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The Dark Room By Sam Blake

The Dark Room‘The Dark Room’ is the latest book by Sam Blake.

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing. New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner. As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…

Is there no end to Sam Blake’s talents? When she’s not writing gripping crime thrillers set in rural Ireland, she’s also known as Vanessa O’Loughlin creator of Writing.ie and organiser of the epic Murder One Crime Festival, an annual literary crime festival bringing in some of the world’s finest writers who have their readers gripped with their suspenseful and gory tales.
 
Although I know Sam/Vanessa from attending the events and chatting at events, ‘The Dark Room’ is actually the first book that I’ve read by her.
 
The story starts off with a mysterious person, posting a letter who’s identity and contents of the letter is not revealed. The story then follows on from the perspective Irish natives Caroline and Rachel. Caroline has come to Hare’s Landing Hotel to escape the drama from her job in New York, a successful journalist, her work has come under fire and she’s taking some time to reflect, whilst film location scout Rachel has come to Ireland for a break. After her boyfriend Hunter, was injured in a hit and run and the barge they live on was ruined in a robbery, she’s retreated to Hare’s Landing for some respite but also to try to solve some mysteries about a homeless man called Alfie Bowes that Hunter was working on a documentary with. Both Caroline and Rachel become close friends when they realise there are many mysteries about the hotel.

From the whispered hushes about the former owner called Honoria Smyth who took her own life. The hotel is filled with reminders of the glamorous author and the constant disapproval from the house keeper called Mrs Travers, who dislikes the women’s interest in the history of the opulent surroundings.

The story is riddled with mystery and suspense and as the women delve deeper into the hotel’s history, they begin to see connections to old and new disappearances. The story is set in a small seaside town called Glencurragh and it makes for interesting and insightful reading as the women adjust to being the gossip of the town.

I genuinely loved this story, it’s fast paced, gritty and has so many clever twists riddled throughout that keeps the reader on their toes. Both Caroline and Rachel are great leads, both with a passion for problem solving and curiosity for knowledge and occupied with Rachel’s dog called Jasper, they were a tremendous trio.

A well crafted crime novel combined with small town gossip and a luxurious hotel that’s steeped in history, ‘The Dark Place’ is a chilling and gripping story that’s has menace and suspense dripping from each page in this atmospheric tale.

You can buy ‘The Dark Room’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

How To Find Your (First) Husband By Rosie Blake

How To Find Your (First) Husband‘How To Find Your (First) Husband’ is the latest book by Rosie Blake.

Isobel Graves moved to LA determined to be the Next Big Thing. Instead, she is dressed as a giant prawn handing out fliers promoting a fish market. Rather than attending glamorous parties and dating exciting men, her evenings consist of watching box sets with her sort-of boyfriend, whose idea of romance is a late-night drunken text. Where did it all go wrong? When Isobel catches sight of Andrew Parker, her childhood sweetheart, in the background of a TV news story she feels it’s a sign. If she’d stuck with Andrew everything would have turned out better. Now she just needs to find him…

Rosie Blake has returned to our bookshelves with another lighthearted story that travels around the globe with witty one liners and tales of nostalgia.

In her latest story, we meet Isobel Graves, a girl who has got over her first husband, who she married aged eight in her school playground. Years have passed and life hasn’t turned out how she wanted, she’s not a successful television presenter, instead she’s dressed in prawn costumes whilst advertising the latest bargains from the streets of LA. Tired of her life, she catches a glimpse of her first love and best friend Andrew Parker on an antiques show and she is transported back to a world, where is was at her most happiest. She ditches the costumes, plus her part time boyfriend Stewie and returns to England to find the one who got away and ends up on a adventure travelling around the world.

From the very start, this book had giggling, with lines like ‘snuffling at my neck like an excited pig” it was hard not to find this book entertaining. Isobel is a fabulous leading lady, she’s optimistic that she will find her primary school husband and that finally everything will fall into place in her life. Her quest takes her from Devon to a small island in Malaysian, where she makes new friends and burns down huts. Drama is not far from Isobel’s door and usually the drama is filled with humorous consequences.

The story is filled with comical characters, from Isobel’s laid back and hippy mother who loves gadgets to Isobel’s best friend Mel, who really gets into character when they are in costume and loves to regale Isobel with stories about her sex life. Also, the location of the story adds an element of extravagance to the lighthearted and is packed with facts and places to go, just incase the reader is looking for an adventure to some far off place. A nice addition to the story, is the inclusion of diary entries from Isobel’s childhood and gives us an insight to her relationship with Andrew.

A wittily written and fun story throughout packed with humour, awkward moments and a glorious setting, ‘How To Get Your (First) Husband’ is an entertaining read about never giving up and starting over.

You can buy How to Find Your (First) Husband from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.