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The Killing Choice By Will Shindler

The Killing Choice‘The Killing Choice’ is the latest book by Will Shindler and is the second book in the DI Alex Finn series.

It felt like a normal Friday evening before Karl and his daughter Leah were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask. At knife point, Karl is forced to make an impossible choice. Stay and die, or walk away from Leah and take this thug’s word that they both will live. Should Karl trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did? It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions.

This is the second book in the DI Finn and Paulsen series but it’s a brand new series for me.

A tense and gripping book that really grapples with morals, this book was impossible to put down. The story is primarily seen through the perspective of DI Finn as him and his team struggle to make sense of the recent killings, were the survivor has to choose who lives between someone who means a lot to them. The victim is brutally murdered and the survivor is left reeling from the guilt. As the body count grows, Finn is trying to make sense of the killings, but is still suffering from the loss of his wife and struggling with each day. His partner, Paulsen is also dealing with personal issues of her own, her father was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As the pair try to piece the clues together, Finn keeps thinking back to Hope Estate where the knife crime is rife and drugs and gangs are constantly at war. Hayden, a young man from the estate is trying to get away from gangs, but is finding it hard to step back.

There are multiple perspectives in this story that really keeps the reader engaged. I really liked Finn and Paulsen and really sympathised with them, as they tried to continue with their jobs and not let their personal lives get in the way. Finn is dealing with grief and throwing himself into his work as a distraction and this is where easy mistakes can be made. Whereas Paulsen is dealing with her own type of grief, the loss of her father to Alzheimer’s and this is also having an effect on her work.

The concept of this story is quite fascinating, to force someone into choosing a life to be taken, instead of their own and it made quite the thinker of a story.

Fast paced with twists and drama riddled through, ‘The Killing Choice’ is a chilling and suspenseful story that really hooked me in. Cleverly written with plenty of gasps, shocks and tackles serious issues as mental health and gangs, DI Finn and Paulsen are certainly a duo I’ll be looking into.

You can pre-order ‘The Killing Choice’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 11th February 2021.

Last One At The Party By Bethany Clint

Last One At The Party”Last One At The Party’ is the debut novel by Bethany Clint.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM (‘Six Days Maximum’ – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself). But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own. Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

To be honest, when I initially started reading this book, I found it a bit difficult and scary to get into. That’s purely because, the story is based around the woman being the sole survivor when an illness wipes out the world and she’s left alone with only a dog for company. With currently being in a pandemic and I did wonder about the publishers logic with thinking about the release of the book during a pandemic, but on reflection, in comparison to the illness called 6DM, life could be considerably worse.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of a woman, who’s name is never given as she tries to find civilisation outside London, stealing cars along the way hoping to find more survivors. Instead, she meets a scruffy Golden Retriever called Lucky, who offers her companionship and something to live for, whilst she tries to find a home and food for them.

Bethany is a great writer, she’s vivid with her descriptions, from the state of the world to the crippling death from 6DM which makes for horrific reading and occasionally I did find myself having to take a break from the gore, even though the sharp and snappy chapters did encourage me to keep going.

The woman has no name in the story, which is interesting as it made her relatable in a sense and it felt like the reader, themselves was the sole survivor. The story is written in past and present tense and this gives background to her and how she has become the woman that she is now. Her battles with mental health, her insecurity and fears and now she has to confront all these fears alone, as she deals with juggling between taking her own life or finding something to live for. She’a a strong and determined woman and her strength shines through with each challenge she’s faced with, when her phone dies, the electricity powers off or when she is faced with killer seagulls. The woman is a witty character and she delivers incredible one linters throughout, injecting some mirth into this dystopian tale.

Addictive, gory and filled to the brim with vomit and diarrhoea, ‘Last One At The Party’ is a fantastic debut. It’s a strangely uplifting and inspiring story about the end of the world that stays with the reader long after they reach the final page.

You can buy ‘Last One At The Party’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Diabolical Bones By Bella Ellis

The Diabolical Bones‘The Diabolical Bones’ is the latest book in the ‘The Bronte Mysteries’ by Bella Ellis.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are rather losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family. When the sisters set off to find out more, they are confronted with an increasingly complex and sinister case, which leads them into the dark world of orphanages, and onto the trail of other lost, and likely murdered children. After another local boy goes missing, Charlotte, Emily and Anne vow to find him before it’s too late. But in order to do so, they must face their most despicable and wicked adversary yet – one that would not hesitate to cause them the
gravest of harm.

Bella Ellis is back with another Bronte mystery and this time it’s a sad case of discovering bones hidden away. As the sisters begin their investigation, they find themselves delving into a dark history revealing cruelty and an unfortunate child.

I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed the latest book in the Bronte Mysteries saga. Once again, the 3 sisters are working closely together as unofficial detectives to solve the mystery occasionally with the help of their old brother Branfield.

I really enjoyed the dynamics of the sisters as they worked together piercing together clues. I loved Anne, the younger sister who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or stand up to elders, particularly when they were gruff bullying men.

The story is atmospheric from the very beginning, bleak, dismal and set in the bleak midwinter, there’s a sense of eeriness to the story as well as a deep sadness with the discovery of the child’s remains.

It’s fascinating to read the procedures of identifying remains back then with such limited resources. As well as being a murder mystery, there’s a hint of a ghost story to the book, with spooky sounds and coming and goings that makes for unsettling reading as well as urban myths and stories that are weaved throughout the book.

For fans of the Bronte sisters, this book is a must read with a stunning cover and a gripping storyline that pulls the reader in. A splendid adventure that turns into a race against time, ‘The Diabolical Bones’ is a beautifully written chilling and dark story that makes for poignant reading.

You can buy ‘The Diabolical Bones’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Rescue Me By Sarra Manning

'Rescue MeThe news that we’ve been waiting for is released, Sarra Manning has revealed the name and synopsis for her new book called ‘Rescue Me’.

What the back cover says-

Margot doesn’t have time for love.

Will is afraid to love.

And neither of them are expecting to fall in love with Blossom: a gentle Staffy with a tragic past, a belly made for rubbing and a head the size of a football.

After their first meeting at the rescue centre, both Margot and Will want to adopt Blossom so reluctantly agree to share custody. But Will’s obsession for micro-managing and clear-cut boundaries and Margot’s need to smother Blossom with affection, means that soon they have a very confused and badly behaved dog on their hands.

Can they put their differences aside to become successful “co-pawrents” and maybe even friends? And meanwhile, does Blossom have plans of her own?

With a stunning cover and a lead canine that sounds as lovely Sarra’s beloved Miss Betsy who sadly passed away last year, ‘Rescue Me’ sounds like an absolute treat of a story.

You can pre-order ‘Rescue Me’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from 21st January 2021.

Cracked By Louise McCreesh

Cracked‘Cracked’ is by Louise McCreesh’s debut novel.

Jenny Nilson hasn’t seen her former psychiatrist Phillip since she left the Hillside Psychiatric Unit eight years ago. She wanted to forget everything about her time there, so she kept her secrets buried deep. Especially from her new husband. But now the police are knocking at her door with evidence of her involvement in Phillip’s death. It seems as though everything she’s kept hidden is about to spill out. Jenny desperately needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from those dark years. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, and about the dark secret that Phillip kept for them all – that this is not the first death.

Cracked is Louise McCreesh’s debut novel and pardon the pun, but it is quite the cracking read.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of Jenny, who was once a patient at Hillside Psychiatric Unit when she was a teenager. Now she’s married to a policeman, an aspiring journalist and her time in Hillside is a distant memory, until one of her therapists is brutally murdered and she has to face up to the life that she left behind.

It’s during her time at the unit, that something terrible happen and this tragedy creates a bond between Jenny and 6 other people who now in the present tense are all suspects in the brutal murder.

This is a cleverly crafted story with an interesting protagonist. Jenny is in Hillside after trying to take her own life and is trying to get to the root of her unhappiness, she’s friends with Tom, Tony, Heidi, Alicia and Olivia who are all struggling with their own demons and their problems make for upsetting reading as they lash out at each other and put each other down and throughout their narrative, you can feel their anguish and pain.

In the present tense, Jenny has to face up to the life that she hid from others particularly her husband and finds herself the centre of the case when her own case file goes missing from the unit.

The story is a tense and compelling rollercoaster of a book that is set against the backdrop of a psychiatric unit that does make for a desperate and bleak setting. With short and snappy chapters that pull the reader in and unreliable characters that makes everyone a suspect, ‘Cracked’ is a sensitive and poignant story about mental health, how fragile it is and how easily a person can crack.

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