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After The Silence By Louise O’Neill

After The Silence‘After The Silence’ is the latest book by Irish author, Louise O’Neill.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder. The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but on-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever. Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

Louise O’Neill is back with another fantastic book with a deep exploration of female characters and toxic relationships, with a shocking end that kept me awake far later than my bedtime intended.

For me, Louise has become that author, who’s book I have to read on its publication day and after completion, I then sit back with my thoughts at the genuinely gripping and atmospheric writing.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Keelin Kinsella written in the past and present tense. The past sequences are about her life, her family and meeting her second husband Henry Kinsella, who’s family was a blow in to the remote island and brought much needed economy to Inisrún. Keelin falls for Henry’s charm and security and they marry. But on her 37th birthday party, a young girl was found murdered at the house and this later became known as ‘The Crowley Girl’ and although no one was ever charged with her murder, all fingers pointed towards Henry. Now 10 years later, an Australian film making duo want to make an anniversary documentary about the murder and talk to everyone involved, including Keelin and Henry.

‘After The Silence’ is a new angle for Louise, as it’s the first murder mystery from the Irish author, but having said that, it’s one of the best mysteries that I’ve read in a while.

The setting of the small rural and remote island where only access is available via a boat, gives an eerie and claustrophobic vibe to the story. It’s a small close knit community that was torn apart from the murder and never recovered, with speculation and conspiracies shared at every opportunity.

The characters are extremely interesting in this book, particularly Keelin. She left an abusive relationship for the sake of her eldest son and thinks that she has found love and security with Henry but it comes at a price. He’s controlling and manipulating and has people come to house to do her hair and make-up instead of letting her leave the house. He says that it’s for the best for her, as people have turned against them since the murder. She’s convinced that he’s only looking out for her but as time goes by, Keelin begins to wonder if she has left one abusive marriage for another. Through the past and present sequences, we see Keelin change in character, she becomes meeker and more subdued as her wings become more clipped. Henry is a charming and charismatic man, who boasts wealth and statue but after the death of the young girl, the village have turned on him even though he denies any involvement and hopes the documentary will prove his innocence.

Like Louise’s previous books, ‘After The Silence’ focuses on toxic relationships, gas lighting and inter partner terrorism (a new one for me). She explodes coercive control and writes in great detail, how much a person can change with slowly being chipped away. This story evoked some extreme reactions in me from profound sadness to raging anger to think that there were men and women in the world that are exposed to this type of treatment on a daily basis, unaware of how they were going to be treated to walking on eggshells and not create a negative reaction. It’s also evident that Louise went to huge lengths of research for this book, exploring relationships and police procedures.

As well as the past and present sequences, there are also extracts from the film makers interviewing residents of the island and this makes for really intriguing reading, as they all have their own thoughts and opinions on the night as well as Henry and Keelin Kinsellsa.

As the story is set on a remote island, there are elements of the Irish language throughout it and this gave an almost folklore vibe to the story as well as the tight knit community who all seek to find justice for the young girl.

A compelling dark and twisted story of murder and devastation, ‘After the Silence’ is an atmospheric and psychological story about the justice for a young girl that raises unanswered questions and takes a look at what really goes on behind closed doors when everything is quiet.

You can buy ‘After the Silence’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Murder On The Moorland By Helen Cox

Murder On The Moorland‘Murder On The Moorland’ is the third book in the Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery series by Helen Cox.

Kitt Hartley wakes to the news that a murder has been committed in Irendale, a village high on the wild Yorkshire moors where her boyfriend, DI Malcolm Halloran, lived with his ex-wife until she too, was murdered. The MO of the two crimes is identical, right down to the runic symbols carved into the victims’ hands. Unable to leave it to the local police to solve, Kitt and Halloran travel to Irendale, where a literary mystery awaits. A line of Anglo-Saxon poetry found on the victim leads to a hiding place, and another cryptic clue. What is the connection to the murder of Halloran’s wife all those years ago?

The latest book in the Kitt Hartley series is another explosive and addictive story of murder and mystery.

This time Kitt and her partner Malcolm Halloran have returned to Malcolm’s previous home where a murder has occurred and the victim was killed in a similar style of Malcolm’s wife. Although he’s not officially investigated the case, Mal feels a pull towards the case wanting to find out the truth, face up to the past to go forward with his future with Kitt.

This story is not only a murder case but also a treasure hunt as the duo use clues hidden behind from the murder to figure out who the killer is. But the killer is one step ahead of them and is out to stop them.

I’ve come to really enjoy the Kitt Hartley series, as the books have progressed we seem the relationship between Kitt and Mal blossom not only romantically but professionally as the duo work together to solve the crime as well as getting closer and developing more trust in each other. I really enjoy the dynamic between the couple and how Kitt always has a literary quote or fact to hand, to add a bit of eccentricity to her character.

The story is only a murder mystery but it’s also a poignant tale as Mal has to face up to old ghosts and finally put the tragic murder of his wife behind him to move on with Kitt and this makes for bitter sweet reading in parts.

Like the previous books in the Kitt Hartley series, ‘Murder on the Moorland’ is an addictive and fun whodunnit murder mystery. Filled with drama and suspense, this cosy thriller set in a sleepy village is cleverly plotted and charming story.

You can buy ‘Murder On The Moorland’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Tales of Mystery Unexplained By Steph Young

Tales of Mystery Unexplained

‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained’ by Steph Young, is a collection of unexplained stories from a podcast by the same name.

What happened to Elisa Lam, found dead in a water tower atop a hotel roof? Who were the two men who came to see her & what was in the mystery box they gave her? Why did the location of her gravestone match the zip code of a Bookstore, miles away? Why was a man found in the same spot he disappeared, but 4 years later, with a hole in his head that no surgeons could explain? And what did this have to do with a séance, doppelgangers & the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Why did a man write the Fibonacci sequence as a clue & tell a stranger he was “Looking for the Beast,” before he disappeared in the barren plains of a desert? Plus many more Tales of Mystery Unexplained.

If you enjoy books that keep you on the edge of your seat with unexplained, paranormal stories this book is for you, but if you prefer stories that are real life with no logical explanation, than steer clear as this book is not for you!

Having recently moved house, this book might not have been the best idea, as I found myself tensing up at each new sound. But being a sucker for unexplained stories, I delved straight in and found myself reading terrifying stories of unexplained disappearances and deaths.

The book is quite short at only 166 pages and is based on a podcast series by Steph Young by the same name. The stories are extremely well researched and there are different narratives and explanations as Steph tries to find logical reasons for the strange situations.

The stories are all equally fascinating but the one story that I found most interesting and the longest one was the death of Elisa Lam, which scarily happened quite recently in 2013. She was found dead in a water tank at the top of a hotel in Los Angeles, the moments leading up to her death are terrifying as she is seen alone in a lift, but behaving as if she has someone with her that she was afraid off. Her last moments are available to watch on the internet and as curious as I am to watch, I’ve managed to steer clear.

Even though this book is terribly unsettling in parts, it was a compulsive range of stories that I found both fascinating and terrifying to read in equal measures. The stories are cleverly told with an informative and friendly narrative.

If you’re fan a of ‘The X Files’ and enjoy stories of everything that goes bump in the night, then ‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained’ is most certainly the book for you, but if you prefer stories with a more happier ending then I’d maybe steer clear but I’ll certainly be recommending the book and podcast to friends who enjoy those types of stories.

You can the chilling book from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Lulu Taylor Reveals New Book – The Snow Angel

'The Snow AngelLulu Taylor is back with her second book this year called ‘The Snow Angel’.

The story of ‘The Winter Angel’ is –

Cressida Felbridge is living the high life as a debutante in 1960s London society when she is courted by a friend of her brother’s and set to marry. Wishing only the best for his daughter, her father decrees that she must have her portrait painted to mark the occasion. But as soon as she meets the painter Ralph Few, Cressie knows her life will never be the same again. Soon, she is deeply in love with Ralph, but there is one problem: Ralph is still married to Catherine. As Cassie is drawn into a strange, triangular relationship, Catherine’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and Ralph and Cressie escape to Cressie’s family home in Cumbria. But Catherine will not give up Ralph that easily . . .

In the present day, Emily Conway has everything she could wish for: a huge house in West London, two beautiful children and a successful husband, Will. But as Emily and Will drive to a party, Will reveals that he has been betrayed by his business partner. Steering the car off the road at high speed, their perfect life is abruptly ended. When she wakes from her injuries, Emily is told of a mysterious legacy: a house in Cumbria on the edge of an estate, left to her by a woman she has never met. Could this house provide the chance to start anew, or does it hold secrets that she must uncover before it can be at peace?

I love Lulu with her dark and intriguing tales of family and betrayal and ‘The Snow Angel’ sounds just as twisty. Another book to look forward in 2014.

You can pre-order The Snow Angel from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th December 2014.

The Third Wife By Lisa Jewell

The Third Wife‘The Third Wife’ is the latest book by Lisa Jewell.

London 2011: In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman is killed by a bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide? A year later, her devastated husband, Adrian Wolfe, is determined to find out. Adrian and Maya had only recently married, and he’d always believed they were happy together. His children from his two previous marriages loved her. And Maya loved them. She had a job she enjoyed, she had plenty of friends, and she and Adrian were trying for a baby. They seemed to have the perfect life. Why then might she have wanted to kill herself? When Adrian finds a hidden stash of poisonous emails on Maya’s laptop he begins to identify the dark cracks in her life. Because everyone has secrets. And secrets have consequences. Some of which can be devastating.

Lisa is back with another cracker of a book that wrecked my sleep pattern for two nights in a row as I sat up late reading eager to see how the story would end.

The story is written in Lisa’s sharp, concise style and begins right at the moment where the leading character Maya realises that her life is in chaos and is tragically killed in a freak accident. The story then moves in different parts flashing between past and present tenses with various people from Maya’s life as they all deal with her sudden death and possibility of it being either murder or suicide.

The flashbacks from the past are primarily seen through Maya’s perspective and this I found made for particularly interesting and chilling reading as she discovers that someone close to her is watching her every move and threatening her but what is even scarier for Maya, it seems to be someone within the extended family, who all welcomed Maya into the family with open arms. In these scenes, we also see her doubt the life that she was initially secure with, but as the threats grow more menacing Maya retreats into herself. Maya is a sweet woman, a lot younger than her husband Adrian and settles into the role as the third wife. She seems comfortable in the new position but feels pressure to have a baby and suddenly finds herself developing feelings for an unlikely suitor.

The present chapters feature Adrian Maya’s husband, as he gathers information leading up to Maya’s death and finds a few surprises along the way as well as a mysterious woman who knows a lot about Maya. His children also feature in the book, from young children to young adults, we see their reactions and thoughts on the sudden loss of their fathers third wife. Adrian was also an interesting character, he moved easily from relationship to the next, not really thinking about the consequences of his actions and also seemed to be in love with the notion of finding love. His family was an unique one, having divorced two women amicably, both families regularly holiday and hang out together without any animosity towards each other.

Lisa’s books covers have always had a certain style with them, whether it is an illustration or a stylish Instagram type of photograph. But, the cover to ‘The Third Wife’ is an interesting move with simply three sets of wings on a clothesline giving nothing away which definitely makes for intriguing reading.

I’ve been a fan of Lisa for a few years and after reading ‘The Third Wife’ in two days, I have to say this is my favourite book by her. It’s deliciously dark, twisty and really hooks the reader in. Having crossed over from female fiction into literature that is quite a bit darker, Lisa has delivered a cleverly written and a shocking treat of a story with unexpected turns, dark characters and plenty of twists that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

You can buy The Third Wife from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.