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All engrossing, pure escapist, nail-biting anxiety, mind bending terror and psychological twists. We’re not sure why it’s so appealing. Good though, isn’t it! You might also like to browse our Crime and Mystery category.
A thoughtful, emotionally challenging yet beautifully readable novel. Naomi Cottle is a talented investigator and finder of missing children, here she searches for her own sister who has been missing since they were both children. Rene Denfeld is a must-read author for me. Her debut The Enchanted (one of our Books of the Year in 2014) is still lodged in my heart and my mind, and a book I often recommend. This is the second in the Naomi Cottle series, however can easily be read as a standalone. I personally though, would make the obvious decision of starting with The Child Finder. Rene Denfeld’s working experience means that she has a knowledge of horrific crime that the majority of people won’t ever, and shouldn’t ever know. She champions the hidden, the shunned, and makes them human and relatable. Celia, the 12 year old street child, really did creep into my heart, and the social aspects of the novel hit home hard. The dramatic feeling of tension that Rene Denfeld created, remained throughout, and I really had no idea as to how this novel would end. The Butterfly Girl prods and provokes, yet is wonderfully descriptive and eloquently written and I just had to choose this as one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month.
Hauntingly tender, and written with powerful grace, Clare Chambers’s Small Pleasures is an absolute joy from start to finish. It’s 1957 in suburban Kent, where Jean writes for a local newspaper with every aspect of her life still dominated by her contrary, controlling mother as Jean approaches forty. No post-work drinks with colleagues. No friends. No romance. Enter Gretchen Tilbury, an elegant Swiss woman who writes to the paper claiming her daughter was the result of a virgin birth. As Jean investigates the case, she becomes close to Gretchen, her kind, witty husband Howard, and the alleged miraculous daughter, all four of them finding comfortable joy in each other’s company. “You’ve stirred us out of our routine,” Howard remarks, to which Jean responds, “I would have thought it was the other way about.” While researching Gretchen’s youth, Jean inadvertently sends shockwaves through the Tilbury family when she reconnects Gretchen to a powerful figure from her past. At the same time, she and Howard find themselves falling for each other, both of them remaining faithful to Gretchen, graciously skirting their attraction - until it’s right to act. The novel features some of the most finely drawn, endearing characters I’ve encountered in recent contemporary fiction. For all her lonely frustration, Jean isn’t one to wallow. She’s pragmatic, with ripples of not-quite-regret lapping beneath her smooth, reasoned surface - a woman “who took pride in her ability to conceal unruly emotions.” Her domesticity pieces for the paper have something of Carrie Bradshaw’s musings about them, albeit without any in-your-face sex in the city (or the suburbs, in Jean’s case), with their apparently humdrum themes humorously paralleling soul-stirring events in her own life. Laying bare a quivering three-way tug between obligation, propriety and passion, and the inexplicable way thunderbolt-bonds are formed between similar-souled individuals, Jean’s conflicts and chance to love truly get under your skin. What a remarkable book, with a dagger-sharp climax that will pierce your heart.
Roy Grace, creation of the award-winning author Peter James, unearths a powerful criminal network in Find Them Dead. Ending his secondment to London's Met Police, Roy Grace gets a tip-off about a county lines drugs mastermind operating out of Brighton. On his first day back in his old job in Sussex, he is called to a seemingly senseless murder. Separately, Meg Magellan finally has her life back together, five years after the car crash that killed her husband and their son. Her daughter, Laura, now 18, is on her gap year travelling in South America with a friend, and Meg misses her badly. Laura is all she has in the world. In between jobs, Meg receives a summons for jury service. She's excited - it might be interesting and will help distract her from constantly worrying about Laura. But when she is selected for the trial of a major Brighton drugs overlord, everything changes. Gradually, Grace's investigation draws him increasingly into the sinister sphere of influence of the drug dealer on trial. A man utterly ruthless and evil, prepared to order the death of anyone it takes to enable him to walk free. Just a few days into jury service, Meg arrives home to find a photograph of Laura, in Ecuador, lying on her kitchen table. Then her phone rings. A sinister, threatening stranger is on the line. He tells her that if she ever wants to see Laura alive again, it is very simple. At the end of the trial, all she has to do is make sure the jury says just two words . . . Not guilty.
Oh my word, this hits hard, and with so much power it almost took my breath away. Set in the future it focuses on an antibiotic crisis, no one over the age of 70 is allowed treatment and they are sent to hospitals called ‘The Waiting Rooms’. Although written before the current Covid 19 crisis, there is so much here you can connect to as a reader it feels as though this book was meant for these specific times. The first chapter is provocative, it shocked me and yet introduces the main character and book perfectly. As Kate searches for her birth mother, different time frames and countries sent my thoughts and feelings spinning. This is one of those books that doesn’t sit comfortably in one genre as it crosses from dystopian right through to family drama. It is perhaps best described as a speculative thriller, and boy did it make me reflect. I have been left thirsting for more information, for more knowledge and Eve Smith’s final words when she talks about the inspiration behind the novel are chilling indeed. The Waiting Rooms is a gutsy, thoughtful, fascinating read, and we have chosen it to feature as a LoveReading Debut of the Month.
Linda Castillo follows her instant New York Times bestseller, Shamed, with Outsider, an electrifying thriller about a woman on the run hiding among the Amish. While enjoying a sleigh ride with his children, Amish widower Adam Lengacher discovers a car stuck in a snowdrift and an unconscious woman inside. He calls upon Chief of Police Kate Burkholder for help, and she is surprised to recognize the driver: fellow cop and her former friend, Gina Colorosa. Years before, Kate and Gina were best friends at the police academy and patrol officers in Columbus, but time and distance have taken them down two very different paths. Now, Gina reveals a shocking story of betrayal and revenge that has forced her to run for her life. She’s desperate for protection, and the only person she can trust is Kate—but can Kate trust her? Or will Gina’s dark past put them all in danger? As a blizzard bears down on Painters Mill, Kate helps Gina go into hiding on Adam’s farm. While the tough-skinned Gina struggles to adjust to the Amish lifestyle, Kate and state agent John Tomasetti delve into the incident that caused Gina to flee. But as Kate gets closer to the truth, a killer lies in wait. When violence strikes, she must confront a devastating truth that changes everything she thought she knew not only about friendship, but the institution to which she's devoted her life.
Shadow Selves starts in the midst of the action, after a visit to Dr J. Jones a hypnotherapist ends in a suicide. As a reader you have many questions about this book from the start, which helps to throw you off balance and create a sense of unease and as the plot twists and turns. There’s a lot of good plot points throughout the book and I found it interesting that most of the story was written from the perspective of Callum, a fake therapist who has a lot to lose if he is exposed and I think that this perspective adds to the tension in the story. The events of the book come to a fairly dramatic conclusion and I liked that Shadow Selves doesn’t necessarily end “happily”. There are more questions raised by the final page which I also think puts the reader off balance and lets the uneasy feeling linger with the reader after the story concludes. Playing on the fear of manipulation by medical professionals, I think that as a thriller Shadow Selves works. I personally wasn’t hooked as I read, but it was an easy thriller to read and may be good for fans of the genre.
A thoroughly entertaining, fast-moving and smirky crime caper. When Daniella arrives in Spain for her estranged mother’s funeral, she finds herself in the middle of a property scam, things soon get rather… complicated. The storyline has the feel of an old black and white crime comedy film, but this is bang up to date and in spectacular colour. The chapter titles act as a heads up and several times Morgan Cry tells you what is to come, which just ratchets up the tension. Words jabbed at my awareness, the characters are larger than life, and even when being vile, have the potential to be somewhat loveable. The police transcripts that are scattered through the book are extremely diverting and left me smiling. I read this in one sitting, and the ending arrived with a blast. I would describe Thirty-One Bones as a crime-laden romp, it is pure escapism, and I enjoyed it so much, I’ve included it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.
An intriguing, pulsing, provocative mystery that really kept me on my toes. Olivia is affected by night terrors, her past comes back to haunt her when she wakes in the middle of the night to find herself standing over a body in her garden. We’ve reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed all of Megan Miranda’s novels at LoveReading. I particularly love the sharp teetering edge of the relationship that develops between the reader and the main characters. Here, my trust for Olivia felt patchy and uncertain, her past is everything. Megan Miranda cleverly evoked emotions in me that Olivia had been feeling for years. The balance of suspense and information was held on a wire as my thoughts were nudged one way and then the other. As the pace increased so did the tension. The Girl From Widow Hills really highlights the dangers of secrets and lies, and it was only when I’d finished that I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax!
An incredibly dramatic, graphic and gripping start to a new series. This isn’t just an introduction though, it’s a fabulous full serving in its own, very distinctive right. 15 years ago Kate Marshall solved a high profile murder case and very nearly became a victim herself, now, a copycat killer is on the loose, determined to finish the job. The beginning takes us back to 1995, within a few pages there is a real sense of Kate, and the case. Chapter two is incredibly stark, making me flinch before things seriously kicked off. I was glued to the pages, and read the whole book in one sitting. If you are a little squeamish, then be warned, there are some darker than dark, vivid and violent incidents ahead of you. Personally, I didn’t feel it was overly sensational though, as it felt all too real! Robert Bryndza really has set the scene for a fabulous new series. Fierce, startling and incredibly readable, Nine Elms comes as highly recommended from me. The Kate Marshall series: 1. Nine Elms 2. Shadow Sands
On the snow-covered slopes of Utah, the President of the United States is kidnapped and his Secret Service detail massacred. Only one agent survives-ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath. He doesn't believe the official line that Middle Eastern terrorists are behind the attack and begins his own campaign to find the truth and exact revenge. But now, framed for murder, Harvath takes his fight to the towering mountains of Switzerland and joins forces with the beautiful Claudia Mueller of the Swiss Federal Attorney's Office. Together they must brave the subzero temperatures and overwhelming heights of treacherous Mount Pilatus-where their only chance for survival lies inside the den of the most lethal team of professional killers the world has ever known.
Family always comes first. Until now. Get ready for the ultimate summer read with the explosive new novel from Sunday Times No.1 bestseller and 'undisputed queen of crime writing' (Guardian) Martina Cole. Diana Davis has been head of the family business since the death of her husband, an infamous bank robber. She's a woman in a man's world, but no one messes with her. Her only son, Angus, is a natural born villain, but he needs to earn Diana's trust before she'll allow him into the business. Once he's proved he has the brains to run their clubs in Marbella, he is given what he's always wanted. It's the beginning of a reign of terror that knows no bounds. But Angus has a blind spot: his wife, Lorna, and their three kids, Angus Junior, Sean and Eilish. And as the next generation enters the business, Angus has a painful truth to learn. Even when it comes to family, he must show no mercy...
From the number one bestselling author, Peter James, comes The Secret of Cold Hill. The spine-chilling follow-up to The House on Cold Hill. Now a smash-hit stage play. Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history, and a new era has begun. Although much of Cold Hill Park is still a construction site, the first two families move into their new houses. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. Despite the ever present rumble of cement mixers and diggers, Cold Hill Park appears to be the ideal place to live. But looks are deceptive and it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes. There is one thing that never appears in the estate agent brochures: nobody has ever survived beyond forty in Cold Hill House and no one has ever truly left . . .
Picture it. You’re going on holiday. The bags are packed and the family is ready, you’re at the gate, the plane is boarding, you’ve decided to start your brand new, especially purchased thriller right away. Suddenly, you’re immersed into the corridors of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, espionage and you don’t know who to trust. The plane has left without you. So has the family. You haven’t even noticed. At least you have a good book … and the whole house to yourself for a week!
This section is crammed with dangerously compelling adventures that will have your nails bitten and nervous system tested to the full. From Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and James Patterson to Fred Vargas, Bernard Minier and C.J Sansom, there’s enough here to keep you ‘head-down and out-of-it’ for years. There’s certainly time to read one more before the family gets back from Torremolinos … and that’s where we come in!