Chiller Review: Willow Walk by SJ Holliday

First line: ‘Four bodies. Vague Shapes. A stale, sticky smell.’

Blurb: When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour.

As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away?

As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

This is the second in the Banktoun trilogy which features Sergeant Davie Grey as he faces a disturbing case when a woman is found brutally attacked, an escaped inmate is on the loose and a spate of legal highs become connected.

But when Marie, Davie’s new love interest, receives a letter one morning which turns her whole world upside down, Marie starts behaving erratically. As Marie’s behaviour spirals further out of control as she is pulled into further into the violent past she thought she’d escaped Davie realises she is connected – but how?

What can I say about this without giving away spoilers? This is such a chilling, disturbing yet emotional read which kept me hooked as a reader right until the very end. The novel is told from the point of view of Davie, Marie and features a number of creepy letters addressed to Marie which reveals things about her character which cleverly reveals her backstory and her tragically dark past. I loved the dark, complex characters who all have deep secrets they are trying to hide from each other. The novel is set in a small community which I loved where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business even though Marie is still trying to hide things.

What I really liked about the novel is the number of hard-hitting themes that the author tackles in this story including; obsessive love, violence and the dangers of legal highs.

This is a chilling story full of twists and turns which keeps the reader gripped until the very end. A definite must-read!

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about S J Holliday follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday.

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Thriller Review: See How They Run by Tom Bale

First Line: ‘Any noise in the night could wake him now.’

Blurb:  How far would you go to save your family?

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?  One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time to breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only one choice:  STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.

Meet Harry and Alice French – they are ordinary people who are new parents to an eight-week old baby daughter Evie. One evening  masked men break into their house looking for a man called Renshaw and threatening Evie, their lives are turned upside down. But as they think their ordeal is over, the very next day Harry and Alice find two police officers knocking on their door asking about a mysterious package to Renshaw, they begin to realise they have become targets along with Renshaw. Now Harry and Alice must separate to save their daughter Evie and fight for their lives.

The only way I can begin is by saying one word: WOW!

I absolutely loved this novel which is full of so many surprising twists and turns; everytime I thought I had it figured out the author pulled out yet another shocker keeping me on my toes – I even gasped out loud at many points in the novel.

The characterisation in this novel is spot on with two seemingly unimportant but very likeable characters of Harry and Alice as their ordinary lives are thrown into disarray while they are caught up in a number of life and death situations. The action is completely full on with guns, car chases and lots of running on foot but still manages to evoke a lot of empathy for Harry and Alice. The author really captures the desperate plight of both of these characters while still maintaining the suspense and tension right until the very last moment of the book.

I found this such a believable plot as Harry and Alice are forced to make split second decisions to not only find eachother again but to ultimately save their family. It is very easy as a reader to see how one rash decision can lead to such devastation and as the novel progresses, the author introduces more characters as a way to build even more tension which left me wondering whose side each character is on and who can I really trust?

I cannot praise this book enough! This is a breath-taking, edge of the seat thriller which held nothing back with a tightly weaved plot which will keep you guessing right until the very end.

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for my copy of See How They Run.

To buy this book on Amazon Kindle click here

To find out more about Tom Bale follow him on Twitter @t0mbale.

Orenda Book Publishers Event

On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Orenda Book Publishers Salon Event at Waterstones Piccadilly.

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Orenda Book Publishers are an independent book publishing company, the brainchild of Karen Sullivan, who publish literary fiction but with a heavy emphasis on the crime and thriller genre.

This was a fabulously informal event which featured 12 amazing authors, published by Orenda, discussing each of their books in turn. Each author spoke a little bit about what their novels are about, the themes in their novel, their characters and how they became a published author.

The event also featured wine, cupcakes with pictures of the novels on, book signings and time at the end to talk to the authors.

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So for the featured authors and novels:

David Ross is a scottish author and has penned two novels; The Last Days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespers. Both of these novels are set in the 1980s; The Last Days of Disco features to young boys setting up a mobile disco and his second novel follows on from his first and is written in vernicular. – @dfr10.

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trolliop from South Africa and has penned two novels; A Death in the Family and Deadly Harvest with a third due out soon. Deadly Harvest is set against the beautiful but harsh landscape of Botswana. –@detectivekubu.

Kati Hiekkapelto is an author from Finland and has written the Hummingbird and the Defenceless. The Defenceless is the second in a police series which features drugs, gangs and a protagonist originally from Yugoslavia who now lives in Finland but still feels like an outsider. – @HiekkapeltoKati.

Matt Johnson is the author of Wicked Game. Wicked Game is the story of Robert Finlay, an ex-army soldier now turned police officer who faces a race against an unknown enemy who is murdering police officers – will Robert be next? Check out my review of Wicked Game here. – @Matt_Johnson_UK.

Amanda Jennings is the author of the beautiful psychological thriller In Her Wake. Amanda is half cornish which one one of the many reasons she sets her novel in Cornwall. This is her third published book. Check out my review of in her wake here. – @MandaJJennings.

Yusuf Toropov is the author of thriller Jihadi: A Love Story. Which contains two competing voices set in a world of terrorism but shows love amongst the wreckage. It features an intelligence officer who is wrongly accused of terrorism and is sucked into the prison system. – @LiteraryStriver.

Louise Beech author of How to Be Brave contains two very personal stories to her which she wove into fiction. She said ‘there are a number of braveries in this book,’ which in turn inspired the title. “If you know how to be happy, if you know how to be sad then you know how to be brave.” – @LouiseWriter.

Paul E Hardisty author of The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear. They both feature Paul’s fab protagonist Clay Straker and spoke about how he writes about Clay’s fears and how they control him against a backdrop of evil and terrorism. –@Hardisty_Paul.

Michael Grothaus is the debut author of Epiphany Jones, a story with a strong emotional core which is features the protagonist Jerry. Jerry suffers from psychotic delusions and becomes entangled in the world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite. –@michaelgrothaus.

Michael J Malone is the author of A Suitable Lie, a new psychological thriller which features Andy Boyd whose first wife dies in chidbirth. Then he finds love again with Anna, marries er and then things go horribly wrong. This novel is out in September 2016 but is available to preorder.- @michaelJmalone1.

Steph Broadribb, also known as Crime Thriller Girl, is the debut author of Deep Down Dead – an action thriller set in America which features Lori, a single mother and bounty hunter who has three days to find and capture JT. But Lori and JT have a past. Deep Down Dead is out in January 2017. – @crimethrillgirl.

Su Bristow, is the author of Sealskin, which is a new twist on the selkie story; the scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. This is out next year in 2017. –@SuBristow.

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Killer Review: The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh

First Line: ‘It was the silence that frightened Heather.’

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Blurb:  A woman disappears. One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns. Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.

What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’

Selena Cole is playing with her children in the playground by her house when she suddenly vanishes and her children are left behind. On the same day the body of Dominic Newell, a defence solicitor, is found dead – dumped by the side of the road. Then twenty hours later Selena Cole is found on the outskirts of town looking like a kidnap victim. When links start to emerge between these two seemingly unconnected cases DC Leah Mackay and her brother DS Finn Hale join forces in order to catch a killer and to find out what really happened to Selena during those missing hours. But as the cases become more and more murkier Leah and Finn must question everything they ever knew about the world they live in to discover the truth.

I absolutely loved this novel! I found the characters of Leah and Finn so interesting especially as they are siblings who work very closely and have two very distinct ways of approaching their police investigations

Leah MacKay is compassionate, cares very deeply – which tends to get her into trouble and trusts her own instincts. Her brother Finn is more reserved, suspicious, logical and less comfortable in his own skin now he has been recently made a Detective Sergeant. It was really great to see their relationship change and grow as part of the fabric of the novel.

The novel is set in Hereford, is told from the perspectives of both police officers and has journals and case studies interspersed throughout the novel which I thought was a very effective device and really piqued my interest as a reader.

The Missing Hours has everything you could wish for – a dead body,  a disappearance, complex family relationships, tension, suspense and deception. What’s not to love?

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys an interesting twist in police procedurals.

To buy this book on Amazon click here

To buy this book on Waterstones click here

To find out more about Emma Kavanagh follow her on Twitter @EmmaLK.