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You Let Me In By Lucy Clarke

You Let Me In‘You Let Me In’ is the latest book by Lucy Clarke.

Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house. There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows. Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night. As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key.

When I should have been settling down for the night, I started this book and was unable to put it down, as I couldn’t see properly, I was that tired.

2018 has presented some great thrillers, but I have to say that ‘I Let You in’ has been my favourite thriller of the year. It’s grippy, riddled with tension and suspense throughout and with a very unreliable protagonist that makes the reader on edge.

The story is mostly seen in the first person, of successful author Elle Fielding, who’s struggling to write her second book. Life is far from what she expected, after the success of her first novel. Having built her dream home in Cornwall and now going through a divorce, she’s lonely and stressed with her looming deadline. To take the stress of her financial worries, she rents her house out for Air BNB, but when she returns to her home after a stranger living in her house, she’s convinced that something is different.

Right from the offset, this book really pulled me in. Elle is a dark and troubled woman, who has quite an imaginative mind, that constantly leaves the reader in doubt. As strange things happen and Elle begins to doubt what’s real and what’s fiction, she lures the reader into her unstable mind.

The story is cleverly written, with smaller stories weaved throughout with suspicious characters that make for interesting reading and the setting is atmospheric and bleak. The story also gives an great insight into the role of an author, the pressure of deadlines, the facade of social media as well as the solitary of the job.

A tense and creepy story that gets right under your skin, ‘I Let You In’ is a fantastic psychological thriller that will have you double checking your doors and windows before bed!

You can buy You Let Me In from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Watching You By Lisa Jewell

Watching You‘Watching You’ is the latest book by ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling author, Lisa Jewell.

You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room. That’s when you meet the man next door. He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him. All the time. But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession. Or that someone is watching you.

With a title called ‘Watching You’, I knew the latest book from Lisa Jewell would be a dark read, but nothing quite prepared me for the sinister twist to the tale that chilled me on the final page.

The story is primarily through the eyes of Joey, Jenna and Freddie, all people who keep a close eye on their community. Joey has recently moved back home from Ibiza with a new husband in tow. She’s trying to settle down to the quieter pace of life, but finds herself distracted from the handsome headteacher who has just moved into the area and has turned the heads off quite a few people. Jenna lives alone with her single mother who’s convinced someone is watching her. Jenna has to be adult of the family and deal with her mother’s paranoia, as well as look out for her best friend who has developed a crush on the new headteacher whilst Freddie, the son of the new principal, enjoys nothing more than observing and recording world around them. He knows a different side to his father and is tired of seeing people in awe of this supposedly charismatic man.

Since ‘The Third Wife’, I have found that Lisa’s books get considerably darker and I thought ‘Then She Was Gone’ was dark but then I read this and thought, wow this is twisted.

The story starts at the present moment, when a body is found and sets the scene perfectly as it backtracks through the narrative of the three main characters all with different perceptives of the situation and the people involved.

The different perspectives are a clever addition to the tale and give an interesting slant to story, keeping the reader on their toes. For me, I found the characters to be suspicious and regularly found them to be quite untrustworthy at times and this really keeps the reader absorbed as secrets and situations are revealed.

I was so fortunate that I had a day off work so I could absorb myself in this book as it really did need my undivided attention. A taunt thriller filled with paranoia, suspense and plenty of untrustworthy characters, ‘Watching You’ is a claustrophobic and dark story that will have you looking at your neighbours in a new light. Like a fine wine ageing, Lisa just gets better and better with each book.

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

What makes us root for the good bad guy? By Jacqui Rose

Jacqui Rose. Pic by Koobunt PhotographyAfter a two week break, I’m back with the book tour for Jacqui Rose’s new book called ‘Toxic’. Today, Jacqui talks about why we root for the good, bad guy.

Having just re-read ‘Wuthering Heights’ recently, I was struck by how much I was rooting – as always – for Heathcliff, albeit he is downright mean and abusive at times. But no matter, each time I read the book I re-fall in love with him!

So, it got me thinking what is it exactly that makes a good bad guy? I call them, good bad guys because I like to put the villains in two different categories. There’s the bad bad guy where he has no redeeming qualities and the reader is relieved to see him caught in the end, and then there’s the good bad guy, where even though he may live his life outside the law and at times be harsh and cruel, we still want him to escape capture or even sweep us off our feet!

My books are full of good bad guys and even though they do terrible things and treat people badly at times, most of my readers are rooting for them, myself included which is a strange phenomenon when we think of what they have done. In an extreme example you only have to look at Dr. Hannibal Lecter in ‘Silence of the Lambs’, a monstrous person who’d committed horrific crimes, yet the whole way through the book, we’re still rooting for him!

I think to root for a good bad guy certainly isn’t about what they look like, though it doesn’t hurt for them to be chiselled and taut! but like all characters it’s about the emotional depth of them, and especially the emotional torment they’re suffering or have suffered.

To create a great bad guy, it’s important from the beginning the readers are behind them. He must have a level of emotional depth above and behind the hero in the story because it’s vital that readers can connect to the reason why he’s acting so badly and what it is which is driving them to such extreme behaviour.

I think this is an essential ingredient so even though the reader might be conflicted by the fact that they’re cheering on the villain of the piece, what will over-ride this moral dilemma will be the emotional connection and the sympathy through the understanding of the character as well as the sense that the bad guy is only in this position for reasons beyond their control rather than by choice.

Toxic

By me making the good bad guy complex, where on the surface it just seems like they have a desire to be bad, but at the same time creating a under the surface narrative where the nature of the behaviour is driven by love, passion or desperation – all emotions that readers can relate to – rather than the readers seeing my good bad guy as completely evil, readers will see him as merely flawed with a possibility of redemption, hopefully they will continue to root for him throughout.

In my latest book ‘Toxic’, the character of Alfie Jennings returns and he very much fits into the good bad guy category. Alfie often seems and behaves like he’s just a tough guy; ruthless and at times out and out uncaring with a driving ambition just to get and stay on top no matter who he hurts. But right at the heart of Alfie there’s a vulnerability, a softness, a man who was damaged by his upbringing, a man when he does love, loves with passion and intensity and as such, Alfie is one of my readers favourite characters which is just great, because it’s always so much more fun to write the good bad guys rather than the hero. We all love a villain!

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

The Chalk Man By C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man‘The Chalk Man’ is the latest book by C.J. Tudor.

The Chalk Man is coming. None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body?

‘The Chalk Man’ is C.J. Tudor’s first book and it was a book that kept me up late reading with its grippy narrative and plotline.

The story is seen solely through the eyes of Ed, a man who has spent his life in a small town surrounded by drama and lies, where everyone is a suspect having never properly recovered from the unsolved crime that the took place over 20 years ago.

The story takes place during 1986 and flows forward to present time as history begins to repeat itself.

Back in 1986, Ed was best friends with three other boys, they spent their summers together, leaving messages for each other in different coloured chalk but that all changes one day when they find a dead girl and the friends grow apart. Move forward to present to now, someone is leaving chalk messages for Ed and he begins to wonder about the death of the young girl and begins to research into the case himself as early memories resurface.

Ed is a complex and intriguing character. He fears for his sanity as his own father died from Alzheimer’s and regularly questions his mind. He’s a bit of a loner and spends most of time in thought instead of engaging with people, but his time is taken up with reflecting on his childhood and trying to piece together the moments of leading up to and after the girls death. His obsession with the case grows as he delves further and reaching out to people who left the town.

The story is filled with many interesting characters, who all have baggage and drama that make them all for fascinating reading, with all that drama makes the reader constantly on their toes as they also try to piece together Ed’s memories with him and solve the crime.

Cleverly written and twists and tales, ‘The Chalk Man’ is a gory and gruesome story that makes for haunting reading.

You can pre-order The Chalk Man from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops from 11th January 2018.

The Blind By A.F. Brady

The Blind‘The Blind’ is A.F. Brady’s debut novel.

Every morning, psychiatrist Sam James gets up at six forty-five. She has a shower, drinks a cup of coffee, then puts on her make-up. She ignores the empty bottles piling up by her door. On this particular morning, Sam is informed of a new patient’s arrival at Manhattan’s most notorious institution. Reputed to be deranged and dangerous, Richard is just the kind of impossible case Sam has built her reputation on. She is certain that she is the right doctor to treat such a difficult patient. But then Sam meets Richard. And Richard seems totally sane. Let the mind games begin.
The Blind is the first book by A.F. Brady and it’s a gripping story that made for a fascinating story.

Solely written in the first person, we meet psychologist, Sam. She works in a mental institution where she tries to get people to face their demons and struggles, but it seems that she has far more than she lets on. On the outside, she’s polished to perfection, reliable in her work but inside, she’s battling a drink addiction, an abusive boyfriend and a new patient that refuses to speak.

As she tries to get the new patient, Richard to face his problems, his issues are making her address her own and realise that she needs to get her life in order.

Sam, is an interesting character, she’s complicated, impulsive, troubled and addicted to troubled people. She’s also apologetic for them and constantly making excuses for their behaviour. Her fascination with Richard is really fascinating reading as she tries to piece together his life.

This story made for compulsive reading that really held my attention. Riddled with tension and suspense, this atmospheric book is cleverly written with a complex lead and an even darker plot, ‘The Blind’, is a chillingly good book that will make you look at people in a different light.

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