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More bad than beautiful

Beautiful Bad Book Cover Beautiful Bad
by Annie Ward
Mystery & Thrillers , Psychological
Quercus Books Quercus
Pub Date 21 Mar 2019

Maddie and Ian's romance began when he was serving in the British Army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend Jo in Europe. Now sixteen years later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when an accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian's PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son Charlie; and the couple's tangled and tumultuous past with Jo. From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, the years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of shocking crime. But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad? Perfect for fans of The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us.

Wonderful twist to the end.. Not what I expected as I followed Maddie’s sessions in therapy and what we discovered about her, her marriage, and her husband.

It seems very clear that Ian is suffering from PTSD from his time in the army and is unstable as a result. And as the story progresses, you begin to wonder about Maddie’s injury. Just how did she get it? Who was involved? Was it Ian?

And the therapist seems so helpful, but rather unprofessional but Maddie finds her useful to help her process her thoughts and emotions.

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Profiling gets nasty

Blood for blood Book Cover Blood for blood
Ziba Mackenzie #1
Victoria Selman
Serial Killers, Profiling, Psychological,
Thomas & Mercer
(1 Feb. 2019)

Ziba Mackenzie profiles killers. Now one is profiling her.

Rush hour, London. A packed commuter train is torn apart in a collision. Picking through the carnage, ex-special forces profiler Ziba MacKenzie helps a dying woman who passes on a cryptic message: He did it. You have to tell someone.

When a corpse is found bearing the gruesome signature of a serial killer dormant for twenty-five years, Ziba is pulled into the hunt for the perpetrator. As the body count rises it becomes clear he’s on a new spree. But what’s brought the London Lacerator back after such a long hiatus? And does his sudden return have anything to do with the woman on the train?

Ziba scrambles to profile the killer in the hope of predicting his next move. But time is running out. And the closer she gets to uncovering his identity, the closer he gets to destroying hers.

What happens when a profiler gets profiled? And when her profile of a serial killer leads her to suspect a co-worker who seems to fit this profile only too well?

But not everything is what it seems to be, or what seems to her to be connected is, which skews her profile.

Engrossing reading with a heroine you empathise with, not snarky but nonetheless capable of being kickass if she needs to be.

Good style and plotting.

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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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A monkey is a simian?

Vanish
Rizzoli and Isles #5
Tess Gerritsen
Crime, Psychological Suspense
Transworld Digital
(26 Jan. 2010)

Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles unzips a body bag and gets the fright of her life. The corpse opens its eyes. The woman is rushed to hospital, where she murders a guard and siezes hostages, including a heavily pregnant Detective Jane Rizzoli.

No one knows who this woman is, or what she wants. Only Jane, trapped with the madwoman, can solve the mystery.

If she survives the night . . .

‘I know a secret’

Who was Mr Simian?

As always we get excellent story-telling by this author, in a concise style, with enough red herrings and hints of the truth from real-life cases to keep you wondering – just who was Mr Simian (from the film being made in the story).

The characters behave believably, and the device of having part of the story being told by Holly and part in the 3rd person for the remainder of the action and characters worked very well.

Holly is a believable sociopath – she lacks empathy and emotional attachments and (possibly) also any morals or morality. She uses people clearly, but how far would she go to protect herself is unknown.

Mr Simian proves to be someone unexpected – in true good Agatha Christie style.

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