Published by: Avon (5th October 2017)
When flames rip through their family home, only teenager Stephanie and her younger brother escape unhurt. Brett always liked to play with fire, but now their dad is dead and someone has to pay the price.
Psychologist Connie Summers wants to help Stephanie rebuild her life. She has a new name, a young son and everything to live for. But when Stephanie receives a letter from someone she’d hoped would never find her, Connie is forced to question what really happened that night.
But some truths are better left alone . . .
I absolutely LOVED Sam's debut, Saving Sophie, so I'd been really looking forward to reading this, as soon as I'd finished reading that brilliant first book! I was really hoping Sam had lots more crackers up her sleeve and wouldn't suffer 'second album syndrome' (music is my first love!) You know, when a band has a phenomenal first album and then their second is sadly lacking that certain something that made you sit up and take notice? Anyway...I digress...and a cracker this certainly is! It's on fire!
Bad Sister is full of rich, interesting characters that leap to life off the page. Connie is fascinating and I want to go to the pub with her! Lindsay Wade is another great character, and I adore the way her and Connie interact. I hope they appear again in future books by this author as I'd love to see their relationship develop further.
The case itself is complex and disturbing and there are more than a few shocks, twists and turns, including one right at the end, which made me gasp out loud! There is plenty to get your teeth into, with flashbacks told via 'then', and present day events via various viewpoints. There is a lot going on here, but with the author's skilful writing, there's no chance to get confused; you're led exactly where you're meant to be.
Had me on the edge of my seat, got my pulse racing, and kept me guessing...ticked every box!
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Thanks to Avon and Sam Carrington.
A Celtic Mystery featuring Sister Fidelma
Ireland , AD 666
Sister Síomha turned slowly wondering what Brónach was staring at in such a horror-struck fashion.
What she saw made her raise a hand to her mouth as if to suppress a cry of fear.
Hanging by one ankle, which was secured to the rope on which the pail was usually suspended, was a naked female body. It was still glistening white from its immersion in the icy water of the deep well. The body was hanging head downwards so that the upper part of the torso, the head and shoulders, were beyond their view being hidden in the well-head.
Sister Síomha moved to the well-head and peered down, hands reaching forward to swing the body out of the well. Then, with a sharp cry which she could not stifle, she turned away, her face becoming a mask of shocked surprise.
Curious, Sister Brónach moved forward and peered into the well-head. In the semi-gloom of the well she saw that where the head of the body should have been was nothing. The body had been decapitated. What remained of the neck and shoulders were stained dark with blood.
In the Abbey of the Salmon of the Three Wells, the naked and mutilated corpse of a young woman is discovered in one of the wells. She had been whipped, her head had been hacked off – so there was no means of identifying her – and tied to her left arm was a stick of aspen wood on which Ogham characters had been carved. The Ogham read: "Bury her well. The Mórrigú has awakened!" In her other hand, by contrast, she still clasped a copper crucifix.
A great mystery, and Fidelma is sent to try to solve it. She travels by ship, for the abbey is on the coast, and as they are nearing their destination they sight a French merchant vessel heading erratically towards some submerged rocks. Ross, the captain of Fidelma's ship, investigates. It turns out that the French ship has been abandoned. Apart from a few traces of blood, there is no sign of either crew or passengers, or of cargo.
Another great mystery.
But then Fidelma finds a Missal she recognises. She had given it to her friend Brother Eadulf when she parted from him in Rome. How had it come to be here? Yet another mystery – and now Fidelma has a personal interest in solving it.
Those of us who have read later stories in the series will by now be completely hooked, for we already know that Eadulf is fated to become Fidelma's "Watson". Will it happen here, in this book, we wonder – our sympathies all with Eadulf, for Fidelma can be quite as clever, as arrogant and as sarcastic as Sherlock Holmes ever was.
As always with this series, then: highly recommended.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
I came across this book whilst browsing Netgalley looking for something different to read. The synopsis caught my attention, and if I was flipping through channels and this was a movie I would have watched it.
I can’t say I found it particularly gripping or emotional. By half way through I was bored with the plot. I’m usually wary of books that claim things like “the most emotional gripping thing you will ever read!” (or along those lines) in a title headline. It’s always seemed unnecessary to me. Let the novel stand on its own and let the readers judge. Don’t bombard the title lines with crap like that. It’s annoying! (Certainly is to me, anyway). I don’t remember seeing that bit when I initially requested the title).
The story focuses on a then and now method of telling. There were initially three sisters, Hope, Charity and Faith who lived in a small English village by the sea, where they hung out with their mate Niall. In their late teens Faith is tragically killed in an accident, Niall the guilty driver. In 2016 Charity’s daughter Willow has returned to the cottage where Charity lived with Hope looking for some answers about her mother’s past. Charity had an interest in diving looking for underwater forests. So does her daughter. Aunt Hope is stingy with information and comes off as quite cold. Charity is deceased as well now and Willow has mostly been raised by Aunt Hope. Clearing out the cottage Willow finds some things about Niall and Charity and sets off to find out more, especially since Niall is now a big name in underwater forest diving and photography.
The then chapters tell the story taking place in the late 1980s of when Charity and Hope are living together running a little café in the same town they’ve always lived in. Charity still wants to do her diving, but it’s more a hobby these days, she’s a social worker whilst Hope is a budding poet/writer. The town is captivated by dazzling rich new comers David and Lana when Charity inadvertently winds up rescuing Lana from a car accident. Getting to know the couple, Niall winds up coming back into the picture and before long sparks are flying.
The novel flips between the stories of Charity and Niall, David, Lana and Hope in the past, whilst in the presence Willow is following in Charity’s footsteps going along what appears to be the same route Charity took in her youth. There seemed to be a lot more going on in Charity’s storyline. She’s developing strong feelings for Niall which brings up a mess of emotion due to Faith’s tragic accident, which is Hope is furious about. Then there’s David, there’s intense chemistry between them, not helped by ditzy Lana who’s a total lush by this point with her own problems.
I did find the plot got a little repetitive. It’s the same troubling feelings for Charity over and over. I can understand where she’s coming from. Some of the little twists in Willow’s chapters are trying to be deep and emotional, and again I can understand why but there was just something missing for me. To be fair the twist at the end revolving around some secrets before and after Faith died were quite a surprise I didn’t see coming. One character was considerably more twisted than they appeared.
There was an awful lot of it about underwater forests and diving which kind of made my eyes gloss over a bit. Though there was some interesting info in the author’s note for those interested in looking into more about the subject. I did like the sense of family and togetherness between Charity and her sister Hope, and later on echoed in the relationship between Willow and Hope. Though there was just something kind of “meh” about the whole thing for me.
It wasn’t really a bad book, just not my taste in the end, I guess.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for granting my wish to view the title.