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Her Last Holiday By CL Taylor

Her Last Holiday Today marks the release of the latest book by CL Taylor called ‘Her Last Holiday’ and it’s a book that’s disturbed my slumber for the last couple of nights.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong. Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna. Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

The story is written through the narrative of 3 strong and determined women, sisters Fran and Jenna and another woman called Kate. It flows in a past and present tense, with the present narrative seen through Fran and Kate’s eyes and the past through Jenna’s having disappeared after her holiday, hence the name, ‘Her Last Holiday’.

Fran is determined to find out what happened to her younger sister after disappearing from a spiritual retreat and is convinced that Tom Wade, the leader of SoulShrink, is behind it. Tom has just been released from prison after the 2 of other people who accidentally died on the same retreat but Tom has always maintained his innocence regarding Jenna. Now back in the open, his wife Kate is adamant that normal services resume and goes about creating a new retreat in the same resort. Fran is guilt ridden by elderly mother into joining the retreat and finally finding the truth.

The story flows back and forth between the narratives and different time periods really set the scene for the story. Fran and Jenna never had a close relationship due to their age gap and that really affected Jenna and her confidence which becomes very apparent whilst confiding in Tom, who she unexpectedly falls for. Fran is a brash character who’s quick to speak up and easily falls into character as she pretends to be someone else on the retreat but she finds it hard to hold her tongue, when revelations come to light and her questioning raises suspicions. Kate is a complex character who’s fuelled by money and control and won’t let anything stand in the way of her success, including her husband Tom, she’s ruthless but also occasionally admirable in her ballsiness.

This book is gripping for many reasons, the strong female leads all with complexities making for fascinating reading, their riddled with secrets and lies and within each chapter, a drama is revealed hooking the reader even further in. Their narratives are unreliable, leaving the reader unsure of who to believe and being set in a spiritual retreat where people come to cleanse themselves against the exotic backdrop of Gozo adds an element of mystery and luxury to the story.

Once again, Cally has outdid herself with her latest book, riddled with suspense, dominant characters and twists at every turn, ‘Her Last Holiday’ is a compulsive thriller that pulls the reader in to discover the truth.

You can buy ‘Her Last Holiday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Strangers By CL Taylor

Strangers‘Strangers’ is the latest book by CL Taylor.

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before. Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards. And Alice is being stalked. None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die. Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

I spent two evenings curled up with ‘Strangers’ , a gripping story of three people who have never met before but end up having their lives interweaved in a way that they never imagined.

Alice is a single mother and manager of a clothes shop who reluctantly decides to look for love, when a date goes disastrously wrong, she ends up being rescued by the charismatic Simon, a man that could certainly change her life for the better. But just as Alice imagines a relationship with Simon, threatening things start to happen and Simon disappears from her life. After the death of her partner, Ursula’s life fell apart and after being caught stealing, she ends up living in a house with a strange man with locked doors and strange smells and finally, Gareth’s father disappear 20 years ago but now someone is sending postcards to his mother, pretending to be him and then his Dementia ridden mother disappears.

Cally has done it again with this impressive thriller, combining suspense, drama page after page that hooks the reader right in. It’s obvious that the story was meticulously planned and structured with an ending that made me gasp in shock. All the characters are interesting with their issues and complexities, but I found myself particularly warming to Ursula, a damaged soul that never recovered from a bereavement. She’s a large woman in stature and personality and she seems to leap off the pages with the scenes that she’s in, I felt an empathy for Gareth, who’s a security guard who never really got a proper chance at life after his father disappeared and he became his mother’s carer. Cally has a great knack for creating characters that the reader has a connection and empathy for.

The story is seen from the perspective of the characters and each time new person was introduced into their lives, I found myself convinced that they were the villain, but in Cally’s style it was never obvious! As the story progresses, we see that they are strangers they may have passed each other in the streets but we see them being brought together in the most extreme and unexpected way in a cleverly written way.

A gripping story of lies and drama, ‘Strangers’ is another superb book from C.L Taylor, with a great premise, suspicious and relatable characters that grip the reader’s attention from the first page, this shocking and witty story is definitely one of my favourite books of 2020.

You can buy ‘Strangers’ from Amazon

Book News – Sleep By C.L. Taylor

SleepC.L Taylor is back with an exhilarating new book in 2019 called ‘Sleep’.

What the back cover says

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

I’ve just finished this book and fans of C.L. Taylor are in for a rollercoaster of a journey.

You can pre-order Sleep from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th April 2019.

C.L. Taylor

C.L. TaylorC.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria,Newcastle and has worked as a sales administrator, web developer, instructional designer and as the manager of a distance learning team at a London university. She now writes full time.

CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller ‘The Accident; was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second and third novels, ‘The Lie’ and ‘The Missing’, were Sunday Times Bestsellers and #1 Amazon Kindle chart bestsellers. Her fourth psychological thriller, ‘The Escape’, will be published on 23 March 2017. She is currently writing her first young adult thriller, ’The Treatment’, which will be published in September 2017.

  1. To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    My mum recently cleared out her attic and found a huge pile of books I’d written and illustrated as a child. When I was eight I sent one of them, ‘The Flower Friends and The Evil Weed’, to Ladybird publishers. They rejected it but they did send me a very nice letter with lots of useful advice like ‘Ask an adult to type it up for you’ and ‘Keep the illustrations on separate pages’. I tried again when I was eleven and was rejected again.

    I was thirty-five when my first book was published – A supernatural romantic comedy called ‘Heaven Can Wait’ (Orion). My second book, ‘Home for Christmas’, was published two years later (writing as Cally Taylor). Whilst on maternity leave with my son in 2012 I had an idea for a psychological thriller. That book, ‘The Accident’, was published in 2014. Since then I have written a psychological thriller a year – ‘The Lie’, ‘The Missing’, ‘The Escape’ – all published by Avon HarperCollins.

  2. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
    A lot of my books are based on my fears – fear that an abusive ex will return, fear that friends could turn against me, fear that something could happen to my son. Other ideas are based on news reports I read and documentaries I watch or are just plucked out of thin air.
  3. The Escape

  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I do have my own book club! OK, it’s an electronic book club where I review books that I think will be the next big thing (www.cltaylorauthor.com/newsletter) but if I could ask questions of any author I’d love to chat to Margaret Atwood and Maggie O’Farrell.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ – ‘1984’, George Orwell. So much intrigue in one sentence!
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Holding the finished book in my hand. Coming a close second is brainstorming the idea initially. I love the adrenaline rush when an idea or scene that works pops into my brain.
  7. What do you think makes a good crime book?
    A strong mystery, perfect pace, intriguing characters and a killer ending.
  8. From books and films, who has been your favourite bad guy?
    ‘Dexter’! I love him.
  9. Out of all the books that you have written, which one is your favourite?
    I am most proud of ‘The Escape’. The more books I write the more I learn about what works, what doesn’t and where my strengths and weaknesses lie as a writer. Whenever I finish writing a book I am always a little disappointed that it doesn’t perfectly reflect the initial idea in my head. The Escape is the one book that comes closest to my initial idea.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    The Harry Potter series (is that cheating?), the complete works of Shakespeare, and ‘War and Peace’ (there’s no way I’m going to find the time to read it otherwise).
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Don’t spend too much time writing and rewriting your first few chapters, keep writing until you reach the end. You may find that you have started the book in the wrong place and you need to cut your first few chapters.

    All writers reach points in their books when they become convinced that it’s awful and they should write something else instead. Typically these points are at 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 words. Keep writing through your doubts. You can fix anything that isn’t working in the rewrite.

  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Diet coke!
  13. And finally Cally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    This year I’ve also written a YA thriller – ‘The Treatment’ – which will be published by HarperCollins HQ on 19th October. I can’t say too much about it yet but if you loved my novel ‘The Lie’ this book should be right up your street!

Follow on Twitter C.L. Taylor for updates

The Escape By C.L Taylor

The Escape‘The Escape’ is the latest book by C.L Taylor.

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise. What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

C.L. Taylor is back with another gripping read about a mothers strong desire to protect a child from harm.

In this story, we meet Jo, an anxiety ridden mother who suffers badly from claustrophobia but is determined to give her daughter Elise, the best life she can and not let the illness get in the way. Until one day, a stranger approaches her claiming that her husband, Max has something that belongs to her. But Max is adamant that he knows nothing or has nothing belonging to the woman. And so begins a race, a race for Jo to fight for her daughter and to prove her sanity, as she becomes target to a horrible tortuous campaign against her.

Like C.L.’s previous books, this book was thrilling and fast paced that made for gripping reading. The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Jo, a tortured soul who’s only instinct is the care of her little girl, but she’s unhappy in her marriage and is trying to overcome her claustrophobia to move on, but at regular points, she’s victim to a new case of harassment, with planted drugs and doubts over her sanity, making people wonder if she’s capable of being a fit mother.

To prevent her daughter from being taken from her, Jo goes on the run to Ireland, creating new identities for the pair of them and I found this part of the story particularly interesting, as it was set in areas of Ireland that I visited when I was a child and was familiar with. Also in this part of the story, there’s an intriguing sub story, featuring the landlady of the B&B that she stays with and her complexities also make for entertaining reading.

In a clever twist, there’s also elements of the story seen from the perspective of Jo’s tormentor and this is wonderfully riveting as we try to guess who the person is who’s terrorising Jo.

‘The Escape’ is another action packed and emotionally charged story from C.L. Taylor, riddled with suspense, drama and mystery, this story of a mothers love is an engaging and exciting story that really pulls the reader in and grips them at every twist and turn.

You can pre-order The Escape from Amazon and will be available to buy from 23rd March 2017.