He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.
Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.
Because you’re the one who killed him.
It’s time to confess what we did up there.
What I Think :
Ellen Saint’s Son Lucas was only 17 when he was killed by Kieran Watts.
Ellen wants revenge …
“Kieran Watts had been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames”
This is the opening line of a story entitled ‘Saint or Sinner’ that Ellen Saint has written for her writing class. Ellen is a member of the ‘Victims of violent crimes’ creative writing group. The only difference is that this that Ellen’s story is true. Its the true story of how her son was befriended, lead astray and then killed by Seventeen year old Kieran. It’s how it all began …
Ellen thought that Kieran was dead.
She was sure that she’d killed him over two years ago, so how can he be standing there, on the roof of one of the tallest buildings in London. Looking to all the world like he’s going to jump. He doesn’t of course, Ellen couldn’t be that lucky.
Ellen thought he was gone forever, so how can he be there …. ?
This story is told in parts. Part one is the story of how her son met Kieran and how things went terribly wrong. Part two is her ex-husband, Vic’s story and how he saw it all. It is slightly different in places from Ellen’s account of things, Part three is how it ended and the last part is what really happened on that terrible night of December 19, the night that Lucas died.
Along the way we also have extracts from a newspaper article entitled “Killing Time” that was written about Ellen and her story by a Sunday times reporter called Michaela Ross.
As with all this authors books, this is a brilliantly written psychological thriller that makes you sit back and think. Its very much a slow burner of a tale that builds up and builds up until it’s explosive ending. It covers a lot of current topics including, Drug taking and underage drinking. As a mother you always will want, no, need to protect your children at all costs, so my heart really went out to the main character Ellen quite a few times. However, I did think that a couple of times she could have handled things a little bit differently.
I really enjoyed this slightly different, tense and dark thriller and give it a really well-earned 9/10.
Published by Simon & Schuster on 05/08/21.
The biggest Thank you to Jess Barratt at Simon & Schuster for the fabulous review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
When a fire destroys the Empress Theatre, a devastating tragedy unfolds.
Amelia’s mother lost her piece of mind forever when she left her daughter alone for a few life-changing moments.
The dance school lost their beloved teacher, Hilary, who died saving the lives of her young pupils.
Karin lost her memory, and the answers she desperately craves.
Claudia lost the one thing that would have made her perfect life complete.
As local reporter Leanne picks over the embers of that night, what seemed like a straightforward case of negligence becomes something else entirely: somebody is lying – each person has lost something, but one of them has sold their soul…
What I think :
After the local ‘Empress Theatre’ has been restored it sadly burns down on opening night, killing 12 people. Amongst those 12 that died is the dance teacher Hilary Clarke, who died trying to save a young child’s life, she was due to retire very soon and this was to be her last show.
The locals are suspicious, fingers are being pointed, what actually happened that night ?
Socialite Phillipa Montgomery lead the proposal to restore the ‘Empress’ so its the obvious choice that she and her electrician Declan Gallagher, who also died in the fire, are to blame. They obviously cut corners in some way.
However an inquest, just over a year later finds that it wasn’t Phillipa or Declan to blame, as health and safety measures were in place, but the electricity panel and the company that supplied it were found to be at fault.
Leanne a reporter at the local paper, who lost her best friend, Lois that night, is writing a story on the fire and needs to find out what happened, she wants answers.
But someone is lying.
What really happened that night … ?
Was it really just an awful accident or something more sinister .. ?
The story is told mainly from Leanne’s point of view as she tries to discover what really happened. However I’ve got to say that she really does get it very wrong at times !!
The story flips back and fourth from now and to the night of the fire and it tells us the stories of the people that were involved and the people that died.
I have always enjoyed this author’s books. My first book was her debut novel, “Yesterdays Sun” which I couldn’t stop thinking about for days after. I always really look forward to her novels being published.
I can honestly say that I really loved this book, I read it in a couple of sittings, its quite a slow burner but it does keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the end. It made a really lovely change from the ‘Classic’ crime thriller that I usually read.
I give this brilliant book a really well earned 8/10 ( 5 Stars )
Published by Harper Collins on 05/08/21
The biggest Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the review copy in return for an honest review.
Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.
That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford.
Harmless fun really.
Until it wasn’t.
Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.
And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…
What I think :
All Vanessa has wanted since being a small child is to be happy.
Her sister Georgie has done all she can for her, she has always been there for her and only wants her to be happy.
Then Vanessa meets Connor, she thinks; this is it, I’ve finally found happiness. But is he too good to be true … ?
She can finally have the life she’s always wanted ….
But Vanessa also has a slightly strange hobby, she likes to pretend to be different people to view homes that she could never afford.
What at first started out as a fun thing to do has suddenly taken a turn for the worst when one of the owners of the properties is found dead and Vanessa is the suspect.
I really enjoyed this book, I read it in a couple of sittings.
This book is a dark and psychological read and quite twisted in places.
As many crime thrillers are these days, it’s told in a ‘Then’ and ‘Now scenario which lays the ground work for us to find out exactly why ‘Nessa’ has turned out the way she has. I really felt for her if I’m honest.
I always try to work out who-dun-it as I read a crime thriller, however this book had me stumped and the ending, when it arrived wasn’t what I was expecting at all !!
All in all a really thrilling, twisty book that I give 9/10 (5 stars)
Published by Penguin Random House on 05/08/21
As always the biggest Thank you to Ellie Hudson at penguin for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
What if all your neighbours’ secrets landed in a diary on your doorstep?
What if the woman who gave it to you was murdered by one of the people in the diary?
What if the police asked if you knew anything?
Would you hand over the book of secrets?
Or … would you try to find out what everyone had done?
What I think :
Acacia Villa’s in Brighton is where all the posh people live.
Rae and Clark live at number 11, Briony and Grayson at number 24, Lilly lives at number 47, Dunstan in a flat around the corner and Priscilla lives in the poshest house in the street at number 21.
June 21 began as a quite normal day until Rae has a knock at her door ….
When Rae answers her front door, its Priscilla who is stood there. She is a right state, normally so well groomed without a hair out of place. But here she is, her clothes are all dirty and her hair looks like a birds nest with it all over the place. Her make up resembles the ‘morning after’ with panda eyes and her trademark lipstick up her cheek and not on her lips.
She gasps out a chilling sentence ‘ I know what you’ve done’ she then tries to thrust a notebook/journal into Rae’s hand. She then goes on to tell Rae that ‘its all in there’ ‘take it and find out who tried to kill me’. At this point Priscilla has collapsed, and the book slides across the hall floor. Priscilla gasps again ‘Trust NO one ! not even him’ does she mean Raes husband, Clark or someone else ?
Rae runs out of the hall and into the living room to get the landline to ring an ambulance, but the battery is flat so she needs to get her mobile, when Rae returns Priscilla is gone. Just as Rae starts to believe that she has imgained the whole thing, she hears a shout from outside. Dunstan a neighbour, from around the corner and also a police officer, has found Priscilla on the floor by the bushes, she’s been hit on the back of her head.
She is taken away in an ambulance, will she survive or will she die ?
When Rae returns home she finds Priscilla’s ‘Book of Secrets’ on the hall floor where she dropped it when she collapsed.
Rae is going to give it to the police, it may hold vital clues to find out who has done this to Priscilla, But first it wouldn’t hurt to just have a little look would it … ?
But as Rae reads this ‘Book of Secrets’ she finds out more than she bargained for ….
It seems that everyone in the street, even those closest to her, have secrets that they’d rather keep ….
What a book !!
I really loved this book and read it in two sittings.
Told from the neighbours perspectives, each neighbour involved gets a chapter. You really get to find out what’s going on and what they are thinking.
There are plenty of twists and turns, just when you think ‘ah yes, I know what’s going on here’ something else happens and it makes you think again. You are kept right on the edge of your seat, like I said earlier, I just couldn’t put it down, so be prepared not to get anything done whilst you are reading this brilliant book !!
As always Dorothy’s expertly written characters are extremely believable, I found myself really feeling for a couple of the characters. I just want to put out there how truly awful Grayson is to his wife and I wanted to kick him very hard where the sun doesn’t shine the whole time !
What a book and What an ending !!!
This is another dark and twisty tale from the brilliant Dorothy Koomson. I’ve read all of her other books and really enjoyed them, looking forward to her next one already !!
I give this book a very well-earned 10/10 (5 Stars)
Published by Headline Review on 08/07/21
The biggest Thank you to Annabelle Wright at Ed Pr for the review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Welcome to Willow Close, where everyone is a suspect . . .
On the day Nina and Conrad Best move into their new home in picture-perfect Willow Close, a body is discovered.
Hurrying inside with their belongings, they see horrified neighbours gather around the police cordon – one of the residents has been attacked and brutally killed in the woods.
When police start to interview the residents of the Close, they soon discover each neighbour harbours their own secrets. Because everyone on the Close is far from what they seem.
Nina and Conrad thought they’d found their dream home.
But have they moved into a nightmare . . . ?
What I think :
Nina and Conrad move into their dream home on Willow close, but almost immediately a young girl is found dead in the bushes almost next to their house. It seems that poor Chloe, who is only thirteen has been murdered.
Then the police turn up and start interviewing the neighbours, secrets and lies seem to start to spill out and the police don’t know what is the truth and what isn’t.
What sort of street have they moved into ?
Will the police ever find out what happened to poor little Chloe ?
I really love Lesley’s books and have read every single one of them of them quite possibly a couple of times.
I love her characters and the hard hitting storylines that Lesley writes about so well, however I felt that this book wasn’t quite the same as her usual style of writing. I don’t know if she’s trying something different or this is going to be a permanent change.
Whilst for the most part I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was so many different characters and it was really easy to get a bit confused although I did think that this book was an easy read and I look forward to her next book.
I give this book 8/10 (5 stars)
Published on 24/06/21 by Michael Joseph.
The Biggest Thank you to Megan Denholm at Michael Joseph for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Delphine is at a wedding when the shocking news comes. Suddenly her life changes forever.
Delphine has worked hard for her success and she knows she’s got everything she wants. But not everyone agrees. Her opinioned family aren’t convinced that living alone with no plans to ‘settle down’ could possibly make her truly happy, and no one appreciates it when she drops everything, day or night, whenever her boss Conrad calls. Yet Delphine wouldn’t change a thing. And when Conrad makes her a surprise offer, its clear her hard work is going to pay off.
A few short days later, Delphine’s life is unrecognisable. The man who once broke her heart has suddenly reappeared and a shocking tragedy turns her world on it’s head.
Delphine must rethink everything that matters to her, and to those around her, and decide once and for all, if love, family and a little compromise should come before career, security and independence … and if she’s prepared to make that choice.
What I think :
Delphine’s family thinks she works too much, and they worry about her, scared that she’ll never find anybody to love her if she’s at work all the time. But Delphine loves her job, as Executive Assistant to a wealthy businessman she has a lot of responsibility, she also knows she’s good at what she does. She really does love her life. She has everything she needs, a cottage at the seaside and some lovely friends who she loves.
Everything is good, but then her brother decides to get married and she needs a ‘plus one’ to take to the wedding its then her life is thrown into disarray by the reappearance of her Ex and she’s hit by unexpected tragedy. Delphine has to re-evaluate her life and wonder if she made the right choices after all ….
I have always loved Shelia’s books, they are always full of lovely down to earth characters that you can always identify with and this one is no exception. I really liked the character of Delphine and if it was real life I’d probably want to be friends with her !!
This is an enjoyable easy read, with a fast paced story. Lots of ups and downs with a bit of drama thrown in for good measure.
I give this book book a well-earned 9/10 (5 stars)
Published by Headline review on 20/05/21.
The biggest thank you to Anne Cater at Random things tours for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same.
When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.
Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.
And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…
What I think :
So here we are back with DI Fawley and the team for their fifth (fifth ?!) outing.
This one this time is a little bit different as student as one of the colleges students accuses a Professor of sexually assaulting them. However the Oxford student is Caleb Morgan, an up and coming star of the rugby team and the harasser is the famous Professor Marina Fisher, he claims that she assaulted him in a sexual way when he was babysitting her son.
What really happened … ?
Meanwhile Alex, Fawley’s wife is pregnant and feeling pretty isolated at home, he is trying to be the best husband he can for her, as the suicide of their young son is still hanging over them. Also to add to the mix, Alex was attacked some eighteen years ago and her attacker ‘The Roadside Rapist” has just been released from prison and has vowed ‘Revenge’ on the detective that sent him down, however there are complications in that case also as it was Alex’s evidence that sent him to prison …
As always plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Excellent writing and brilliant story telling, it’s always a joy to be back with Adam Fawley and the team, its just like meeting up with friends that you haven’t seen for a months.
I really enjoyed this book and give it a well earned 9/10. (5 stars )
Published on 29/04/2021 by Penguin Random House.
They biggest Thank you to Ellie Hudson at Penguin for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Golden couple Annie and David Crayce have it all. A loving marriage, three beautiful children and a thriving family business. Life couldn’t be better. Until the unthinkable happens…
A perfect crime?
A piece of damning DNA evidence has arisen, placing David as the prime suspect of a murder committed twenty-years ago. Annie is sure her David is innocent. But if he isn’t guilty, then either his father or brother must be.
As the police investigate the cold case, so does Annie. Trawling through her old diaries, she begins desperately looking for answers. But it all comes down to a few lost hours she can’t solve.
And Annie begins to doubt the one person she thought she knew best… Her husband.
What I think :
David and Annie have a good life, three kids, Sienna, max and Quin and a family business that’s doing well. They run a shooting school on the moors in Exmoor.
When daughter Sienna is caught shoplifting a bear from a toy shop, she is arrested and her DNA and fingerprints are taken as a routine measure. When no charges are brought against her she thinks that nothing else will come of it, but her DNA has been run through the police data base and its this DNA that is found to be a familial match to DNA that was found on a missing persons body from a murder case from twenty years ago. This means that a Male relative from Siennas family has a DNA match to the evidence found.
Karen Lomax went missing and two days later was found murdered in a derelict railway hut. This happened twenty years ago. Karen was seventeen.
Then David is arrested for Karens murder. Is it a case of mistaken identity ?
David is protesting his innocence, he says that he doesn’t even know who she is. But does he know more than he’s saying ?
Then his brother Henry and father Dickie (Richard) are both questioned and have DNA taken, do certain members the family know more than they’re letting on … ?
As the police continue to investigate, Annie, who wholeheartedly believes in David’s innocence, starts a fact finding mission of her own by looking through her old diaries but what will she find … ?
I really enjoyed this book as I do all of Susans books. She really is one of my favourite authors of all time !! They are all fabulous thrillers that are always full of twists and turns, you never really know who the actual culprit is right until the big reveal at the end. I have tried many times to guess who-dun-it but I never guess correctly, it’s never who you think it is !!
Her books are always so very well researched with the best characters that are so well-formed and very relatable. They never fail to keep you engrossed from the very first page to the last.
I really don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but I really do think that Susan’s books just get better and better.
I thought this book is an excellent read and give it a very well earned 10/10 (5 stars)
Published by Harper Collins on 01/04/21
The biggest thank you to Anne Cater/ RandomThings tours for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?
What would you do to get it back?
Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people.
At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.
But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down.
Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.
What I think :
Twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother Dot at the age of fifty one. The three of them live a secluded life in rundown cottage on the edge of the local landowner Mr Rawson’s estate. They really don’t have much, selling the vegetables that they grow to local businesses. Julius is a bob-a-job handyman.
So when their mother dies unexpectedly one morning of a stroke the twins are at a loss of what to do, Jeanie can barely read and write as she had so much time off school with rheumatic fever as child and Julius didn’t pass any of his exams at all. They don’t really know how to get a death certificate for their mother, so it’s a good job that their mothers best friend Bridget is on hand to help. None of them even have a bank account, Dot used to keep their money in a tin in the kitchen !
Just as the twins are getting their heads around the fact that Dot has gone, Secrets and lies start to emerge ….
It appears that Dot was quite ill before she died, she’d had a couple of mini strokes, but hadn’t told her children.
Then Mrs Rawson, the landowners wife knocks on the door telling Jeanie that their mother owed them, the Rawson’s quite a lot of money for rent on the cottage. Money that Jeanie and Julius now have to pay, they have no money, so that’s another worry. The cottage that the twins thought they could live in rent free for life because of what happened to their father, it now appears not …
Did Dot lie about that too ?
Does she owe money to other people too ?
What other secrets did Dot have ?
This is quite a raw and dark read, I must admit I found myself feeling quite tense the whole time I was reading this family’s story and also if I’m honest quite uncomfortable that people could live in such seclusion that they were that naive.
I felt really felt sorry for the twins, they thought they’re living their life in a simple but effective way, a way that their mother taught them, but it was that same mother that had decieved them with secrets and sometimes lies.
I found it an interesting read.
I give this book 8/10 (5 Stars)
Published on 25/03/21 by Fig Tree (Penguin Random House )
The biggest Thank you to Hannah Sawyer at Penguin Random House for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people . . .
Abandoned as a baby in the hallway of a shared house in London, Marina has never known her parents, and the circumstances of her birth still remain a mystery.
Now an adult, Marina has returned to the house where it all started, determined to find out who she really is. But the walls of this house hold more than memories, and Marina’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other tenants. Someone is watching Marina. Someone who knows the truth . . .
What I think :
Marina was abandoned as a tiny baby in the hallway of an old block of flats in Harrington Gardens.
Marina, who was named for the nurse that looked after her when she was found, wants to find out about herself and who her parents were and why they left her. It’s very important to her that she finds out just exactly what happened to make her birth mother abandon her like that.
So she returns to the old rundown block of flats in Harrington Gardens, but she doesn’t want anyone to know why she there and who she is because some of the residents remember when it happened …
Connie is very scared
Connie is only seventeen yet she feels very grown up right now, she thought she was loved by a man that she slept with but, sadly she wasn’t. He used her and now he has gone off to Paris to be an artist and Connie is left holding the baby, literally. She’s pregnant and alone and doesn’t know what to do. Her father would be devastated. There really is only one thing she can do …
With Marina looking for answers, soon the two era’s collide ….
The book is told over two timelines, 1990’s (Marina) and 1960’s (Connie) and is mainly set in the old run down block of flats in Harrington Gardens where marina was found.
Your heart really goes out to both the girls but I really did have a soft spot for Connie because I think that she had maybe the hardest time of it. She really thought she’d found someone to love and someone who loved her, but in the end she hadn’t and he ran off to Paris before she had a chance to tell him of her pregnancy. She then had all these difficult decisions to make on her own, not forgetting of course, that abortion was against the law still then.
Then in present day well, almost present day, the 1990’s we have Marina who is trying to find herself and where she came from.
The story does move quite slowly, it is quite a slow burner but that doesn’t detract from the fact that its an expertly written story with very believable and relatable characters.
This is a very sad, but sometimes very gripping story about love and loss. I would highly recommend this novel and give it 8/10 (5 Stars)
Published on 18/03/21 by Mantle books.
The biggest Thank you to Anne Cater at RandomThings Tours for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Here for your reading pleasure is an extract from the book.
The house is still, like a crypt. Only the maple tree moves, branches swaying in the night breeze, leaves trem- bling and then brightening as a light in the top window flicks on.
Marina parks opposite and switches off the engine. Heart thudding, she opens the door and steps into the street. The midnight air whips her face. Her breath is wispy, like the remnants of a ghost. In the distance, traffic speeds along Streatham High Road. A siren wails.
She has been in Tooting Bec visiting an author whose manuscript she’s editing. Agata is Polish and is writing her memoirs, focusing on the Second World War. Setting off for the drive home to Wiltshire, Marina has taken a detour, speeding through the network of suburban streets, along past the common and into Harrington Gardens.
It’s an ordinary street in a nondescript part of London, with the air of a place battened down for winter. Hedges are scruffy, tendrils trail from the tops of hanging bas- kets. Rubbish nudges the lids of dustbins. On one path, a rusty pram stands discarded along with a broken cot. The houses are mostly semis but number 24 is different. Detached. It’s a double-fronted Victorian home with two gables topped with arrowed finials. Spiked iron railings, with gates either side, contain the front garden with its modest patch of earth, single maple tree and geometric path. Stone steps lead to a massive front door; metal stairs to the entrance to the basement. To the right, a public footpath separates it from the house next door. An estate agent’s fallen sign rests on the ground.
Flat 2. To Let.
Automatically, Marina compares the reality before her to the photographs she’s seen in newspapers. But those grainy images were mere reproductions, while this building is solid and stamps its importance on the street.
Marina crosses the road. The house is in darkness save for the light on the second floor and a cobwebbed lantern above the front door, but it’s enough to notice the crumbling cornices and cracked stained glass. The bricks need repointing, the ledges need repainting and the maple tree needs cutting back.
Three floors and five windows and then the basement. The light in the top window is turned off. Marina shivers and buttons her faux-fur coat. Her hair hangs abundantly around her face rich and dark and warm. She wears thick clothes, boots and fingerless gloves, but still the chill of the night creeps inside her bones. Flexing her fingers, she moves beneath a street lamp as if it might give her heat.
Above her, the sky is heavy. Stray snowflakes are fall- ing. She should go home. She should get into her Mini, turn the heating on full blast and speed away from London.
But she does not. Warily, she steps forward and peers more closely at the house. Along with the set of doorbells – five, she counts, for five flats, there’s a separate bell for the basement – she takes in the original details: the lion-head door knocker with its gaping mouth; the metal bell pull that hangs like a noose; the guillotine blade of the boot scraper.
She considers the people who have lifted the knocker, jangled the bell or scraped their shoes: tenants and visit- ors. She imagines the figure of a lonely woman, creeping like a spectre up the steps, pushing open the door and leaving her baby inside.
Who would do that?
A weight forms inside her chest. It’s an old question and yet Marina’s body bows beneath the hurt because she knows she was the baby and the woman was her mother.