Book Review: Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Book Review: Home Before Dark – Riley Sager


Release Date:
September 17th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 402
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local Waterstones
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound – and dangerous – secrets hidden within its walls?

“What was it like? Living in that house?” Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a non-fiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity – and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself – a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Review

Riley Sager is one of my go-to authors for fun and fast-paced thrillers. Home Before Dark sounded like exactly the kind of book I was going to love and it had the most intriguing premise. Maggie Holt is famous around the world because her Dad wrote a non-fiction book claiming their house was haunted. Everywhere she goes she is asked what it was like to live in that house. When her father dies and she learns he still owns the infamous Baneberry Hall, Maggie decides to restore the house to sell it on and while she’s there she’ll try and get some answers – but what really happened all those years ago?

Home Before Dark is an addictive read. I picked it up one evening and found myself turning pages long into the night. It has some genuinely creepy, sending a shiver up your spine moments and there were a whole bunch of twists that I absolutely did not see coming. Like all Riley Sager books, you have to suspend your disbelief a little bit, but it was a really fun and compelling read. I loved the way chapters from House of Horrors were included in the book and I found these chapters to be particularly engaging.

Home Before Dark has probably become my favourite Riley Sager book (though Lock Every Door is a close second). It was easy to read with really interesting characters. If you’re looking for a fun, addictive thriller to hook you in right from the beginning – look no further.

Book Review: The Dark – Emma Haughton

Book Review: The Dark – Emma Haughton


Release Date:
August 31st 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

ONE DEAD BODY
TWELVE SUSPECTS
TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the chance to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all. And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes for them all…

Review

The Dark is one of those novels where you sit down to read a chapter or two and then look up to find hours have passed and you haven’t even noticed. The story has a really intriguing premise – Kate North is a doctor who has taken up a new post at a remote research station in Antarctica after the previous doctor has died from an accident on the ice. When Kate arrives she soon learns the job might not be all that she hoped, with the entire winter spent in darkness, tensions soon become frayed. Kate begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death might not have been the accident it appeared to be – but is there a killer amongst them and will they strike again?

The Dark is a clever, twisty story and one I could not put down. I loved the remote, claustrophobic setting. It was dark and tense and the scenes out on the ice were incredibly gripping. There were plenty of surprise moments I didn’t see coming and I think I suspected just about everyone at one point. Haughton kept me guessing till near enough the end and the final few chapters had me right on the edge of my seat. The story is fun and fast-paced and I think mystery fans will devour this one.

The Dark has some pretty interesting characters and it was fascinating watching the dynamics between the group change as they spent months in the dark. Kate has an addiction to pills and it keeps the reader guessing – is there something suspicious going on or is Kate paranoid from the pills? It was a fascinating read and while this is my first from Emma Haughton, it absolutely will not be my last. The icy landscape of this book makes it perfect winter reading but be warned, it is addictive.

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing


Release Date: August 19th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent.
Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

Review

For Your Own Good is the latest novel from thriller writer Samantha Downing. I’ve always wanted to try a book by Samantha Downing but hadn’t had the chance to pick one up. This sounded like a really intriguing read and I ended up being hooked immediately. This is a fast-paced story, full of twists and turns. The short chapters had me turning pages faster and faster and I ended up reading late into the night to finish this in one sitting.

The story follows Teddy Crutcher. A teacher at Belmont Academy. Teddy has one teacher of the year and will let absolutely nothing distract him – not even the sudden death of one of the pupil’s parents on school grounds. Even when one of the pupils is arrested for murder. Is the pupil really responsible or does Teddy Crutcher know much more than he seems to?

This was such a fun book to read. It’s one of those stories that hooked you right from the very first page and I found myself squeezing in an extra chapter whenever I could. Teddy Crutcher is a fascinating character, he does what he thinks is best and absolutely no one will stand in his way. It was so compelling reading from his point of view and I had no idea what he was going to do next. I loved the setting of the elite school that really came to life in Downing’s writing. For Your Own Good is definitely one of those one-sitting kind of books and there are some incredibly well-crafted characters. If you’re looking for a thriller to keep you reading long into the night this Autumn, this should absolutely be your next read.

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

What would you do to protect your family?

ANYTHING.

That night everything changed.

The night Frannie committed a murder, but she didn’t mean to…

That night we helped her bury the body, what else could we do?

One hot summers night in Italy, Joe and Cathy Plant receive a phone call that will change their lives forever.

Their sister Frannie has killed a man, and she needs their help.

They were always close, some might say too close, siblings who worked together, lived next door to each other

And now they’ve buried a body together…

But when they return to England, Frannie, Joe and Cathy become tangled in lies in they’ve been telling,

to the police, to their friends, to each other…

But if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

Review

That Night is the newest dark and twisty thriller from Gillian McAllister and follows the Plant family. Whilst on holiday in Italy, Joe and Cathy receive a phone call – their sister Frannie has killed a man and needs their help. They decide to bury the body, pretend nothing ever happened. But as the police start asking questions, Joe, Cathy and Frannie must do everything they can to keep the truth from spilling out. But can you trust your family?

This was my first time reading a Gillian McAllister book and I absolutely raced through this one. The short, snappy chapters had me turning pages late into the night and there were so many tense, cliffhanger moments that I just had to keep reading. There is a brilliant atmosphere in the story, and I really enjoyed the way the tension climbed higher and higher as the story progressed. The story is pretty fast-paced and whilst I did guess a couple of the twists there were more than a few I didn’t see coming.

That Night has such an intriguing premise – how far would you go to protect your family? I thought it was fascinating seeing how one night could change so much for a group of siblings, particularly as the guilt and paranoia set in. I thought the characters were well crafted and I loved the way McAllister portrayed the sibling dynamic. That Night is a compelling read, one that physiological thriller fans are sure to devour. If you’re looking for something to keep you hooked right until the very last page, this one is a must-read.

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris


Release Date:
4th August 2021
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Review

A Narrow Door is the brand new novel by acclaimed author Joanne Harris. A return to the world of St Oswald’s the story follows Rebecca Buckfast – the first female headteacher of the school. She’s determined to take down the old regime and she’s doing it by allowing female students for the first time in the school’s history. As plans are made to create new state of the art facilities on the premises, human remains are uncovered in the construction work. As Rebecca works to protect everything she has built, secrets that have long stayed buried will soon be revealed.

Joanne Harris is one of my favourite authors so as soon as I heard about this I was incredibly excited to pick it up. Harris weaves a complex and exhilarating story, one that hooked me from the very first chapter. A Narrow Door is well crafted and I loved the prickling sense of unease that continued to build and build as the story progressed. Joanne Harris has such a beautiful writing style and the excellent descriptions of the hallowed halls of St Oswald’s and King Henry’s really came to life. The story was well-paced and I ended up reading the second half of the book in a single afternoon. There were some surprising moments that I definitely didn’t expect and while this is the third book set around St Oswald’s, it can absolutely be read as a standalone.

The thing that fascinated me most was the complex and multi-layered characters that Harris has created. Rebecca Price is a fascinating character and I really enjoyed reading the story of her life. She is a determined and ambitious woman and will do anything to succeed in the man’s world she finds herself in. She made for a really compelling protagonist, even more so as the story grew darker. A Narrow Door is an incredibly gripping and clever read, one you absolutely won’t want to put down.

Book Review: The Last Girl – Goldy Moldavsky

Book Review: The Last Girl – Goldy Moldavsky


Release Date:
April 15th 2021
Publisher: Electric Monkey Books
Pages: 430
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:
– Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
– Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.…
– If there’s a murderer on the loose, do NOT make out with anyone …

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring them to the bored rich kids of her fancy New York High School. But then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious student club that sets up terrifying Fear Tests; elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and horror movies.

But when a sinister masked figure appears, Rachel realises that her past has caught up with her. It’s time for the ultimate prank to play out…

Review

I’m a big horror movie fan so when I heard about The Last Girl I was immediately intrigued. The story follows Rachel, a young girl that attends a fancy school full of rich kids. Rachel finds comfort in the horror movies she loves, but when she stumbles across the Mary Shelley Club – a group of students who carry out clever pranks designed to make their classmates scream. But Rachel soon learns everyone in the group has secrets, including her.

This was such a fun read and is absolutely perfect for getting swept up in over the Summer. I loved the premise of this book, the idea of a group of horror movie fanatics getting together to design these spine-tingling fear tests. The tests were probably the bit of the story I enjoyed most, seeing the way the group pull of the pranks and get away with it. I really enjoyed the writing style in this and I found some of the scenes really quite scary. It’s a fast-paced read and one that will have you reading past bedtime.

The characters in this were really fascinating and I was so intrigued to find out who the masked figure was. Pretty much everyone in the group is not what they seem and there were a couple of twists that I guessed and a few I definitely did not. The Last Girl is an entertaining and creepy read and if you love books like One Of Us Is Lying or Harrow Lake this will definitely be your cup of tea. This is my first book from Goldy Moldavsky and I will definitely be picking up more from them in the future.

Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry

Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?

A gripping, original thriller for fans of My Lovely Wife, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and anyone who’s ever wondered what their family tree might be hiding…

Review

The Family Tree is the gripping story of Liz Catalano, a young woman living in New York with her cousin Andie. When Andie gets her a DNA ancestry kit as a present Liz signs up only to discover she’s adopted. As she goes in search of her biological family she is contacted by the FBI and becomes entangled in an investigation to discover the Tri-State Killer – a serial killer who has been abducting and murdering pairs of women for forty years. Can Liz uncover the truth behind her family, and can she do it in time to save his latest victims?

This was such a compelling read and I ended up reading it in one day. I thought this was such a unique concept and it was so well executed. It was a dark and engrossing read and I definitely did not want to look away. I loved the way the story was told from Liz’s perspective and from all the different victims of the Tri-State Killer. This definitely added to the suspense as we learn more about how the killer is getting away with his crimes all these years. As you would expect this story has plenty of twists and turns and there were more than a few creepy scenes that sent a shiver up my spine.

The Family Tree contains some really compelling characters and it was fascinating seeing Liz attempt to cope with learning about her birth family and what happened to them. I really liked the close bond between Liz and Andie and their portrayal felt really realistic. I loved the short chapters that had me turning pages faster and faster and the ending definitely wasn’t what I expected. The Family Tree is an inventive and chilling read, unlike any thriller I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something to keep you completely hooked on a long summer day, The Family Tree is exactly what you’re looking for.

Blog Tour: The Maidens – Alex Michaelides

Blog Tour: The Maidens – Alex Michaelides


Release Date:
June 15th 2021
Publisher:  W&N
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

Review

The Maidens is the all-new thriller by The Silent Patient author Alex Michaelides. The Silent Patient was one of my favourite thriller reads of 2019 and I was really excited to see what Michaelides did next. The story follows Mariana, a group therapist who becomes obsessed with the maidens when a friend of her niece is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana knows for sure that even though he has an alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of murder and she will do anything to prove it. As Mariana becomes more and more obsessed, she soon finds her credibility and her closest relationships falling away from her – but can she stop the killer?

Just like The Silent Patient, I found myself getting completely lost in this story and raced through it in a few gripping sittings. The story captivated me from the outset and Michaelides has such a brilliant writing style that I was completely swept away in this story. It’s fast-paced with pretty short chapters that kept me completely hooked. The story is full to the brim with twists and turns and given the surprises in his first book I knew anything was possible. Michaelides has such a great way of making you a bit suspicious of everyone and the final reveal definitely wasn’t what I expected.

The Maidens is a dark and compelling read, one I think thriller fans will completely adore. Mariana is an interesting protagonist she is someone dealing with grief who very quickly spirals into obsession. I really liked the Cambridge setting in the story, which definitely came to life in the vivid descriptions. If you’re a fan of gripping psychological thrillers you can’t look away from, The Maidens should definitely be your next read.

Blog Tour: You Had It Coming – B. M. Carroll

Blog Tour: You Had It Coming – B. M. Carroll


Release Date:
May 13th 2021
Publisher: Viper Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

WOULD YOU SAVE THE MAN
WHO DESTROYED YOUR LIFE?

When paramedic Megan Lowe is called to the scene of an attempted murder, all she can do is try to save the victim. But as the man is lifted onto a stretcher, she realises she knows him. She despises him. Why should she save his life when he destroyed hers?

Jess Foster is on her way home when she receives a text from Megan. Once best friends, the two women haven’t been close for years, not since the night when they were just the teenage girls whom no one believed; whose reputations were ruined. All Jess can think is, you had it coming.

Now Megan and Jess are at the centre of a murder investigation. But what secrets are they hiding? Can they trust one another? And who really is the victim?

Review

You Had It Coming is the newest gripping and twisty thriller from B. A. Carroll. The story follows Megan Lowe, a paramedic who is called to the scene of a shooting. As the victim is being loaded into the ambulance she realises that she knows him. He is the man who ruined her life. Why should she save him when he ruined hers? When Megan and her old friend Jess become tangled up in a murder investigation their secrets start to unravel, but who can be trusted and who is telling the truth?

You Had It Coming is one of those books that you pick up to read a few chapters of and then get immediately sucked in. Full of twists and turns, this story had such a unique premise that I absolutely could not look away. It’s a fast-paced story and I ended up reading the whole book in one day. The story has multiple perspectives – giving the reader the chance to see things from both Megan and Jess’ point of view as well as Bridget the detective investigating the murder. The fast, short chapters definitely had me turning pages faster and faster because I was desperate to know how it was all going to end. This is my first book from B. A. Carroll and I really enjoyed the writing style. There were plenty of surprise moments that I didn’t see coming and I definitely did not expect that ending.

Carroll creates some really fascinating characters and I liked all three of our main characters. The characters felt well developed and I particularly liked Bridget who is trying to solve a murder investigation and manage her family life. You Had It Coming is an utterly compelling read and if you’re looking for a story that will have you glued to the page, definitely make this your next read.

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Series: DI Adam Fawley #5 (See my review of book four here!)
Release Date: April 29th 2021
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

Review

Cara Hunter is back with an all-new thriller in the DI Fawley series. This time Fawley and the team are dealing with a sexual assault case at Oxford University, but the victim is a six-foot rugby player and the accused is a professor at the top of her field. As the team work to uncover the truth they soon learn there’s more to this case than meets the eye. As the team race against the clock, the body of a missing woman is discovered and as the investigation begins it seems the only real suspect is Fawley himself.

Cara Hunter is one of my favourite thriller writers and I was so excited to read the latest instalment in this series. All the Rage completely captured my attention, and The Whole Truth was exactly the same. When I picked up The Whole Truth I didn’t move from that spot for several hours and I ended up a very tired person at work because I’d spent the whole night reading. This series is one of the most gripping I have ever read and I could not put the book down.

Just like the previous instalments, The Whole Truth is entertaining, full to the brim with twists and turns with an extremely quick pace. I love the way Hunter weaves in different kind of media with interview transcripts, podcasts and tweets. I think this is such a fascinating addition and really brings the story to life. I also love getting to know the different officers in Fawley’s team as the investigation is mixed in with their personal lives. All of the characters in the team have different personalities and it’s fascinating watching them come together to solve the mystery. The story is incredibly well executed and I hope the wait for book six isn’t too long because I am in desperate need of more!

If you love fast-paced police procedurals, this series is an absolute must-read. All the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I definitely suggest buying more than one at a time, as soon as you finish one you’ll definitely want to pick up another.