Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

Publisher: Bookouture

ISBN-10: 1786814242

ISBN-13: 978-1786814241

Date of Publication: 28th March 2018

Date of Review: 28th March 2018

Synopsis

There’s blood on the windscreen and bonnet – but it’s not hers and there’s no sign of anything or anyone she might have hit. The last thing she remembers is being in a hotel on a business trip but now she’s miles away.

Back home and her daughter’s boyfriend is missing. The last thing he did was argue with Rose over money. He left no note, no text, no clue as to his whereabouts.

The police have questions – and so does Rose’s family. But those are little compared to the ones she has for herself.

What happened last night? And, perhaps more importantly, does she really want to know the answer?

My Review

Domestic noir is my favourite genre at the moment, so intrigued by both the synopsis and the eye-catching cover, I couldn’t wait to get to this book on my Advance Reader Copy pile. This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, but will I be reading any more. Read on to find out!

True to its genre, Last Night is full of paranoid characters and red herrings. The first thing that struck me as odd was right at the beginning when the protagonist wakes abandoned in the middle of nowhere and with her car covered in blood. The first thing most people would do is call for help. But does Rose do that? No. Her husband actually phones her but she doesn’t even mention it. The sense of unease has already struck! Her actions are even more bizarre when she returns home. I don’t want to spoil what she does, but I was beginning to think she was a right weirdo.

Then just when you are starting to think she’s made stupid mistakes, something happens and you think: ah, maybe she was right to do that.

The way Kerry Wilkinson has structured this clever, twisty first-person narrative, means that nobody, and I mean nobody, is beyond suspicion. But just who is the mystery antagonist? You’ll just have to read this novel and find out. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

It’s just as well there are few more books by this author that I haven’t read yet. I’m not sure I can wait for him to write another one.

Thank you to the publishers Bookouture, and to Netgalley for providing this ARC.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-absolutely-psychological-brilliant/dp/1786814242/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1522273560&sr=8-3&keywords=last+night

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars

Our House by Louise Candlish

Title: Our House

Author: Louise Candlish

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd

ISBN-10: 1471168034

ISBN-13: 978-1471168031

Date of Publication: 5th April 2018

Date of Review: 26th March 2018

Synopsis

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

My Review

Before I start this review, I would just like to say, as a bookaholic, the aesthetic beauty of this book’s cover just can’t go without a mention. The door on the front cover actually opens and you can see the hallway inside. I fell in love with this book before I read the first word!

So did the narrative paint such an intriguing picture as its cover? And did each page entice me further into the story?

This contemporary domestic noir combines a blend of narrative techniques to tell the story of this couple’s nightmare. As an English Literature and Creative Writing undergraduate I am taught how crucial it is to keep every detail of the storyline essential to plot. Louise Candlish takes this literary device to a whole new level; where her unique style of narration is absolutely essential to the way the breath-taking finale of this novel is delivered.

The present day storyline has an omniscient third-person narrator. The past storyline uses first-person epistolary style narratives, from the perspectives of the two main characters. Fi, the protagonist, tells her story through a website called The Victim, where other forum members post their comments. Bram, her husband, tells his story through a word document. But you have to wait until the end, and I mean the very twisty end, to appreciate the relevance of this.

Fi is a likeable character and many readers, particularly those who are mothers, will easily relate to her. Bram, although you want to slap him on more than one occasion, is not intrinsically bad; he’s just a man suffering with his own internal demons and has poor judgement. The antagonist; however, is of the most evil kind. I can’t say too much about him without giving the plot away, but aggghhh, readers everywhere will want to see this man get his comeuppance. During the first part of the book, there were times when I thought I would like to have seen the antagonist through his own first-person narrative; but as the story progressed, it was easy to see why the author had not done this.

What makes this story so compelling is the way the author builds on small stupid mistakes, mistakes that many ordinary people might make, and then blows them up until they’ve massed into one uncontrollable time-bomb. At times I was on the edge of my seat, almost shouting at Bram, willing him to do the right thing. Then just as you start thinking he is a complete waste of space: another twist – the reason why he’s taken the actions he has.

I read this book in three days; which is unusual for me. I’m not a fast reader; I like to soak up every word rather than whizz through. I know it’s a cliché, but I literally could not put this book down. There are lots of twists and turns but the final one left me so stunned it took a while for it to sink in what had happened.

We might only be a couple of months into this year, but I can definitely see this book being on my top ten favourites for 2018.

I give Our House a deserving 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Goodreads for sending me this ARC copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Title: Then She Was Gone

Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Arrow

ISBN-10: 1784756253

ISBN-13: 978-1784756253

Date of Publication: 14th December 2017

Date of Review: 19th March 2018

Synopsis

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.
Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

My Review

With each novel, Lisa Jewell has been making her way up my list of favourite authors. But how did her latest domestic noir novel, Then She Was Gone, rate. Read on to see what Literature Love thought of this twisty thriller.

The narrative starts in third-person from Laurel, the protagonist’s, perspective. A lot of books in this genre are in first-person and this third-person narrative felt a bit distant at first. But that’s not to say, I didn’t want to read on.

Typical of this author, the colloquial narrative and likeable protagonist makes you feel like the narrator is telling you about what’s happened to a mutual friend. When Laurel meets Floyd, you’re really rooting for her to find happiness. Even though from the synopsis you know there’s something not right about him, you just want that to be wrong.

With a Then and Now structure, the plot builds on a series of normal everyday events making the reader feel this nightmare could happen to any family living anywhere. Then just as you’re getting used to an external third person narration: wham! The narrative switches to first and then second-person. This is where the contrast against the third-person narration works really well, drawing the reader into the warped mind of the antagonist and her victims (I would say Floyd is pretty much a victim too). Full of self-pity, the antagonist blames everybody else for her downfalls, and the second-person narrative works particularly well to portray her vent up anger and deranged mind.

I’m in two minds about the ending; but I’ll leave you to find out for yourself just what that is. Did Laurel find happiness with Floyd. Or was this a bittersweet ending? You’ll just have to read for yourself to find out!

In summary, this latest novel by Lisa Jewell is no exception in making its way onto my favourites list; in fact, I would say it’s her best yet!

I give this novel 5 out of 5 stars.

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

Title: Take Me In

Author: Sabine Durrant

Publisher: Mulholland Books

ISBN-10: 147360835X

ISBN-13: 978-1473608351

Date of Publication: 28th June 2018

Date of Review: 19th March 2018

Synopsis

A hot beach. A young family on holiday. A fatal moment of inattention…And now Dave Jepsom is in their lives. Dave Jepsom, with his muscles, his pale eyes, his expressionless face. He saved their child. How can they ever repay him? Especially as what he seems to want in return is everything. He’s in the streets they walk down. He’s at the office where they work. He’s at their front door, leaning on the bell…If only they could go back. Back to when the lies were still hidden. Before the holiday, before the beach, before the moment that changed everything. Before Dave. But it’s never how it starts that matters. It’s always how it ends.

My Review

I’ve had another novel by this author on my TBR for a while (Lie With Me) so when I received the Advance Reader Copy for Take Me In, which is due for publication 28th June 2018, I couldn’t wait to read and review this.

The first thing to stand out for me was its dual first-person narrative which is told through the perspectives of Tessa (the mother) and Marcus (the father). This immediately made me think of Gone Girl.

The story starts with the couple arriving on holiday with their young son. Time for them to spend quality time together and mend their failing marriage. Marcus is the first character the reader gets to know. Although written from his own perspective, he is portrayed as selfish, lazy, and a bit of a wet blanket. After settling on the beach on the first day of their holiday, Tessa has gone to the toilets to change into her swimming costume, leaving Marcus to keep an eye on their young son, Josh. Instead of doing that, Marcus dozes off as he relaxes on the beach; when Josh toddles off down to the sea, it is left to a stranger (Dave) to save him from drowning. But is Tessa completely blameless in all of this?

Marcus and Tessa are both eternally grateful for Dave’s actions but as time progresses we see that Dave isn’t who he’s portrayed himself to be. The story centres around the inner conflict of both Marcus and Tessa and the inadequacies they feel about themselves. The novel is full of unlikeable and unreliable characters and the plot ping-pongs between which of the first-person narrators the reader empathises with. By the end of the book I was left feeling Marcus wasn’t such a drip and Tessa wasn’t the innocent devoted wife and mother, as I originally thought.

True to it’s genre, the novel is full of red herrings. The final twist took me by surprise, which is quite something, a first for me actually!

I enjoyed this book and, as a bookaholic, I would buy the hard-copy book when it comes out in June even though I have read the pre-publication Kindle version.

Right, I’m off to read lie With Me this author’s other novel patiently waiting on my TBR.

I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.