I was sent a copy of the new novel, She Chose Me by Tracey Emerson, by the publishers Legend and have read the book. I now provide an honest review for this debut psycholgical thriller.
There are two main protagonists, Grace and Cassie. Grace has returned to the UK after working abroad for many years because her mother is terminally ill and is being cared for in a nursing home. Cassie was adopted shortly after her birth but as her adoptive mother has recently died, Cassie sets about finding her birth mother.
Grace receives a blank Mother’s Day card in the mail, she is upset by this because she isn’t a mother. Later, another Mother’s Day card arrives and after that she is subjected to a series of silent phone calls. These haunt Grace and she has disturbing flashbacks. She worries that someone is out to take revenge on her because they know what she has done. She finds herself having to face a past she has tried hard to ignore and has run from for years.
Cassie has been brought up by wealthy, adoptive parents but she feels there is something missing in her life: her birth mother. Cassie identifies her birth mother and sets out to get to know her before revealing her identity.
While the ending is quite satisfying, if a bit predictable, I found the method of narrating She Chose Me through the two women quite confusing and it took me a long time to establish Cassie’s identity in my own mind. That irritated me. As a debut novel, it was interesting in parts but not as engaging as I had hoped.
Before writing fiction, Tracey worked in theatre and community arts. As well as acting she ran drama workshops in healthcare settings, focusing on adults with mental health issues. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh and works as a literary consultant and writing tutor. She is also the Creative Director of The Bridge Awards, a philanthropic organisation that provides micro-funding for the arts.
Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, and her debut psychological thriller, She Chose Me, is published by Legend Press.
You can find out more about Tracey and her writing at: http://www.traceyemerson.com
I am so happy to welcome author Peter Sutton to the blog today. He has agreed to share an excerpt of his new novel, Seven Deadly Swords as part of the Love Book Group Tours. It sounds like such a gripping story: I am truly excited to present this book to you. Be sure to follow the whole blog tour to find out more!
For every sin, a sword
For every sword, a curse
For every curse, a death
Reymond joined the Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Saracens and win glory for himself. Instead, with six others, he found himself bound under a sorcerer’s curse: the Seven Sins personified. Doomed to eternal life and with the weight of the deaths he has caused dragging his soul into the torments of hell, Reymond must find his former brothers-in-arms and defeat them. Riding across a thousand years of history, the road from Wrath to Redemption will be deadly…
“A book?” Fisher asked the American who’d met them at Horseguards. They were enjoying a cigar and a brandy at the Yank’s expense.
“A special book. It’s been locked in a tomb for hundreds of years.”
Fisher exchanged a glance with Lumpy.
“And you want us along for?”
“The tomb is in Iran… “
Which was in the middle of a shitty war with Iraq. That was pretty hot, as far as theatres of conflict went.
“Iran?” Lumpy asked. Fisher watched the American carefully. What were they getting into?
“Are you up for it? I’ll pay you handsomely.”
“Let’s talk about how handsome this pay packet is. Is it leading Hollywood man handsome?” Lumpy asked.
They got down to talking about money.
Buy Link https://amzn.to/2TbM3iT
Peter Sutton is the author of three books: A Tiding of Magpies, a collection of ‘deliciously dark tales,’ Sick City Syndrome, an urban fantasy set in Bristol where he lives and Seven Deadly Swords – a historical fantasy thriller partly set in the crusades, partly set in the modern day.
On Twitter he’s @suttope and his website’s here http://petewsutton.com/ .
The new novel, The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl was published by Berkley, in July of 2018 and had been on my wish list, so when Love Book Group Tours approached me to take part in the blog tour and provide an honest review in exchange for a free copy of the book, I was only too happy to take part.
THE BOY AT THE DOOR:
Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…
On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.
But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…
The Boy at the Door captured my attention from the very beginning. The main protagonist, Cecilia Wilborg lives with her successful, kind husband Johan and her two daughters in and affluent area of Sweden. However, everything changes and she finds she must face her past after she gives a young boy, Tobias, a lift home from swimming class one day.
Tobias has had a chquered past and has had to face a great deal of change in his short life. He has lived with a variety of people, some he remembers more fondly than others as the story wends its way across Northern Europe through Scandanavia and even to Poland.
What I enjoyed most about this novel was that the characters were three dimensional, they were distinct, flawed and fascinating. Even the unpleasant characters held my interest and the scene when Cecilia asks her well-heeled friends for help and they evaporate before her eyes was sadly realistic and deftly drawn.
Other things that makes the novel The Boy at the Door exciting, unpredictable and unsettling are the lies and exaggerations of the main protagonists. The reader very quickly realises that they cannot rely on everything they are told being true. The twists and turns continue throughout the novel right to the very end.
The Boy at the Door is a complex and absorbing story and if you enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend this novel. It is my favourite book so far of 2019 and will take some beating, if it is to be overtaken.
Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.
She graduated with a B.A. in Russian and German linguistics with international studies and went on to complete an M.A. in creative writing at Bath Spa University, followed by an M.S. in business management at Bath University. Alex has published short stories in the U.K. and the U.S. She is a serious Francophile and currently lives in both London and Sandefjord. The Boy at the Door is her first novel.
PRAISE FOR THE BOY AT THE DOOR:
“Unsettling, layered, bold, unpredictable, dark. EXCELLENT.” Will Dean, author of Dark Pines
“Remarkable… Dahl is able to ring satisfying changes on the familiar ingredients, and her heroine Cecilia, in particular, is one of the most distinctive that readers will have encountered in recent years.” Crime Time
“Stunning… an extraordinary plot; intricate and twisted with dark secrets emerging at every turn. An engaging mystery with an ending you won’t see coming.” Alexandra Burt
“Heartbreaking and HEAD-SPINNING.” Mary Torjussen, author of Gone Without a Trace
I was given the much feted novel The House Between The Tides by Sarah Maine as a Christmas Gift. I had heard many good things about the book so I was interested to read it.
The story is about a country house and its estate on a remote island in North West Scotland and the familes associated with it. The novel crosses a period of one hundred years and I found that it jumped backards and forwards a great deal.
The house on the remote Hebridean Island is inherited by Hetty Devereaux after the death of her grandmother. Hetty is the last of her line, having now no living relatives. She is unsure just what to do with her inheritance but
she is considering restoring the building and creating a modern resort. However, everything is halted when the human remains of an unknown person are discovered under an extension.
The novel is a debut mystery novel and some of the descriptions of the sea and of historic island life are vivid and atmospheric.
The House Between the Tides sets itself as a mystery of lies, secrets, passion and betrayal, but I found the story a bit pedestrian and predictable. The time changes and changes of points of view, sometimes within the same paragraph, were also confusing. There were also many characters with very similar names. This made it difficult to tell one from another.
The broad story held my interest but I found this novel disappointing, particularly in light of the amount of praise it has received.
Sarah Maine was born in England and emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of ten. A small northern Ontario community was home for the next two years before the family moved south, and Sarah went to high school in Toronto. She returned to England to study archaeology, stayed on to do research and work, married there and has two sons.
Books were always important. She grew up on a diet of Arthur Ransome and Robert Louis Stevenson but also the classics, Jane Austen and the Brontés and, of course, Daphne du Maurier – but now enjoys a wide range of contemporary fiction.
She has publlished three books – The House between Tides, Beyond the Wild River and Women of the Dunes and is currently working on her fourth, set partly in New Zealand.
The last time I chose a book by Chris Carter, my local library was having a clear out and I chose to read An Evil Mind. It is reviewed on this site – https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/10/11/an-evil-mind-by-chris-carter/ So it was with I Am Death. The library was selling old stock at vastly reduced prices and I purchased the book.
I am not sure anyone could say they ‘enjoyed’ books by Chris Carter. Certainly the level of violence described in I Am Death was way above what I would normally read and I am not sure that I needed such detailed and repeated descriptions. However, his main protagonist, Robert Hunter is intruiging and the relationship he has with his partner, Carlos, is most gratifying, so I did persevere.
I Am Death tells the story of a psychopath whose serial killings each differ from one another because he is so damamged, he just enjoys the suffering of his victims. Hunter, like the author himself is an adept psychologist and it is interesting when Hunter is asked for psychological insight by his co-workers as the author himself will have been when he was working in that field.
I did guess the end, but will not spoil the story here for others. It is a fast paced, clever story that has the reader willing the police to solve the mystery. If you enjoy an exciting crime thriller, this book is worth your time.
The Author in his own words
I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.
I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.
A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.
I am part of the Love Books Group Tour for the exciting new novel by BRM Stewart. I am really looking forward to reading this, especially since the author has shared an enticing extract here.
It’s been a year since Rima Khalaf died in a fall from the Black Rock, deemed to be a tragic accident by the police.
But her grieving parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, so DS Amanda Pitt is sent north from Glasgow to the small town of Clachdubh to re-examine the case.
Despite the suspicions of the distraught parents, all the circumstances seem to confirm Rima’s death was indeed a tragic accident until another woman is also found dead in the town.
Frustrated by the lack of any real evidence, DS Pitt pushes the limits of legality in her quest for the truth.
She’d packed and checked out of the Clachdubh Hotel, and driven to the Rock with the vague idea that she had to see the scene of the death of Rima Khalaf. She had an hour or so before going back to the school to meet Rima’s housemate Mary – also a teacher there, but who hadn’t been available the day before.
There was a small car park, and then a path than zigzagged up the hill. Calling it ‘The Rock’ made it sound more impressive than it really was, thought Amanda. It was less than two hundred feet or so high, and an easy climb. It was almost all grass here, and mounds of dog dirt were evident all the way up – some on the path, and some wrapped in poop bags and then left for posterity.
But, at the top, the view was good. She could look back over the town to the remaining high-rises of Glasgow in the distance, and in all other directions to the mountains, some still with scatterings of snow in shady corners. She looked round, wishing she knew the names of those mountains, and then stepped to the edge.
The north side of the Rock was steep, and had apparently been made more so by the need to widen the road down below. There was no barrier, only a line of warning signs. Amanda looked over the edge. The grassy slope fell away, steeper and steeper, and then there was the drop to the edge of the road. Plastic mesh coated the side of the rock face.
Amanda could see how you might slide and then simply fall. But surely you would be aware of it right at the start. You’d catch hold of one of the many rocky outcrops and stop yourself, then pull yourself back up.
OK, late at night if you were drunk, you wouldn’t manage to retrieve the situation. Or if you were old or had poor balance.
Or if you’d been given a good, hard shove in the first place.
Amanda looked down. A van appeared on the road and drove past at speed. Amanda frowned. And waited for the next vehicle – a blue car, also going fast.
She found a small stone, waited till the next car appeared in view, and lobbed the stone underhand away down the grass. It bumped and jumped, and fell off the edge. Amanda didn’t see it reach the roadway – and tensed in case in smashed into the car, but nothing seemed to happen. She reckoned it hit the road pretty much at the same time as the car reached the spot.
Give or take, a body would probably do the same. So, bad luck that Rima Khalaf had fallen at just the right time to land on the roadway as a car was about to be at that spot? Or had the person giving the shove known that would happen?
She shook the thought away. She wasn’t here to investigate the death, she reminded herself. There were gaps in the investigation, but nothing material.
‘Careful,’ said a man’s voice behind her.
Amanda turned: he was an older man with a Jack Russell on a lead – one of the few breeds of dog she recognised.
‘A couple of young lassies have fallen over the edge here. Careful.’
Remember to follow the rest of the tour for more insight into this fascinating new book, The Deaths on the Black Rock.
Buy Link https://amzn.to/2Rp13NL