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The Close By Jane Casey

The Closer‘The Close’ is the tenth book in the DS Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey.

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together. But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing. It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before. And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

Even though this is the tenth book in the series, this is only the second or third book that I’ve read. And all the time, I intend to read more in the Maeve Kerrigan series.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Maeve, who’s investigating two cases, a murder of a doctor and then has been chosen to work undercover in a small estate when a man is found dead in suspicious circumstances. She has to work to her colleague with Josh and pretend that they’re in a relationship, which Maeve is struggling with after in an abusive relationship. Josh and Maeve have a complex relationship, their friends and colleagues, but there’s an obvious sexual chemistry between them that sizzles off the pages.

There’s also an inclusion of the perspective of the murderer and this made the story interesting, as I found myself trying to find out the murderer.

I really enjoyed seeing Maeve in a more relaxed role pretending to be a fluffier version of herself. Her interactions with people are softer in comparison to the harder version of herself with her guard up.

It’s quite witty in parts and this distracts from the darker moments in the story. As the story is a series, there are references to previous books and situations but has this just made me more keen to read the rest of the series.

‘The Close’ is a thrilling police procedural book that’s packed with drama, twists, suspicious characters that was gripping from the first sentence.

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

A Mother’s Heart By Carmel Harrington

A Mother’s Heart ‘A Mother’s Heart’ is the latest book by Carmel Harrington.

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle. Malahide, Ireland’s – Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well. Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother. Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other. And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret.

Wow the latest book by Carmel is a real emotional journey about the strength of a mother’s love, whether it’s biological or not.

The story is seen through the narrative of four women, Rachel, Shelia, Belinda and Annie. New Zealand born Rachel found love with Irish Lorcan and was looking forward to a life of happiness with Lorcan and his two children, Olivia and Dylan. But tragically Lorcan is killed leaving Rachel alone. Now stepmother to the children, like they were her own, Rachel is dealing with Sheila, who’s the grandmother of the children’s biological mother Niamh who also sadly died. She’s convinced that Rachel will take the children away from her and applies for joint custody which drives a bigger wedge between the pair. Annie is Rachel’s mother and is heartbroken at what her daughter is going through alone whilst Belinda is Lorcan’s mother and she’s trying to deal with her loss but also be there for Rachel and develop a better relationship with her grandchildren.

I really loved this book, it’s wonderfully written with characters that are heartwarming, relatable and frustrating. I loved Rachel, she has a heart of gold taking on two children thousands of miles from her home, but she also has such resilience and patience dealing with Sheila. Sheila is such a dislikable character, she’s threatened by Rachel relationship with the children and is scared that she’ll lose her only connection to her daughter. She’s using her grief to hurt others including the children. Both Annie and Belinda are lovely warm characters, much more clued in and observational than Sheila.

This story is poignant and heartbreaking, a story of love and loss, ‘A Mother’s Heart’ is an observational and sensitively written story about a mother’s unconditional love whether it’s biological or not. Beautifully written and filled with warmth and Irish charm, Carmel has delivered an emotional family drama that was impossible to put down

You can buy ‘A Mother’s Heart’ 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.

The Cruise By Catherine Cooper

The Cruise‘The Cruise’ is the latest book by Catherine Cooper.

What the back cover says –

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large, luxurious cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, goes missing. Everyone on board has something to hide. Two weeks later, the ship is o ut of service, laid up far from land with no more than a skeleton crew on board. And then more people start disappearing. No one is safe. Why are the crew being harmed? Who is responsible? And who will be next?

I read Catherine’s debut called ‘The Chalet’ in one sitting and I’m sure ‘The Cruise’ will be just as gripping!

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

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter

Cat Lady‘Cat Lady’ is the latest book by Dawn O’Porter.

It’s safer for Mia to play the part that people expect. She’s a good wife to her husband Tristan, a doting stepmother, she slips on her suit for work each morning like a new skin. But beneath the surface, there’s another woman just clawing to get out. When a shocking event shatters the conventional life she’s been so careful to build, Mia is faced with a choice. Does she live for a society that’s all too quick to judge, or does she live for herself? And if that’s as an independent woman with a cat, then the world better get ready.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Dawn. Infact, the last book I read by her was her Young Adult debut ‘Paper Aeroplanes’ which I loved and got to chat to her about it at a book event in Dublin some years ago.

I settled into ‘Cat Lady’ over the last couple of evenings and I absolutely adored it. Mia – the leading character is an absolute burst of fresh air, she’s witty, eccentric, troubled and incredibly kind. Her childhood was a difficult one with no regular love so she finds unconditional love in her 16 year old cat called Pigeon. She comes across as cold but she just wants to be in control of her life and when things start to unravel, so does Mia. She finds solace in an unlikely group for grieving pet owners, even though her own cat is very much alive and kicking.

This is an original tale that really pulls the reader in, with a plethora of characters that you will instantly dislike such as Belinda, the ex-wife of Mia’s husband who’s always around to Isabella, Mia boss who’s self-absorbed with her own success.

I loved Mia. I loved how her personality changed throughout the story and she finally began to accept the person she was. Not a career woman in a power suit but a carer in cat themed kaftans, kinda like Carole Baskin from ‘Tiger King’ but wittier and warmer.

Packed with dark humour, relatable situations and characters, heartwarming and beautifully written, ‘Cat Lady’ is an observational look into rediscovery, new beginnings and the genuine friendship and connections that pets can bring to a person’s life. A must read for all animal lovers!

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