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How difficult is it to lie?

The Most Difficult Thing Book Cover The Most Difficult Thing
Charlotte Philby
General Fiction (Adult), contemporary, thriller, suspense
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction

WHAT WOULD YOU SACRIFICE TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH?

‘Chilling’ Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

‘Compulsive read’ Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

‘Enigmatic’ Louise Candlish, author of Our House

‘Brilliant’ Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

On the surface, Anna Witherall personifies everything the aspirational magazine she works for represents. Married to her university boyfriend David, she has a beautiful home and gorgeous three-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Rose. But beneath the veneer of success and happiness, Anna is hiding a dark secret, one that threatens to unravel everything she has worked so hard to create.

As Anna finds herself drawn into the dark and highly controlled world of secret intelligence, she is forced to question her family’s safety, and her own. Only one thing is certain: in order to protect her children, she must leave them, forever. 

And someone is watching. Someone she thought she could trust. Someone who is determined to make them all pay.

Stylish and assured, The Most Difficult Thing is an irresistible combination of contemporary espionage and domestic suspense, and a compulsive, highly charged examination of betrayal.

How many lies make a truth?

Everyone in this story lies, and everyone has an ulterior motive. Personally, I never trusted Harry and Anna has invented herself and her family. Maria – well she was up to something right from the beginning, and Clive and David always had something to hide….

Now back to the actual story-telling. I found the middle section hard going and was tempted at times to stop reading. It seemed to be going nowhere and the constant flashing to and fro in time was distracting. But by Chapter 40 it had settled down into ‘proper’ story-telling and then along came Felicity again, and upset the apple-cart!

And as for the ending… most unexpected.

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The Dead pile up

Where The Dead Fall Book Cover Where The Dead Fall
DI Ridpath #2
MJ Lee
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,
Canelo
11 Apr 2019

One chance encounter, one street side murder, will change everything…

The extraordinary new Ridpath crime thriller Manchester has been at peace for twenty years. Not any more.

DI Ridpath is in the process of getting his life back together when everything goes wrong.

Driving to meet his daughter, he is caught in a horrific motorway accident, in which a near-naked man is rundown by a lorry, while fleeing from a lone gunman.As Ridpath closes Manchester’s road network in search of the assailant, one question remains: why did nobody else see him?

Ridpath’s investigations, which at first seem to follow protocol, soon unearth a number of inconsistencies, which pulls the police force itself into question and hint at something sinister to come...

For Manchester is on the brink of a fresh surge of violence unlike anything it has seen in decades. As Ridpath battles this unprecedented conflict, he must battle his own demons. One thing is for sure. There will be blood on the streets…

The nail-biting sequel to Where the Truth Lies, M J Lee’s Where the Dead Fall is an absolute must read, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Faith Martin and Peter James 

This book is set in Manchester UK – a grim town as I recall (always raining) and according to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in their novel Good Omens, it was created by the demon Crowley as part of his work towards sending humans to Hell [not to mention his slight adjustment of the M25..].

This novel does not encourage you to think that it might be a nice place to visit and be a tourist. It talks about crime families – 4 in Manchester – having ‘carved up’ the town into 4 quarters each holding their own with no inter-gang warfare, but each specialising in drugs, or prostitution, or…  but not really guns until this story starts.

I found it a useful introduction to the work of a Coroner’s Office which I had not known – I always assumed that it was part of the offices that dealt with the post-mortem – no doubt confused by TV stories. But here we find out that they stand for the victim and attempt to discover just what happened to them and how the death was investigated, if necessary.

The story makes grim reading as we have a series of deaths and a very ill policeman working for the Coroner’s Office who is charged with assuring the Coroner of her facts as she holds her Inquest into their deaths.

But still compelling and whilst I had guessed some of it, I had not guessed all of the back story which ended up with these particular deaths.

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Lying is bad

I never Lie: Book Cover I never Lie:
Jody Sabral
psychological thriller,
Canelo
Pub Date 11 Jun 2018

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic, teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. But when a series of murders occurs within a couple of miles of her East London home, she's given another chance to prove herself.

Alex thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton,  B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh. 

Whilst I thought it interesting to to see the lies told to herself by Alex about how she wasn’t an alcoholic, I found the overall story too slow to capture my interest.

Alex clearly thought she was in control even though it was obvious she wasn’t and she ignored her black holes in her memory and the blackouts she experienced. And ignored the fact that she just needed a ‘little drop’ to function.

The decline of an alcoholic and the damage they do to their nearest and dearest and others they come into contact with is shown by the story but I  still didn’t manage to finish reading to the end.

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Don’t trust her

The Nanny Book Cover The Nanny
Gilly Macmillan
Mystery & Thrillers , Women's Fiction
Random House
27 Jun 2019

Seven-year-old Jocelyn loves her nanny more than her own mother.
When her nanny disappears one night, Jo never gets over the loss.
How could she vanish without saying goodbye?

Thirty years on, Jo is forced to return to her family home and confront her troubled relationship with her mother. When human remains are discovered in the grounds of the house, Jo begins to question everything.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks at the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again as, one by one, she discovers her childhood memories aren’t what they seemed.

What secrets was her nanny hiding – and what was she running away from? And can Jo trust what her mother tells her?

Sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.

This story gradually ramps up the chill factor as it progresses.

It initially comes across as a normal family drama with a neglected child from a rich family who is befriended by her loving nanny. Her nanny gives her the affection and attention she craves.

But the nanny isn’t quite what she seems and suddenly you find yourself shouting at Jo and telling her not to trust Hannah!

I thought the beginning was rather slow, and I did begin to get a little bored. The style was appropriate for the family saga storyline, which added to the authenticity of the opening chapters. Overall it was well written without mistakes in the grammar and vocabulary, but not a book that hooked me.

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And yet more Perfection

Perfect Crime Book Cover Perfect Crime
DI Luc Callanach #5
Helen Fields
crime fiction, thriller, suspense, police procedural
Avon
February 7, 2019

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

The sexy Frenchman is again involved in a complicated serie of murders – except that only he thinks they are murders – to everyone else, they look like suicides.

In this series we have a lovely brooding dark French policeman sent to Edinburgh for various political reasons, who takes a long time to settle and make friends. But by this book in the series he is settling down – a little, but his friendships are stretched in this bizarre series of what are classed as suicides.

I very much like this series of novels. They tick all the right boxes. A brooding hero. A series of complicated crimes that only he can solve. And good storytelling with chills and gasps as accidents happen etc. Would make good TV.

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