The creepy man

The Smiling Man Book Cover The Smiling Man
(Aiden Waits)
Jospeh Knox
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Police Procedurals
DoubleDay
8 March 2018

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift: an endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends.

Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to the Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead.

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth have been filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits pieces together this stranger’s identity, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.

When mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats start to escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.

And to discover who the smiling man really is, he must first confront himself.

A strange and somewhat disturbing tale of the man found in a hotel room with a smile on his face. Investigated by yet another of these dysfunctional detectives who is yet very bright and very good at finding the criminal, we find all sorts of interesting facts about this murdered man, as the story continues.

The story is dark and not uplifting but also compelling and whilst I can’t say reading it was enjoyable, I was determined to find out what had happened to the man. I did not warm to any of the characters and thus would not necessarily read more about this detective. But the story line was good as was the writing style, so I may yet be convinced by this author…

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Who loves you?

You are Loved Book Cover You are Loved
Jo Platt
romance, contemporary, romantic comedy
Canelo
(14 Aug. 2017)
Kindle

Author Grace Waterhouse has hit rock bottom. Her ex-husband has just had a baby with his new partner and her latest novel is… well, the less said the better.

Desperate for distraction, Grace impulsively takes on a friend’s cleaning job, parachuting herself into a new social circle including an eccentric OAP, a heartbroken twenty-something and one James Brooke, an enigmatic lawyer with an unblinking stare.

Add to this mix an anxious literary agent, a hairdresser who doesn’t mince words and a newly repentant ex-husband, and Grace's career break proves to be more breathless than breather.

They say that all you need is love – but what if that's the one thing you haven't got?

The heart-warming, funny and unputdownable new novel from bestseller Jo Platt is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Anna Bell and Joanna Bolouri.

A light-hearted, feel good read, ideal for beach-side reading, especially if the world is getting you down.

Not high fiction but you don’t always want to read serious stuff do you? And sometimes, you need to know that other people are just as messy, or have lost things under their bed, or have idiotic coincidences happen to them – just like you.

I do have a bit of a thing though, against writers writing about writers. I know that writers do have writers’ block from my own experience but still, would you willingly clean other people’s houses for a friend? For months? Just because you can’t write?

But don’t let me put you off – the fact that I wouldn’t do it is irrelevant.

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When love is about prejudice

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop Book Cover True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop
The Lonely Hearts Bookshop
Annie Darling
humour, contemporary, love, sex and marriage
August 24, 2017

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?

Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan

Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise - not to fall in love with each other…

Or is it Pride?

Anyway, lots of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice quotes for each chapter which tell you what the main thrust will be. Nicely played.

Oh, and it is set in a part of London we love – Bloomsbury. Just around the British Museum and which is full of blue plaques to famous people.

I really enjoyed this book. Partly for its literary references but also because I found the writing to be warm, funny, and good-natured. I too like some solitude and find parties stressful, and again because I was brought up in a very busy household with no place that was away from everyone and with some constant noise.

The story echoes the warning I give to many people about not trying for 4th child of another sex when you’ve got 3 the same. My GP did that and ended up with twins – 5 boys (!!!!),; and here it is 5 girls. Which is worse I wonder? Hormones versus smelly feet and constant washing of muddy sports gear?  Any comments anyone?

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When a friend asks –

A Simple Favour Book Cover A Simple Favour
DARCEY. BELL
Literary fiction, Contemporary, psychological
Pan Macmillan
December 14, 2017
352

A Simple Favour is a twisting free-fall ride filled with betrayal, reversal, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty. Darcey Bell ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing thriller that holds you in its grip until the final page.It starts with a simple favour - an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another.When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son from school she happily says yes.Their children are classmates and best friends. And five-year-olds love being together - just like she and Emily. As a widow and stay-at-home blogger mum living in suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a glamorous and successful PR executive.The trouble is that Emily doesn't come back. No matter what the police say, Stephanie knows that she would never leave her son. Terrified, she reaches out to her fellow mummy bloggers.And she also reaches out to Emily's husband - just to offer her support.What Stephanie hasn't shared are the secrets buried in a murky past.

The film adaptation of the book stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as the seemingly mismatched pair of best friends.

A book that starts out like a ‘normal’ story of a mother and her best friend, and mommies in NY suburbs and then gradually becomes darker and more twisted as the truths of their lives begin to unfold.

And then, half-way through, a really big twist turns the story into something else entirely! Something you had not anticipated and it all goes into a spiral from there…

And at the end there is a cliff-hanger, that leaves you to make up your own mind about the ending.

I found this really enticing as a story as the main characters have such secrets that they have carefully hidden, for a variety of reasons, and their own real personalities are hidden too. I couldn’t wait to find out what they would do next. And how they would spin half-truths and blame others… All of them characters you really could not empathise with, for any reason at all…

Good solid writing if not great.

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And the girls who are last

Final Girls Book Cover Final Girls
Riley Sager
psychological, mystery, suspense, contemporary
Ebury Press
2018
342

TO SURVIVE A KILLER, YOU NEED A KILLER'S INSTINCT An unbelievably gripping psychological thriller to keep you awake at night full of twists you'll NEVER see coming. 'If you liked GONE GIRL, you'll like this' Stephen King Three girls. Three tragedies. One unthinkable secret. The media calls them the Final Girls - Quincy, Sam, Lisa - the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma. But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn't really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or can there only ever be one? All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next. An addictive thriller to keep you turning the pages late at night. Fans of In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, The Girl Before by JP Delaney and Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear will love Final Girls. ********** Why readers are loving thrilling psychological suspense novel FINAL GIRLS 'I was drawn into this intense story from the very first page until the tremendously gripping end - unputdownable and addictive' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars 'This is an atmospheric thriller I couldn't stop reading. A brilliant and gripping read' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars 'I devoured this one in two sittings. Could not put it down and the author dropped in some fantastic twists I never saw coming' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

At first I thought this was chick lit (baking et al) and then I realised it was much darker than that. The story unfolds from the viewpoint of a girl left alive after the horrific slaughter of her friends at a holiday cabin in the woods, and how many years later she is trying to live a ‘normal’ life. A normal life facilitated by Xanax, wine and nightmares.

There are 3 Final Girls in this story who were supposed to be linked up as Survivors and each tries to live on in a different way  – and as the story unfolds tragedy begins to stalk each of them. And it is this part of the story that hooked me and made think deeply about their methods of living and how would I cope? What would I do, if I were them?

The suspense builds slowly but inevitably towards a conclusion that I never suspected and yet once it happens you realise that it was inevitable. And that people in these type of novels, are never who you think they are!

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