She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge / Blog Tour

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

 

40232703Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 21st March 2019

Series: DCI Jonah Sheens #1

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 10.01.20)

 

Synopsis:

Get ready for the biggest crime debut of 2019…

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

“A dark, deep, terrific thriller and a scorching portrait of friendship and its betrayal” Nicci French

On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

Rating: four-stars

 

“She Lies in Wait” has a brilliant synopsis. In July 1983, six teenagers go camping in the woods, but only 5 come back. The 14 – year – old Aurora is missing – her sleeping bag is empty and cold. What has happened? Where has she gone? Who last saw her? Is she alive?
Thirty years later, remains are found in the same wood. Soon it’s confirmed that it’s Aurora Jackson. DCI Sheens and his murder squad re – open the case and start investigation. It soon becomes clear that all members of the group that went camping are hiding truth and that there was much more happening as they first told. Was one of them the killer? Or was there someone else involved?

The story is told in alternating time – lines and the events take place on 23rd July 1983 – it’s my birthday. We slowly experience what happened during the camping trip and 30 years later, with the investigation being open again after the remains of Aurora have been found, watching Jonah and his team investigating. And it was not an easy task, what with the disappearance happening so many years earlier. The past tells us what has happened on this day and introduces us more to Aurora’s character – a very compelling one.

I know that some of the bloggers say that they knew almost immediately what the mystery is but I, well, I didn’t know. Yes, that’s me, the worst and slowest logical thinker in the world, I think I wouldn’t make a great inspector. Honestly, till the very end, when the reveal came and face palmed me I didn’t know who it was – and it’s great, really, that the book kept me in darkness for so long.

I liked this book, really liked, but I wanted it to engage me more, as I’ve never felt a part of this story, and I also couldn’t connect with the characters. Actually, all the time one of the friends was mentioned I wasn’t sure who it was and to whom they belonged – especially the male characters, those two that their names began with “B”, I really didn’t know which one of them is the athlete and who’s the politician. And then a Daniel? Was he one of the “Bs”? I am really not sure what has happened here, why I had those problems, can’t explain them – it’s probably one of the things. And I also missed the tension a bit – the book was not as dark and full of surprising twists as I’d hoped it could be – on the other hand, now I’m writing this, it didn’t have to be tense and dark, so everything is okay here. But the writing was very good, the writing style is the one that immediately draws you in and makes you intrigued, it was flowing and seamless, and I was glued to the pages, so that’s a good sign, right?

The characters seemed unengaged, not interested in what has happened with Aurora, and maybe because of the relatively huge number of them we weren’t given the opportunity to really get to know them, deep, and to find their motives. It looks like each person is protecting the other, not telling truth, trying to hide things and forgetting that it’s about murder. On the other hand, DCI Sheens and his squad were interesting characters, and I really liked their work ethics. They also perfectly complemented each other.

“She Lies in Wait” was a slow burner, a methodical and well build and plotted book. It was thoroughly planned and I had a feeling that every detail in this story was very well considered and that nothing unnecessary wasn’t put into this stale. You shan’t expect many “wow” – moments in this story but on the other hand the way it was written, its slow tempo, the hard core police procedures was addictive and I simply enjoyed it very much. It is a clever, multi – layered book and I desperately wanted to uncover every single layer, heck, it doesn’t happen often guys but I wanted to have a look at the last page to see whodunit – I resisted, of course, but the more thrilling it was to discover the truth. Recommended!

 

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One Summer’s Night byKiley Dunbar / Blog Tour

One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar

 

43721993Publisher: Hera Books

Publishing Date: 6th March 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 374

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

The path of true love never did run smooth…did it?

Kelsey Anderson is stuck in a rut so big, she’ll need a 4-wheel drive to get out. She’s just been made redundant from her dead-end job, and boyfriend Fran is so busy climbing up the career ladder that he’s forgotten how to have fun. She needs to change her life – and fast.

Stumbling across an advert for tour guides in Stratford-Upon-Avon seems like the perfect way to bring the sunshine back. In an impulsive move, she moves from her small Scottish village to Shakespeare’s birthplace, armed only with a suitcase and her battered copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Kelsey quickly falls in love with the place, her job as a tourist guide allowing her to explore every inch of the picture-perfect town, from cosy cafes to the picturesque banks of the river.

But it’s not just the town that captures her heart, as she finds herself torn between the actors Will and Jonathan who both vie for her affections.

But will beautiful Peony, the lead actress at the Oklahoma theatre company where Jonathan is playing Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, play a role in keeping Kelsey and Jonathan apart?

Or will flirtatious, charming Will, the fellow tour guide who has set his sights on Kelsey, keep the star-crossed lovers from finding their happy ending?

A gorgeously uplifting, feel good romance that will captivate readers of Holly Martin, Cathy Bramley and Milly Johnson.

my-review

 

Kelsey Anderson finds herself in a rut. She’s just lost her job in a camera shop that she truly loved, her long – term relationship with Francis seems to be going downhill and she really doesn’t know what it is she wants to do with her life. She loves taking pictures, she loves Shakespeare and her fondest memory is this of her last holiday as a family in Stratford – Upon – Avon when her dad was still alive. So when she notices an offer to work as a tour guide in Shakespeare’s birthplace what has she got to loose? It’s only for a summer and maybe after this time they will be able to solve their problems with Francis? Her family and her best friend Mirren encourage her to make this move, Francis is not so thrilled… But as it’s only a temporary position, she decides to go.

I absolutely loved the idea of Kelsey working as a tour – guide. I still can’t forget Molly Hopkins’s Evie Dexter’s series, and it’s years since I’ve read them, and they were a real hit, and I hoped for something very similar with “One Summer’s Night”. I really liked the few rounds of sight – seeing that we got, the interaction with the tourist and the way they were organized and I’d love to read more about them. There were hilarious tourists, some embarrassing situations and the eclectic group of the tourist guides – a lovely idea that felt a little too underdeveloped in comparison to Kelsey’s love life and the many things Shakespeare. The author has really well captured the “Olde English” feeling of the place and vividly and scintillatingly described all the places, bringing them to life.

Kelsey was the main character and she was lovely and full of warmth, though I had a feeling that mentally she’s much younger than her age. I liked her relationship with her family but I wanted more maturity there to be honest, and it felt as if she was sheltered from everything her whole life. Yes, of course, she had her own amount of grief in her young life and my heart went for her but the amount of her sobbing in the book was overwhelming. However, she was a good – hearted person, too easily jumping to conclusions and too quickly withdrawing when there was something happening in her life that didn’t go according to plan, and she would be even better a character with a little dose of self – belief, as she was counting on other people’s help too often. She was just a normal girl but it was probably this normality that made her feel so real and likeable – stuck in a rut, not sure what to do with her life and how to do it, uncertain, her dreams of photography long forgotten, her relationship rather stagnant but better such relationship than none, right? But there was still life in the girl, and even though she’s full of fear, she decides to take the opportunity of the tour guide job. Often questioning herself and her abilities but always finding strength in the end to stay upbeat, to find the courage and it was nice to see her eventually finding her feet and making up her mind, making decision.
The other characters were a group of eclectic, colourful people, perhaps too cartoonish sometimes but still likeable and entertaining.

I enjoyed the writing style, it is very vivid and eloquent, and chatty and also somehow poetic and lyrical – an unusual combination but it works wonders here. I could feel the heat of the midsummer, so vivid was it described, and the descriptions of the town were beautiful – it was a lovely escapism. However, eventually, the whole story started to feel too one – dimensional, too flat and honestly a bit too predictable, too clichéd, too neat. I had a feeling when reading it that I’ve been there and I’ve seen it all.

“One Summer’s Night” covered swelteringly hot summer in Stratford – Upon – Avon, romance, affairs, a great amount of confusion and jumping to conclusions so if you’re looking for an easy, predictable romance with straightforward characters, it’s a book for you. It was a warm, feel – good and uplifting read with some unforgettable moments and gorgeous descriptions.

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The Scandal by Mari Hannah / Blog Tour

The Scandal by Mari Hannah

 

43881946Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 7th March 2019

Series: Stone & Oliver Book #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

When a young man is found stabbed to death in a side street in Newcastle city centre in the run up to Christmas, it looks like a botched robbery to DCI David Stone. But when DS Frankie Oliver arrives at the crime scene, she gets more than she bargained for.

She IDs the victim as Herald court reporter, thirty-two-year old Chris Adams she’s known since they were kids. With no eyewitnesses, the MIT are stumped. They discover that when Adams went out, never to return, he was working on a scoop that would make his name. But what was the story he was investigating? And who was trying to cover it up?

As detectives battle to solve the case, they uncover a link to a missing woman that turns the investigation on its head. The exposé has put more than Adams’ life in danger. And it’s not over yet.

Rating: four-stars

 

Frankie Oliver is called to a murder scene. After arriving, she’s horrified, as she recognizes the victim – it’s her childhood friend Chris Adams. He’s a journalist, now stabbed to death, and while his death initially looks like a robbery gone wrong, further investigation implies that he was working on a big story. Frankie and David Stone start to suspect that there is much more to this case.

“The Scandal” by Mari Hannah is the third book in the Stone and Oliver series, however it can be read as a stand – alone. I haven’t read the previous books before – and I’m going to catch up with them as soon as possible, this is the greatest thing in being a book blogger I think, all the time discovering new authors/books/series and knowing that you’re for a great read.

The novel is told mostly from Frankie Oliver’s point of view and I immediately warmed to her. She has a great personality and a distinctive voice and she’s the right person in the right place, her passion to her job is palpable. Her relationship with David Stone works really well, I liked their banter and their verbal battles and the fact they weren’t afraid to say what they think.

Mostly the books are over – described. I mean, every single detail is meticulously described, all the feelings and emotions are turned upside down, there is no room for the reader’s imagination. “The Scandal” was, however, different – it was very dialogue – driven, the characters talked and talked and talked, and I absolutely loved this variation. It made the book dynamic, quick and there were enough information in those dialogues. Also, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t enough details, because Mari Hannah’s attention to them is absolutely excellent, only she doesn’t overwhelm us with miniscule descriptions. They are vivid enough, they contain enough information but there is also space left for the reader. I totally loved the way she has explained all the police procedures, their meetings etc – it felt like watching a film, the banter between the characters, being able to follow their way of thinking, seeing how they’re working. This story wis fast – paced and often it goes towards things that I would never expect, full of twists and turns. It gradually starts to make links between the murdered journalist and the missing woman and from that moment on the book gains ever more pace, and I adored the fact that it was simply unpredictable in which way it’s going to take us. There came a moment that I stopped guessing and let the author take me on a journey and waited relaxed for all the puzzle pieces to fell into their places.

The author touches upon many issues in this story. She provides a fresh, different perspective at those that were forced into homelessness and at the abuse of the elder members of the society. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but probably my most favourite parts were the police procedural – they were simply so vivid that I had a feeling I’m a witness to all of those procedures.
Mari Hannah can so well capture all the feelings and emotions of her characters. The terror, fright, despair and grief were brilliantly brought to the pages, and the tension was visible. Also, the investigation itself is so well written, we’re starting with nothing, with no witnesses, no point of reference and it slowly builds and builds, starting with a small snowball and ending with an avalanche. The plotting is tight and clever, there are no leaking places, it’s logical yet still full of surprises. I’ll be for sure recommending “The Scandal” and reading other Hannah’s books.

 

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The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett / Blog Tour

The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett

 

51lcobhgdwl._sx325_bo1204203200_Publisher: Bantam Press

Publishing Date: 18th April 2019

Series: David Hunter #6

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Thriller, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle (out now!) | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 31.10.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Forensic expert Dr David Hunter is enjoying an easy-going summer, pleased with both his stable, happy relationship and renewed status as a police consultant who is very much in demand. Even the threat of Grace Strachan – the woman who tried to murder Hunter after breaking into his flat – has been placed in the past.

But Hunter’s peace is disturbed once again when hereceives a call from an old associate, DCI Sharon Ward. A partially mummified corpse has been discovered at St Jude’s Hospital in North London. Awaiting demolition, the empty hospital’s only visitors arethose left behind by society – outcasts, addicts and dealers. Hunter’s forensic expertise concludes the body is of a pregnant young woman. But for how long she has been left is unknown.

‘When a floor of the hospital collapses, it revealsmany other darksecrets. A sealed-off chamber is discovered with beds still inside and some of them occupied. As the investigation unfolds, one thing is certain: St Jude’s hasn’t claimed its last victim.What starts as a straightforward case twists to become a nightmare that threatens Hunter and everyone around him.

Rating: four-stars

 

An empty St. Jude hospital is to be demolished but then a mummified body is found in its loft. Dr David Hunter is called to examine the remains. He can immediately ascertain that the corpse has spent longer time in the hospital. During the examination of the body, David’s colleague, Dr. Conrad, falls through the rotten ceiling and through this fall another room is discovered, with two more bodies. Here begins the investigation that is going to bring more surprises.

I honestly haven’t supposed that I’m going to enjoy this book so much – can I say “enjoy” about a book full of gory details, mummified corpses and descriptions of bones and what flies can do to a dead body? It sounds a bit extreme, yes, but still this word perfectly describes my feelings to this novel. I liked the fact that despite many medicinal details it was easy to follow, and that it was extremely fast paced story. There were many twists and turns but it all sat together perfectly and fitted together.

The story is told from David Hunter’s point of view and quickly I was immersed in his life and what was happening in it – and there was a lot happening, that’s for sure. Although, to be honest, it was probably more of this what was happening than David himself – I mean, his life and his job were much more exciting than David himself. He was not easily ruffled and he controlled himself butt he was perfectly likeable and realistic – as well as the other characters. They were all very well developed and I couldn’t help but feel invested in their lives as well. They felt authentic and Dr Hunter felt human and genuine.

The book was written in – despite the really heavy topic – such a light way that I immediately felt a part of it. The writing style was incredibly descriptive and the author didn’t leave much to the imagination but in that case it works wonders – those descriptions have made the book so thrilling and exciting to read, they details were so well described that you could easily see them in your head, and I absolutely enjoyed the descriptions of David’s job as a forensic anthropologist. Yes, sometimes I did have a feeling that I am on the crash course for the amateur forensics but everything happened at a good pace and it kept me gripped, and let’s be honest, all the details were truly fascinating, no? And I think we should appreciate the fact that the author has managed to bring closer to us the highly complicated details in such accessible and interesting way.

It was a real page – turner and while the final twist was not a surprise for me, the book kept me hooked. It was chilling and captivating and the author has well and easily captured the dark, chilled and tense atmosphere. Also the setting was chosen perfectly, the old hospital a place full of dark secrets and you could never be sure what more they’re going to find there – actually, I was hoping there won’t be anything more to find to be honest, I think I wasn’t ready for another body. I liked how complex and complicated the story was, and how slowly, piece after piece, all the puzzle elements were beginning to be right for each other and the whole picture started to emerge. Yes, it took a lot of time until we really get into the heart of the case but thanks to the writing style those were truly amusing pages.

Although it is already book number 6 in the series it can perfectly well be read as a stand – alone. There is enough retrospection to let us, the first readers, to understand that something happened in the past that has consequences in the present, so that this subplot was understandable and also clear why it was there in this story. “The Scent of Death” was altogether a very multi – layered and complex, intelligent read, mixing well developed characters, mystery and tension. The storyline was meticulously planned and it took time for all the elements to fell into place, it was not at all rushed or pushed forward, the author let the events happen at their own pace. Yes, I was hooked and yes, I am for sure going to read other books in this series. Recommended!

The research behind The Scent of Death

 Working as a freelance journalist in 2002, Simon Beckett visited the Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee for an article about crime scene training for US police officers. At the time, the research facility was the only place in the world to use human cadavers to investigate the process of human decomposition. Using real human bodies, the site aimed to give police officers the most visceral experience of what working with the dead was like. Both harrowed and marvelled by the experience, Simon was left feeling there was more than just a feature article in it.

Alongside the development of the tortured character of David Hunter,Simon began to write The Chemistry of Death, informed by his experience at Body Far in Knoxville.The novel went on to become translated into 29 languages and thus began the infamous Dr Hunter series. While Beckett’s experiences in journalism have contributed to the authenticity of his novels, Beckett also frequently speaks to both UK and US based forensic anthropologists to inform any forensic ambiguity he may have.

While authenticity is essential for Beckett,character and psychological motivations are also hugely important factors to his writing process.Beckett is a huge fan of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series and John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee books.Their flawed and complex characters were instrumental in contributing to the development of Dr David Hunter, rather than opting for the stereotypical heavy-drinking, maverick tough-guy as his main character.

www.simonbeckett.com

 

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The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson / Blog Tour

The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

 

41841567Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 7th March 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The laugh-out-loud Sunday Times bestseller is back and funnier than ever! Perfect for fans of WHY MUMMY DRINKS.

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive.

That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

A gloriously funny and uplifting new book perfect for fans of Gill Sims and Jill Mansell.

Rating: four-stars

 

Nadia is embracing the HEN – Happy Empty Nester – after her twins left for University. And then she meets the fabulous, funny and warm Jack – and they hit it off immediately. Going from full on parenting to a feeling of being a desired woman again is a change that Nadia enjoys very much – and of course uses the situation, the freedom of an empty house and dating again. But then Alfie comes back home earlier as expected and it turns out he’s dropped out of uni – and now Nadia has to juggle her role as a girlfriend and a mother and find a balance and a happy medium. But things don’t go too smoothly.

Nadia was great – in her early 50s and doing nude modelling for an art class and an illustrator and I really liked her life approach. I know, Nadia’s attitude towards Alfie was sometimes soooo overblown – the way she was treating her son like a baby was getting on the nerves, but on the other hand I could absolutely understand her, the desire to help him, to save him the troubles was ringing the bell – I mean, my daughter is only 7, so I have some time still, but oh my god, I’m sure you know this feeling when you simply want to do things for your child just for the sake of it, for some serenity, and because you just cant watch how they’re doing it, right? And Alfie was just such a typical teenager, you want to hug him and in the next second to bang his head on the wall. Really well developed and described, feeling like an adult but deep inside still a child relying on his mum. The ways Nadia would go to defend him only showed that no matter how old our kids are, the inner lioness is going to wake up and simply kill the ones who dare to criticise her kids – you, as mum, are allowed to do this, but not other people, don’t forget it 🙂
Jack was also brilliant – working in a charity shop, divorced and raising his daughter together with his ex, trying to be a good dad and – in my opinion – doing a great job on this front, looking after his work colleagues as well. There was something that happened in his past that he didn’t want to talk about, something really sad and difficult.

The story is told from Nadia and Jack’s points of view and it was great to see their perspective on the same things – that often, as it usually happens, was different. I really liked the romantic aspect, from the very beginning to the end. It was lovely, and warm, and didn’t run smooth, with some tricky moments and sharp turns. There were no silly games between the characters, however they also had problems to communicate sometimes – usually when it came to their families! It was realistically painted, showing what it actually looks like, and feels like – for all involved – when single parents meets someone.

This was a totally nice and relatable book. The pace was only right, the amount of desperation I felt towards Alfie and Nadia as well, and it felt so refreshingly honest and genuine. It’s for sure going to resonate with any parent, not only those whose kids have left home – we were all teenagers, so we know how the wind blows.
“The Mum Who Got Her Life Back” is a down – to – earth story, tackling some real life problems and struggles but without being too depressive, too serious. It touches upon relationships, new and old, and their dynamics, everyday life and problems that it brings and this all written in a very accessible, light writing style. It is full of humour mixed with bittersweet moments and families and characters that will make you smile and also desperate and showing you that you’re not alone here, that we all have to balance the needs of our children, family, friends, sometimes ex – partners and eventually our own. Recommended!

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Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

 

38470184Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

They say you killed…But What If They’re Wrong?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

Rating: five-stars

 

When Maggie wakes up in a hospital after being in coma for ten weeks, her world is immediately shattered when she’s told that her beloved daughter Elspeth was killed in the tragic car accident they were both involved in. Moreover, her husband has left and nobody knows where to find him. Maggie has no memory of the accident and is left with thousands of unanswered questions, with no home and no family, to find the truth about what has happened on that fateful day – and here come the rollercoaster journey, full of twists, turns and dark secrets.

The character of Maggie was well developed and not too straight – forward. I must admit, there were moments that I felt her love to her daughter is too overwhelming, that she doesn’t leave little Elspeth place for breath. Then, her character has made me think so, so much, and I wasn’t too happy with my thoughts, to be honest, because too often I’ve seen myself in Maggie, submerged in her world of books, dreaming of being let alone – and then it happened and what wouldn’t she do to have her daughter back – so be careful what you wish for. Those pangs of conscience must have been unendurable, I am not sure I could live with them, and yes, I love my daughter with my whole heart but I appreciate her even more now, and you can be sure I’ll put any book away to play with her – I don’t want to regret anything, like Maggie did. The bond between Maggie and Elspeth was special and brilliantly captured though, as I have already mentioned, there were moments that it felt too overwhelming, too possessive, too disordered. You can’t help but feel sorry for Maggie but also be uncertain about her. She was complex and complicated character, suffering from severe anxiety and still not being able to come to terms with an event that happened many years ago and resulted in Maggie being sent away for three years. In the story, she takes us back into her past, telling about her relationship with Sean and her joy of being a mother, and slowly unravelling the events that she’d love to forget but that burdened her so much. But there were moments that I felt uncertain about Maggie, about her intentions, if they were really so crystal clear, and I think it’s only natural that I was asking myself if she really was so innocent?

Interspersed through the book, between some of the chapters, were letters from a daughter to her mother. They were heartbreaking in the way the little girl was telling her mother how much she loves her and how she misses her, how lonely and frightened she is. And it was incredibly shocking, and also intriguing, to see how suddenly the letters changed in tone, how the child’s attitude changed when the reality hit and the girl realised that – perhaps – her mum is not going to come and save her.

So, this book. Because the final twists really surprised me – I, of course, have been trying, guessing, suspecting when the things started to become more and more complicated and simply the elements didn’t fit to the puzzle – and it doesn’t happen often, that the story was successful in surprising me, for this it deserves the 5 stars that I am gladly giving. But there is also much, much more that made me like this book so much. It simply had me hooked. Glued to the pages. Involved. From the very first page to the very end, I raced through it. There were moments that I simply didn’t know whom I can trust, if Maggie is really as innocent as I’m thinking, if I’m going crazy perhaps, as suddenly nothing seems as it seemed a second ago, and I loved how the author played with my mind – when I though I am close to truth, that I worked it all out, the story usually too me in a totally different direction.
“Day of the Accident” was realistically and vividly written drama mixed with mystery, full of tension and plotted in a complex, well – thought way and it kept me on my toes. You know, there are books that you simply keep reading, waiting for the final and for the secrets to be revealed but it was not such a book – it makes you think overtime, wondering, trying to work out what has happened, why and what is still to happen. It was emotionally charged and fast – paced story, full of lies, secrets and turns. It’s really well written, it’s full of emotions and poignant moments. It deals with some heavy and difficult issues, yet it doesn’t feel depressing – it’s sad, that’s for sure, as there are many tragic events but it’s also chilling and captivating. Highly recommended!

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The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin / Blog Tour (Guest Post)

Hello guys, the lovely Jo Baldwin, author of “The Good Friend” that is set in the wonderful France during one hot summer and touches upon such issues as toxic friendship, mental health and betrayal and which is full of darkness and tension, has written a brilliant Guest Post for her blog tour stop today. She’s chosen three brilliant things to write about – thank you so much, Jo! –  so put your feet high and enjoy and then treat yourself to the book!

 

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GUEST POST

  1. Books that helped shaped me/my writing

 

I am drawn to stories in which strong, yet complex, characters – usually women – form strong bonds with friends or siblings. When I was a child, my mum passed onto me her copy of Little Women by Louisa M Alcott, and until I could read the words, I would spend hours poring over the beautiful full-colour illustrations, wishing that I could be part of the March family and share in their lively experiences. I grew up with three older brothers, so there was always a part of me that yearned for a sister.

Setting is also very important for me in a novel. When I was 20, I spent a year working as a teaching assistant in a small town near Provence. While there, I read all of the novels by the French author Sébastien Japrisot. My favourite was L’EtéMeutrier (One Deadly Summer), a psychological and suspenseful tale, which unravels slowly during a sultry and oppressive summer heat wave in 1970s southern France. The setting is like another character and serves to build tension and drive the characters to near-madness in this captivating story, which had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the main character Elle. She is so multi-layered – manipulative and seductive, yet fragile.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck is another novel that I first read in my twenties and which has stayed with me. Again, it’s the dry, dusty heat of California which affected me greatly when reading this story. As a reader you get a great sense of location and space, and how the setting itself plays an important part in developing the characters’ behaviours. There’s so much sadness in this story but it’s a powerful tale – a retelling of Cain and Abel. All of the main characters are compelling and complex. I remember reading it for the first time and being so shocked by the pure evil nature of Cathy. Again, another strong female character, but this time, one who destroys those around her.

  1. Researching The Good Friend

It was fairly easy to research the setting of The Good Friend as I have spent a lot of time in the Languedoc during the past 16 years. There’s a small lake close to our family house, which is idyllic to swim in during the summer months, but it can seem murky and uninviting out of season. For the sake of research, I decided to bite the bullet and take a swim in it one cold grey autumnal day so that I could experience it as if I was Kath, one of the main characters in my novel. As soon as I jumped in and felt the reeds lashing at my ankles, I shrieked with pure fright. It felt as if I was swimming in a pond full of eels. The sensation was truly horrible, but it helped me to get inside Kath’s head and experience what she felt when she looked down at Jenny swimming in the soupy green water.

3. My writing process

I don’t have an enormous amount of free time in which to write as I work most days as a freelance marketing consultant. However, I keep Friday as a writing day and try to make it as productive a day as possible.

First I go to an early morning yoga class and try to clear my head of mundane thoughts, so that I can draw on something more inspiring than what to cook for dinner. I’m home by 9.15am and usually put a wash on, before making a coffee and taking it to my desk, where I try to work undisturbed until my sonreturns home from school at 3:30. If I’m struggling to find the words, I’ll reach for a novel from one the many bookshelvesaround the house and read a chapter to see if it can stimulate my thought buds. If that doesn’t work, I make another coffee and hang up the washing. I keep several notebooks around one, even one by my bed, so that if I think of a plot detail or a sentence that’s been bouncing about in my head, I can write it down quickly before I forget it. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming up with an idea then forgetting about it half an hour later, because I didn’t jot it down!

Jo Baldwin

18 Feb 2019

 

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