Skip to content

The Butcher And The Wren By Alaina Urquhart

The Butcher And The WrenThe Butcher And The Wren’ is the debut novel by Alaina Urquhart, co-host of the popular podcast, ‘Morbid’.

In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch. With her encyclopaedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet, he continues to elude her. As body after body piles up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.

Who better to write a book about serial killers than Alaina Urquhart, co-host of ‘Morbid’, a podcast about serial killers. With her extensive knowledge, of personality and characters, I figured that ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ would be a fascinating and addictive story and it certainly was!

The story is seen from the narrative of Jeremy and Wren. Jeremy is a sociopath who works a normal office job inputting data but also enjoys kidnapping people, torturing them before leaving their bloodied bodies for Wren to look after. As the bodies mount up in the most gruesome manner, as a forensic pathologist, Wren is one of the last people to see the victims and figure out what became off them. But as Wren tries to get into Jeremy’s mind who the media have named ‘The Butcher’ due to the slain victims. She tries to find out what pushes a person to become a serial killer and Jeremy begins his killing spree a bit closer to home.

I loved this story, I’ve always had an interest in serial killers and criminology and have subscribed to a few murder podcasts and I’ll most certainly be adding ‘Morbid’ to the list.

The story is an in-dept exploration of the human mind and behaviours and it’s fascinating to see the narrative of Jeremy, who appears emotionless and completely stable in his actions. Reading the narrative of both characters, gave a cat and mouse vibe story, which was almost like a countdown to whether Jeremy would ever be stopped and I found myself rapidly devouring the book, as Wren got closer to Jeremy.

Although the story is wonderfully dark and atmospheric, with the swampy, humid Louisiana air and the unfortunate people that Jeremy preyed upon, there is an element of humour in the story that balances the goriness of the victims as well as the procedures that Wren performs.

With intense characters, storyline and short, snappy chapters that were easy to absorb, ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ is a fantastic debut, cleverly written, thoroughly researched and slightly reminiscent of ’Dexter’, a must for all fans of crime!

You can buy ‘The Butcher And The Wren’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Lies At Her Door By AA Abbott

Lies At Her Door‘Lies At Her Door’ is the latest book by AA Abbott.

Lucy Freeman struggles to find satisfaction in life. Trapped in the shadow of her rock star brother, the thirty-two-year-old craves more than her days at home caring for her terminally ill mother. But her routine takes a turn for the horrifying when a giant sinkhole collapses the earth outside their house and reveals a skeleton. Shocked to discover the bones belong to a former member of her sibling’s band, Lucy’s worst nightmare comes alive when police suspect her of the killing. And as she turns to her dying parent’s diaries in a desperate search for vindication, she’s entangled in a dark and complicated truth. Will unearthing long-buried wrongs prove lethal?

‘Lies At Her Door’ is an intriguing story with a fascinating protagonist that kept me on my toes with her mystery and innocence.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Lucy, a woman who lives with her parents and cares for her mother. One day, a sink hole appears at their house and a body is discovered. The detectives Neil Slater and Sheridan Duffy are investigating the case and Neil knows Lucy from a former life.

Lucy is a complex character, she’s lived in older brother’s shadow for years, a member of a successful boy band called Dr. Sweet. She has a naivety about her, a simple sweetness that makes you warm to her. There is also the perspective from Neil and this give the police procedural slant to the story, as himself and Sheridan played good cop/bad cop whilst interesting the residents of Jackson Crescent. An influential area that is shocked by the discovery of a dead body.

I really enjoyed this story, it’s really relatively short with quick chapters so could easily be consumed in one sitting. I think the main reason I really enjoyed the story, was the complexity of Lucy and how unpredictable of a character she was. ‘Lies At Her Door’ is a cleverly crafted story with underlying suspense and tension threaded throughout.

You can buy ‘Lies At Her Door’ from Amazon.

The Hive By Scarlett Brade

The Hive‘The Hive’ is the debut novel by Scarlett Brade.

Charlotte Goodwin looks directly at the camera and reveals a chilling truth to the thousands watching her Instagram Live broadcast. She has killed her ex-boyfriend’s new partner in cold blood. But she is not finished yet. The viewers must now vote to decide whether he should live or die. The public display sends shockwaves rippling through the online community and the numbers of viewers skyrockets. But as Lincoln’s past is revealed, how will he be judged?

This debut has got to be one of my favourite books of 2022. With a sizzling storyline and strong females, this topical story certainly packed a punch and kept me gripped throughout.

The story is seen through the perspective of Charlotte and starts in the present time, when she’s live broadcasting the death of her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend and how she has got to this moment in her life.

The story then travels back to the past when Charlotte first meets Lincoln, a successful boxer and influencer, Charlotte is an admin assistant and she falls for Lincoln’s charms and good looks hard. But when tragedy strikes and they break up, Charlotte finds it hard to move on especially when Lincoln moves on with a new woman and has his new relationship flaunted in her face.

This story is a powerful and triggering story that certainly makes for thoughtful and topical reading, as we join a woman on a journey to breaking point.

Charlotte is a fantastic lead, she’s strong and passionate and as her relationship and life unravels around her, so does her sanity and this truly is a sad reading. She is supported by a strong network of friends, who have all been there for each other during the hardest of times, whether that’s drugs, abuse or loss, they are always there to help.But they are struggling to help Charlotte particularly, as the life that she could have had is always there to be seen on ‘The Hive’ the social media platform that is rife with gossip and updates and keeps Charlotte informed of Lincoln’s news. Charlotte becomes addicted to social media and is consumed with passion to help put her life together but ‘The Hive’ is always there to catch her at her worst.

The story is topical in that it focuses on social media and life in the limelight. Nothing is private and everyone has an opinion, whether it’s good or bad and the author cleverly included social media posts about the rise of Lincoln and demise of Charlotte. I absolutely hated Lincoln, a narcissist, vain and he constantly gaslit Charlotte and made her double think everything.

Powerfully written, thought-provoking and packed with attitude, ‘The Hive’ is a fantastic thriller about the strength of the sisterhood, the toxicity of social media and the determination to seek vengeance and all these factors made this uniquely written and gripping debut impossible to put down!

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

Hostage By Clare Mackintosh

Hostage‘Hostage’ is the latest book by Clare Mackintosh.

You’re on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney. It’s a landmark journey, and the world is watching. Shortly after take-off, you receive a chilling anonymous note. There are people on this plane intent on bringing it down – and you’re the key to their plan. You’d never help them, even if your life depended on it.But they have your daughter . . . So now you have to choose.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Clare so ‘Hostage’ was a fantastic return to the author.

Set thousands of miles above the ground, Mina has been chosen for the first flight direct from London to Sydney, a momentous moment in her career. But right from the moment that she steps on the plane, she felt that something was wrong and when her daughter’s life is put in danger leaving her with no option but to help hijacker’s take over the plane.

I loved this story, it’s adrenaline inducing, fast paced and written in a style that the reader also feels stuck on the claustrophobic plane.

The story is written through the narrative of Mina and her ex husband Adam. Mina had a childhood dream of becoming a pilot but becomes a cabin crew member instead. Adam has messed up his marriage and is trying to repair it. He wishes that he had the same close relationship with Sophia that Mina has and finds himself always in the sidelines of the family. Sophia is the daughter that they always longed for and even though she wasn’t conceived naturally and isn’t a blood relative. Mina adores her like she’s her own flesh and blood. Sophia is a complex little girl, wise and full of energy, she likes order and routine.

There’s also the inclusion of narratives from the passengers on this famous flight, their background and reasoning behind their trip to Sydney. This is really interesting and was a clever addition by the author, as it keeps the reader on their toes as they try to figure out who the hijackers are.

Thrilling from the first page, ‘Hostage’ is a suspenseful story that pardon the pun – I flew through it! Packed with drama, deceit and focusing on real hard hitting topics such as environment and climate change, this book is about the strength and bond of a mother’s love, whether they are blood related or not.

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

One of The Girls by Lucy Clarke

One of The Girls‘One of The Girls’ is the latest book by Lucy Clarke.

You always know that when you’re settling down to a book by Lucy Clarke, you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride and her latest book was exactly that. A rocky ship that’s not for the faint hearted.

Lexi never thought she’d get married but along came Ed and suddenly she’s got a ring on her finger and bursting to say ‘I do’. Along with her five friends, she goes to Greece for her hen weekend and looks forward to reminiscing, fun and adventures but instead is faced with lies, revelations and a dead body.

I absolutely loved this fast paced thriller, packed with unreliable and suspicious women that all had secrets or dramas going on in their lives. Outspoken and ballsy Bella, who’s the Maid of Honour has an unhealthy obsession with Lexi and wants to constantly be the centre of Lexi and everyone’s attention. Her girlfriend Fen is unsure of her feelings, whilst Eleanor, Lexi’s to be sister in law, is sad that she was unable to make it down the aisle due to the tragic death of her fiancé Sam. Robyn, Lexi and Bella’d childhood is dealing with the aftermath of a broken marriage and new born baby and Ana is adapting to her little boy becoming a surly teenager.

I loved the dynamics of this story, the conflict was rife and each snappy chapter was riddled with suspense. The different narratives made the story particularly gripping as all the women had a gripe with someone so that made the story even more thrilling as we wondered who the victim was and who killed them.

Set against the hot and heady backdrop of Greece, ‘One Of The Girls’ is an intoxicating thriller packed with twists, tension that makes for perfect poolside reading.

We were dying for a holiday. The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends. On the first night we swam under a blanket of stars. On the second night the games began on our clifftop terrace. On the third night the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering on the breeze. And by the final night there was a body on the rocks below. Who would kill for it?

You can buy ‘One Of The Girls’ from Amazon and is available to buy good bookshops.