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WAKE By Shelley Burr

WAKE‘WAKE’ is the debut novel by Shelley Burr.

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm. When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer. Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

This debut is an absolute cracker of a story. Set in the rural outback of Australia. Lane Holland is a private investigator and is looking into the disappearance of Evie McCreery who disappeared over 20 years without a trace.

The story is seen through the narrative of Mina, the twin sister of Evie who’s had to live with people assuming she was behind her disappearance whilst Lane, is determined to get the reward for solving the disappearance and provide a better life for his little sister.

I loved this story, it’s dark, atmospheric and riddled with tension. A case of whodunnit set in the outback, everyone has a theory, whether that’s the people of the small town or online.

I loved the characters particularly Lane and found myself racing through the book to find out more about his background and the motivation into Evie’s disappearance. Mina was a sympathetic character who’s life never moved on since Evie disappeared and has lived in her shadow ever since.

This book was CWA Debut Winner in 2019 and it’s thoroughly well deserved with the taunt writing, a well crafted storyline along with a wealth of suspicious characters that filled me with unease and doubt.

Gripping from the first page and filled with shocks throughout. Written with skill and compassion, ‘Wake’ delves into the terrible tragedy of a child’s disappearance and when privates lives become public property.

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

Retreat To The Spanish Sun By Jo Thomas

Retreat To The Spanish Sun‘Retreat To The Spanish Sun’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs. So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

Settle into the latest book Jo and you’re settling into a Spanish adventure packed with delicious food, friendly pigs and an escape from the mundane.

Tired with her grown up children under her feet and not being able to get a moments peace, Eliza takes herself to sunny Spain to housesit.

It’s whilst away that Eliza takes stock of her life and how little time she has to herself and makes her reevaluate herself and makes new friends as well as finding love.

I loved this story, it’s sunny, fun and packed with adventure. Eliza was a great character, she was kind with a huge heart who immediately settles into her new life in the small Spanish community and befriends fellow English people. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and it’s such warm reading as she makes friends with Josep as well as becoming friends with his pigs.

As per usual Jo has delivered another story, that sweeps you away in life, packed with delicious and mouthwatering food and a traditional Spanish town, ‘Retreat To The Spanish Sun’ is the perfect book to curl up with beside the pool!

You can pre-order ‘Retreat To The Spanish Sun’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd June 2022.

Just For Today By Nell Hudson

Just For Today‘Just For Today’ is the latest book by Nell Hudson.

It all starts on New Year’s Eve. A night that has to be a success, whatever the cost. For Joni and her friends, it’ll be a party that promises all the high stakes and glamour of any other, but by sunrise they’ll be dealing with something darker than the usual post-party comedown. Not that they let this stand in their way. For this is their year to revel in all that the playground of London has to offer: sneaking into places they shouldn’t, breaking every rule, falling in love with the wrong people. All the while avoiding one undeniable truth: it’s not if the party ends, it’s how.

The story is seen the narrative of Joni, who’s parents were not fans of Joni Mitchell. She loves her job as a nanny but finds herself a crossroad when it suddenly comes to an end she’s living in a cottage with her new love Henry and she’s wondering what to do with her life next.

This story is an interesting one and delves into relationships and personalities of twenty somethings living in London enjoying the party scene but also dealing with grief, new love and trying to find your place in the world. I liked Joni, she’s fun and falls in love quickly and is easily swept away, it’s interesting to follow her as she figures out what’s next in life and try to get head around her complicated relationship with her childhood friend, Dylan.

‘Just For Today’ is an engrossing coming of age story packed with wit, drama, and relatable characters and what happens when the party ends and the lights come up.

You can buy ‘Just For Today’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Local Gone Missing By Fiona Barton

Local Gone Missing‘Local Gone Missing’ is the latest book by Fiona Barton.

Elise King moves into the sleepy seaside town of Ebbing. Illness has thrown her career as a successful detective into doubt, but no matter how hard she tries to relax and recuperate, she knows that something isn’t right.Tensions are running high beneath the surface of this idyllic community: the weekenders in their fancy clothes, renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes. A town divided, with the threat of violence only a heartbeat away. This peaceful world is shattered when two teenagers end up in hospital and a local man vanishes without trace. Elise starts digging for answers, but the community closes ranks, and the truth begins to slip through her fingers. Because in a small town like this, the locals are good at keeping secrets.

I love Fiona Barton, ever since I read ‘The Widow’ I loved her dark and observational writing.

‘Local Gone Missing’ is an interesting story about a small town called Ebbing everyone knows everyone’s business and when local business Charlie Perry goes missing and then turns up dead. The town is in shock particularly after a music festival nearly kills two teenagers after taking drugs. The town has never seen as much action and when Elsie King, a detective who’s recovering from breast cancer finds herself helping out with the investigation along with budding Agatha Christie, Ronnie.

The story is seen from multiple narratives that adds an insightful slant to the story. There’s Dee, a cleaner for some of the interesting people in the Ebbing community, who’s husband is at the heart of the investigation, her childhood is dark and troubled and she’s determined that her son Cal will not suffer the same fate. I really enjoyed Elsie, she’s trying to take a break from work but it’s hard when it’s literally on her desktop and when the case is led by her ex boyfriend, old feelings and drama occur. There’s also inclusions from Charlie, a charismatic who’s finding it hard to keep all the women in his life satisfied.

The story reads like an introduction to a new series with DI Elsie King leading the charge, which is a different angle from Fiona’s previous books. The story is atmospheric and gripping with a range of complex and fascinating characters with different stories and dramas that all weave together in this thriller. As the story flows and we see the character progression, with a combination of comedy and drama that makes for gripping reading.

Packed with gossip, secrets and deceit, ‘Local Gone Missing’ is a thrilling police procedural
and dramatic story that’s cleverly written and packed with twists.

You can buy ‘Local Gone Missing’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Sun Damage By Sabine Durrant

Sun Damage‘Sun Damage’ is the latest book by Sabine Durrant.

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France. They know each other well. Or think they do. But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run. Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.

Yesterday I spent my day absorbed in this book and it’s an exciting thriller packed with deceit, drama and delicious food that literally had my mouth watering.

Set in France, Ali works with Sean, they are both con-artists taking advantage of vulnerable people but one day it all goes terribly wrong and Ali decides that she wants to go alone and manages to escape Sean. Using her skills and wits, Ali takes on a new identity as an aspiring actress called Lulu who will be a cook for a holidaying family. Whilst hiding from Sean, she finds herself connecting with the family and uncovering their secrets whilst falling for the charms of the family friend Rob.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Sabine but like the name of her previous book, once you start, they really get under your skin. Ali is a great character, having had a troubled past, she’s had to hustle her way through life and to be honest, it really makes for fascinating reading as she explains her tricks. The family that she’s working with is an interesting mix of personalities, the mother Rebecca is a scatty character who’s constantly putting herself down whilst her teenage daughters are dealing with their own dramas.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it was so easy to get whisked away and caught up in the drama set against the sunny backdrop of France and packed with delicious flavours and exquisite descriptions of food. The story is a suspenseful one packed with anxiety and unreliable characters that made for gripping reading. Fast paced, dramatic and steeped in suspense, ‘Sun Damage’ is a great thriller that sizzles throughout!

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