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Lost?

Little Boy Lost
DCI Anna Tate
JP Carter
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
Avon,

Innocence is no protection against evil… One early October afternoon, ten-year-old Jacob Rossi begins the short walk home from school. But he never makes it. Days later, DCI Anna Tate is called to the scene of a burning building, where an awful discovery has been made. A body has been found, and the label in his school blazer reads: J. Rossi. As Anna starts digging, she soon learns that a lot of people had grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far as to take his son? And is the boy’s abductor closer than she thinks? An absolutely gripping thriller for fans of Cara Hunter’s No Way Out and First Blood by Angela Marsons.

A very disturbing story. very well told and believable after previous London riots.
My husband has always pointed to the regular occurrence of riots in the UK's history, and the fact that social ills were addressed afterwards, as a reason, possibly, that unlike  most of Europe, we still have a monarchy. And have not had a real Revolution.
 I saw a play created from interviews with our last London rioters, and it is clear that a significant portion of our youth feel very disenfranchised. And the increase in knife crime in 2019 emphasises this.
So the social unrest that is The background to this story is a viable a believable extrapolation.
I am not sure if Chloe's back story added a great deal apart from muddling stories up. I would have left it out. Its riot experience was enough.
And the final twist was one I never saw coming. Excellent.

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Sweet and Sour

When Life Gives You Lemons Book Cover When Life Gives You Lemons
Fiona Gibson
Romance, Humour, Marriage, Family
Avon,

Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . . Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet. But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake. Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first? When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

A fun but yet serious book about what happens when a mid-life crisis hits – often the husband in a marriage, and how the wife deals with it.

Especially difficult when you have a late and unplanned child at Primary School and you are not a young mother …

And then you have a boss who seems incapable of doing anything at all for herself – she takes the concept of personal assistant just a tad too far… personal can be too personal you know?

Viv is capable of more, and wants to do more but life seems to have been stacked against her – until she finds that her husband leaving her brings out her strong side and she makes that elusive lemonade.

I enjoyed reading this book. Fiona always gives you a good giggle whilst making some serious points about how women are capable of so much more than they appear to others. Required reading for wives who leave far too much to husbands – or alternatively, let husbands do far too much. It’s fine to put yourself front and centre from time to time girls…

About the Author

Biography

Fiona Gibson

Fiona Gibson is the author of 15 romantic comedy novels, including the best-selling The Mum Who Got Her Life Back (Avon), which celebrates the empty nester years. Under the name of Ellen Berry, she also writes the heartwarming Rosemary Lane series (Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is out in January 2020).

Fiona grew up in West Yorkshire, before working on Jackie and Just Seventeen magazines – in those heady pre-internet days when it was thrilling to get a free plastic mirror taped to the front of your magazine. She went on to edit More! magazine, where she introduced the infamous Position of the Fortnight. After having twin sons and a daughter, Fiona started to write novels, usually at night with the house full of toddlers and builders. She was sleep deprived anyway so it really didn’t make any difference.

She also loves to draw, paint and run – by some miracle she managed to finish the London Marathon 2019. With the kids all grown up now, she and her husband Jimmy live in Glasgow with their collie cross, Jack.

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Who lives downstairs?

The Neighbours Book Cover The Neighbours
Nicola Gill
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
February 6, 2020
400

To get up from rock bottom, you’ve got to take the stairs...

Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…

Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?

Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that bad neighbours could become good friends…

This is an interesting book as it defies the commonly promulgated idea that we don't know, or care about, or neighbors in London. My personal experience is that this is not true. 
In hondon, we live in small communities, towns if you will, where, when you walk out the shop owners know you, the station staff recognise you, and you always bump into, and talk with, a neighbor. True, you need to smile and say 'Hello' first and maybe join in a community activity, of which there will be lots to choose from. 
Not so in  Commuter Land. 
I lived there for 19 years and barely knew nextdoor. 
Here in London I know lots of people & even have had drinks with
the people upstairs.
That said, this is a warm story, almost sentimental, with a young person befriending the grouchy neighbor below stairs, and as such helping her turn
her life around.

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When social ills abound

Little Boy Lost Book Cover Little Boy Lost
by J. P. Carter
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
Avon Books UK
Pub Date 23 Jan 2020

Innocence is no protection against evil… One early October afternoon, ten-year-old Jacob Rossi begins the short walk home from school. But he never makes it. Days later, DCI Anna Tate is called to the scene of a burning building, where an awful discovery has been made. A body has been found, and the label in his school blazer reads: J. Rossi. As Anna starts digging, she soon learns that a lot of people had grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far as to take his son? And is the boy’s abductor closer than she thinks?

A very disturbing story. very well told and believable after previous London riots.
My husband has always pointed to the regular occurrence of riots in the UK's history, and the fact that social ills were addressed afterwards, as a reason, possibly, that unlike  most of Europe, we still have a monarchy. And have not had a real Revolution.
 I saw a play created from interviews with our last London rioters, and it is clear that a significant portion of our youth feel very disenfranchised. And the increase in knife crime in 2019 emphasises this.
So the social unrest that is the background to this story is a viable a believable extrapolation.
I am not sure if Chloe's back story added a great deal apart from muddling stories up. I would have left it out. Its riot experience was enough.
And the final twist was one I never saw coming. Excellent.

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Oh these Irish families

The Liar’s Daughter Book Cover The Liar’s Daughter
Claire Allan
Fiction, Psychological,
HarperCollins UK, Avon
January 23, 2020
400

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies. The perfect read for fans of Clare Mackintosh.

The ‘good’ man is very ill with cancer, and in his illness he is attended by his family – in good Irish fashion. He has cancer and has only months to live so they are gathered – his daughters, one by second marriage and one by the first are there to look after him. The husband and baby of the second daughter are there too as the baby is still being breast fed; and the sister arrives from England. All to say the last things they needed to him before…

But it is not a happy family.

In good traditional Irish family sagas there are dark secrets and they start to ooze out – and then he dies, and the police come calling and more emerge from the dark Irish boglands it seems. The text feels like you are wandering in a dark misty bog, where there is no solidity to your footsteps – the foreboding that there is something really wrong oozes from the book in a delightful fashion.

This is not a book to read if you want to be cheered up. This is a book that re-emphasised for me, the insidiousness of the way the Roman Catholic church offers forgiveness and sanctuary in return for a few prayers, no matter how heartfelt they are, your sins are forgiven if you only tell the priest in confession. Well I don’t believe that. It gives people too easy a way out of their deeds. And yes, our ‘good’ man had many sins to be forgiven and he thought becoming religious in his older age would help…

The style has the right quality for a book with this storyline and draws you in, and the characterisation is well done.

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