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Case Files: Collected Short Crime Stories Vol. 1 By Rachel Amphlett

Case Files: Collected Short Crime Stories Vol. 1‘Case Files: Collected Short Crime Stories Vol. 1’ is the latest book by Rachel Amphlett.

This page-turning collection features ‘The Man Cave’, in which Darren regains consciousness in a dank basement where escape turns out to be the least of his worries; in ‘All Night Long’ Zoe soon wishes she wasn’t working the late shift; and in ‘Nowhere to Run’ a rookie detective encounters her first serial killer… but will she survive?

If you enjoy thrillers but don’t have the time to read a full novel, then I’d thoroughly recommend this collection of short stories, perfect for people short on time.

The stories are thrillingly written packed with fast paced plot lines, flawed and relatable characters all with secrets and drama that they’ll go to any length to keep hidden. There are 12 stories to enjoy, some considerably shorter than others and some that you really could sink your teeth into!

I particularly enjoyed ‘The Reckoning’ about a mysterious newcomer to a nursing home and ‘Nowhere To Run’ which is a Detective Kay Hunter short story, about a night time killer targeting young women out running.

Witty, dark and creepy, ‘Case Files’ gives an interesting insight into police procedures as well as the narratives from the good and bad guys. I’ll definitely be looking into Volume 2!

You can buy ‘Case Files: Collected Short Crime Stories Vol. 1’ from Amazon.

Homecoming By Isabel Ashdown

Homecoming‘Homecoming’ is the latest book by Isabel Ashdown.

Welcome to The Starlings… sun, sea and neighbours to die for. Security, a sparkling sea view and the best kind of neighbours – The Starlings gated community has it all. Here, doors are left open, children run free, and at the heart of it all is the entrepreneurial Gold Family, who first dreamed up this aspirational vision of ‘Dorset’s Safest Community’. To the outside world the popular family appears glitteringly blessed… until an idyllic party takes a dark turn and one of their number is found slumped at the foot of the clocktower. Who knows what really happened? And what answers are harboured within the old building, the former Highcap Mother and Baby Home?

The latest book by Isabel Ashdown is a character driven thriller packed with secrets and lies that made for gripping reading.

Set in The Starlings, it was once a mother and baby home but Katrin has bought the land and made a lovely development for homeowners. Born in the Starlings home herself, Katrin hopes to make the development a happier place and when Ginny moves in, an older woman they become close friends.

The story is seen through the narrative of Katrin, Ginny and Frida who is Katrin’s niece. All three are going through difficult times and keeping secrets and as the story progresses and we delve into their backgrounds of the mother and baby homes and in Frida who’s dealing with being dropped by her best friends and suspended from school.

The different perspectives of the story add such an element of mystery to plot as everyone has something to hide. The story is wonderfully descriptive from the vivid descriptions of the harsh treatment at the mother and baby home to the beautiful descriptions of The Starlings and its majestic clock tower.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it had just the right amount of character and plot development that really pulled me in. The characters are relatable and engaging and their dramas really hooked my attention.

Twisty and compelling from the start, ‘Homecoming’ is a story of deceit, drama and finding yourself along the way.

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

Simon Says Die By Erika Strauss

Simon Says Die‘Simon Says Die’ is the latest book by Erika Strauss.

For the last 10 years, Angela Thompson has been living a nightmare. While motherhood was never her goal, she has tried everything to connect with her son, Max. It was supposed to be two of them against the world until Max’s behavior grew increasingly disturbing. The missing items, lost pets, and strange drawings she could handle, but now, the murder of little Tommy Marshall has the entire town of Oregon, Ohio on edge. Beaten with a large rock and left to die in the woods, the police search frantically for a sadistic child killer. Unfortunately, all of the evidence points to Angela as she begins to doubt everything and everyone around her. She swears that she would never hurt a child, but have her troubled son and loneliness pushed her too far? Her gut tells her that Max is involved, but authorities find it hard to believe that a 10-year-old boy could pull off the perfect murder and put his mother on death row. In fact, nobody believes her! But they don’t know Max like she does. They don’t know how sick and depraved her angelic little boy can be. Unfortunately, everyone is about to find out the hard way.

To be honest, I’m glad this book was only 200 pages long because the unsettling creepiness of Max was a lot to take in.

The story is seen through the narrative of mother and son, Angela and Max. Max is strange boy who thrives on causing pain to others particularly others and when a little boy is found dead, Angela knows her son did it and planted her DNA at the scene. Even though she denies any involvement, no one believes her and she finds herself on death row.

There’s something really unsettling about creepy children and the author has created such a creepy child that I raced through the book just to finish it!

It’s sad in parts as Angela tries to warm to her only son but is unable to love him due to his behaviour, she feels like a failure. Max is a strange boy, he lacks empathy and thrives on causing pain to others and his lack of remorse is shocking at times. The dual narrative also gives an interesting insight into the story.

Dark, twisted and disturbing, ‘Simon Says Die’ is a fascinating insight into a far from normal mother/son relationship that made for incredibly uncomfortable reading.

You can buy ‘Simon Says Die’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Perfect Friend By Sarah Clarke

My Perfect Friend‘My Perfect Friend’ is the latest book by Sarah Clarke.

Beth has the perfect life. She has constructed it carefully over the last eighteen years. But one night she makes a choice that risks everything. When Kat sees an article about that night online, buried memories begin to surface. She and Beth were friends once. Things ended badly then, but now she has a chance to make things right. Kat introduces herself to Beth. Not as her old friend, but as a stranger. Beth has no idea Kat isn’t who she says she is. But then neither is Beth.

If you like twisty thrillers, then ‘My Perfect Friend’ is a must read. It’s packed with suspense, intrigue and dislikable characters.

After trying to save a man from death, Beth becomes a neighbourhood hero and finds herself in the spotlight and the subject of a disgruntled homeless man who’s convinced that he killed her friend. Beth’s life is in turmoil until a dog Walker called Kat comes into her life and helps her with the chaos, but unknown to her, Kat is from her past and knows all about Beth before she became the perfect mother and figure.

This story is one of best thrillers I’ve read in a while. With a combination of flawed characters and a twisty plot that made for compulsive reading. The various narratives from Beth, Kat and Mark, the homeless man who hates Beth all pull the reader in with their different narratives and perspectives so the reader is unsure of who to believe. There is also the inclusion of past moments which really help set the scene of the story and really the story and characters a lot more depth. Beth is a complex character that I initially felt sympathetic towards but as the story progressed, we see a side to her that is cold and calculated as she does all she can to maintain her perfect life facade.

Gripping from the first page, ‘The Perfect Friend’ is a cleverly weaved story, filled with engaging and tense moments that made the book impossible to put down.

You can buy ‘My Perfect Friend’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Shake It Up Beverley By Suzan Holder

Shake It Up Beverley‘Shake It Up Beverley’ is the latest book by Suzan Holder.

Beverley Wilson has always loved the Beatles but kissing a poster goodnight isn’t really an option when you’re a fifty-something mum of three. So when she decides it’s time to get back into the dating game, she turns to a dating agency for help. But the long and winding road to real love is littered with dating disasters – the pantyhose pervert being the real low point and in Bev’s opinon it’s all too much. But meeting fellow Beatles fan Scott Smith changes everything…

If you love aspirational and upbeat stories about love and new beginnings, then love me do, this book’s for you!

Beverly is a Beatles fanatic living in Paul McCartney’s childhood home, she collects memorabilia and has whole shrines dedicated to the quartet. After years of being alone, she decides to find love and after some hilarious and disastrous first dates, she meets Scott who also shares her love of music and the Beatles. Thinking that she’s found the one, she’s heartbroken when she finds out that he’s far from perfect and become a viral sensation when her broken heart is exposed.

I loved this story, it’s fun, warm and packed with nostalgia for times gone by. Beverley is a lovely character, she’s kind, wears her heart on her sleeve and can easily be fooled by people. It’s lovely when she meets Scott but it is quite sad to read that he’s a scoundrel that breaks her heart. In the short time that the book takes place, a lot happens to the Liverpudlian lass not just her heartbreak but also her own family.

I also loved the facts about the Beatles that the book is filled with, it was absolutely fascinating in parts. Other characters in the story also made for interesting reading, Julia, Beverley’s vibrant friend and Leon the handsome police man who’s always around to rescue Beverley.

Fun from the beginning and packed with charm, ‘Shake It Up Beverley’ is a wittily written coming of age story about finding love and starting over.

You can buy ‘Shake It Up Beverley’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.