By: Michael Robotham
Publication Date: 7/11/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars +++
An avid Michael Robotham fan since his first book to his latest— and each one in between! The talented Australian crime fiction author returns following Close Your Eyes, landing on my Top Books of 2016, as well as Life or Death on my Top 10 Books of 2015 with his twelveth novel—yet another supercharged smashing hit THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS!
5 stars +++ Let me say, there are some juicy evil secrets here . . . KILLER! Top Books of 2017.
Set aside the time (unputdownable). Would make a fabulous movie! A story that will change the way you view other people’s lives. Fitting for today's world of social media.
Two women. Two lives. Two worlds. Two pregnancies. Two sets of very different secrets. The dangers of envy and lies.
Character-driven, skillfully-plotted —Robotham pulls you into the dark secret world of two different women in this riveting domestic suspense thriller.
Two pregnant women. Two women from different walks of life. How will their worlds connect?
The search for happiness. Survival. Managing expectations. Wishing for something someone else has.
Agatha watches Meghan from the window of the suburban London grocery store where she works part-time stocking shelves. She is pregnant. Her baby’s father is away. She leads a sad life. What an imagination!
She desires a perfect life. She wants to be a perfect mother and wife. She will have this world.
“We need the darkness to appreciate the light, and the bumps along the road to stop us falling asleep at the wheel.”
Meghan is chic, elegant, dazzling. Meghan has it all. Perfect children (Lucy and Lachlan), a handsome husband (sports reporter), Jack; stylish, nice friends, beautiful, plus she writes a mommy blog. She is pregnant. Meghan Shaughnessy is a former journalist but now a super-mom with tons of followers.
One follower is obsessed and carries it further.
Agatha is delighted to discover their two pregnancy dates are within the same month. She must figure out a way to get to know this woman. To get close to her.
What is Agatha's agenda? She is the more mysterious one.
Agatha is not so pretty. People do not notice shelf-stockers.She imagines herself friends with Meg. She soon learns Meg’s habits by the things she buys and shops for in the store. She wants to have a life like Meg. She waits for her man, Hayden to return from the Navy. He does not know she is pregnant.
Despite her dead-end job and the desperate ordinary life, Agatha has her imagination and her dreams.
However, is Meg’s life as glamorous as Agatha thinks?
Meg’s marriage is not so perfect. The happy go lucky easy-going Jack has turned into a brittle man whose emotions seem to be wrapped tightly in barbed wire that she cannot hope to unloop them.
Agatha watches Meg, Jack and the children for hours. She stalks. She has been inside their home. The house next to the train track. She may see more than she wanted to. (loved this part with Jack/Realtor/Agatha).
Megan had an affair with Simon. Secrets to take to the grave.
What is Agatha hiding? What does her Jehovah Witness childhood have to do with the present? The horrors and monsters. She is attracted to people. When it comes to her past, people get some of the truth, some of the time.
Told in alternating voices, Agatha has a haunting past she hides. Meghan’s perfect life begins to unravel. What unfolds is heart-pounding chilling suspense! They may have more in common than they know.
A top-notch thriller and a compulsive read. Dark, twisted, and emotionally charged!
Am always amazed at how a man writes such strong women characters. He gets inside their heads—flawed characters, full of emotion, sprinkled with wit, humor, book titles, movies and lots of heart and intensity.
The author mentions in the acknowledgments: . . . “The Secrets She Keeps, a novel whose structure, substance, and twin voices are the most ambitious I’ve ever tackled.”
Congrats! Just when I think the next book cannot possibly be better than the previous, the author manages to create another intelligent award-winning psychological masterpiece!
Not only is Robotham one of the most talented writers, he could be a standup comedian. Hilarious one-liners.
I love the Joe O’Loughlin series; however, the author’s stand-alone's are to be savored as well. One of the top crime thriller international authors today. As always, glued to the pages. (Your US fans adore you!)
Looks like we will get to see more of Joe O’Loughlin, with The Other Wife, coming July 2018 (can’t wait). A pre-order for sure!
Also purchased the audiobook (currently listening). Love narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis delivering a riveting performance.
For fans of Karin Slaughter, Paula Hawkins, Paul Cleave, and Liane Moriarty. Highly Recommend.
A special thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
By: Mark Edwards
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 6/15/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
Bestselling author, Mark Edwards returns following (2016)The Devil’s Work with his latest THE LUCKY ONES a twisty psycho-thriller featuring a serial killer who wants his victims to die happy.
Perfectly happy and ready to die. A killer who tries to make his victims’ lives perfect before he kills them.
Set in Shropshire, we meet a detective, an average man who desires a better life, and a killer. Told from different POV with two parts.
Who will be “The Lucky Ones?” Does he "make" them happy? How does the murderer know what needs fixing in their lives?
Detective Imogen Evans knew bodies were not discovered in picturesque places like this. Her first serial killer, the man the tabloids called the Shropshire Viper had struck –a snake, fangs glistening with venom for the third time.
A killer who likes a little cocktail of morphine to keep his victims smiling.
Ben Holland is newly separated (cheating wife), raising an eleven-year-old son, Ollie on his own. Things are not going well and his finances are strained. His mom has terminal cancer. He is down on his luck. However, soon his luck may change.
The killer is one evil guy (of course Edwards is no stranger to unique twists). The Viper wants his victims to die in bliss. He wants them to die happy. He manipulates their lives and circumstances and turns their life around, to end their life on a good note.
There does not seem to be a link between the victims and DI Inspector Imogen Evans is driven to solve this crime before he strikes next. The Secret of Happy Place. Why does their body turn up in their “happy place?”
Intense! If you are a fan of talented "thriller King", Mark Edwards— you have come to expect gripping, entertaining and a well-crafted twisty plot with characters who come alive on the page.
From suspenseful plotting and solid character development, this complex fast-paced page-turner will keep fans reading into the wee hours of the morning— nothing predictable here!
Top-of-the-line thriller writing with remarkable skill. For fans of Stephen King, Linwood Barclay, Paul Cleave, and Jennifer Hillier. For new readers who enjoy a mix of crime, humor, and psychological— suspense, mystery, horror, and thriller.
If you have not read Follow You Home (2015), highly recommend —one of my favorites! Top Books of 2015.
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer for an early reading copy.
Also purchased the audiobook narrated by Simon Mattacks for an edge-of-your-seat chilling performance.
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Fiona Barton returns following her award-winning debut The Widow, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a riveting follow-up, THE CHILD — as readers catch up with journalist Kate from the first book.
From love and loss, a character-driven intense psychological suspense tale of three women. Emotional destruction — dark secrets and lies are exposed, a whodunit mystery keeping readers glued the pages to the twisty finale!
You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth.
“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” — Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Kate Waters, a journalist was bored. She needed a story. She soon finds an intriguing case and she will not stop until she writes the story and solves the mystery.
Headlined “Baby’s Body Found.”
An infant’s skeleton had been unearthed on a building site in Woolwich near London. The police were investigating. No other details. She tore it out of the paper to save for later as she often does when running across a potential story.
Who is the baby and how did it die? Who would bury a baby? How could anyone kill a baby?
When checking with the authorities she found newborns were tricky when it came to DNA especially if they have been underground for years.
Kate loved a glint of something in the dark. Someone to absorb her totally. Something to sink her teeth into. Anything to get her out of the office. She is obsessed with finding out the name of this baby. She wants the story. The Building Site Baby. Who drove someone to bury a baby?
From alternating POVs, we hear from Kate and the three women: Emma Simmonds, Jude Massingham, and Angela Irving. (enjoyed the way each section is clearly defined).
Angela’s newborn daughter went missing some 28 years earlier. Every March 20 she would cry, thinking of Alice’s birthday. She had less than twenty-four hours with her. The dread would come each year before the baby’s birthday. She could not put the painful memories behind her.
Emma suffers from anxiety and depression from her past. She knows that a secret takes on a life of its own. She must protect her secret. She will keep it safe.
“I’ve always thought that’s a funny saying. Let sleeping dogs lie. Because sleeping dogs always wake up eventually, don’t they?”
Angela soon calls Kate to find out more. Could this be her daughter? She has never given up hope her daughter would one day be found.
Jude had been a single mom in the late seventies trying to forge a new career with a child to look after, but the rent was cheap. It did not matter where she lived, she was caught in her own little world. She threw Jude out of the house when she was sixteen, choosing her boyfriend Will over her daughter.
How does this current tragedy connect these three women? Secrets threaten current lives. A nameless child.
With alternating time periods (2012-2013) with flashbacks to the 70s-80s, Kate continues to dig deep to solve the mystery of the baby. She begins looking at old missing children cases from the 70’s to the mid-1990s. (Loved Kate from The Widow) and her tenacity!
Barton captivates readers with an enthralling page-turner, as addictive and intense as her debut. How well you know those closest to you?
A well-written slow-burning whodunit suspense mystery with depth, Barton once again shines, using her own career as a journalist to enhance the intensity and mystery of the Building Site Baby. Even though each of the women brings emotion to the story, the real mystery to be uncovered comes from the relationship between Emma and Jude and how this connects with Angela.
Highly recommend, both The Widow and The Child. For fans of Mary Kubica, B.A. Paris, Clare Mackintosh, and Ruth Ware. These talented ladies are TOP-Notch authors and enjoy their writing style.
Often a psychological suspense makes a big impact, even though they may not always be edge-of-your-seat fast paced action. I also enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the novel.
A strong theme of motherhood with a twisty surprise ending. A mother who has not given up after forty-two years. Readers will be drawn into the lives of each of these women. Savor and unravel the mysterious puzzle, with many red herrings. The tension mounts and all the secrets and lies surface. Enjoy the journey.
Well-crafted, twisty, addictive, and intriguing. Can’t wait to see what comes next. . .
A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
About the Author
My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.
But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.
The worm of my first book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew - or allowed themselves to know.
It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.
Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow was published in 36 countries and made the Sunday Times and New York Times Best Seller lists.
It gave me the confidence to write a second book ,The Child, in which I return to another story that had intrigued me as a journalist. It begins with the discovery of a newborn's skeleton on a building site. It only makes a paragraph in an evening newspaper but for three women it's impossible to ignore.
The Child will be published in June 2017 and I am embarking on my next novel. My husband and I are still living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Titch, crowing.
"The ultimate psychological thriller! Barton carefully unspools this dark, intimate tale of a terrible crime, a stifling marriage, and the lies spouses tell not just to each other, but to themselves in order to make it through. The ending totally blew me away!" --Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author