate has the perfect existence: a glossy image, a glamorous home, a perfect family. But there are cracks.All is not what it seems. And now the two worlds are about to collide. Somebody’s out for revenge. Someone who has been waiting thirty years…

‘The Long Fall’ is an intense book that hooks the reader into the dark and hot world from the first page. Written in both the past and present tense, the story reflects on the lives on Emma and Kate.

The past tense of the story is written in 1980, through a series of diary entries as our young heroine, Emma takes herself away to Europe on a travelling adventure before she starts university. Emma is a quiet and studious young girl who is excited about travelling to far off lands, meeting new people and trying new food. But, unfortunately the trip doesn’t go to plan as a young woman travelling alone is vulnerable and with leering men constantly after her, she is victim to a sexual attack turning Emma’s independent holiday into a nightmare. But fortunately, safety and friendship come in the form of two American students Jake and Beattie. Two strangers who have a strange dislike towards each other but their bond for Emma keeps them together. Partying with drinks and drugs, Emma finds falling herself for Jake, a sweet boy with a quick temper who doesn’t seem to enjoy sharing Emma with Beattie. Beattie is an aspiring actress with a gift for accents and a love for danger. Together, the three of them discover a mysterious Greek Island when tragedy strikes one day changing their lives forever.

Fast forward to London, 2013 and Kate is a professional woman, married to Mark, they have one daughter Tilly. Kate is the face of Martha’s Wish, a charity she set up in memory of her dead daughter, Martha. To the outside world, she is calm and sophisticated, but behind closed doors she’s a nervous wreck, battling eating disorders and drink issues. She stresses about everything particularly when Tilly announces that she is going to go travelling, terrified that something will happen to her, she tries to talk her out of it but Tilly is determined and refuses to be swayed. Primarily sad from the loss of her little girl, Kate resides in a house of sadness and a shrine to Martha, her room never touched is a constant reminder of her death. Kate’s battle with her demons also affects her relationship with her husband and through the story, we see bond between the two of them drift further apart.

But when Kate’s past is dragged up and the life that she has so carefully hidden could potentially be exposed. Riddled with guilt over the incident that happened years ago and unable to make amends for that fateful day, she seeks solace in the charity as a form of redemption.

A chilling and dark story, ‘The Long Fall’ is another gripping read from Julia, filled with suspense and twists. This book has a far from unpredictable ending and proves no matter how much you try, your past will aways find you.

You can buy The Long Fall from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.