The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C.S. Robertson #BookReview

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Death is not the end. For Grace McGill, it’s only the beginning.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.

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I’m sure everyone’s heard at least one story about someone who was found dead in their home for quite some time, months even. Their absence was not remarked upon by family, friends, not even their neighbours. How sad is that? Well the last person that takes note of them is the woman who cleans up after they are gone, it’s Grace Mc Gill, death cleaner.

Grace has a 10-step plan each time she needs to carry out a deep clean and it’s very thorough. Grace takes the reader (once or twice) through what happens after bodies start to decompose and how she needs to clean their final resting place. It’s a unique approach, it fascinated me and Grace is quite unique (and fascinating) as well. A little quirky right from the beginning maybe, because she lives alone with her cat George, thus leading a similar life to the people she cleans up after, and because she makes dioramas of the rooms the people who died were found in, right till the smallest detail. She is also at the beck and call of her father who’s an ugly drunk most of the time. They don’t seem to be able to stand each other so it was a real mystery to me why she didn’t just ignore his calls. There’s a lot more to be discovered about Grace and her family history but that would be spoiling things too soon.

At one house she finds newspapers of the same day but for different years and Grace packs them up with a few other mementos of the deceased to give to his next of kin, only to start wondering about the significance of the date of the papers once home. She also finds the strangest little thing next to his pillow, a little dried daisy. It won’t be the only time she’ll find this little flower either, but what does it mean and who left it there?

I found the investigation about Thomas Agnew’s past and the secret he took with him to his grave a little slow going in the first half of the novel, nobody wants to talk, everybody’s angry at her for asking questions and Grace walks around in the footsteps of another person without much result at first (I know I’m impatient!) but the significance of the daisy sure made up for it. This side of the story was so cleverly put together and I had not seen this coming at all.

Grace cares about the lonely people, the ones lying in their homes all alone, their absence unnoticed. Grace is a remarkable character, determined to solve a 56 year old secret that leads her to Bute and to age-old conspiracies. She’s a person I won’t easily forget, especially with the ending the author had in store for her, it was utterly fitting even though I felt a bit sadness about it as well.

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill might be a little bit of a macabre read, but don’t let that put you off because it’s worth it! If you don’t mind your reads more on the darker side then make sure to put this one on the list, it’s so unique!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner (Frankie Elkin #2) #BookReview #BlogTour @centurybooksuk

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I’m delighted to share my thoughts on the latest book by Lisa Gardner ‘One Step Too Far‘ featuring missing person tracker Frankie Elkin. My thanks to the publisher Penguin Random House’s imprint Century for the invite for the blog tour and the digital ecopy via Netgalley. A heads up already, you won’t fail noticing that I’m quite enthusiastic about this novel 😉

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A young man disappears during a stag weekend in the woods. Years later, he’s still missing.

But his friends who were with him that day are still searching for him. Still hunting for answers.

They hike deep into the wilderness.

With them is missing person specialist Frankie Elkin.

What they don’t know is that they are putting their own lives in terrifying danger, and may not come back alive . . .

Purchase

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Author

Lisa Gardner started her writing career aged seventeen. Having caught her hair on fire while working in food service, crafting a novel seemed a safer bet. A mere ten years later she became an overnight success with the publication of her first thriller, The Perfect Husband.

Now an internationally bestselling author and winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for best suspense novel, Lisa lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

When not glued to her computer, she can be found hiking the mountains with her dogs and/or researching new and interesting ways to get away with murder.

Follow Lisa Gardner on Twitter @LisaGardnerBks ; or visit her website: https://www.lisagardner.com/

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One Step Too Far is such an amazing novel! To say that I loved it is an understatement, it’s phe-nom-in-al! I was already itching to share the book love only 10 minutes after I finished reading it, so I’m excited it’s finally review day.

This is the second novel in a series about Frankie Elkin, a woman – not a detective, not a professional – who tries to find missing persons. A new location and new characters in every novel in the series, it’s a wonderful idea because you can read them as standalones but the characters of the first book in the series (bar owner Stoney, his terrorizing cat (still love him) and the special detective) were so great that I wished she’d stayed in town. That was before I read this novel. By the end of it, I had exactly the same feelings all over again, so many of the characters captured my heart, not to mention the dog, a lab called Daisy who’s a cadaver dog but can also find people alive.

Frankie is on her way to investigate the disappearance of an 8 year old but decides to make a little detour and join a search party for Timothy O’Day who went missing 5 years earlier. The party consists of 8 people (and a dog): a grieving father, a hiking guide, three college friends and three semi-professional searchers. They set out to an area in the massive Popo Agie Wilderness Area that consists of woods, mountains, streams, lakes, gullies, cliff faces, wild animals, you name it. Frankie is the one most out of her comfort zone but this city girl is determined, focused and absolutely amazing at what she does. When night falls on day 1 someone sabotages the group but who? I was hyperalert all through the novel but I honestly couldn’t say and after a while they all wormed their way into my heart.

I’d love to go over everything they went through up on that mountain but that would mean we’d need another hour. Suffice to say that there is lots of blood and wounds involved and yeah people will also get murdered. It’s like a version of The Hunger Games but better, so much better. The plot was so clever. I also had not a single idea how this was going to end.

I really enjoyed the first novel Before She Disappeared but in all honesty One Step Too Far is even better. If this doesn’t make it on my top 10 end of year list I don’t know what does! This character driven novel has wrung me out emotionally too. I nearly cried once, then smiled when it all came to a close, and in the very last pages I was emotional all over again. I think it’s easier to say it’s hormones then to explain to non-readers.

It can’t get any better than this if you ask me, but I can’t wait to follow Frankie again in the next novel and see what trouble finds her there!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

One Step Too Far Blog Tour Poster

He Started It by Samantha Downing #BookReview

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No one knows you better than your family. They know your hopes and dreams. And your darkest secrets.

This is a story about three siblings. It’s about a secret they’ve all kept since they were children. It’s a story about lying. A story about murder. A story where only one can win…

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Thank you to my blog friend Jonetta for making me pick up one of Samantha Downing’s novels! Well the year has certainly ended on a high note with this novel! He Started It is a novel about a road trip. Scratch that, it’s a novel about a power trip, both in the present and past storyline.

After their grandpa died Beth, along with her siblings Eddie and Portia stand to inherit his estate, car and liquid funds. All they have to do to receive their inheritance is go on a road trip. Well not just any road trip but THE road trip, following the exact same route as the only other road trip they went on when they were children and their grandpa took them on to give their parents time alone to sort their differences.

He Started It is filled to the brim with secrets and lies, the characters are generally untrustworthy and greedy. Her older brother Eddie is a charming asshole, her younger sister Portia stole from her even when she was 6 years old so she might be up to her old tricks in the present. As for Beth herself, she doesn’t call herself a good person, she makes it clear from the start that she’s not hero, and she really isn’t a good person either but in the end I did still feel for her! Mission accomplished you amazing author!

This was literally the road trip from hell, it all starts going haywire fairly soon when they feel they are being followed by another car, but who and why? Are they even being followed or is it also a lie, Beth doesn’t know for sure. Strange things do start to happen when they’re not looking, things go missing, but is it an outsider or an insider… you just don’t know! On top of that the author drops plenty of twists and turns in the past roadtrip as well with great shock value. It only added to the suspense and it had me question every few pages what went wrong on that first roadtrip and what secret they’re not talking about.

This was unlike any other roadtrip I ever read about and I loved every second of this crazy trip. Maybe I would have liked it more if Beth was the one good person but in this family, how could she? I had no idea how this would end and this novel managed to surprise me right up to when I read the very last lines.

I can’t believe it’s only the first novel I read by Samantha Downing, but it will certainly not be my last! If you enjoy unpredictable stories, then you really need to add this one to your list!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel via Amazon. This is my honest opinion.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware #BookReview

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When she stumbles across the advert, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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The Turn Of The Key is the creepy novel you didn’t know you needed (or wanted) to read. I’m not especially very much into scary novels myself and I stay far away from everything that might seem ghostly but this novel is an exception and I could hardly put it down.

The way the novel started alone was already a great beginning. Rowan writes to a solicitor to take her on as a client and explains that she’s accused of murdering someone but that she didn’t do it. What she doesn’t do is disclose the name of that person in her letter. It’s a high profile case so the solicitor will know very well who it is but the reader is kept in the dark. There are not so many characters in the novel but it remained an absolute mystery until the very end why or how she might have done it.  

Rowan hadn’t even set foot into Heatherbrae, the house of the Elincourt’s and already I was having unsettling vibes from the house itself so the impact of the intrusive high tech, combined with not so cooperative or friendly children to nanny and things that go bump in the evening or night.. well you know this one will play on your mind!

The whole novel is suspenseful from beginning to end and her writing was very convincing in making me believe what was happening. Things go missing which was bad enough but the strange sounds really made the goosebumps raise on my arms because I couldn’t find any reasonable explanation for it.

Rowan has her arms full with Petra, Ellie, Maddie and Rhianon and I wondered for which of the four children she was arrested and if she really was innocent. The story ends with another letter which gave some much needed answers and I love how the author brought the truth to light in this way. Even so, it still ends with some mystery about Rowan’s fate. I have my own thoughts about what happened to her in the end (convincted or not convicted) but I’ll never know for sure.     

This is the third novel I read by Ruth Ware (after The Lying Game and One by One) and I definitely haven’t had enough. I’ve already added her next novel IT Girl (expected July 2022) to my readlist!

I bought a copy of this novel in a secondhand bookshop. This is my honest opinion.

The Coffinmaker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride #BookReview

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A house of secrets…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the sea. The trouble is: that’s where he’s been hiding the bodies.

A killer on the run…
It’s too dangerous to go near the place, so there’s no way of knowing how many people he’s murdered. Or how many more he’ll kill before he’s caught.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
As more horrors are discovered, ex-detective Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

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Stuart MacBride is a well-known author to me although I lost sight of his work over the last few years. I have now rediscovered how fond I am of his writing style peppered with metaphors, descriptions of people’s appearances to die for (what about: a face like a slab of concrete that’d been carved by a sadist; a greying beard trimmed to within an inch of its death; a head looking like something happened to one of the hairier muppets) and other punchy comments which make it all very humorous, so I definitely regret that I have let this happen. Apart from The Coffinmaker’s Garden I have 3 other MacBride novels in my library (photo on my Instagram if you care to see). I think I read two of them but I definitely seemed to have forgotten how witty and fun his writing is. It’s not just a well placed one liner in every 50 to 100 pages either but all throughout the novel. I loved the dry humour!

I blasted through this novel and despite this being the last novel of a trilogy, I had no problem engaging with Ash Henderson. I don’t know yet what happened to his foot or Rebecca, his wife so I need to go back to find out but that did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. I didn’t get a good grip on Alice though, the woman he apparently shares a house with. In a fleeting moment I wondered if they were lovers but aside from the age gap it also soon felt Ash’s protective stance was more fatherly than anything else. Alice, a psychotherapist (who seems to be in need of some therapy as well) is investigating the murders of some young boys and the disappearance of one, while Ash is assigned to this serial killer on the run. He not only has to find him but also identify his victims while he’s being chased, followed and blackmailed.

I read reviews saying there’s a lot of violence and while Ash Henderson does get battered (within an inch of his life even) quite a few times it does not get into any graphic details about the torture of the victims. If there’s one thing I would have changed about this novel it would be hearing more about the victims, why they were targeted, their backgrounds, how the killer’s wife fit into all of this, etc. but otherwise this novel is bloody perfect as it is.

There’s plenty to sink your teeth in and there’s really never a dull moment. Lots of action and investigating going on with main character Ash and his faithful sidekick Henry aka ‘the Scottie Dog Vehicle Defence System’. Who doesn’t want to read a novel with a dog in it (not that he’s very helpful but he’s so cute!)?

If you’re looking for a thriller that is action-packed, intriguing and has a good dose of humour, you need to put this one on your list! Believe me, you won’t regret it! I already was a fan but now I’m an even bigger fan!

I received a copy of this book in my Capital Crime book subscription box.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier #BookReview

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Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

Permanently.

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I loved reading Jar of Hearts, the first title by this author that I read back in 2018. Little Secrets was published in 2020 and I recently found out that Jennifer Hillier has a new novel on the way in 2022 called Things We Do In The Dark which sounds pretty amazing so I wanted to get up to speed before this new title arrives. This is mainly why I decided to read this as my next book pick.

I really enjoyed Little Secrets even if it has a very different feel and style compared to Jar of Hearts. After I finished reading it I can attest she’s still this brilliant writer who very well knows what she’s doing, luring everyone in like she did in Little Secrets and then captivating you with the small cast, only to circle back in the end to show how it all fits together.

Even if I was expecting something a little differently, with perhaps more high tension throughout the story, it did pull me in right away with the brutal abduction of Marin and Derek’s little boy Sebastian in the first pages. The adrenaline dies down quite abruptly then though with Marin attending a group counseling session where the author seemed to want to have the reader hear from missing children’s parents how they feel and struggle. The focus of the story shifts further towards Derek’s affair. The whole mystery and search for Sebastian seemed to be put on the backburner suddenly and isn’t talked about much anymore which felt a little strange as I expected it to be the main focus of the novel and what I really wanted to find out about, but soon enough I did get caught up in Marin’s knowledge about the affair of Derek and Kenzie Li and especially in what she was going to do about it. There was a moment that I felt I had read Marin’s resort of action before in another novel this year, but I was happy to find out that it only became more surprising and exciting from hereon. The author also gives Kenzie Li a voice in the story which I appreciated because she has her own story to tell and while I sometimes hated her, my sympathy for her grew as well at other times.

Hillier delivered a great psychological thriller with lots of drama and emotions. With not many pages left in the novel I suspected how it would all finally unravel but the anticipation was very high. Was Marin going to find her son and the person who took him? The author kept me well in suspense! I’m definitely putting her next novel on my wishlist!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley #BookReview @TrapezeBooks @rmorganbentley

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One fatal crash. Two colliding worlds. Three wrecked lives.

School teacher Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to work.

A day like any other…

Except for one man who, in a final despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down in a single horrifying instant…

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, he develops a friendship with Alice, the dead man’s wife, and her 7-year-old son Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could he go too far in trying to make amends?

How would you cope, knowing you’d caused someone’s death?

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The Wreckage is a solid psychological thriller and a brilliant debut novel. In fact, The Wreckage didn’t feel like a debut novel at all and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. Well actually I do know a little, see when I have read an author already I know in advance how much I’ll probably like it but with a new author the fear of the unknown sometimes works against me. I’m happy to confirm that it worked out really really well this time.

The writing was addictive and very easy to read. The novel opens with a horrific event for Ben when someone jumps in front of his car. It was raining so he certainly wasn’t driving fast and yet it happened in a few seconds. He feels very guilty and he visits the comatose man in the hospital where he meets his wife Alice and their son Max. It all feels genuinely nice and Ben is just concerned but then it starts to feel somewhat stalkerish. There are limits in wanting to make amends right? Well Ben didn’t seem to get the memo! I started to feel quite uncomfortable about the whole situation (which I mean in the bestest of ways) although Ben never actually does anything wrong. So he remembered Max’ birthday and he wants to buy him presents and he happens to be in the shop at the same time and find Max wandering around. He’s concerned that Alice doesn’t take care of him like she should then, it’s a normal reaction, right? Right? Hmm I don’t know but I wanted him far away from Alice and Max, yet he seems unstoppable to want to help them, to want to be in their lives.

The author includes a whopper of a twist in the final part of the novel. I did not expect this at all so I had to mull it over in my own head how believable it felt and if this made a difference and could make me change my opinion of Ben. The idea is indeed a little out there, yet I still embraced it because it worked so well in the story and honestly, I read this book about two weeks ago and it still plays on my mind now so the fact that it dumbfounded me is exactly why it is one of those memorable plotlines that will last in my mind for all eternity. I loved that the author misled me and did it so perfectly. I honestly also do love it when an author can make you see someone in another light all of a sudden. This happened here slightly but it’s not as if Ben suddenly turned into my favorite character either as too much water had passed under the bridge already. In the end I felt there were no winners at all. 

I love novels about obsession and the lengths people would go for the love of their lives. I thought I knew where this story was going too but I was wrong, which I loved! I can’t wait to read another of his novels and see what else he has in store.

The Wreckage is perfect for fans of His&Hers by Alice Feeney, or The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton.

I received a free (and signed!) paperback copy from the author as a winner of a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl #BookReview

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A seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity leads a PI and his ex-con assistant on a murderous trail, in a sophisticated, riveting historical Nordic Noir thriller set in interwar and prohibition-era Norway.

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.

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star three and a half

Kjell Ola Dahl was a totally new author to me so I went in with an open mind, even though I was a little unsure about the type of novel it was. It turned out The Assistant is quite the varied type and it is everything you think – or hope – it might be. Nordic crime? Check! Spies and lots of action? Double check! An intriguing mystery delivered in a historical setting? Why yes that too!

The Assistant contains at first chapters shifting between 1924 and 1938, and ends in 1962, but it all starts in 1924 where Jack Rivers is a driver for a man called Arvid Bjerke. He not only transports passengers but is also a runman delivering illegal cans of liquor to village shops. In the very first pages Jack is actually trying to avoid being arrested as he tries to outwit ‘the cop from hell’ Ludvig Paaske in a breathtakingly dangerous scene. Twenty pages later though with a time jump to 1938 Paaske isn’t a cop anymore but a private investigator and Rivers is quite suddenly his sidekick. It is all quite matter of fact with no explanation what happened in between so that only intrigued me more to find out how they got from sworn enemies to allies.

Good teamwork is certainly necessary when a woman asks them to investigate her husband, only to bring danger on themselves as soon as they start trailing the husband. I was invested in this novel from the action-packed opening till the earth shattering ending. In between I followed a treacherous path of twists and red herrings. This is one of those novels that were it a movie you better not look away if you want to keep up with what’s happening. There’s robbery, betrayal, narrow escapes and plenty of action and two women as memorable characters, Julie – wife to Jack’s old employer Arvid – and Amalie who plays the part of Arvid’s mistress. Both women play a magnificent role in all of it but are also characters that will make you question their sincerity and motives. Is Amalie worth being Jack’s crush or is she playing games with him? What are Julie’s intentions towards Jack? Who to trust?  

I have to admit that this was a somewhat challenging novel for me. I didn’t find the story as easy to read as the novels I finished in the weeks before with the writing style being more show than tell. I was often wondering what was going on and felt a little lost at times. I was also taken by surprise in the end that the novel suddenly went a very different direction than the route I had figured we were going. Without saying too much hopefully, I anticipated a full blown political/spy novel in the end with everything that had happened but I was way off track and shortly before the ending I became painfully aware of my mistake. My mouth nearly dropped open when I finally saw what we were dealing with! I really did enjoy the ending though which showed the true colours of all the characters. Overall I can conclude this is a great novel but I’m left in doubt that the style of writing makes this the right author for me.

I received a free paperback copy from the publisher Orenda Books to read. This is my honest opinion.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard #BookReview

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At the age of twelve, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man–the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He is the Nothing Man.

Jim soon beings to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first …

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Wow, what a killer thriller! I loved it! It usually takes me a week to read a novel but not this time no, I picked this one up every free moment I could find so I finished it in only two days. I’m even a bit sad it was over so quickly.

I love true crime. Well The Nothing Man is a book within a book bearing the same title and the fictitious book that is included within happens to be a true crime novel. The novel has a brilliant concept and execution. Eve Black is a final girl, the sole surviver of The Nothing Man and now a good 18 years later she has written this book about it. She is still hoping to find witnesses, a breakthrough in finding out who killed her parents and her little sister when she was 12. She describes The Nothing Man’s multiple attacks before his final act on her family among other things and the harrowing stories made me strongly think about another book I read which was a real true crime novel about The Golden State killer, and after I finished the novel I found out that Catherine Ryan Howard really found the inspiration for this story after she read I’ll Be Gone In The Dark as well.

I really enjoyed the back and forth between Eve’s book and Jim’s reactions upon reading the chapters. The only reason I’m giving this novel 4.5 instead of the 5 full stars (although I’m rounding it up for Goodreads) is that I knew what the author’s intentions were so I saw the ending coming from far ahead. I don’t know what I was hoping for in the end but I felt a little underwhelmed for some reason at the big finale. It was all over rather too quickly for me, without much of a fuss, whereas I wanted fireworks and to be genuinely shocked when reading the final chapters. That didn’t happen but that being said, I found The Nothing Man excelling in originality and highly entertaining. I definitely want to read more novels by this author!

I received a copy of this novel in my Capital Crime Book Subscription box. This is my honest opinion.

Survive The Night by Riley Sager #BookReview

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It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.

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review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I’m a fan of Riley Sager’s books – I read all of them – so I was thrilled to receive an ecopy to read from the publisher via Netgalley. Although I do admit having a few favorites, Sager’s novels never let me down and Survive The Night is yet another corker!

After Charlie’s best friend Maddy is killed by The Campus Killer, Charlie is filled with grief and she feels incredibly guilty for leaving her friend behind on their night out. Charlie is desperate to get away from school and find solace at her grandmother’s house and that’s why she puts up an ad at the university notice board and finds a ride with the unknown Josh.

You have to suspend some disbelief if you want to get the most out of this novel. First off, Charlie is well aware that anyone can have bad intentions and she’s anxious about it, yet she gets into a car with a total stranger without a problem. She doesn’t even make her boyfriend wait with her to see this stranger and check out the scene. Hmm, that’s a bit crazy, right? It’s probably the first but definitely not the last stupid choice she makes that night. It was fun though to see how she gets herself into so much trouble and to worry about her safety. It’s impossible not to root for Charlie in this novel.

The one thing I didn’t really like was that Charlie is turned into an unreliable narrator because she sometimes ‘checks out’ and sees ‘movies in her head’. The result is that you have no choice but to question what is real and what isn’t? It’s a little like an alcoholic character having blackouts, I’m not a fan of this either so I was afraid it wouldn’t work for me after a while and I wouldn’t stay on team Charlie but I’m happy that the author managed to keep me onboard. I was fortunate that the story wasn’t entirely hung up on this technique and we don’t get stuck on it.

The story is fast-paced and even though I now know what’s coming I’d probably still be hiding behind a pillow if Survive The Night is adapted on the big screen. The night was dark, the tension high and unsettling. Is Charlie really getting a ride from the Campus Killer? What are his intentions, why get her in the car when he could have killed her already on campus? How is she going to escape? It is only the start of a very wild ride! My mind went in circles of yes, no, maybe, and I don’t know anymore. I wanted the author to put me out of my misery and when the truth came out my heart certainly did a little flippety flop! The twists in this novel were numerous and I did not see ANY of them coming! Hence why I loved this novel so much :-).

I received a free ecopy from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.