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The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins

The Wife Upstairs‘The Wife Upstairs’ is the latest book by Rachel Hawkins.

When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can’t believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year ago. Eddie can give Jane everything she’s always wanted: stability, acceptance, and a picture-perfect life. But what Jane doesn’t know is that Eddie is keeping a secret – a big secret. And when the truth comes out, the consequences are far more deadly than anyone could ever have imagined.

I started reading this book last night and I read it in one sitting, it was just that addictive. The story is dark, compelling with protagonists that kept the story moving at a fast pace.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of Jane and Bea. Jane is new to the Mountain Brook area and is settling with her dog walking business. Walking the dogs, she sees the glamorous lives of the women with their rich husbands and designer brands on tap and Jane occasionally helps herself to this lifestyle, so she’s not always looking in. But one day, she meets handsome Eddie Rochester and he takes her breath away offering her a new lifestyle and no shortage of money. But Eddie is the talk of the town, his wife Bea and her best friend disappeared on a boating trip and Eddie has always been a suspect. But Jane is convinced that charismatic Eddie is innocent but there’s something about him that makes her unsettled. The other perspective of the story is from Bea and the moments leading up to accident.

I loved this book, the characters are great, unreliable and this makes for gripping reading. I loved Jane, she’s deceptive with a tough exterior but underneath she’s soft and wanting to fit in and Eddie is the key to her success. Jane has her secrets and an old life that she’s running from.

The story is fast paced injected with unexpected humour and wit that really keeps the reader on their toes. Like Jane, Eddie is also a fascinating character, he’s handsome and charming and it’s obvious he’s a sought after bachelor with all the women in the town lusting after him, but there’s something underneath that charisma that’s unsettling.

A thrilling and dramatic story about murder and ambition, ‘The Wife Upstairs’ is a modern twist on the crime noir filled with unreliable narratives and an unexpected twist that leaves the reader bursting for more.

You can pre-order ‘The Wife Upstairs’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 29th April 2021.

Sleepless By Louise Mumford

Sleepless”Sleepless’ is the latest book by Louise Mumford.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years. So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life. Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes. But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep.

‘Sleepless’ is an unsettling story that is cleverly crafted to keep the reader on their toes.

The story is seen mostly through the narrative of Thea, who hasn’t had a proper night’s sleep in years. Admitting defeat and after seeing the clinic advertised a number of times, Thea signs herself up to Morpheus, which guarantees her a cure for her sleep deprivation. The clinic is on an remote island and even though her mother was convinced she’s joining a cult, Thea wonders if her mother is correct when her new friend called Rosie is brutally attacked and Thea finds herself the subject of unwanted attention with her sleep issues.

Right from the offset, this book is an uncomfortable read, from the claustrophobic island to the secretive testing, it’s obvious that something sinister is happening to the participants of the clinic but as Thea delves into the clinic’s work, it brings up some nasty surprises.

The story is vividly written and descriptive from the description of the island, the metal discs that are stuck to the participants head and are unable to be removed to the vivid dreams the keep the people awake.

Thea is an interesting lead as she is determined to find out what’s really happening at the clinic and seems to be able to thrive on little or no sleep. Other elements from the story are seen from the perspective of her mother Vivian. I loved Vivian with her viewpoints and outspoken behaviour and determination to save her daughter.

With a gripping and unsettling plot line that hooks the reader in, ‘Sleepless’ is a chilling thriller with suspicious characters that will leave the reader unable to sleep until they reach the final page.

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

The Therapist By B.A. Paris

The Therapist‘The Therapist’ is the latest book by Sunday times bestselling author B.A. Paris.

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive. As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before. Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem.

B.A. Paris has rapidly become one of my favourite authors after reading her debut novel called ‘Behind Closed Doors’/

It’s now the norm for me to read her books in one sitting and ‘The Therapist’ was no different. Although, I did stupidly start the book before bed one night, intending to read only a chapter or 2 but ended reading 24 instead and unable to put it down the following day!

The story is seen through the narrative of Alice, who’s just moved into her new house with her boyfriend Leo. After months of only seeing each other at the weekends, they decided to give their relationship a proper go with buying a house together. Having left the comfort of her country cottage, Alice moves into the private, gated community, home to professional couples and families. It’s at her house warming party that she meets her neighbours and is surprised at their coolness towards her. But Alice is determined to male friends and is horrified to discover that one day, a man turns up telling her that a woman called Nina was brutally murdered in the house.

Alice is distraught that Leo had kept this information from her and so begins the breakdown of their relationship and Alice’s fascination into Nina’s death and her own quest into finding out who really killed Nina.

The story is filled with paranoia and suspense as Alice begins to discover flaws in Nina and in her new friends with the secrets that they keep. As the story develops, it’s difficult to sometimes tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not as Alice is a bit of an unreliable narrator at times and other people including Leo are seen as a potential threat.

I loved this story, it’s well written and paced with short and snappy chapters that really engage the reader. I speak from experience! Alice is a great protagonist, she’s complex and finds a connection in Nina, as she shares the same name as Alice’s sister who is also dead and hopes that with finding Nina’s killer, will give her some peace even if that means making some enemies along the way.

The story is not only seen from Alice’s perspective but there is also an unknown therapist meeting their patients for the first time.

Atmospheric and filled with paranoia and suspense throughout, ‘The Therapist’ is a gripping guessing game with unsettling moments and suspicious characters that keeps the reader on their and is another terrific roller coaster of a story from B.A. Paris.

You can pre-order ‘The Therapist’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th January 2021.

Forgive Me By Susan Lewis

Forgive Me”Forgive me’ is the latest book by Susan Lewis.

This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years. But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

This was the first book that I’ve read by Susan and it was a fantastic introduction to the story.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of a woman called Claudia who is escaping from her old life with her only daughter Jasmine and her mother called Marcy who have undertaken new identities to escape their old lives. But a terrible incident occurs when both lives connect leaving the family in chaos.

This book is a complex story of morals and forgiveness and delves into the concept of restorative justice which gives the victim of a crime an opportunity to meet the offender and put their views across, an interesting concept that I wasn’t aware of. It made me wonder about this concept whether it was successful and helped bring closure to victims and offenders.

The story travels at a fast pace and includes narratives from both Claudia and her family as well as an unknown man who is remorseful for his actions. As the story develops, we come to understand the unknown man and terrible repercussions of his actions.

The characters are a great mix of personalities, but I felt such a warmth towards Claudia and Marcy as they settle into their new lives and make new friends but they’re always on edge that they’re going to be exposed. Dan is also an interesting character, as him and Claudia tentatively begin a friendship and he introduces her to restorative justice.

There’s an element of suspense to the story as Claudia fears that her identity will be revealed, as well a deep underlying sadness as the family have to come to terms to the trauma that has come to their doors.

Beautifully written, filled with compassion and moments of poignant, ‘Forgive Me’ is a story of hope and new beginnings and is an deep exploration of morals and forgiveness.

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

The Chalet By Catherine Cooper

The Chalet‘The Chalet’ is the debut novel by Catherine Cooper.

French Alps, 1998. Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns. 20 years later. Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting. Someone knows what really happened that day.

Catherine’s debut novel is a fast paced and action packed novel that made chilling reading.

The story is written in past and present sequences leading up to the discovery of a body in the French Alps. This all happens when Ria and her husband Hugo are there, when Hugo is trying to encourage new clients with his holiday business. He’s deeply in love with his wife Ria, but Ria isn’t as committed as he is and sees the life as more of an convenience.

There are multiple narratives in the story and one of the narratives is particularly interesting as they aren’t revealed but they have a huge role in the story and throughout the story. I’m found myself trying to guess scenarios and culprits and was pleasantly that each time I was wrong, proving this is far from a predictable story.

There’s a wide range of personalities in the story and Catherine has a skill of creating multiple dislikable characters that make for sad and unsettling reading.

Chillingly written and a book that I consumed in one seating, ‘The Chalet’ is a claustrophobic and atmospheric story that was a thrilling adrenaline journey from the very beginning.

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