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The Hen Party By Maria Frankland

The Hen Party‘The Hen Party’ is the latest book by Maria Frankland.

Caitlyn and her nine hens arrive in Dublin for a never-to-be-forgotten weekend. As the drink flows and the laughter echoes, her attendees put aside their buried resentments and secret dark agendas. But one of these disturbing agendas will be executed – no matter what.Ten is about to become nine. Who will be the one?

This is the third book that I’ve read by Maria and she really knows how to write a good engaging thriller.

The story is primarily seen the narrative of Jen who’s maid of honour for her best friend Caitlyn. She’s organised a hen party in Dublin with plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. But there’s trouble and resentment brewing in the group of 10 women. When one of the women is found dead, all the women are suspects. As each woman is interviewed they all have hidden secrets and have all possible motives for killing their friend.

I consumed this book in one sitting on Sunday morning and couldn’t move until I reached the final gripping page.

Cleverly weaved with drama and deceit, Maria has crafted an observational story about female dynamics between family and friends. The hidden jealousy and resentment bubbles between the group as old feelings ignite and friendships move further apart.

The insight from Jen was an interesting addition to the story as she’s the closet to the victim and is a bit of a buffer between all the drama.

A fast paced psychological thriller set in the heart of Dublin, ‘The Hen Party’ is a suspenseful whodunnit with plenty of suspects, one unfortunate victim and one hell of a twist!

You can buy ‘The Hen Party’ from Amazon.

The Yorkshire Dipper By Maria Frankland

The Yorkshire Dipper‘The Yorkshire Dipper’ is the latest book by Maria Frankland.

Lauren is fed up with covering local small-town news in Northern England. The bride-to-be and mother-of-one dreams of recognition and accolades as a national journalist. Yet, the reporting opportunity that lands on her doorstep is one she would never have invited. When it is thrust on her, she is duty bound, both professionally and personally to investigate. Lauren is the voice for the women whose lives have been cut short in the river Alder. She will not stop until she discovers the link that binds the deaths together and gets justice for them. But she is a lone voice, overpowered by the police and other officials. Lauren has to make herself heard, even when this compromises her own safety. Her police sergeant fiancé begs her to step away and leave it to the police. Seven drownings, she continues to argue, in three months, warrants blame. How can the deaths of these innocent women be deemed accidental?

I’ve read a few books by Maria and she has quite the skill of writing relatable characters and a storyline that makes for unsettling and creepy reading.

With a clever title, the story is based in Yorkshire where a spate of women are drowning on a weekly basis and the police are believing it’s all done to accidental deaths, falling into the river after falling drunken out of the pub. But investigative journalist, Lauren believes that something is more sinister at play and using her position voices her concerns as well as criticising the police work, which is awkward as her husband to be Mark is investigating the case.

The story is mostly seen through Lauren’s narrative as the death toll rises and she expresses her frustrations and fears into her articles as more women die from simply enjoying a night out, escaping from reality of broken relationships, bereavement only for their lives to be cruelly taken from them.

But the further that Lauren investigates the cases and questions how there is something else afoot, Lauren herself becomes the subject the unwanted attention, a mysterious presence watching over her that makes her fear for her own life and safety. The case is also coming between Mark and Lauren, as she reports them including details that are not made to public, taken from overheard conversations and police protocols.

Maria has also included narratives from the women leading up to their last moments and this was a clever addition to the story as it gave the women a proper presence in the story and were not just unknowns.

Lauren’s curiosity and determination to prove that there’s something sinister afoot and not just a case of drunken women falling over into a river makes for gripping reading, as the reader joins her on this woman crusade for justice and the safety for the women.

Intriguing and filled with suspense, ‘The Yorkshire Dipper’ is a great fast paced thriller that really pulled the reader in.

You can buy ‘The Yorkshire Dipper’ from Amazon.

The Man Behind Closed Doors By Maria Frankland

The Man Behind Closed Doors‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ is the latest book by Maria Frankland.

Domestic violence isn’t only perpetrated by men. Ask Paul Jackson who is on remand, accused of stabbing his wife, Michelle. As he reveals the reality behind their troubled and toxic marriage, it seems that only his six-year-old knows what really happened. But she’s trapped in her own world of silence.

This is a suspenseful and gripping story that really pulled the reader in.

The story is primarily is seen through the narrative of Paul, right at the moment that his wife is stabbed and he is arrested for attempted murder. Everyone involved thinks it’s a clear case of domestic violence, but as the story unfolds we see that it’s not a typical case and infact Paul is the poor victim of controlling and abusive behaviour.

The story is seen written in past and present tense, as Paul is in prison awaiting his trial and reflects back on the hardship of his relationship with his wife, Michelle. Michelle is a deeply troubled character, vicious and controlling. She’s jealous of anyone who takes his attention away from her even their own daughter. She’s vindictive and blames her behaviour on past relationships where she has been let down and is convinced that Paul will do the same. At every opportunity, she runs him down, attacks him and treats him badly in front of friends and family.

This book is genuinely a shocking and hard book to read. The story takes a different slant on domestic abuse, not the stereotypical story of the woman being the victim but the man and it truly makes for eye opening reading. We see Paul question his own masculinity at times as he wonders why he puts up with it all, but it’s down to the deep love for his daughter that gets him through the day. Paul isn’t the only victim in the story, as we see Emily the daughter retreat and become withdrawn with the most fights and tension that she is exposed to before finally becoming mute.

A gripping and powerful story about domestic abuse, ‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ is a cleverly written story with flawed characters that you feel an empathy and a poor child stuck in the middle. This book takes a different slant on domestic abuse, with a thrilling twist that made for engaging reading.

You can buy ‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Cuckoo By Maria Frankland

The Last Cuckoo‘The Last Cuckoo’ is the latest book by Maria Frankland.

Do you listen to your mother? Even after she’s dead? Anna Hardaker is following you … This seemingly innocent Tweet fills Jamie Hardaker with confusion and fear. After all, his mother Anna has been dead for nearly three weeks.What follows is an orchestrated Twitter campaign to lead those Anna loved, and didn’t love so much, to the truth behind her “accidental” death.

An interesting story that deals with family loss and adjusting to a new life without a parent. Jamie is dealing with the loss of his mother, when someone tweets from her account.

A domestic story that teeters on a ghost story, this book is an interesting tale as it concentrates on Jamie and his family as their family dynamics change. The characters are complex but also relatable as they all deal with grief in different ways. The story is written solely through the narrative of Jamie and it makes for interesting reading as he investigates who’s behind the tweets from his mother’s account as well as delving into his family’s past.

Riddled with mystery, drama and suspense, this book is a cleverly plotted story that really pulled the reader in. A story about family dynamics and relationships, ‘The Last Cuckoo’ is a fantastic debut that made for poignant and gripping reading.

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