blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Ex-Husband – Samantha Hayes

You thought you were safe. Until he moved in next door…

I haven’t lived here long. The house is small and a little rundown, but each piece of faded floral wallpaper I peel away feels like unwrapping the second chance I never thought I’d get. I’m finally free to wear what I want, and I don’t flinch when I accidently burn dinner. My new home is warm, and the kids are safe inside. Anywhere would feel idyllic after the nightmare marriage I’ve just escaped.

But then I see my ex-husband Craig stroll past my window and let himself into the house next door. Fear chokes me. How did he find me? Does he want me back, or to destroy me for good?

As the removals van pulls away, Craig tells me it’s just a coincidence, that we can all get along and be good neighbours. But at night I lie awake listening to the sound of laughter and lovemaking through the thin wall that separates us, wondering if his new girlfriend is safe. And in the morning, I rifle through his trash, trying to guess his next move. I know how crazy I look, but I’d do anything to protect my children.

Weeks later, when the night air fills with smoke, and this quiet street dances with blue and red flashing police lights, all the secrets behind our two closed doors will be revealed. But after everything that’s happened, will anyone believe I’m innocent?

An absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller from an Amazon No1. bestseller that will keep you turning pages long into the night. Fans of The Wife Between Us, The Family Upstairs and The Girl on the Train will be totally hooked!

Samantha Hayes grew up in a creative family where her love of writing began as a child. Samantha has written eight thrillers in total, including the bestselling Until You’re Mine. The Independent said “fantastically written and very tense” while Good Housekeeping said “Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping.” Samantha’s books are published in 22 languages at the last count.

When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy. She has three grown-up children and lives in Warwickshire.

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My thoughts: Leah’s life becomes a living nightmare after her monstrous ex-husband moves in next door – terrorising her and attempting to destroy her life. From claiming she’s mentally ill, digging up her garden, sleeping with her solicitor, all manner of awful things.

As Leah tries to stop him, she’s in further trouble when a body is found in her garden, burnt beyond recognition. Is it Craig? The police are soon asking lots of questions and her answers don’t add up.

Craig is possibly the most unpleasant, manipulative man I’ve read of recently. I can completely understand why Leah is so terrified when he moves in next door and why the police are suspicious of her. He’s convinced so many people that he’s the good guy and she’s the worst wife ever. And he just won’t stop. This is a twisted and rather awful story of one man’s monstrousness and how a victim can only do so much. That said the ending was very satisfying all round. I just hope the chickens are ok.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Maids of Biddendum – GD Harper

‘There is no me; there is no you. There is only us.’
The Maids of Biddenden is inspired by the real-life story of conjoined twins Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, born in 1100 into a wealthy family from a small Kent village.
Joined at the hip, the sisters overcome fear and hostility to grow into gifted and much-loved women – one a talented musician and song-writer, the other a caring healer and grower of medicinal plants.
Entangled in the struggles for power and influence of the great Kent nobles of the time, they achieve much in their lifetimes and leave behind a legacy in Biddenden that survives to this day.
This is the heart-warming and inspirational story of two remarkable women leading one joint life, challenging adversity to become the best they can be.

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I became a full-time author in 2016, publishing three novels under the pen name GD Harper. I have been both a Wishing Shelf Book Award finalist and Red Ribbon winner, been shortlisted for the
Lightship Prize, longlisted for the UK Novel Writing Award and longlisted for the Page Turner Writer Award. The Maids of Biddenden was a finalist in this year’s Page Turner Book Award for unpublished
manuscripts, longlisted for the Exeter Book Prize and the Flash 500 Novel Award, and shortlisted for the Impress Prize.

Facebook: @gdharperauthor
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Website: http://www.gdharper.com
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My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, Eliza and Mary are brought vividly to life, kind and brave, enduring people’s stares and comments all their lives. All they want is to be happy, to live in their village with their family and devote themselves to music (Eliza) and healing plants (Mary).

Conjoined twins are very rare and in the 12th century seen as either divine marvels or tools of the Devil. Luckily for the Chulkhurst sisters, most seem to see them as marvels, and treat them kindly. It helps that they’re clearly intelligent, gentle and care for others. Their father is a decent man and even their stepmother comes to love them and feel terrible guilt about her earlier treatment.

They are talented and meet many important figures of the day, including the Queen, in this novel inspired by their lives, although they most likely merely lived quietly in Biddenden, and never achieved such fame. But by creating a version of the world where they do meet notable people, their world is much bigger than one Kent village and they interact much more widely than you would expect. I liked their courage in the face of their differences, their bond with each other and the way they worked together to be both be happy.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Dead Drift – Kelly Romo

DeadDrift copy

Welcome to the book tour for Dead Drift by Kelly Romo! The perfect vacation read! Grab yourself a copy and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end!

Dead Drift Cover

Dead Drift (Whitewater Thriller #1)

Publication Date: May 15, 2022

Genre: Thriller/ Serial Killer

Two teenage girls on the run with fake IDs and a beater car…what could go wrong?

Emmy has always been impulsive. She is no longer a minor and has aged out of foster care. When her best friend, Amber, is the target of a perverted uncle who lives in the basement of her group home, they plan her escape.

They head for Canada, where Amber will be safe, and the foster care system can no longer control their lives. When they come across a whitewater rafting brochure, they decide to take a detour for one last adventure before leaving the country. Emmy and Amber have no idea it will be a decision that will forever change their fates.

The rafting town is so far in the middle of nowhere that Emmy’s car radio catches nothing but static. They consider turning around until a truck pulls up, loaded with hot whitewater rafting guides and rubber rafts–just the fun they were looking for. Ignoring every instinct, they turn off the pavement and follow the truck down an isolated dirt road. They end up in Lodell, the town where a girl went missing the previous summer…and she will not be the last.

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HIM

There are five stages of drowning: surprise, involuntary breath-holding, unconsciousness, hypoxic convulsions, and finally, death.

Shawna’s hair spreads out in a halo of jet-black strands lit by the moon and rippling in the current. There is no fear or panic in her. I spared her of that. Her death is beautiful and silent as I hold her in my arms and cradle her beneath the surface. I put my lips to hers and inhale her very last breath before she gasps and draws my water into her lungs. She becomes heavy then seizes like a fish. My blood surges and thunders inside me. I have never felt so alive. Shawna finally relaxes, surrenders, and becomes mine forever. I hold and comfort her through it all. Binding her to me was easier than I thought. I should have done this years ago.

I raise Shawna up. Her nose, lips, and tits break the surface, all slick and shiny in the moonlight. I give her one last kiss, then take her nipple between my lips and flick it with my tongue. I wish I could keep her longer, but she is losing her warmth. I take a clump of her jet-black hair and wind it tight around my finger until the tip of it goes numb. I yank it from her head. It is surprising how easily it comes out and hangs from my hand, as black and shiny as tar. It will be perfect.

Shawna is mine forever, for I am the river, and the river is me. It is the fluid, and I am the flesh.

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About the Author

Kelly Romo Author Photo

Kelly Romo grew up in California but has lived in Oregon for over twenty-five years. She teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She is the mother of three grown children: Brittany, Brennan, and Ryan. She is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to kayak, hike, and fish.

Kelly has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing (Fiction) and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon USA.

For more information, please visit Kelly’s website at http://www.kellyromo.com

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My thoughts: this was a clever, dark, twisted thriller. Set in a small town where tourists come to ride the rapids every summer and girls seem to go missing every year too. When Emmy and Amber, heading to Canada, stop by to explore the river, they find more than they bargained for. Amber goes missing and Emmy can only vaguely remember the night before – did the girls really hurl their new shoes into the tree? And why would Amber, afraid of the water, risk the river?

As a year goes by, Emmy’s memories remain fuzzy but a new summer brings more tourists and more girls go missing. Can Emmy solve the terrible mysteries and save another girl from Amber’s fate? Can she stop a killer?

I didn’t see the killer at all, all the hints pointed in several directions and the sunny, tourist friendly nature hid a really disturbing dark side – one that needed Emmy’s outsider perspective to finally be revealed and stopped. Very enjoyable.

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June 27th

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Books + Coffee = Happiness (Review) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

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Latisha’s Lowkey Life (Review) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

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June 30th

@my_books_and_coffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/my_books_and_coffee

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33/

@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

@mysticforestcrafts (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mysticforestcrafts/

July 1st

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

@2manybooks2littletime (Review) https://www.instagram.com/2manybooks2littletime/

@what.kerry.reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/what.kerry.reads/

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Apartment Upstairs – Lesley Kara

Scarlett’s aunt lived – and was brutally murdered – in the apartment upstairs. But Scarlett is determined that life should return to some kind of normal, even if that means living with just a ceiling between her and the scene of such a devastating crime. 

After all, this is her home. She’s safe here. Isn’t she?

Dee is busy balancing her job as a funeral director with organising an event to mark the disappearance of her best friend, ten years ago. She’s got enough on her plate without worrying about the threatening messages that are appearing on her company’s Facebook page.

When Scarlett approaches Dee about planning her aunt’s funeral, an unexpected link emerges between them. Together, the two women could uncover secrets that have long been buried. Even while someone wants to stop them digging . . . 

LESLEY KARA is the author of Sunday Times bestsellers The Rumour and Who Did You Tell? Her debut, The Rumour, was also a Kindle No.1 bestseller. She is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives on the North Essex coast. You can follow Lesley on Twitter @LesleyKara or visit her website at www.lesleykara.com

My thoughts: this was a clever, gripping story that twisted and turned, leading you on a strange journey into the case of a missing woman and a murder-suicide that might not be so clear cut.

Scarlett’s aunt Rebecca was murdered by her partner, who then killed himself, and Scarlett has returned to her flat in the house the two women shared. Her aunt lived upstairs and to allow Scarlett to better manage her ME, she lived downstairs. But a chance discovery of a card from a missing woman – Gina, sparks an investigation that could have dire consequences.

Dee runs an ethical funeral business with her best friend Lindsay, their other best friend was Gina. When Scarlett hires them to bury her aunt, they don’t realise the connection. Once they do, questions arise.

At times I couldn’t figure out where this was all going – was Scarlett’s brother Ollie responsible for Gina’s disappearance? Why was he so agitated about the summer house? Would Scarlett be ok? What about Dee? But as the answers were revealed and the truth brought to light, the cleverness of the plotting was also laid out.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Watchers – John Reid

TheWatchers copy

Welcome to the book tour for John Reid’s latest mystery, The Watchers! Read on for more info!

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The Watchers

Publication Date: January 27, 2022

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense/ Crime Fiction/ Police Procedural

Sometimes it isn’t just good police work that catches criminals. Sometimes you just have to watch them. This is the strategy DCI Steve Burt uses when presented with two different and equally baffling cases.

The DCI takes on a case unofficially as a favour to an ex-colleague that involves the disappearance of an official of the Bank of England and the theft of gold bullion from the bank. The other is a baffling case involving multiple murders at the country home of a peer of the realm.

Steve and his team must navigate a trail of misleading clues and blind alleys involving suspected terrorism, kidnapping, conspiracy and international intrigue, as they strive to solve both cases. His boss becomes increasingly annoyed with Steve’s unconventional approach to police work, but the DCI knows he has to put his career on the line in order to solve these two very different and difficult cases.

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About the Author

JRreading

John Reid is the creator of the DCI Steve Burt series of thriller and suspense crime fiction at its very best.

Retirement has given John the time to fulfil his passion for writing, creating the mystery series through his unique creative process. Each main character is fully developed at the beginning of the writing process, with the part they play in each journey evolving organically within the confines of the underlying plot line. This freedom and flexibility creates inventive and compelling story telling that keeps the reader intrigued throughout.

John was born in Scotland and, after serving in the Army, embarked on a career in industry. He has worked in several different sectors in senior roles and was latterly CEO of a large international data capture company. He retired for the first time in 1995 to take on a consultancy designed to help new businesses become established. In 2018 he finally retired from business life to become a full-time author. John lives in Scotland and Portugal with his wife, and they have two grown-up sons.

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My thoughts: taking on a missing person’s case for an old colleague leads in unexpected directions for DCI Burt and his team. The missing man works for the Bank of England and a huge shipment of gold bullion is due to be sent at the end of the week.

Complicating matters is the murder of a government minister and his wife at a country house. The murderer has to be one of the guests or the hosts, but why would someone kill them?

Torn between the two cases, trying to keep his superiors off his back and somehow get some sleep, Burt and his tiny team pull in all the additional resources they can, sending officers off to be the watchers of the title – keeping all the suspects under constant surveillance as the DCI tries to work out the plan and the motives of both crimes. Time is of the essence.

Rattling along at a pace, the plot is clever and the characters interesting, although I really wasn’t interested in the murderer’s incredibly overinflated sense of his own importance and intelligence. I know some incredibly bright people who can’t always remember to put socks on in the morning, being a member of Mensa doesn’t actually mean you’re any more intelligent than anyone else. So he was very annoying.

Especially as Burt was a lot smarter and cleverly worked out both the bullion heist and the murders with the evidence available to him and the assistance of his colleagues. All he really needed was some confessions and then it’s the lawyers’ problem!

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June 27th

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June 30th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

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July 1st

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Note to Self – Anna Bell

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began, and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

My thoughts: this was a fun concept for a rom com – emails set to be sent from your own past self, which inspire Edie to look up an old friend and take a few chances in life, and love.

As she starts to reconnect with the teenager she was before her mum’s sudden death, she starts to realise things need to change – from her job to her relationship. Reuniting with old friends and the man she once thought might be something special cause Edie a lot of confusion and then clarity. Fun and entertaining.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Bad For Good – Graham Bartlett

How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer, son of Brighton’s highest-ranking police officer, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.

GRAHAM BARTLETT was a police officer for thirty years and is now a bestselling writer. He rose to become chief superintendent of the Brighton and Hove force as well as its police commander. He entered the Sunday Times Top Ten with
his first non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking – Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton in 2016. He followed that up in 2020 with
another non-fiction book, Babes in the Wood, the harrowing 32-year fight to bring a double child killer to justice. Both these
books he co-wrote with international best seller, Peter James.
As well as writing, Bartlett is a police procedural and crime advisor helping scores of authors and TV writers (including Peter James, Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, Ruth Ware, Claire McGowan and Dorothy Koomson) achieve authenticity in their drama.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting police procedural written by a former cop turned advisor to writers of crime fiction. So he knows what he’s talking about.

Politics, budgeting and police cuts all play into the chaos of Sussex’s force trying to solve murders, prevent further deaths, deal with a rise in vigilantes and try to find out why so many missing persons are suspects in various crimes around Brighton and Hove.

Jo Howe is left trying to keep things together and stay on top of this extra crime wave, with about four officers to handle everything, and even then some of them can’t be trusted. Her former lover, and boss, Phil, quits after his son is murdered, making Jo’s life just that bit more complicated.

Then there’s this odd civilian security force that seems to have come from nowhere, getting awarded a huge contract to “help” the police, but are they connected to the vigilante behaviour?

This is a really clever, twisting book, just when you think you’ve got things figured out, there’s another twist or red herring in the way. The plot unfolds at near breakneck speed, speeding up as events start to collide and spin out of control. As characters start to crack under pressure and shocking new information comes to light, Jo and Phil head into a final confrontation with long reaching repercussions. Highly enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own

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Blog Tour: A Fatal End – Faith Martin

Oxford, 1963
In a backstreet club, people dance the night away to their favourite band. But behind the scenes there is trouble afoot. An argument is brewing between bandmembers, two possessive girlfriends have plans for their partners, the club manager is creaming off profits – and a tragic accident leaves the lead singer dead.

But was it an accident at all? Coroner Clement Ryder is suspicious, and WPC Trudy Loveday knows there’s only one thing for it. She’s going undercover, deep into the seedy underbelly of Oxford nightlife.

Meanwhile Clement’s own secret is becoming increasingly difficult to keep hidden, and discovering the singer’s murderer might not be the only shock in store for Trudy…

My thoughts: another pleasing outing for Dr Ryder and PC Loveday, as they investigate the death of a pop singer on the rise. His death looks like an accident at first but his injuries are a little off for a tumble down the stairs in a nightclub. Something else is definitely going on. With several suspects and not many willing witnesses, the duo could be struggling to get some answers.

Then there’s also Ryder’s declining health, his Parkinson’s disease is progressing and he knows it’s time to hang up his coroner’s robes. My great-uncle, a lovely man, died of Parkinson ‘s, so I know it can be a truly horrible condition and slowly robs you of your ability to do things. In the 1960s, when the book is set less was known about it than now, so it must have been terrifying. It adds an element of sadness to the story – this could be the pair’s last case.

As always I really enjoyed this book, the writing is so good. I always root for Loveday to get one over on her sexist boss, making her do the filing and make tea just because she’s a woman, and having the brass acknowledge her skills and successes is always good.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: These Streets – Luan Goldie

Jess is a single mother to two teenage children, and although life can be tough she’s just about keeping things together. But when her landlord asks her to move on, so he can sell the house they’re living in without warning, Jess’s worries take on a whole new meaning. As Jess struggles to regain her footing, cracks begin to appear in other areas of her life, and suddenly she feels she’s failing at everything. Her daughter Hazel is becoming more and more distant, her son Jacob is struggling to find where he fits in the world, and the menacing spectre of Jess’s older brother, someone she cut out of her life years ago, begins to make his presence felt again.

Jess knows she’s the only one who can keep her family together, but how can she keep going when life keeps beating her back?

Set on the streets of East London, These Streets is a searing and powerful novel that explores how we are meant to find our place in a world that is designed for only the privileged to succeed. Beautiful and honest, it is an essential story about living in Britain today.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting slice of life in East London. As rent prices soar, Jess finds herself priced out of the area she grew up in, where her elderly father still lives, where her kids go to school. Something that’s all too common in London in 2022.

The things Jess is facing – job loss, homelessness, an aging parent, struggles with her teenage children, are sadly all too familiar but Luan Goldie makes these mounting troubles not only relatable but empathetic and highly readable. I liked Jess and Wolf, I liked Ben and his dog Harold, I liked Jacob, and even Hazel. I saw so many people I know in the family and their struggles.

Contemporary fiction holds a mirror up to life in many ways and this intelligent and well written novel deserves a wide audience, and maybe someone in power might read it and finally do something about the mess we’re in.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Wake – Shelley Burr

For fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry or Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, a searing debut crime novel set in the Australian outback, where the grief and guilt surrounding an unsolved disappearance still haunt a small farming community…and will ultimately lead to a reckoning.

The tiny outback town of Nannine lies in the harsh red interior of Australia. Once a thriving center of stockyards and sheep stations, years of punishing drought have petrified the land and Nannine has been whittled down to no more than a stoplight, a couple bars, and a police station. And it has another, more sinister claim to fame: the still-unsolved disappearance of young Evelyn McCreery nineteen years ago.

Mina McCreery’s life has been defined by the intense public interest in her sister’s case—which is still a hot topic in true-crime chat rooms and on social media. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, Mina lives alone on her family’s sunbaked destocked sheep farm.

Enter Lane Holland, a young private investigator who dropped out of the police academy to earn a living cracking cold cases. Before she died, Mina’s mother funded a million-dollar reward for anyone who could explain how Evelyn vanished from her bed in the family’s farmhouse. The lure of cash has only increased public obsession with Evelyn and Mina—but yielded no answers.

Lane wins Mina’s trust when some of his more unconventional methods show promise. But Lane also has darker motivations, and his obsession with the search will ultimately risk both their lives—and yield shocking results.

Compulsively readable, with an unforgettable setting and cast of characters, WAKE is a powerful, unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people’s private tragedies become public property, and how it’s never too late for the truth to come out.

My thoughts: this story unfolds slowly, both Lane and Mina have kept things secret, things that help build up the truth about what really happened to Evelyn. It’s only when they start being honest, with each other and the police, that answers surface.

The stark landscape of Mina’s family farm, the small town that she’s stayed in despite her isolation, the world she’s built for herself, letting no one in, isolates her. Lane has also isolated himself – only his sister in his life.

The story is intense and insidious, layer after layer of secrets, lies and finally the truth is peeled open. Clever and compelling, it’s not hard to see why this won the Debut Dagger at the CWAs.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.