#BookReview – A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty ( Harper McClain Series, Book 2)

A murder that shocks a city…
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.

A case full of secrets and lies…
Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.

An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another? 

Published: E-Book – 4 March 2019 / Paperback – 4 April 2019 by Harper Collins UK 

~ Review ~ 

Hurrah, Harper McClain is back! Last year I read and raved about The Echo Killing, the first book in the feisty crime reporter’s series (you can read that review right HERE) and I was very excited to catch up with her again. Boy, I was NOT disappointed.

Harper McClain is a crime journalist for her local Savannah rag, investigating and exposing murderers and villains in the name of public interest. This time, the city is shocked when a pretty law student is shot. With her boyfriend appearing as the obvious culprit, surely this is an open and shut case? But he claims he’s innocent, and the victim’s father believes him. With the police keen to shut the case down, convinced they have their man, it’s down to Harper to investigate and search out the truth.

Once again, Christi Daugherty had me gripped from the very first page and I sped through this book in a couple of huge, breathless sittings. This is super fast paced reading, with one more chapter quickly leading to half a book and a complete inability to look away. There’s action, twists, suspicion and doubt which, along with the heat of the Savannah setting and yes, a bit of will they/won’t they love interest in the form of dashing Detective Luke Walker, makes for an tense and exciting edge-of-your-seat ride.

I particularly loved how this book flowed on so easily from the first in the series, despite it being a year since I’d read it. It felt like I was just picking up where I’d left off and straight away I was familiar and comfy with it. While it probably could be read as a standalone, I think you’d probably benefit most if you read The Echo Killing, in particular for a lot of background on Harper (who has an intriguing backstory).  She’s a fascinating character, firmly cemented now as a personal favourite. I love her strength, sense of justice, empathy and feisty-ness, splashed with a raw vulnerability which makes her both likable and relatable. I want her as a pal!

A Beautiful Corpse is a compelling, unputdownable read, which manages to maintain the  high standard set in the first book more than matching my high expectations. This is a series which mixes a sublime blend of brilliant characterization and pitch perfect pacing – I really can’t recommend it enough. With the book ending on a bit of a cliff hanger, I’m now waiting eagerly for the next in the series and hoping it isn’t long before once again I’m engrossed in Harper McClain’s world.

(I read an advance EBook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

#BookReview – The Wife’s Shadow by Cath Weeks

From one of Elle magazine’s ‘authors to watch’ comes a twisty, suspenseful and emotionally fraught novel about how little we really know the person we marry. For fans of The Affair and Dr Foster.

Every woman has a secret…

Everyone admires Suzy and her doll’s house life. She has a gorgeous family, a beautiful home and a successful business. But Suzy hasn’t always been in control. In her past lies a shadowy tale of fear and instability – a life that she once ran away from, and has hidden from ever since.

When Suzy starts being followed, she fears that her past may finally be catching up on her. And when she finds herself unable to do what to her is the most important thing – keep her loved ones safe – she has to decide how far she’d be willing to go to win everything back.

Even if it means sacrificing everything she knows and loves..

Published in Ebook – September 2018/ Paperback- March 2019 by Little Brown (UK)

~ Review ~  

When I was invited to read The Wife’s Shadow on Netgalley I’ll admit to not knowing all that much about it. I was swayed by the gorgeous cover though and the premise of a perfect life being not quite as it seems. And actually, I was very pleasantly surprised, because The Wife’s Shadow ended up being quite different to how I expected it, but in a good way.

The book begins when Suzy starts to notice strange things linking to her childhood in a town many miles away – a packet of red cigarette papers, a leaflet for a local event and an old toy. All of them pretty mundane but incredibly significant to Suzy. Convinced someone is following her and trying to scare her, she sets off to find out what really happened all those years ago. But knowing the truth doesn’t bring Suzy peace of mind as she starts to feel she is loosing control of her life and sanity. Is it the ghosts of the past who are haunting Suzy or is there something more sinister at play in her present.

Right from the beginning, I was gripped by this book. I loved how an uneasy feeling was built as Suzy becomes increasingly confused by what’s happening. The decline of Suzy’s apparent mental stability is expertly done, as she transforms from  strong, controlled and assured to weak, anxious and uncertain. It’s all very subtle and leaves the reader wondering what’s really going on or is it all in Suzy’s mind?

I thought the flashbacks to her past were very good, slowly building a picture of a troubled childhood and an impending sense of doom that something awful is going to happen. Cath Weeks tackles the difficult topic of domestic violence, and the impact on children who witness it, sensitively. The glimpses of her childhood also allow the reader to understand Suzy’s actions and behavior in the present, making her easy to sympathise with, even while doubting her reliability.

The cover and the synopsis scream psychological thriller, and yes there is a strong element of suspense. But this book isn’t just about the big twists, it’s is also a strong character study, of a woman who’s suffered childhood trauma, manipulation, betrayal and is struggling to let go of her past. Suzy was a character I was really rooting for by the end. There’s a lot packed into this book, and I wondered how all the threads were going to tie together and I wasn’t disappointed when they did. If you like a more subtle psychological read with a strong lead character and complex layers, then I would recommend THE WIFE’S SHADOW without hesitation.

(I read an advance ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

 

#BookReview – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.

IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT?

Published by HQ Stories (UK) February 2019 

~ Review ~

I started reading The Night Olivia Fell with high expectations. I’d read some fantastic reviews and the plot sounded right up my street. For anyone who follows my reviews, you may notice I’m a very emotional reader – I like a book that’s going to make me grin like a Cheshire cat or cry big fat ugly tears. This book seemed like it was made for me.

So maybe it was those high expectations that got in the way when I first started reading this book. It took me a while to get into, feeling a bit slow paced and not altogether gripping me. I think the main issue was that I just didn’t gel with main character, Abi, whose daughter Olivia is on life support waiting to give birth. She’s prickly, aggressive, and in the flashbacks to life before the accident, controlling and oppressive towards teen Olivia.

However, as I read on I started  to relate to her. Abi and I have a lot in common, and as a single parent I remember that feeling of wanting to prove your child can have every opportunity a child with two parents can have. As we learn more of her backstory, I could empathise and understand her, and her overwhelming fear of loosing those she loves.  And I really enjoyed watching her character develop, as she overcame her demons of both past and present.

The mystery of what happened to Olivia is tightly woven and while there’s clear suspects marked out, it really could have been any of them right up until the reveal. This is a complex mystery, wrapped up in secrets and lies, some designed to protect and others to destroy. At it’s heart is a young girl, Olivia, who tragically seems to be manipulated from all sides, yet remains a thoughtful, caring and optimistic young woman. Whereas I initially found Abi difficult, I loved hearing Olivia’s story in the flashback chapters leading up to that fateful night.

The final third of this book was excellent. I read it with held breath, tears streaming down my face so heavily I couldn’t see the page. All the emotion I missed at the begin is there in those final heartbreaking pages with some incredibly tender and moving writing searing my heart. I was glad I’d stuck with this book, it was well worth it in the end and I think this is a story that will stay with me for quite sometime, as well as serving as a reminder to appreciate my own teen daughter. This is a story that will  slowly creep under your skin and rip your heart out before putting it back together again.

(I read an advance ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

WWW Wednesday – 20th February 2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Taking On A World Of Words to record and share our weekly reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?   

~ Currently Reading ~ 

the flight of cornelia blackwoodThe Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright 

What has happened to Cornelia Blackwood?
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends.
Everyone knows her name. But no one will speak to her now.
Cornelia Blackwood has unravelled once before. Can she stop it from happening again?

From a supremely talented storyteller, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is a powerful novel of motherhood, loss and loneliness and how we can make damaging choices when pushed to our emotional edge. A paperback bestseller with her debut novel, The Things We Never Said, and nominated for an RNA Award in 2014, Susan Elliot Wright has written a trul y important novel that explores the dark depths of psychosis with honesty and sensitivity 

Published 21st February by Simon and Schuster (UK) 

~ Recently Finished Reading ~  

the night olivia fellThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald 

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.

IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT? 

Published by HQ Stories (UK) 7th  February 2019  

~ Reading Next ~ 

the beauty of the wolfThe Beauty Of The Wolf by Wray Delaney 

What some might call beauty, I find monstrous’

In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest.

Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells:

A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death.

Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty.

Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day.

And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge…

A stunning retelling of Beauty and the Beast. 

Published 21st February 2019 by HQ (UK) 

~ Happy Reading ~

 

#BookReview – Friends like These by Sarah Alderson

We all know someone like Becca.

She has the job everyone wants, a designer wardrobe, a hot-shot lawyer boyfriend, holidays to exotic locations. And she flaunts her perfect life all over social media.

It drove her colleague Lizzie mad, but she couldn’t stop looking. They were never really friends – and yet Lizzie knew everything about her.

Or did she?

When chance, and a terrible mistake, pulls Lizzie back into Becca’s orbit years after they lost touch, she’ll realise that you can’t always believe what you see online… and that finding out the truth might be the worst thing you can do.

There’s no such thing as a perfect life. Only a perfect lie.

Published December 2018 by Mulholland Books (UK)

~ Review ~  

I absolutely love a creepy, crazy, twisted character and Friends Like These has two of them. This book was RIGHT up my street. I loved this book and was utterly gripped from beginning to end.

It starts with a 999 transcript, with no indication of who’s making the call. The book then backtracks five days and we discover the events that lead to that terrifying and frantic call. It’s kind of like you know how it will end, but the need to know just how and who really drives this book, making it such a compelling read.

We’ve all searched out someone on social media, just out of curiosity and to have a nosy into their lives – right? Lizzie can’t believe it when one drunken night she finally finds an ex-colleague, Becca, on Facebook. Keen to share her discovery with her friend, Flora, she sends her a message linking the page – along with a few bitchy comments. But the next morning, Lizzie realises she actually sent the message to Becca herself. And Becca isn’t happy about this at all.

Can. You. Imagine? I will NEVER send a Facebook message without triple checking again!

Lizzie’s mistake sets of a roller coaster of twists and turns, where nothing is ever as you expect. It’s impossible to know who you can trust, is Lizzie or Becca the crazy one? The gripping, twisty writing is peppered with subtle dark humour that also really appealed to me, along with a cautionary tale of the perils of social media.

I’m being purposefully vague because I don’t want to give anything away, which is making this a difficult review to write. I just want to tell you how great this book is – hopefully you’ll take my word for it. I read a lot of psychological thrillers and this one really stood out to me. It’s a little bit different, a gripping page turner and well worth a read! I loved it!

(I read an advance proof copy courtesy of The Amazon Vine Program and the Publisher)

#BookReview – If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Published  21st February 2019 by Orion Books (UK) 

~ Review ~ 

Oh wow. I don’t even know where to start with this review. It’s taken me all morning just to get started and I’ve deleted and started again a zillion times. So forgive me but I’m going to gush. THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL! From the cover (I mean, Look at it!) to the gorgeously tender, heartbreaking and touching story inside – BEAUTIFUL.

I was lucky enough to discover Hannah Beckerman five years ago when I was sent a signed copy of her debut novel The Dead Wife’s Handbook (Which I reviewed HERE) and so was eager to read her long awaited second novel. And I was not disappointed.

If Only I Could Tell You is a story of a fractured family, a decades old rift and secrets that have never been shared. Audrey’s daughters Jess and Lily haven’t spoken since childhood and now thirty years later, with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Audrey is determined she will bring them together before she dies.

I love Hannah’s incredibly honest and raw writing, she captures the very essence of humans. In If Only I Could Tell You, fear of the truth and a desire to shield and protect leads to half truths and misunderstandings. How often do we make presumptions without fully understanding the truth? How easy is it to let weeks, months, years slip by, the longer that passes, the harder it is to reconnect. How many of us have looked back and thought “if only”?  I could relate to so many of the emotions and questions raised in this book, as I’m sure most people will.

The book is told in chapters from all three women – Audrey as she faces the end of her life, reflects on the past and yearns to reunite her daughters. Lily, who appears to have it all – success, poise and a need to be very much in control.  And Jess, who refuses to tell Audrey just why she can’t forgive her sister. The reader really feels as if they get know each woman and understands what drives them.

Interspersed are flashbacks to the past  and a slowly revealed secret that will both shock and break your heart. I was so unprepared for the truth, it took my breath away, had tears streaming down my face and my daughter asking if I was ok with great concern. This book tackles subjects of such sadness and grief, yet it is so beautifully and thoughtfully written, it truly is breathtaking at times. And despite the sadness, there comes an uplifting air and I ended it with a smile through the tears and a sigh of hope.

I read If Only I Could Tell You over an afternoon, where I had so many other things I should’ve been doing but could not bare to tear myself away. I was fully immersed in the three women’s lives and mesmorised as the tragic and touching story unfolded.  I genuinely can not recommend this book enough and already know it’s going to feature highly on my books of 2019 list.

(I read an advance proof copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)  

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday – 13th February 2019

 

WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Taking On A World Of Words to record and share our weekly reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?  

Currently Reading 

if only i could tell you Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Published by Orion Books (UK 21st February 2019

I absolutely ADORED Hannah Beckerman’s debut, The Dead Wife’s Handbook, and while I’ve only managed a few pages so far, I can already tell I’m going to absolutely love this one too.

Recently Finished Reading 

The wife's shadow

Every woman has a secret…

From one of Elle magazine’s ‘authors to watch’ comes a suspenseful and emotionally fraught novel about how little we really know the person we marry. For fans of The Affair and Dr Foster.

Everyone admires Suzy and her doll’s house life. She has a gorgeous family, a beautiful home and a successful business. But Suzy hasn’t always been in control. In her past lies a shadowy tale of fear and instability – a life that she once ran away from, and has hidden from ever since.

When Suzy starts being followed, she fears that her past many finally be catching up on her. And when she finds herself unable to do what to her is the most important thing – keep her loved ones safe – she has to decide how far she’d be willing to go to win everything back.

Even if it means sacrificing everything she knows and loves… 

Published by Little Brown (UK) September 2018 

I really liked this book, it was more than a thriller and surprisingly, mentioned a few places local too me which really got me excited as it doesn’t happen very often. Review tomorrow.

Reading Next 

the night olivia fellThey said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.

IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT? 

Published by HQ Stories (UK) February 2019  

Easily decided after reading Mairead @ Swirl and Thread’s excellent review last night, this jumped straight to the top of my TBR pile.

 

Happy Reading 

 

#BookReview – The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

Published January 2019 by Raven Books 

~ Review ~

I can’t remember how or when I heard about The Flower Girls, but it jumped straight into my pre-order basket. Months later when it eventually dropped through my letterbox, I abandoned all plans and snuggled down to read it.

“The Flower Girls” are sisters Laurel and Rosie – infamous for a brutal murder when only children themselves. While older sister Laurel has been in prison for many years, Rosie – only six years old at the time of the killing- has spent the last couple of decades living with a new identity and in fear that one day someone will work out who she actually is. And then, another child goes missing from the hotel she is staying at with her parents. A hotel where Rosie (now known as Hazel) is also on the guest list…

Wow, this was an unsettling and dark read. With the past and present eerily twisting and colliding, The Flower Girl’s had me engrossed. I flew through the pages, desperate to unravel the mystery of the missing girl in the present and just what had happened all those years ago to drive two seemingly innocent little girls to commit such an horrific act.

As expected, this is often an uncomfortable and disturbing book which challenges the reader to consider whether a person is shaped by their early experiences or are inherently bad. It prompts us to question whether someone who commits such an atrocious crime at such a young age can ever be rehabilitated and released back into the community. We see the impact on the victim’s family – grief, bitterness and an overwhelming need for justice and revenge. My mind whirred as I read this book, as I was forced to question, then question again.

Throughout the book, the author creates a chilling sense of unease with undercurrents of  suspicion and doubt. I never knew quite exactly what to believe or expect as I read The Flower Girls. With some shocking twists thrown in right at the end, this is a book with impact – it will shock and disturb, leaving you thinking about it long after you turn the last page. If I had one complaint, then it would be that I’d like to have known a little more about the sister’s early life and what made them the way they were … this bit felt a little glossed over and I would’ve liked to understand (if ever you could) them more. However, one complaint aside, I felt this was a smart, thought provoking and dark thriller which had me hooked from beginning to end. Recommended!

 

 

 

#BookReview – The Rumour by Lesley Kara

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back 

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed? 

Published December 2018 by Bantam Press (UK) 

~ Review ~

Lesley Kara’s debut novel, The Rumour, is immediately gripping. It’s one of those books which you start, and then when you next look up a huge chunk of both time and pages have flown by. This is down to both her incredibly catchy and easy writing style and her ability to create remarkably recognisable and relatable characters.

We’ve all been there … said a little more then we meant to, got caught up in a moment. But when Joanna finds herself involved in gossip about the rumours flying around her local community, she has no idea of the danger she will shortly be facing. I thought Joanna was portrayed perfectly and could relate to her feelings of isolation, wanting to fit in and unease with herself. I also thought the tense, simmering anger of the small town was perfectly captured,  as fingers started pointing and revenge is sought. I’ve lived in that small town kind of environment – I’ve seen how quickly rumours can spread, evolve and completely spiral out of control. Lesley Kara’s The Rumour is absolutely on point in that respect and completely believable.

I got completely caught up in this book, desperately wanting to know just who was the notorious child killer and wondered why they seemed so intent on singling out Joanna for her part in the gossip and speculation. Kara throws the reader off scent several times with red herrings, which kept me on my toes and glued to the pages. The first half of the book was excellent, I couldn’t put it down and it was heading towards five star read status. However, I guessed the big twist just before it came, which unfortunately for me dampened the impact a bit. And while I could’ve lived with this, I thought the ending became a little far fetched. Whereas I’d been completely convinced for the majority of the book, the ending just lacked quite as much credibility for me.

The Rumour is still a great read. The writing flows, keeps the reader engaged and the pages turn effortlessly. The themes of small town mentality, gossip, rumour and revenge are a fascinating and compelling combination. It’s a very solid debut and despite feeling some of the impact was lost at the end, I still enjoyed this book very much and will definitely look out for more from the author in the future.

*I read a free advance readers copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher*

 

 

Book Review – The Dead Ex by Jane Corry (@Janecorryauthor @PenguinUKbooks #TheDeadEx #BookReview )

One man’s disappearance throws four women’s lives into chaos–and not all will survive. . .

Vicki works as an aromatherapist, healing her clients out of her home studio with her special blends of essential oils. She’s just finishing a session when the police arrive on her doorstep–her ex-husband David has gone missing. Vicki insists she last saw him years ago when they divorced, but the police clearly don’t believe her. And her memory’s hardly reliable–what if she didhave something to do with it?

Meanwhile, Scarlet and her mother Zelda are down on their luck, and at eight years old, Scarlet’s not old enough to know that the “game” her mother forces her to play is really just a twisted name for dealing drugs. Soon, Zelda is caught, and Scarlet is forced into years of foster care–an experience that will shape the rest of her life . . .

David’s new wife, Tanya, is the one who reported him missing, but what really happened on the night of David’s disappearance? And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself? The answer lies in the connection among these four women–and the one person they can’t escape. 

Published June 28th 2018 by Penguin UK  

~ Review ~

I absolutely loved Jane Corry’s previous novel, Blood Sisters (reviewed here) and was so looking forward to reading her 2018 release, The Dead Ex. But then life got in the way, reading unfortunately got pushed aside as I seemed to roll from one drama of my own to another and I didn’t get around to it. Well, aren’t I kicking myself now after finally picking it up this week? Once again, I was completely sucked in and held captive by Jane’s twisty, compulsive writing as I devoured this addictive book in a couple of days.

The Dead Ex begins with alternating chapters told from the perspective of Vicki, a reclusive, seemingly timid aromatherapist who definitely has something to hide in the present, and Scarlett, ten years previously, an eight year old child who’s caught up in her chaotic mother’s criminal activities. Both narrators where fascinating and gripping, but what really intrigued me was trying to work out just what connected the two of them together. There is absolutely no way I could have guessed, and loved the turn the book took!

There’s a LOT of theme’s running through this book – child neglect and family loyalty, Female relationships and bonds, a need for a sense of belonging, ambition, power, loss of identity…it goes on. Vicki is a fascinating character with so many layers that even by the end I’m not sure I’d seen them all. Jane Corry writes each aspect of her so convincingly, I completely believed in her. I also absolutely loved the references to aromatherapy oils and uses, which I find fascinating and felt really complimented the book.

I flew through this book, despite reading it over a couple of busy days, grabbing any moment I could to read a bit more. With fascinating and complex characters and a plot that left me second guessing at every turn, this is compulsive reading at it’s best. An absolute page turner that manages to surprise and shock over and over again.

(I read proof copy courtesy of the publishers and Netgally)