#gripping #twisty #psychologicalthriller

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Little Brown, Piatkus

Published: 28th March 2019

Reviewed: 12th June 2019


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 with 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…

My Review

Now and again I come across a book that totally takes me by surprise. I knew The Wife’s Shadow had already received some pretty good reviews but I wasn’t prepared for just how good this book was. The narrative starts off from the first-person perspective of Suzy, where we see her going to some kind of therapy. On the surface, Suzy has it all, cute kids, loving husband, good friends, nice home, growing business – but there’s something from her past that she’s kept secret from her husband, and now juxtaposed to her perfect life there is an ex-boyfriend and a stalker thrown into the mix.

The story starts off at a good pace, intriguing enough to hook you in but not overly so. The writing is good: characterisation and dialogue is real; sentence structure is varied with a good balance of showing and telling which gives just the right amount of pacing. But with such a twisty plot wow those pages soon start turning, and before you know it everything has gone on hold because you just can’t put this book down!

The Wife’s Shadow has twists galore and Suzy’s perfect life is not as it first seems. I did have my suspicion over one of the characters but was genuinely surprised at most of the twists. As a book-blogger I get to read some pretty amazing books but this one is right at the top of the pile. Another one that, as a new writer, I have really been able to learn from.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author

Cath Weeks was born and raised in Somerset. Her debut novel, Blind, was published in 2017 and she was named as an Author to Watch by Elle magazine. Cath lives in Bath with her husband and two sons.

WHAT SHE SAW by Wendy Clarke

#psychologicalthriller #twisty #bookreview

Publisher: Bookouture

Published: 29th April 2019

Reviewed: 10th June 2019


She lied to her daughter to save her family. Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter. It’s the relationship every mother dreams of. But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable. When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help. What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home?

My Review

A labyrinth of lies, secrets, and red herrings, this twisty debut psychological thriller had me gripped right up to the very end. It’s clear from the outset that Leona is a flaky character with anxiety issues, but are her fears real or imagined? This is a question that keeps the pages turning. Just what is Leona hiding from and why?

Set in the idyllic Lake District, at first you can’t help but want to pack your bags and join Leona; letting all your problems wash away as you breathe in the clean fresh air. However, this seemingly beautiful backdrop soon morphs into an ugly spine-chilling setting, which the author’s skillful writing brings to life on both accounts.

But if there’s one thing more heart-stopping than being in danger yourself, it’s your own child being in danger. This is something the author has done a particularly good job with. Juxtaposed to Leona’s first-person point-of-view, is the third-person limited perspective from her daughter, Beth. With her own set of teenage problems to deal with, Beth’s character plays a central role in the story, and switching narrative perspective works really well. Not only does the third-person perspective add a layer of dramatic irony, it also leaves the reader in no doubt that Leona is the protagonist, and as such she is the one who needs to overcome her past to save her daughter.

Wendy Clarke is definitely an author to look out for and I can’t wait for her second novel We Were Sisters, out 8th August 2019.

I would recommend this author for anybody who likes Jane Corry, Louise Jensen, or Lisa Jewell.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley

for an Advance Review Copy of this book

in return for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author

No Way Out

by Cara Hunter

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Published: 22nd March 2019 (ebook)

18th April 2019 (paperback)

Date of Review: 4th March 2019

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

My Review

No Way Out is the third novel in the D I Fawley series and is the second book I have read by this author. The novel is structured around past and present timelines that gradually converge to reveal how events of the past led to the devastating house fire. This starts with more recent events but as D I Fawley and his team dig deeper the timeline delves further into the past to reveal shocking twists and turns. Nothing is as it first seems, and this is one of those clever all-consuming stories where seemingly inconsequential happenings turn out to be essential to the story’s climax.

The story has a dual narrative. The investigation itself, as well as events of the past, are in third person (mostly limited with some omniscience); but Fawley himself is narrated in first person. The sub-plot centres around Fawley’s private life and ties in with the overall theme of family, children, love and loss. Switching narrative point of view for Fawley works really well. There are a lot of strong characters in the book, and using first person for Fawley brings the reader in much closer to him as the protagonist.

This is a well-written and fast-paced story where shocking plot twists and unreliable characters make this yet another gripping and heart-wrenching read. Cara Hunter is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait for her next book!

Thank you to Jane Gentle at Penguin Random House UK

for an Advance Review Copy of this book.

About the Author

The Secret by K L Slater

#psychologicalthriller #bookreview #amwriting

Publisher: Bookouture

Date of Publication: 27th July 2018

Date of Review: 28th Jan 2019


You think you can trust the ones you love most.

But what if one secret could make you question everything?

Every day, a woman like Louise passes you in the street: elegant, confident, determined. But underneath, she’s struggling.

She doesn’t know her sister, Alice, has been scared of leaving the house since their mother died.

She doesn’t know when Alice babysits her little boy, Archie, he sometimes sees things he shouldn’t.

She doesn’t know Archie has a secret.

A secret that could send cracks through the heart of Louise’s carefully constructed life…

My Review

The Secret is an addictive ‘Domestic Noir’ style psychological thriller that delves into the toxic relationship between two sisters. Louise is a married career woman with an eight-year-old son, Archie. Alice is out of work and childless; she also suffers with ME and anxiety, and is scared to leave her home.

The story starts with a dual prologue: then and now. This is in first-person and from Archie’s perspective. What happened in the past, was witnessed by Archie, and it is this secret that fuels the narrative and keeps the pages turning.

Most of the story is narrated in first-person from Alice’s perspective, with some narration in third-person from Louise’s perspective. This dual narration adds to the ‘who’s telling the truth?’ element and allows a degree of empathy for Louise; although to be honest, she isn’t nice at all. Alice’s character is in first-person and this works really well, leaving the reader with no uncertain terms as to who the protagonist is. Alice suffers with ME and anxiety; I could feel the exhaustion and pain radiating throughout her body. Readers will be screaming at Alice and telling her to say ‘no’ to the demands of her bossy and overbearing sister. We learn early on that Alice’s health issues are linked to a previous relationship. I won’t say why this is as I don’t want to spoil things, but when she sees a stranger who looks similar to her ex, you start to question Alice’s sanity.

Alice’s nephew, Archie, is a wonderful character and really brings the story to life. Dealt a raw deal in life, with a mother and step-father who both put themselves and their own careers before their child, Archie finds solace in spending time with his Auntie Alice. This isn’t an easy relationship at first. Alice barely has enough energy to look after herself let alone stepping in to care for her sister’s child. But Louise is controlling and uses emotional blackmail, forcing Alice to agree to look after Archie. According to Louise, Archie has ADHD but when Alice starts to get to know him, and gives him the time and attention that is lacking at home, the pair bring out the best in each other, and Alice starts to questions whether this is true. Alice has had a horrendous past, and her health is at a point where it looks it is on a downward spiral with no way out. But whilst helping Archie, Alice unwittingly starts to turn a corner and she starts to integrate with the outside world.

Alice also starts to get to know one of her neighbours, Jenny. Jenny also has her own set of problems. But somebody doesn’t like Alice helping Jenny – or is it Archie they don’t like her helping? And just who is that guy who waves to Alice each morning from the tram, that reminds Alice of her ex?

True to its genre, the story is full of red-herrings. And just when you think you know what ‘The Secret’ is, think again! There’s yet another twist!

I really enjoyed reading this book. The things I will take away from this as a New Writer, are pacing of the narrative and how to drop seemingly inconsequential hints into the plot that only make sense once the twist is revealed.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book.

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