When it’s really really cold!

Her Frozen Heart Book Cover Her Frozen Heart
Lulu Taylor
psychological, womens' literature
Pan
(30 Nov. 2017)

Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy.

Aren’t they?

When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend. In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well.

Loved the way the story moved between the two women in different times, but who were, in the end, linked by the same house.

I had – sort of – known that the winter in the UK in 1947 was bad, but not quite as bad as was shown in this novel.

It must have been dreadful to experience when the UK had not yet recovered from WW2 and there were still shortages of basic foods and heating materials  – the coal had frozen in the mines and the drifts were too high for the miners to get to work or coal to be transported.

An anti-cyclone sat over Scandinavia and there were 6 weeks of snow falling – 55 days in total. The temperature dropped to -21C in Bedfordshire and this was before people had thermal underwear and outdoor clothing that was suitable for this type of weather.

Newspapers were cut to 4 pages.

There were no electric fires (the main alternative to coal in most houses) between 9-12am and 2-4pm.

And no afternoon Greyhound Racing!

Over 20,000 acres of corn was destroyed by the cold.

That said, I personally experienced the winter of 1963 as a schoolgirl in the days before 1. Tights, and 2. Trousers were permitted to be worn.

I walked to school.

3.5 miles each way.

I thought my knees would never stop chapping and warm up!

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How to Write on Bones

Written in Bones Book Cover Written in Bones
Inspector McLean 7
James Oswald
psychological, mystery, thriller, police procedural
Michael Joseph
June 29, 2017
464

When a body is found in a tree in The Meadows, Edinburgh's scenic parkland, the forensics suggest the corpse has fallen from a great height.

Detective Inspector Tony McLean wonders whether it was an accident, or a murder designed to send a chilling message?

The dead man had led quite a life: a disgraced ex-cop turned criminal kingpin who reinvented himself as a celebrated philanthropist.

As McLean traces the victim's journey, it takes him back to Edinburgh's past, and through its underworld - crossing paths with some of its most dangerous and most vulnerable people.

And waiting at the end of it all, is the truth behind a crime that cuts to the very heart of the city...

A taut and complex police procedural where the solution is not what you expected.

Whilst there are references to previous occurrences – this is the 7th book in the series – this did not distract from, or impede the current story.

This was my first book by this author and I was very taken by the clean style and concise method of storytelling.

I liked the characters but did guess the mystery illness quite early on as I recognised the symptoms! What I also suspected was what the drug was that was used as I have come across this in other stories.

So because I did guess some elements it is down to 4 (4.5) rather than 5 stars.

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Should daughters be good? Always?

The Good Daughter Book Cover The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter
legal, women sleuths, psychological
HarperCollins
July 13, 2017
512

The stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense, from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series. Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind... Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father - Pikeville's notorious defence attorney - devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night. Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself - the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again - and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised - Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case which can't help triggering the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried for ever...

I cried for Charlie.

I cried for Sam.

Never has a crime novel affected me quite like that.

And I was so sad about Kelly and furious about how she was exploited.

As indicated I really got engrossed in the characters. The storytelling was intense and atmospheric and I thought an excellent novel.

 

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Am I really so very Good? or Bad?

Good Me, Bad Me Book Cover Good Me, Bad Me
Ali Land
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Michael Joseph
January 12, 2017
352

ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY, CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPLOSIVE DEBUTS OF 2017, Good Me Bad Me is for fans of quality psychological suspense and reading group fiction. 'NEW NAME . NEW FAMILY. SHINY. NEW. ME.' Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother's daughter... Translated into over 20 languages, Good Me Bad Me is a tour de force. In its narrator, Milly Barnes, we have a voice to be reckoned with, and in its author, Ali Land, an extraordinary new talent. Praise for Good Me Bad Me 'Original and compelling - what a sensational debut!' Clare Mackintosh, number one bestselling author of I See You and I Let You Go 'An astoundingly compelling thriller. Beyond tense. You hardly breathe. Best read in ages' Matt Haig 'I absolutely loved it and read it in less than a day. A proper page turner and brilliantly written' Edith Bowman 'Original, intense, and utterly compelling, Good Me Bad Me is not just a terrific thriller but a psychological dive into a young girl's soul' Julia Heaberlin, author of Sunday Times bestseller Black-Eyed Susans 'A triumph of tension. I doubt I'll ever sleep again' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Richard & Judy Bookclub bestseller The Last Act of Love 'Intelligent and disturbing, Good Me Bad Me had me hooked from the first page' Debbie Howells, author of Richard & Judy book club bestseller The Bones of You

 

A novel that chills.

The mind of ‘Milly’ is cunning – as she has been taught to be by her mother. She shares what she thinks is needed and required, and that which will progress her objectives.  She seems to have 2 main objectives, one being to ensure that her mother goes to prison for as long as possible and thus she will not have to return to the house of horrors that she was brought up in; and 2 to remain with Mike as a foster child, whatever that takes.

Milly manipulates the situation and we learn just how far she will go as the story develops. She has a Good personality and a Bad personality and she is aware of each and feels no shame when she uses her Bad personality to undertake a behaviour that will bring her closer to one of her goals. She is aware of what is morally correct to do in situations but often behaves differently, justifying her behaviour from her own goals.

In the book her foster sister has a manipulative personality and she is unaware of just how far Milly understands her and can counteract her when necessary. Her mother did teach her a great many ways to manipulate others.

Yet Milly is lonely.  Her life with her mother did not permit her to have friends. She would like to be accepted as who she really is but the very heavy publicity about her mother, who is now on trial due to Milly, prevents this. Only a very few are permitted to know who she really is as she is the prime witness against her mother.

 The story is told by Milly so we see her thinking and rationales as the trial of her mother develops and as her relationship with her foster family is impacted by the trial.

You feel very sorry for Milly. Her mother twisted and warped her through abuse and yet her awareness of good and bad means that in the end, when the full extent of her behaviour is revealed, you realise that she is probably not fit to live in normal society.

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When the FBI meets the real spooks

Earth Witches Aren't Easy Book Cover Earth Witches Aren't Easy
Chance Monroe #1
Heather Long
fantasy, paranormal, romance, humour,
Kindle

Nearly a decade ago, hedge witch Chance Monroe’s life irrevocably changed. She survived the attack of a serial killer. His death should have set her free.

When her ex-lover shows up on her porch, Chance isn’t ready to hear Randall Oakes is still alive and less prepared for the sea of emotion swamping her. One man wants her dead and the other just wants her. When the FBI offers protective custody, Chance refuses. Connected to the earth, Chance must rely on her supernatural senses and her wits to survive this game of cat and mouse.

In the farm rich countryside of her native Northern Virginia, Chance confronts her troubled past, a supernatural adversary and a sizzling passion that’s lain dormant for years….

This time, she will teach her hunter a lesson: earth witches aren’t easy targets…

 When I was given this free book, I read the title and thought it must be a paranormal, fantasy romance.

What I actually got was very different.

I got  a serial killer suspense/thriller with the FBI and a witch who is ‘tied’ to, and responsible for, maintaining the health of a particular patch of land. So harvest and seed sowing blessings, ensuring that pesky elves and fairies and other magical creatures don’t upset the earth and those who ‘garden’ it are part of her job – for which she gets paid. And an earth witch can trace the history of the land through communing with it. Murder, war and so on leave scars in the land’s memory that she can access.

When Chance was at college studying Forensic Psychology she was attacked by a serial killer, but was saved from death by her attacker being interrupted and her being rushed to hospital very quickly.

Now the serial killer is back and targeting his only survivor and the FBI want to use her talents to catch him.

Heather Long is a well established paranormal author with many published novels and it shows in her writing. The book is well proofed, the style is fluent and she tells a story that not only crosses genres but is one that you really don’t want to stop reading.

I went and bought the next book in the series immediately! .

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