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review 2018-05-14 22:51
THE BREAK DOWN by B. A. Paris
The Break Down - B.A. Paris

I don't normally read psychological thrillers because they trigger issues for me but this is our book club book this month so I read it.  It's a good story.  I was sucked into from the first moment (of course, I did have all the lights on.)  I guessed what was happening to her within the first chapter and I was right.  I knew her husband was up to no good and I was right.  I did not guess the murderer and was only half right on the reason for the murder.  I was guessing up to the end on how it would all fall into place.  Luck was on Cass' side and she deserved it.  I'll read this author again.

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review 2018-04-24 22:44
Book Review of Tormented by Susan Clayton-Goldner
Tormented - Susan Clayton-Goldner

Father's Anthony's devotion to God and His Church begins to unravel the moment Rita Wittier steps inside St. Catherine’s Cathedral in San Francisco. He struggles to control his feelings, but two years later, he is a man obsessed.

 

In an attempt to rediscover the priest he intended to become, Anthony flies back to Delaware to visit Father Timothy. If redemption can be found anywhere, surely it can be found in the church of his childhood and in the soothing Irish brogue of his former mentor.

 

The months pass, 60 Minutes does a special on Father Anthony and the Shepherd Academy—a school he started for disadvantaged children. He’s become a national hero— nicknamed the Good Shepherd. But he can’t get Rita out of his mind. He wants her more than anything—even God—and can no longer deny it. Six hours after he tells her how he feels, Rita is found dead in her car from an apparent suicide. Or is it murder?

 

Review 4*

 

This is an interesting psychological thriller/murder mystery. I really enjoyed it!

 

Father Anthony is an interesting character. I liked him and felt for him as he finds himself questioning his life as a priest when he begins to have feelings for one of his parishioners, Rita Wittier. When she is found dead in an apparent suicide not long after he confesses to her about his feelings, he finds himself torn between grief and determination to find her killer.

 

I started to read this book and was quickly hooked. Set in 1971, the story takes the reader on an emotional journey of a priest who suffers from a crisis of faith. This story is told through various characters' view points, which made it more interesting so that a reader gets to see what's happening at different points throughout the tale. Tormented is an apt title, as each character is beset by doubts and emotional angst. Besides Father Anthony, the reader is also introduced to Rita's husband, Konrad, who's a criminal lawyer, her nine year-old daughter, Connie, and her brother, Gordon (or Gordy as he's known by) who is a fashion designer/artist. We also are introduced to the investigating policeman, Detective Paul Harley Stanwick.

 

There are several twists and turns in this story that had me doubting myself, as well as a few well placed red herrings that kept me from guessing who the main suspect was initially. I should have listened to my gut. Even though I had an inkling as to who it was who killed Rita, at least by the half-way point, I was still surprised by how the author gave the reveal a twist. The character I felt for the most was Connie. Being only nine, she has to deal with a lot of emotional baggage, which strips her of her childhood innocence. The tale is a riveting read of danger and suspense. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings - sorry for the characters but glad that the culprit was caught. I really enjoyed the story though.

 

Susan Clayton-Goldner is a new author to me, as I've never read any of her other books before. I love her writing style, which is not particularly fast-paced even though it kept me turning the pages. The story flowed wonderfully from scene to scene, which made it easy to picture in my minds eye. I would consider reading more of her books in the future,

 

Due to some moderate violence (implied not shown), I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I recommend this book to those who love psychological thrillers or murder mysteries. - Lynn Worton

 

*****

 

Please note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author before the publication in May 2018 with no expectation of a positive review.

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review 2018-04-21 10:20
Review: The Friend by Teresa Driscoll
The Friend: An emotional psychological thriller with a twist - Teresa O'Driscoll

Published by: Thomas & Mercer  (22nd March 2018)

 

ISBN: 978-1542046664

 

Rating: 5*

 

Source: Netgalley 

 

Synopsis: 

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

 

Review:

Wow! Teresa Driscoll must have magic fingers to weave such an enticing, gripping tale. It is obvious that the story has been clearly and precisely thought out, and the book is intelligently written, with more twists and turns than your average rollercoaster. I read it in one sitting, furiously devouring each page, unable to rest until I'd reached the end and discovered the fate of the boys in the hospital. 

 

The story alternates between the present day Sophie, on the train, rushing towards the hospital, and the Sophie from the past, recounting the day she met Emma and how their friendship grew. I didn't find this, or the switch between narratives, distracting, I notice other reviewers have mentioned there being a lot of back story, but I feel that is the main part of this chilling tale, after all it's about The Friend.

 

I think immediately after reading this, everyone is likely to be rather less trusting of people they meet and seem to have an affinity with! I do wonder where the author got the idea...

I can't wait to see what Teresa Driscoll comes up with next! 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my unbiased review.

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review 2018-03-30 21:12
An intense psychological thriller about a disturbing topic.
The Fear - C.L. Taylor

Thanks to NetGalley and to the Publishers (Avon) for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

After reading this novel, which is a page-turner and moves at a fast pace, I checked the reviews, and it is one of these odd cases when I agreed both with the positive and with the negative reviews about the book. Some of them compared it to other novels by C.L. Taylor, an author who has a big following (this novel is a bestseller Amazon UK), but as I had not read anything by her before, I cannot comment on that. But I agreed with some of the other opinions.

The novel revolves around three females, two grown women, and a thirteen-year-old girl. In fact, they are three generations, with Wendy the oldest and Chloe the youngest. We follow the points of view of the three women for most of the novel, although there is more of the story told from Lou’s point of view. Her part of the story is narrated in the first person, while the rest are in the third person, and, at least at the beginning, she is the most active of the three. Due to her father’s death she has to go back to the town where she grew up, to deal with her father’s house, and her past comes back to haunt her, both figuratively and literally, when she sees the man who had abused her (Mike) when she was a teenager and worries that he is at it again. The three women have been affected by what Mike did, and the novel is very good at focusing on the emotions of the characters, that go from love to denial, and to absolute fear. Lou’s account is interspersed with fragments from her diary as a teenager, where we get to fully understand the background of the story and how dangerous this man truly is. The combination of charm, manipulation, and his skill at picking up girls lacking in confidence and easy targets for his advances is well portrayed. The subject matter reminded me of an Australian novel I’ve really enjoyed, The Silent Kookaburra.

The subject remains as relevant (if not more) as ever, unfortunately, and this book offers a good perspective of the psychological damage such abuse can have, not only on the direct victims (that might never get over it) but also on those around them (family, wives, friends…). Should they have believed the abuser’s excuses? Are they guilty by association? What is their responsibility? The book is set in the UK and it refers specifically to changes in Criminal Law (like the introduction of the sex offenders register) but although it does not discuss those issues in detail, I don’t think that would cause difficulty to readers from other places.

The three characters fall (or have fallen) prey to Mike and find themselves in very vulnerable positions. It is impossible not to wonder what one would do faced with their dilemma, particularly that of Lou. Her impulsive actions are extreme and I agree with the readers who have commented that at times the book is over the top, although Lou’s doubts, her continuous hesitation, and her fear feel real. She is not alone in being pushed to the edge, and this is a book where characters do not play safe, rather the opposite.

The writing is fluid, and brings to life the three female characters, whose only connection is through Mike, perhaps with more immediacy in the case of Lou —this is helped by the first person narration and her diary— but it manages to make us empathise and feel for the three by the end of the story. And no, not all of them are likeable, to begin with.  I know some readers worry about head-hopping, but each chapter states clearly which character’s point of view we are following and there’s no possible confusion. Although there are brief moments of relief when things seem to be about to take a turn for the better, this is only to lure us into a false sense of security, and the tension and the pressure keep increasing and so does the pace. The ending is satisfying and will have most readers cheering on.

If you’re wondering what are the negative comments I agreed with, well, I was not necessarily talking about the degree of suspension of disbelief (yes, readers will need a fair deal of this, but as we are engaged with the characters and their plight, this is not difficult to maintain), but about some anachronisms, some details that seemed incongruent to the time when the story is set. I felt that the emphasis on Facebook messages, fake accounts, hacking, etc. seemed excessive for a story set in 2007. Other readers, who decided to research in more detail, discovered that indeed, some of the things mentioned, Apps, songs, etc., were not available yet. One reader noted that she could not understand why the story wasn’t set in the present, as that would have avoided these issues, but another pointed out that some aspects of the plot would only make sense if the story was set up in the recent past (including some of the legal issues). I wonder (as a writer) if the story was originally set in the present but somebody spotted the plot issues and came up with the solution of moving it back in time (without changing some of the modern references).

This novel does a good job of creating believable characters and making readers think about the plight of the victims of paedophiles. Although it might be less satisfactory to die-hard lovers of police procedural books, I think it is difficult to read it without empathising with the female characters and having to pause to reflect on this serious issue. And the questions at the end will further engage book club readers and encourage meaningful discussion. I don’t think this will be the last novel by C.L. Taylor I’ll read and I can easily understand why she is popular. (Ah, and she calls book bloggers book fairies. I like that!)

 

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review 2018-03-12 17:28
Watch Me: A Gripping Psychological Thriller - Jody Gehrman

This is really a decent book. However, I was 40% into the book before something finally started happening.

The suspense factor is there, but I am so over Sam by that time that there were parts of me that just didn't care to go on. It's like I was in his head for so long. I get it, he's psycho, but his ramblings on and on, a little much.

I like the stories with Eva which told us his past and what he is. There was just too much of Sam's thoughts and ramblings. It was making me psycho.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 

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