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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Reader Reviewed
While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

While You Sleep

Thriller / Suspense   Books of the Month   Crime / Mystery   eBook Favourites   
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March 2018 Book of the Month

Take an old house on the edge of a remote Scottish island, place an American artist running away from her marriage in it. She finds an old journal from 1869 written by Ailsa whose husband dabbled in the occult and used her as an ‘instrument’ in his experiments. He was drowned at sea and she gave birth to a child thirteen months after she last saw him. Scandal, rumour and gossip abound when both mother and child die in mysterious circumstances. So now our present day tale unfolds and what a tale it is. This is Dennis Wheatley/Wicker Man/Stephen King territory, wonderful stuff, not for the feint-hearted. Our American woman blames jet lag, then alcohol, then hormones for her strange, erotic ‘dreams’. Slowly we are drawn into an ancient mystery, locals resenting infiltrators, or real horror … we know not and we turn the pages compulsively to discover all we can. Highly recommended. Lovers of historical fiction will know the author as S J Parris, a creator of Bruno the sixteenth century spy, this is her first book under this name. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sabine Little - 'The writing is evocative, and allows you to imagine being on your own, in the dark, in a house people tell stories about...a page turner.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I love a story set on an island, add in a woman on her own, a big creepy old house far away from any neighbours with no easy way to get help and this has all the ingredients for the perfect ghost story. This was so good! I recommend this to anyone who liked The Woman In Black.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'This is one unputdownable thriller.  Totally captivated from start to end.  Brilliant writing.'
  • Michelle McKernan - 'A brilliant tense, spooky book that I struggled to put down. Very well written and kept me guessing right until the end. I would definitely recommend this book.'
  • Catherine Jenkins - 'I used to think I didn’t believe in supernatural phenomena. After reading this, I’m not so sure!'
  • Laura Rowland - 'A thriller like no other.'
  • Clare Wilkins - 'A page-turning and atmospheric gothic thriller full of twists, turns, horror and very dark magic.'
  • Paul Garland - 'The author mixes a story of ghosts and the intangible with reality and as the story twists and turns tension and suspense builds to a final thought provoking conclusion.'
  • Ruth Ginarlis - 'While You Sleep is a novel of demonic possession and madness, tragedy and murder set in a remote Scottish island.  Definitely one for a winter evening, or afternoon if you have a nervous disposition!'
  • Sue Packer - 'I wouldn’t recommend that you read this book on your own, in a dark remote house with no outside contact, but other than that, if you like a good horror/thriller, this is one for you!'
  • Suzanne James - 'A modern gothic melodrama.'
  • Vicky-Leigh Sayer - 'While You Sleep is a creepy, atmospheric thriller and something very different to my usual read. I loved it!'
  • Xanthe Waite - 'A ghostly, creepy, absorbing thriller that will keep you turning the pages.'
  • Les Wood - 'This is a book I would recommend with reservations. If you want a straight forward story and a simple ending then this is not for you. If you want to be frustrated and entertained, buy it!!'
  • Jocelyn F Garvey - 'Young susceptible woman, old haunted house, stormy seas, tales of dead children. A real page turner that will keep you up all night.'
  • Judith Waring - 'I found this a really great and genuinely unsettling book that kept me racing through the chapters.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I love a story set on an island, add in a woman on her own, a big creepy old house far away from any neighbours with no easy way to get help and this has all the ingredients for the perfect ghost story. This was so good! I recommend this to anyone who liked The Woman In Black.'

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

A pacy, chilling psychological thriller, set to reinvent the genre. It begins, they say, with a woman screaming... On a remote Scottish island, the McBride house stands guard over its secrets. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there; just last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace. For Zoe Adams, newly arrived from America, the house offers a refuge from her failing marriage. But her peaceful retreat is disrupted by strange and disturbing events: night-time intrusions; unknown voices; a constant sense of being watched. The locals want her to believe that these incidents are echoes of the McBrides' dark past. Zoe is convinced the danger is closer at hand, and all-too-real - but can she uncover the truth before she is silenced?


`While You Sleep makes for utterly riveting bedtime reading. Steph has taken familiar ingredients and made something fresh and frankly terrifying from them. I loved it
Andrew Taylor, bestselling author of The Ashes of London

`Forget sleep - this broodingly creepy gothic tale of love, lust and loss on a remote Scottish island kept me awake most of the night, partly from fear, but mostly because I couldn't put it down' Fiona Neill, bestselling author of The Betrayals

`Sexy, scary and gripping' Cass Green, bestselling author of In a Cottage In a Wood

`Pure edge-of-the-seat stuff: a fantastically entertaining, yet deeply unsettling read'
Julie Myerson

Praise for Stephanie Merritt:

`A tight plot combines with subtly-realised characters and an omnipresent sense of danger ... a cracking story' Daily Mail

`Colourful characters, fast-moving plots and a world where one false step ... can mean a grisly death.' Sunday Times

`A delicious blend of history and thriller' The Times

`Vivid, sprawling ... Well-crafted, exuberant' Financial Times

`A killer plot ... an engaging protagonist; and an atmospheric sense of place' The Times

`Twists and turns like a corkscrew of venomous snakes' Stuart MacBride

`Impossible to resist ... Parris creates a convincing sense of the past, woven with so much intrigue that the head fairly spins' Daily Telegraph

`It has everything - intrigue, mystery and excellent history' Kate Mosse

`Full of surprises' TLS

'Utterly Gripping' Conn Iggulden

About the Author

No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author and journalist Stephanie Merritt has worked as a critic and feature writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television. Writing as S. J. Parris, she is the fastest growing historical crime writer in the UK, with her series of thrillers set in Tudor England selling over half a million copies. She currently writes for the Observer and the Guardian, and lives in Surrey with her son.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th March 2018


Stephanie Merritt

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Author 'Like for Like'


HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


400 pages


Thriller / Suspense
Books of the Month
Crime / Mystery
eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense
Horror & ghost stories



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