Thursday 14 March 2019

Blog Tour Extract: Your Guilty Secret - Rebecca Thornton

You know Lara King. 

The top billing of the showbiz pages, you've seen her every morning; over your breakfast, on your commute to work. You know everything about her; you've dissected her life. 

Her perfect relationship with film-star Matthew Raine. Her beautiful six-year-old daughter Ava. 

And so when a terrible incident shatters the family's carefully constructed facade, a media frenzy ensues. 

What happens when the perfect woman begins to unravel? When her whole life is really just a lie? One she will do anything she can to stop you from finding out?

This story is . . .


Your Guilty Secret - Rebecca Thornton
ISBN - 9781785760754
Publisher - Bonnier Zaffre


August 26th, 2018
What would you do if your child disappeared into thin air? I mean, what would you really do?
You might pound the pavements screaming their name, breath sour with fear. Air escapes you.
And when you get home, escorted by the police, you might fall into the arms of your husband or wife or a member of your family. Slamming your fists into their chests, your knees drop ping to the ground. Pleading. With who, you don't really know. And then with a renewed vigour and a sense of hope, you'd go out again. Back to where your child disappeared. You'd watch as the police knocked on surrounding doors and took witness notes and because you were there, in the action, you might feel you were doing something. Anything.

You might consider me for a minute when I tell you that my child has disappeared, yet despite the world's gaze on me, I have absolutely no control over where I look for her. I cannot open the front door to our home in The Hidden Hills. I cannot press the pattern of small, shiny gold buttons that remotely open the huge iron gates, with the hand-carved wooden sign on it. Los Palisades. I cannot use my thumbprint to access the extra security we had installed.

If I could, I might for a moment sweep my gaze across the lawns for any sign of her - my eye line darting in and around the uniformly cut grass, the luscious, rare rose blooms spilling down from the clean lines of our house - even though we were miles from where she disappeared. I'd still glance over to the pool - as I always did. A habit I'd been unable to relinquish from before she'd learned to swim. The clench of my stomach just until I reassured myself, two or three times over, that there was no small body, face down in the softly lapping turquoise water.

I would then race down our cobbled drive, lined with newly buffed cars. I'd curse the palm trees forcing me to weave my way around their silvery trunks. I'd ignore the burn of my lungs. The way my legs would barely be able to hold me up. I'd run, purely because I'd be incapable of driving. Or perhaps it would kick start my senses afresh. And I'd try and think back to where it had all started, my throat swollen with the catch of my breath.

I'd try and revisit that moment we'd left the house, water bottles under our arms. Me, in workout gear despite having no intention to exercise. Her in a navy sundress embroidered rabbits across the collar. Silver Superga trainers. Her face tilted up to mine, scrunched up against the sun.
“Treat day, she'd said. Can you believe it? Just you and me.'

I'd think about this as I tried to remember, left or right? Which way had I manoeuvred the car?
Had I thought about the paps as I normally did when we left the house? Had I planned my whole route along the back streets, where they might not be lurking, eyes scanning for my number plate? The way their lenses followed me, like snipers. Or had I just driven aimlessly, enjoying the day panning out ahead of us, with nothing to do. No one to see. Just me and my daughter. But I can't remember the ins and outs of my thoughts from this morning. If I had known what was going to happen, I'd have taken more care to engage with my inner monologue. To remember the way I'd felt a little impatient as Ava had kicked at the tyres of our car before she'd climbed into the back seat. The slight twist of her front tooth as it pushed its way through her gums. I'd have looked carefully at the way her body was formed. The soft roundness of her stomach. The fine, blonde hairs travel ling down her tanned arms.

But of course, I never thought that today would end up like this. I do, at other times. Think the worst. Catastrophise. But there was something so perfect about the way today had been panning out. Just me and her. A special treat. Ice cream. It was the first day in a long while I'd felt able to breathe.
That in itself should have been the first sign of things to come.

It was Detective Mcgraw who sat me down in the police station and told me that he was driving me straight home and that I had to stay indoors. Those green eyes of his, continuously locked onto one focal point a fraction above my right shoulder. White face, a fine tracing of freckles smudged across his top lip.
'I need to be out there though. Looking for her. She's my daughter. Please. There must be a way?'
'I know. And I'm sorry. We can't risk hampering the investigation. Thousands of people are out there, looking. And so we need you to stay inside your house.'

I knew he was right. That it was for the best. You see, I wanted you to be looking for her, without distraction. Surely I had learned by now – stay out of view in times of trouble. After all, a
wrongly placed smile, a casual lift of my eyebrow could set you off, and that's not what I need right now. I'm getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should tell you the things that happened less than six hours earlier. Just after we had pulled out of our drive, sun beating down through the windscreen.
I'll tell you as much as I can remember. The same details I told Detective Mcgraw in my oak-panelled study after he'd told me they'd taken my computer and mobile phone. We'd sat, me at my desk with my leather in-trays and stationery drawers all in straight lines in front of me. He was opposite me, in an ergonomic swivel chair that kept twisting from underneath him.

'I'd planned a special day out, I told him. "Just us. It's such... It was such a beautiful day, the words spill out my mouth.
'Any reason for the outing? An occasion, perhaps?'
'Yes. It was my way of saying thank you. For the way Ava behaved for the announcement. Did you see it?'
'I read about it.'
'She had been so good, I continued. 'So I told her that I'd take her out.'
And then what? We've pieced together as much as we can of your journey, mapping the CCTV footage. You hadn't pinned any of your locations on your public social media accounts. Any private ones we need to know about?'
'No.' OK. If you could tell me what happened this morning, then?'
“At nine forty-five this morning we drove to Laurel Canyon. To go for a walk. On the way there, Ava grew tired. She lay down."

Friday 8 March 2019

Trapped - Nick Louth

Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. 
In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.
Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost...
Trapped is a standalone novel from the writer of the DCI Gillard series of which there are two available, The Body In The Marsh, The Body On The Shore, and The Body In The Mist is out in May. I really enjoyed Nick's previous books so was very much looking forward to reading this one. I wasn't disappointed! Trapped starts with a happy family - father, mother, long-wished-for son - but by the end of the day, nothing will ever be the same.

Catherine is kidnapped, along with her son Ethan, after witnessing something so horrific that it will stay with her for the rest of her days. Hopefully, Ethan, who is not quite one yet, will never remember the bloodshed or the horror he's about to witness. Used as hostages by two desperate criminals in Manchester, Trapped is essentially a story about surviving the most nightmarish situation you can imagine yourself in, magnified intensely as all you're worried about is the fact that your baby is with you, and the kidnappers seem to have no patience with him.

What follows is a breath-holding, heart-stopping story of abduction, of being stuck in the back of a van with two violent men armed with guns and knives, and what you have to do to survive. Nick Louth has written a truly original crime story, it's unlike anything I've ever read anyway, and the title is incredibly clever - especially once the final chapters unfold, and the spectacular sting in the tale is revealed. There are some truly splendid twists and turns in Trapped, most of which I guessed at until the very last moment. If you're looking for something different to read in the UK crime genre, and you're open to more unusual storylines then please read Trapped, and let me know what you think! Nick Louth is improving with every book, and I can't wait to read The Body In The Mist later this year.
Trapped - Nick Louth
Publisher - Canelo
Release date - January 28th, 2019
About The Author
Nick Louth is a bestselling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992 while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK no. 1 Kindle bestseller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into six languages. The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled ‘When evil and beauty collide’, was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, was published by Canelo in September 2017, with The Body on the Shore following in 2018. Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published nine other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Bitter Edge - Rachel Lynch

DI Kelly Porter is back, but so is an old foe and this time he won’t back down...

When a teenage girl flings herself off a cliff in pursuit of a gruesome death, DI Kelly Porter is left asking why. Ruled a suicide, there’s no official reason for Kelly to chase answers, but as several of her team’s cases converge on the girl’s school, a new, darker story emerges. One which will bring Kelly face-to-face with an old foe determined to take back what is rightfully his – no matter the cost.

Mired in her pursuit of justice for the growing list of victims, Kelly finds security in Johnny, her family and the father she has only just discovered. But just as she draws close to unearthing the dark truth at the heart of her investigation, a single moment on a cold winter’s night shatters the notion that anything in Kelly’s world can ever truly be safe.

Rachel Lynch is slowly working her way up my list of favorite authors. This is the 4th book in the Kelly Porter series, the 4th one I've read, and the 4th one I've reviewed! I'll link to the others either during or after my review.

Once again, several seemingly separate strands are woven together, forming one fantastically written story. Bitter Edge opens with Kelly living in her new home, her relationship with Johnny from Mountain rescue progressing well (even with the addition of his teenage daughter), her sister has taken a back seat despite all her issues, and Kelly's mother is desperately ill but doing her best to hide it. Certain revelations were made at the end of the last book, Dead End, which Kelly is still unsure how to deal with. As it involves someone she works with she's finding it harder than usual to keep her personal and work relationships separate.

The story starts with a teenage runner committing suicide, Kelly is not convinced and wants it to be murder but the postmortem conclusively proves it was suicide. There's also a situation with a teacher at the dead girl's former school, another missing pupil whose friends may or may not be more involved than they're willing to admit to, and the unwelcome reappearance of a character from a previous story.

As always, the spectre of the Lakes is always hanging over everything and everyone, it may be a delightful place in summer and a fabulous place to visit, but it has its dark side as Kelly and her team know all too well. The fact that it's Christmas and it's snowing adds to the urgency to find the missing girl, time is really running short and it's up to the team at Eden House to solve the all the strands of this once simple case. Thanks to DI Porter's tenacity she doesn't give up on the fact there were also two other suicides at the Derwent Academy and pushes hard to uncover just exactly is going on with the teenagers involved in the case of missing Faith, the connection to the teacher currently suspended and under investigation for child pornography, the kidnapping of a toddler, and the return of a very unpleasant chap who everyone thought had disappeared for good.

Bitter Edge makes excellent use of the very current cyber-bullying of young people and the pressure to conform thanks to sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. It's more hard-hitting than the previous books but no less readable. In fact, it was harder to put down than my previous favorite in the series, Deep End, and I was absorbed from start to finish. I had no clue how things tied together until an extremely large hint was dropped and from then on it was so easy to see how it worked. Well done to Rachel for writing another fabulous page-turner and I'm now sitting here (im)patiently waiting for the next installment!!!

Previous books in the series -

Dark Game
Deep Fear
Dead End

Bitter Edge (DI Kelly Porter #4) - Rachel Lynch
Publisher - Canelo 
Release date - February 25th, 2019
Find - Goodreads | Amazon UK 

About The Author

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Find Rachel on Twitter

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