The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington

Book blurb…

From the bestselling author of The One Who Got Away comes a gripping new psychological thriller that will have you thinking twice about who in your life you can really trust …

Emma Cardwell, celebrity mum and host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, seems to have it all: fame, money and a gorgeous family. But when her little girl disappears from day-care – captured on CCTV footage at a nearby shopping centre leaving with someone Emma has never seen before – her world is turned upside down.

As the minutes tick by, and pressure mounts, every part of Emma’s life comes under examination. Is this a kidnapping, the work of a crazed stalker, or an obsessed fan? Is somebody out for revenge or is this something closer to home?

And there is the aching question: how much do we really know about those who care for our children . . . and about the people we love?

My thoughts…

A lot of books I enjoy are plot-driven. They are very much about the mystery/crime/whatever. I really enjoy those stories that also have a good character arc that sees the characters growing in some way. This novel focuses very much on plot and less on characters and that left me feeling disconnected. I was not drawn to Emma, or any of the other characters in the story. I was not invested in their plight or journey, so I ambled through the pages not caring very much about the outcome.

The storytelling is very factual. I would have preferred a more emotional portrayal of the family.  The concept of such a young child being kidnapped should have created a higher level of emotion in the characters and, subsequently in me, the reader.

The negative portrayal of media and reporters is likely very true to life and it’s probably another reason I did not enjoy this story as much as I had expected I would.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Harper Collins Australia

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Sisters and Brothers by Fiona Palmer

Book Blurb…

A poignant novel of heartbreak, adoption and family secrets
Emma, a nurse and busy mother of three, has always dreamed of having a sister.
Michelle, at 46, wonders if it’s too late to fall in love and find her birth parents.
Sarah, career woman and perfectionist homemaker, struggles to keep up with the Joneses.
Bill, 72, feels left behind after the death of his adored wife.
Adam can’t stop thinking about the father he never had.
These five very different people are all connected but separated by secrets from the past. Sisters and Brothers will both break and warm your heart in a way that only bestselling Australian storyteller Fiona Palmer can.

My thoughts…

This novel sees Fiona Palmer a long way from her rural fiction and it’s a very contemporary story, well told and heartwarming.

Personally, I loved Bill, and felt sorry that his early life/lifestyle meant he ultimately missed out on the most meaningful relationship of all. But it was Michelle I felt for the most. For reasons I cannot disclose, I was left wondering, long after the last page, how different her life may have been.

At the heart of this complex story is a theme that, for personal reasons, I’ve thought about many times over my 60 years …

Just how close have I been without realising.

Well done, Fiona.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Hachette Australia

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Through His Eyes by Emma Dibdin

Book blurb…

A dark, unsettling thriller about a young female journalist drawn into the life of a troubled Hollywood A-lister.

The perfect summer read for fans of Sabine Durrant, Erin Kelly and Louise Doughty.

You have to know when to say no. That’s one of the first things they tell you. But from the first day I arrived in Los Angeles, I said yes.

Jessica Harris is a struggling Hollywood reporter hungry for her big break. When her editor asks her to profile movie star Clark Conrad, Jessica is sure her luck is on the turn. Clark is an A-lister with access to everyone. If Jessica can impress him, she’s made it.

When she arrives at Clark’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, he is just as she always imagined. Charming, handsome yet disarmingly vulnerable. But then things take a darker turn. Clark’s world is not as straightforward as it seems and Jessica’s puff piece soon becomes something much more delicate – and dangerous. As Jessica draws herself deeper into Clark’s inner circle, events begin to spiral out of her control.

Transfixing, insightful and unsettling, Through His Eyes drops you into the mind of a young woman with everything to play for – and everything to lose…

My thoughts…

I never DNF a novel and then review. To not finish an author’s work but still offer an opinion is wrong, wrong, wrong. So I did read to the end, hopeful, but unfortunately I did not enjoy the story as much as the blurb suggested I would.

Did I miss something?

That said, I was forced to read this story in snatches, mostly due to my own time/travel constraints. This may have affected my interpretation of the narrative.

Jessica certainly found herself in a position where she needed to make a life-altering choice regarding movie star, Clark Conrad. So the conflict was there.

I think I’d like to read this story again when I can give it my full attention and not be pressured by review/publishing deadlines.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Harper Collins Australia

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Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

Book blurb…

Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation

‘Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you.’

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large… When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

My Thoughts…

I have not read any previous titles by this author, so I’m meeting Ooonagh O’Neil for the first time.  I was mainly drawn to this title by the book blurb, intrigued to discover more about the Raphael killer.

The cover-up was quite complex and Ooonagh certainly had to work hard to discover the truth. I can’t say too much without giving away the plot, but I did enjoy the story, after a slow start. Towards the end, the pace increased and things moved quickly as Ooonagh got closer to uncovering the story behind the Raphael killings.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Head of Zeus

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Whitsunday Dawn by Annie Seaton

Book blurb…

With the pristine beauty of the Whitsundays under threat, can they expose the truth in time?

When Olivia Sheridan arrives in the Whitsundays as spokesperson for big mining company Sheridan Corp, it should be a straightforward presentation to the town about their proposed project. But when a handsome local fisherman shows her what ecological impact the proposal will have, Olivia is forced to question her father’s motives for the project.

Struggling with newly divided loyalties, Olivia is thrown further into turmoil when she is mistaken for a woman who disappeared more than sixty years before. When it becomes clear that Captain Jay is also keeping secrets, Olivia realises that there is more to these sunshine–soaked islands than she ever expected.

Seeking to uncover the truth, Olivia is drawn into a dangerous game where powerful businessmen will stop at nothing to ensure their plan goes ahead, even if that means eliminating her…

Against the epic Far North Queensland landscape, this is the story of two women, separated by history, drawn to Whitsunday Island where their futures will be changed forever.

My Thoughts…

Annie Seaton is a very prolific author and it shows in this, her fourth eco-adventure-meets-romance novel. Painstakingly researched to take readers from current day to 1940’s war time, the tragedy of war collides with the joy of forever love and family secrets are revealed. I really felt like I was there, in the Whitsundays – a place I’d love to visit in more detail next year, although I feel like I know it so well, thanks to Annie’s detailed descriptions that took me there.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Harper Collins Australia

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Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Book blurb…

The perfect couple commit the perfect crime in this brilliant new thriller from an extraordinary new voice.

How far would you go be truly happy? 

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all, until Mark loses his job and cracks start to appear in their perfect life.

But they’re determined to make it work. They  book their dream honeymoon and trust that things will work out – after all, they have each other.

Could the life of your dreams turn out to be a nightmare? 

On the tropical island of Bora Bora Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Mark is with her – she knows he’ll keep her safe. Everything will be fine.

Until they find something in the water.

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? 

Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret — after all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt?

Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events…  which will endanger everything they hold dear.

My thoughts…

Something in the Water is certainly a good read. Written in first person with a single point of view (female), this story explores what happens to love when money, and lots of it, is involved.

At times, I found some of Erin’s decisions annoying – a bit cliché. (eg He says something like: “Honey, don’t whatever you do, don’t turn on the phone/log on/etc.” So what does she do?) All that said, these things served a purpose in the story and it was a very good story. (I guess if she’d made good choices there would not have been a story to tell!!)

The introductory chapter definitely hooked me and set the story up perfectly. It was also very cleverly tied into the last chapter.

Certainly a book to hold your interest. A good investment in your precious reading time.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Simon and Schuster Australia

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The Pupil by Dawn Goodwin

Book blurb…

One moment of carelessness. Four shattered lives. Psychological suspense that explores a labyrinth of lies, manipulation and revenge. Perfect for fans of Louise Jenson and Katerina Diamond.

Literary agent Viola Matthews is sure she’s met Katherine Baxter before. So when her husband and bestselling novelist Samuel Morton introduces Viola to the quiet, unassuming woman he has offered to mentor, she knows their paths have crossed before. The question is where?

As their worlds collide and the bond between Samuel and Katherine deepens, Viola realises she must take control.
If Viola is right, then Katherine needs to pay for something that happened twelve years ago.

My thoughts…

I was immediately drawn to read The Pupil because of the ‘literary’ bent and the blurb’s focus on ‘psychological suspense.’ While I did enjoy The Pupil, perhaps the blurb raised my expectations too high. There is strong conflict with the characters but the level of suspense was a tad lacking to warrant a huge rating from me.

The plot starts a little slow and there are a couple of red herrings, which are pretty obvious, but I kept reading, keen to see how the story ended. The ending was, in fact, a very big reveal and it did fill in all of the missing pieces to Katherine’s life. Perhaps some of this important backstory may have been better brought forward.

I saw potential in the ‘stalking’ thread to move the suspense up another notch, but it did not play out.

An interesting storyline and an easy read.

This review is also published on Goodreads

Published by Aria

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Pieces of Her by Karen Slaughter

Book blurb…

‘Slaughter has outdone herself with Pieces of Her – a novel that sets the standard for psychological thriller writing. Rarely in fiction have the past and the present collided with such force and in such a distinctive and compelling voice’ Jeffery Deaver

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person – and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?

My thoughts…

Karen Slaughter is a prolific writer and one I will seek out in future.  I have not read any of her books before and I believe I have missed many opportunities to be swept away into the world she creates with her stories.

This story captured my attention from the first page and occupied my mind for days.  When you read this story it reminds you to be grateful that you know the family around you.

Or do you????

A great mystery. One that puts you firmly in the protagonist’s place and makes you feel everything she is feeling and wishing you were a part of the puzzle.

This review is also published on Goodreads


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The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

Book blurb…

What would you do for the perfect life? Would you lie? Would you steal? Would you kill?…

Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life. A handsome husband, two beautiful daughters and a large house in the picture-postcard town of Sandefjord.

But then Tobias enters her life. He is a small, friendless eight-year-old. And he threatens to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down.

A masterful psychological thriller debut, sure to delight fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

My thoughts…

I love a GREAT debut novel because I know there will be another book on the way (hopefully!)

This novel left me thinking long after the last page.

It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the main character, Cecillia.  The author took my emotions on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Other characters swept in, but I kept swinging back to caring about Cecilia. Such an interesting character and a fabulous plot. Very clever.

I loved The Boy at the Door.

Put this mystery on your to-be-read pile for 2018.

This review is also published on Goodreads


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Second Sight by Aoife Clifford

Book blurb…

A fugitive in the present. A runaway in the past.

Eliza Carmody returns home to the country to work on the biggest law case of her career. The only problem is this time she’s on the ‘wrong side’ – defending a large corporation against a bushfire class action by her hometown of Kinsale.

On her first day back Eliza witnesses an old friend, Luke Tyrell, commit an act of lethal violence. As the police investigate that crime and hunt for Luke they uncover bones at The Castle, a historic homestead in the district. Eliza is convinced that they belong to someone from her past.

As Eliza becomes more and more entangled in the investigation, she is pulled back into her memories of youthful friendships and begins to question everyone she knows … and everything she once thought was true.

My thoughts…

This is my second Aoife Clifford novel, the first being, All These Perfect Strangers, published two years ago.

Clifford structured Second Sight in a similar way to her first novel with the story being narrated from the past and then current day. I did enjoy this story. It kept me reading with impatience to finish so I could find out who was behind the fires and the bones that were discovered.

The main character was likeable and I was invested in her quest for the truth and on the edge of my seat when it looked like getting close to home for her.

There were moments when I felt confused due to the number of characters/names in both story threads (past and present). This did not diminish my enjoyment of the story at all, but you will need to concentrate and it’s perhaps not a story you can easily pick up and keep up.

I look forward to more from this author.

This review is also published on Goodreads

The book is published by Simon and Schuster Australia

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