The Other Twin – Lucy V. Hay

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The Other Twin was published by Orenda Books on 18 May 2017 and is available to buy here

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

My thoughts

It is hard to know where to start with The Other Twin. The Other Twin is billed as a psychological thriller. In some ways, it works as a dark tale of complicated families and secrets. In other ways, it feels like it should have been a teenage novel with a completely different setting.

The story itself focuses on a rather immature thirty year old woman, who returns to her home town of Brighton. Poppy hears that her younger sister has died, in somewhat tragic circumstances. Poppy suffers a kind of ‘Survivor’s Guilt’, as she starts to reflect on the little sister she lost contact with. Her gut feeling is that India would not have committed suicide. She needs to find the truth. She starts to investigate all of India’s social media profiles, her strange blog and look into her sister’s friends. The mystery of India’s death seems to be linked to a girl named Jenny. Who is Jenny? And what do India’s cryptic blog posts mean?

I tried to like The Other Twin. I came to the conclusion that that I had too many quibbles with it. I did not really connect with any of the characters, which I am sure did not help. I would have liked to have heard far more from India and Jenny. The central character, Poppy, is supposed to be a teacher. Yet she seems to behave like a teenager, time and time again. She runs away from London, leaving her possessions. We find out that in the past, she left her boyfriend when he was ill. She doesn’t even wash her clothes. Terrible for an adult. I think I could have believed in Poppy more, had she been a good ten years or so younger. I did understand her need to make sense of the past and of her relationship with her sister. That had a ring of truth about it.

There is an incredibly strong sense of place. Brighton is very much known for its thriving LGBT scene; plus its many pubs and clubs scattered across the city. I felt that Lucy V. Hay did Brighton justice and gave the Lanes and central Brighton prominence. Anyone who knows Brighton will recognise the vivid descriptions.

However the story itself did not ring true. Without giving too much away, this is a story about intolerance and identity. It is very much up to date. I can’t say more without spoilers. Brighton was the wrong place to set this tale. Brighton is the most laid back place in the UK. It is completely accepting of differences, including those of sexuality and gender. Someone could walk down North Street naked and no one would bat an eyelid. It is that kind of place.

Controversial thoughts here, maybe. I think this would have worked better as a young adult novel, with the sisters as teenagers and having a setting in some kind of tight knit community.

Worth a read, if you enjoy a mystery with bang up to date themes. You might get on with The Other Twin better than I did.


 

For an alternative perspective on The Other Twin, check out Off the Shelf books

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The Escape – C. L. Taylor

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The Escape was published on 23 March 2017 by Avon and is available to buy here

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

The Sunday Times bestseller returns with her biggest and best book yet. The perfect read for fans of Paula Hawkins and Clare Mackintosh.

My thoughts

The Escape is the latest psychological thriller from C. L. Taylor.

The story follows a woman with agoraphobia and severe anxiety, as her life takes a turn for the worse. Jo is married, with a small child, Elise, and she works at the local university. Her relationship with her partner has deteriorated, mostly due to his lack of compassion for Jo’s mental health problems. He has stopped caring. One day a woman, Paula, approaches Jo and threatens her daughter. This moment leads to more disturbing activities, with a house search for drugs, Jo’s relationship collapsing and Jo fearing that her child will be taken away from her by the authorities. She goes on the run to Ireland with her daughter. Who is Paula? And who can Jo trust?

I really loved what C. L. Taylor did with Jo and how she created a delicious world of fear. I found the mental health side of the story strong and well researched. I would have liked this to have been more of the thrust of the book, rather than the escape to Ireland. It made sense that Jo would have difficulty, on a day to day basis with parts of her life that others take for granted. She is unwell and she tries her best, holding down a job and expecting support from her spouse. Well done on creating a believable, if somewhat slightly irritating character.

The story was let down by a total lack of suspense. I predict that most people will easily be able to guess from the start a huge part of the mystery. It seemed fairly obvious to me. Entirely too predictable. What a shame.

My verdict: Low on mystery, but highly readable.

 

 

 

 

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Dare To Remember – Susanna Beard

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Dare To Remember was published on 1 February 2017 by Legend and is available to buy here

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

A clever, sophisticated, psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

My thoughts

Dare To Remember is a rather promising debut by Susanna Beard. I was drawn to this, due to the subject matter. This is a tale of endurance and recovery. The story of one woman and how she copes with the aftermath of a horrific event.

We meet Lisa, a young woman who lives with very real fears. Lisa is an amnesiac, who has been attacked in her own home. Her best friend has been killed. The person responsible has not given a full account of what took place. We get to know Lisa as she is searching for a quiet life, undergoing counselling to recover her memories and trying to work out who she is now. The beauty of this book is that we see in very real terms how PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can play out. This is the story of how Lisa moves on from this terrible time in her life and how she heals. I found her developing friendships with both of her neighbours, very realistic and heart warming.

I would have liked to have explored more of the horrors of Lisa’s attack. My preference probably for dark crime coming out here. This will definitely appeal to those who do not want gritty violence with their crime. We get to find out what happened to the best friends. Lisa does get a resolution and to move on with dignity through the restorative justice programme. We see her come through ‘Survivor’s Guilt’ and to find a kind of post PTSD peace.

Moving and intelligent. Well worth checking out. Susanna Beard is an author to keep an eye on.

Recommended.

 

 

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The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

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The Good Daughter is published on 13 July 2017 by Harper Collins and is available to buy here

The stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense, from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever…

My thoughts

It is that time of year again! A new Karin Slaughter is released. Fabulous! I am a little sad, that there is no Will Trent or Sara Linton in sight. I am patient (not really). I can pretend to be patient. As Karin Slaughter is one of my absolutely favourite authors, it will come as no surprise that I adored The Good Daughter. I really LOVED it!

The Good Daughter takes us into the lives of a tragic family. The story starts with the nightmare of death and violence for two teenage sisters, Charlie and Sam and their parents. Their home comes under attack and the family is never the same again. The girls react very differently to this trauma. Twenty eight years later, we see where the horrors of 1989 have taken them. In the present day, there is a new violent act that Charlie gets caught up in. This leads to revelations about the past. What is the truth about 1989?

Beautifully written, you cannot help but feel for both sisters and what they have been through. They are very human and very scarred by the past. At times, I felt Charlie and her husband reminded me of Sara and Jeffrey Tolliver. They just did. Slaughter does write some gorgeous relationships, with complex and twisted dynamics. She does sisterly banter so well! She gets the level of violence and the tone just right. She never shies away from the darker side of life, as we have previously seen. No one can leave this book without feeling they have read something very special. In my mind, it matches the excellence of Cop Town.

Clever, heart-breaking with total Karin Slaughter magic and a pair of unforgettable sisters! I hope that this is the start of a new series (hint hint).

Totally Recommended!

 

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Trust Me – Angela Clarke *Exclusive Extract* #BlogTour

Welcome to my turn on the #TrustMe Blog Tour. Today I have an exclusive extract to tempt you…

What’s it all about?

YOU SAW IT HAPPEN. DIDN’T YOU?

What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Trust Me is published by Avon on 15 June 2017 and is available to buy here


Exclusive Extract

Fifteen years old and on the run. It’d make a good film, but it was bleak in real life. Freddie wanted to look into Amber Robertson more; no one else seemed that bothered about the missing girl. She still didn’t get that about police: how could they just compartmentalise all this shit? She opened Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat on her phone. Would a fifteen-year-old really give those up as well as everything else? She herself wouldn’t, and she had nearly ten years on her.

‘I’ve just come from a meeting with the Superintendent,’ Burgone was saying.

She tapped in Amber Robertson and pressed search. A number of profile squares appeared on Facebook. One looked familiar: same girl, same hat. Freddie clicked.

Burgone was still talking and she’d tuned out: ‘And so you can see my problem,’ he finished. His face had a look of concern on it.

Her gut twisted. ‘Sorry, what did you say?’

He sighed. ‘I feared you might find it difficult to hear.’ His sharp navy-suited arms rested authoritatively on the table. His face solemn. ‘We’re having to make cutbacks. I’m sorry, Freddie, but I no longer have the budget for a full time Intelligence Analyst.’

What? ‘Is this a wind-up?’ Burgone had offered her this role when she was broke, and she’d been surprised to discover she loved it. Putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Making a difference. She’d found the link between the Spice Road website and the Tower Hamlets Massive. She could find Amber Robertson. And now he was going to take it away from her? Hell, no. ‘You approached me.’

‘And you’ve done a brilliant job,’ he said.

‘Do you know how late I stayed working on that Paul Robertson lead?’ She was up out of her chair now. Throwing an accusatory finger at him. Burgone’s eyebrows had reacted, but he’d kept the rest of him admirably still.

‘I appreciate you’re upset, Freddie.’

She thought of his privilege, his entitlement. What she’d done trying to scrape together enough for a bloody rental deposit. The fallout to the L word this morning. Had that been a mistake? Now was not the time to think about that. Burgone had probably never worried about money in his life. ‘I don’t think you do, mate.’

‘I will always be grateful for what you did for me and my family.’ Burgone looked uncomfortable whenever he mentioned how they first met: a tense investigation involving his sister.

‘I did what anyone would have done,’ she said, cutting him off. Did he really think she would try and hold it over him? ‘I don’t know how you were raised, but I was brought up to help people when they’re in trouble.’ She thought of the embarrassment in her mum’s eyes when she’d found out that her dad had pinched the money she’d been scraping together for Freddie. Gone in an optic. Literally pissed against a wall. The anger fizzled out. Burgone wasn’t the enemy.


Angela Clarke is on Twitter @TheAngelaClarke

Check out Angela Clarke‘s website http://angelaclarke.co.uk/

Buy the book Trust Me on Amazon UK

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I Know My Name – C. J. Cooke – *Blog Tour Review* #IKnowMyName #blogtour

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Welcome to the start of the #IKnowMyName blog tour. I am proud as punch to present my review. This is exactly my kind of book.

I Know My Name by C. J. Cooke is published by Harper Collins on 15 June 2017 in paperback. It is available now as an ebook here on Amazon UK.


So what is it all about?

Komméno Island, Greece: I don’t know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…


My review

A few words spring to mind, when describing ‘I Know My Name’ – moving, disturbing and thought-provoking. This is a book to discover, if you want something a little bit different from the run of the mill psychological thriller.

The story concerns the mystery of Eloise. A woman in her thirties finds herself on a Greek island. She has amnesia. Who is she? Why is she there? On the island, the handful of inhabitants want to help her. Can she trust them? In England, a woman has gone missing, vanished into thin air. Her small children have been left home alone. She is married to Lochlan. Can the police and Lochlan trace her? What made her leave her loved ones? What are her secrets?

In essence, this is a delightful and rather clever mystery. Cooke slowly reveals Eloise and her background to us. We hear from Eloise on the island and some of her relatives fill in the gaps, of her life in the present day and the past. As it all beautifully unravels, it makes complete sense why this mystery woman is on a beach with little in the way of real memory. The explanation is dark and emotionally compelling. Cooke handles the subject matter expertly. Eloise is just mesmerising.

Excellent. Recommended!


I Know My Name link to Amazon UK

C. J Cooke on Twitter

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour ..

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Monster in the Closet – Karen Rose (Baltimore Book 5)

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Monster In The Closet is published by Headline on 1 June 2016 and is available to buy here

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime…

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter’s stables so that she can observe the program’s security director – her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she’s getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne’s handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first…

My thoughts

Monster In The Closet is the latest from Karen Rose. This is her fifth book in the Baltimore Series.

This book would be best enjoyed if you have read the previous books in the series. If you have a photographic memory, all the better. I did struggle, with who was who! I think I could do with a detailed diagram to just remind me of the links and who is related to who.

The story is all about children and survival. Taylor has graduated with a Psychology degree and is working as an intern with the children in an equine therapy centre. She is also desperate to get close to her birth father, a man she was raised to hate. This man is Clay Maynard, who we have previously met. Two children come to her care. They are not speaking and it is clear that they are in a state of shock. Taylor finds that she can relate to eleven year old Jazzie and her experiences of fear. Quickly, we understand the danger the children are under. As witnesses to murder, their lives are threatened. We see the killer and wait for him to act.

With Karen Rose, you know what to expect. She is the Queen of Romantic Suspense. You can’t go wrong with a murder, shootings, a desperate killer and a spot of romance thrown in. I do find the whole massive family and friends connections a trifle distracting at times. We see romance slowly blossom between Taylor and Ford, a previous character from early on in the series. Taylor is reunited with her birth father and starts to build a relationship with him. Two fathers is a bit excessive though. That is just greedy. But then the general theme of fathers and daughters is explored here. The good and the bad!

Entertaining and fun. Karen Rose fans will not be disappointed. Long may it continue.

 

 

 

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