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The Agathas By Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Dawson

The Agathas‘The Agathas’ is the latest book by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson.

After falling from grace last summer, Agatha Christie-obsessed Alice Ogilvie needs to stay out of trouble. While smart and reclusive Iris Adams just wants to get the hell out of Castle Cove. But now they have a murder to solve. There are clues the police are ignoring, a list of suspects a mile long and some very dangerous cliffs. Amateur detectives Alice and Iris are about to uncover just how many secrets their sleepy seaside town is hiding.

If you enjoy Young Adults novels with a side of mystery, then look no further as the wittily named ‘The Agathas’ is for you!

The story is seen through the narrative of Alice and Iris, who attend the same school in Castle Cove but are complete opposites. Alice Ogilvie was once part of the popular school gang called ‘the mains’ whilst Iris Adams sits on the outside with the other nerds. She and her mother struggle for money and making ends meet, so when the opportunity arises for Iris to get extra funds by tutoring Alice, she jumps at the chance. But their tutoring are put to one side when one of Alice’s former best friends, Brooke is found dead and Alice’s ex-boyfriend is accused of her murder.

The story then flows between the characters as the pair of them embark on finding Brooke’s killer as well as finding out somethings about themselves along the way. I really enjoyed this story, it’s dark, relatable and reads like a traditional whodunnit but from the fresh approach of teenage girls.

Both Alice and Iris are great characters, although polar opposites in life, they have a respect for each other’s lives. Where Iris has poverty, she has a mother who loves her dearly and where Alice has an absent family, she has an abundance of wealth at her fingertips. Their determination to solve the crime much to the local police’s despair along with the Alice’s love of Agatha Christie novels really made for entertaining reading. Alice has had some issues in her past life and because of this has lost her status at the high school and this makes for sad reading when former best friends turn on her.

As well as some great lines from and tips from Agatha Christie novels, there were also the inclusion of text messages and communications from students at the the high school. This insight gave the bitchy, gossipy side from teenage girls, cliques and how malicious rumours can harm lives.

This story is the first book written by writing duo Kathleen Glasgow and Elizabeth Lawson and it was written wonderfully, I’d love to know more about the writing process of the book, whether they each played a character or simply wrote alternating chapters.

A story filled with murder, good old fashioned mystery and packed with hormonal teenagers and gossip, ‘The Agathas’ was a tremendous book and I look forward to reading more from this writing duo.

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

A Tidy Ending By Joanna Cannon

A Tidy Ending‘A Tidy Ending’ is the latest book by Joanna Cannon.

Linda has lived around here ever since she fled the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is – pushing the Hoover round and cooking fish fingers for tea is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy catalogues coming through the door for the house’s previous occupant. Terry isn’t perfect – he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard – until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women start to go missing in the neighbourhood. If Linda could just track down Rebecca, who lived in the house before them, maybe some of that perfection would rub off on her. But the grass isn’t always greener: you can’t change who you really are, and there’s something nasty lurking behind the net curtains on Cavendish Avenue…

I’ve spent my evening absorbed in the latest book by Joanna Cannon and I can tell you, it’s addictive!

The story is seen through the narrative of Linda Hammet, a fascinating woman with simple needs who leads a simple life. She’s married to Terry, likes her house to be in order and works in a charity shop sorting out the donations. But when local women are murdered in the estate that herself and Terry have just moved into and she finds herself obsessing over the case like everyone including her opinionated mother. But as well as obsessing over the murders, Linda finds wondering about the previous resident of her new home when her post is delivered to her house.

Can I just say that this book is unreal and Linda is one of the most interesting protagonists that I’ve had the joy to read. To the outside world, she appears as simple and not clued in, people are sympathetic towards and humour her, but infact Linda is cunningly clever and this is the absolute magic in this story that made it impossible to put down. She pays more attention than people give her credit for.

Linda lives her life through rose tainted glasses and people regularly take advantage of her kind heart and when she commits to something, she’s in it 100%! She enjoys nothing more than tidiness and order and spends her time cleaning up other people’s lives.

Her interactions with her mother also made for engaging reading as her mother was quick to voice her opinion and her outlook on the world did make me chuckle at times.

Joanna has crafted an amazing story with an intricate storyline that flows at a fast pace and flows between past and present tense. The story is thrilling, compelling with such dark moments of wit and innocence that was fantastic reading.

The whole time I was reading this book, I totally imagined it as a screen adaptation with someone like Carey Mulligan playing the innocent role of Linda.

Gripping, macabre with relatable characters and a stunning leading lady, ‘A Tidy Ending’ is one of my favourite books of 2022 and if you like dark stories of revenge, then you’re in for a treat.

You can buy ‘A Tidy Ending’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

After The Rain By Lucy Dillon

After The Rain‘After The Rain’ is the latest book by Lucy Dillon.

Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling. On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything. Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Lucy Dillion and ‘After The Rain’ was a lovely book to sink into and return to her writing.

The story is seen through the narrative of Tara, her mother has recently passed away and has left Tara the house and in going through old things, stirs up old emotions. Tara’s relationship with her father is a turbulent one, after her father left her and her twin brother Toby and when he reappears in her life wanting to make amends as well as help the town get back on its feet after recent flooding. Tara is a counsellor helping others put their lives back together but she feels like her own life is falling apart with the reappearance of her father Keith, a charismatic man that charms everyone and as much as Tara wants to repair her relationship like she advises her clients, she finds it to move on. There’s constant reminders of Keith’s absence from Tara’s life especially at pivotal moments in her life and this does makes for sad reading particularly when Keith’s new life meets his old life.

I loved Tara, she’s warm, kind with a huge heart. Her interactions with her clients make for interesting reading, as the advice she gives them is something that she needs to apply to her own life. When David, a new counsellor joins the team, he’s a fascinating addition to the story with quite an unusual way of dealing with problems and his new friendship with Tara makes for lovely reading as he helps her address her own problems.

This story is a story of community, relationship and repair, as a community begins to repair itself after the terrible floods, houses are ruined and people themselves begin to heal. ‘After The Rain’ is a beautifully written story, packed with poignancy and reflection as people look back on their lives and decide whether they want to move on or live in the past.

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

Remember Me By Charity Norman

Remember Me By‘Remember Me’ is the latest book by Charity Norman.

After years of living overseas, Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time – and to glimpse shattering truths about his past. Are some secrets best left buried?

When you read a book by Charity, you know it’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster of a story that grips from the first sentence.

The story is seen through the narrative of Emily, who has moved to England, but has been called back to her homeland in New Zealand when her father develops dementia. But moving back home, brings up a world of new memories especially on the 25th anniversary of a missing woman called Leah, who’s a friend of the family. And with her father, losing his grip on reality, he’s starting to talk about Leah and Emily fears that he knows more about the disappearance than she ever realised.

I loved this story, it’s atmospheric with the rural setting of the small New Zealand town with a small population where everyone knows everyone. Ever since Leah disappeared, the town has never been the same and there was always a curiousity into Leah’s disappearance. Emily is a great protagonist, her relationship with her father has always been rocky, but moving back home after years away, she develops a bond for the vulnerable man who was once the pillar of the community but who’s now uncertain and scared.

The revelations between the pair of them make for tender and sad reading as the pair of rediscover each other and Emily has to deal with one minute having a normal lucid father and other times thinking there’s a stranger in his house. Charity writes vividly and emotionally, it does strike a chord with me at times.

Emily has elder siblings, a brother and sister and they all think they know what’s best for Felix, their father. But the siblings come to blows when Emily is given the power of attorney and the twins fall out with Emily over this new power, even though at the core of it all, they all care for Felix and his welfare.

A story of nostalgia and recovery, ‘Remember Me’ is a taunt and intense story about old ghosts, relationships that makes for intriguing reading.

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

Watch For Me By Martin Bodenham

Watch For Me‘Watch For Me’ is the latest book by Martin Bodenham.

Tom Harper, a Vancouver Island realtor, has the client from hell, Ali Page, a beautiful and intelligent young lawyer returning from the mainland to take up a job with an island law firm. Trouble is there’s always something wrong with the properties Tom shows her, always a reason not to commit. Finally, after they find a condo she likes, he receives a text thanking him for his help. Ali signs off: I’m sad we won’t get to spend more time together. Ali’s words seem strangely out of character. The texts keep coming, increasingly incoherent and disturbing. Tom cannot understand why a woman not much older than his teenage daughter is suddenly obsessed with him. When he rejects Ali’s unsolicited advances, Tom soon discovers the sinister depths to which a delusional mind will sink to obtain what it wants.

This book gripped me and frustrated from the first page, so much so that I couldn’t put it down until I reached the final page. So, I had to say goodbye to my planned early night!

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Tom Harper, a successful realtor who’s been given the unhappy task of trying to find a house for the daughter of their family friend. Ali is a peculiar character, non-communicative whilst house hunting, but once Tom finds her an apartment, her obsession begins, calling, texting, stalking, threatening and completely disrupting his marriage, family and career.

There’s no other word to describe this book other than mad! Ali is the most disillusioned and determined character that I have ever read in a book or seen in a film. She’s clueless to Tom’s refusals and decides that if she can’t have him then no one can and is always changing her story to keep everyone on side and in doubt.

Right from the start, I was completely sympathetic to Tom and how each day, a new threat or disaster happened. I loved how through the suspense was regularly building and I found myself also like Tom, on edge and anxious throughout the day.

Martin has cleverly crafted a thriller that really pulled me into the late night. The characters are a complex mix with their obsessive and deceitful traits that really made for thrilling reading. The story is also seen through Ali’s narrative in parts, as she sets her plans in place oblivious to the hurt she’s causing. It’s fascinating to see the stalker angle from a male perspective and how Tom is treated, as an older man people including the police and society people are convinced he’s lying.

A gripping and thrilling psychological book that hooks the reader from the dramatic first line, ‘Watch For Me’ is a fantastic spin on the traditional stalker plot with an unhinged leading lady and a sympathetic man.

You can buy ‘Watch For Me’ from Amazon.