Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Nine Elms

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
Published by Sphere
January 2020

Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly became a nightmare.
Fifteen years after those catastrophic, career-ending events, a copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.
Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. But there's much more than her reputation on the line: Kate was the original killer's intended fifth victim . . . and his successor means to finish the job.

Robert Bryndza's latest novel is a page-turner from start to finish.  We go back to the moment that DCI Kate Marshall realises who the Nine Elms serial killer is and the book progresses from thereon in. Kate will always be intrinsically linked to the man who planned to make her his fifth victim.  Whilst he is safely locked up though, it appears that a fan has plans to bring the serial killer back to notoriety by carrying out a series of killings in a copycat fashion and the police have no idea who he is or whom his next victim could be.   Kate is asked to look into the disappearance of one of the four victims of the Nine Elms killer by her parents in the hope that as a former detective she might be able to find her body and give them some sort of closure.  With her research assistant Tristan they set themselves up as private investigators and using Kate's inside knowledge of the investigation start to question previous witnesses and discover threads that had previously been left unnoticed. 

However whilst this is going on, more young girls are being killed and the copycat killer is on his way to matching the same number of bodies as that of his idol; Kate and Tristan are running out of time because little known to her, her nemesis has plans for her that she thought were over and done with.There are some moments here where I think as a reader you have to suspend disbelief and go with the fact that this is indeed fiction but putting that to one side, this is a gripping, fast-paced narrative with lots of twists and turns throughout.  There are some fantastically gory moments and the characters are very well developed and believable.  I'm certainly looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 16 December 2019

I Dare You

I Dare You by Sam Carrington
Published by Avon Books
December 2019

Mapledon, 1989
Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.
The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.
No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.
The village could sleep safe once again.
Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.
30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.
Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

There's nothing like a small village for keeping secrets, and Mapledon is no stranger to that.  Some thirty years ago, Jonie Hayes disappeared after playing a game of Knock, Knock, Ginger with her best friend Bella.  Her body is never found, but Bella tells the police that she saw Jonie being taken away by the local wierdo Bill Cawley.  He pleads guilty to her disappearance and is sent down for murder but now he has been released and is desperate to find out what really happened as both he, and others in Mapledon know he isn't the killer. 

Bella (now going by the name of Anna) returns to Mapledon at the request of her mother who has been experiencing some threatening behaviour of late that has left her a little scared.  Anna isn't keen to return to the home she grew up in but she knows that her mother needs her.  Whilst she is there she meets Lizzie, a journalist, who also has a connection to the area; one that she is keeping close to her chest.  As the book progresses, it seems that there is more than one person who has some idea of what happened to little Jonie, but it's anyone's guess as to what actually happened and who was responsible.

The book flits back and forth over the thirty year period filling the reader in on the characters of Bella and Jonie as children and of what the village was like in 1989.  Many of the residents still live there though friendships have both ended and grown since the night Jonie vanished.  It would seem that there are many regrets and lies having been told, but someone in Mapledon seems to have figured out just what occurred, and is hoping that the killer will finally admit what happened so that Jonie can be laid to rest.  Sam Carrington puts in lots of twist and turns to keep you guessing 'whodunnit' throughout the book.  It kept me hooked to the very last page!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 9 December 2019


Magpie by Sophie Draper
Published by Avon Books
December 2019

She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?
Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.
But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.
Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?

This is the second book by author Sophie Draper following on from her debut thriller Cuckoo.  Claire lives with her husband Duncan, their son Joe and dog Arthur in a beautiful home in Derbyshire.  However looks can be deceiving and Claire's relationship with her husband is not what it appears to be.  Duncan is having an affair (and not the first one by all accounts) and Claire is determined to leave him this time.  But leaving a marriage is never easy as Claire is about to find out, with devastating consequences; if only she can remember what they are.

Magpie is told from the perspectives of both Duncan and Claire in a before-and-after format.  This always works well as you get both sides of a story which always makes a novel feel more well-rounded in my opinion.  On the surface Claire has everything she could wish for, except that in reality, she doesn't.  Son Joe has become obsessed with metal detecting and trying to find ancient hidden treasure on the hills of Derbyshire, a risky business for a teenager when so many professionals are on the scene too, as Joe is about to discover. Despite their differences Duncan and Claire share a secret, one that they are determined to hide, but when a body is found on their land, it seems that as always the truth will out in the end.

Sophie Draper's book is full of twists and turns and examines the destruction of not only a relationship but that of a family too.  Look out for the twist at the end - I certainly didn't see it coming! If you have a kindle, at the time of going to press, Magpie is currently only 99p.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 4 November 2019

Through The Wall

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran
Published by Avon Books
October 2019

Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it…
Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.
But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…
Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Tom and Lexie have a flat in a shared building in London.  They're doing pretty well because Tom's parents pay for it, so Lexie can concentrate on her freelance work and on getting pregnant which is her main focus.  They are neighbours with Harriet, a woman who writes musicals and spends much of her time either playing the piano or having raucous late-night parties.  The three have never actually met.  One day Harriet spots Tom getting into the communal lift - her heart skips a beat, he suddenly reminds her of Luke, her ex-fiance and Harriet is smitten.  Through the walls she can hear that Lexie and Tom are having some troubles, maybe her neighbours aren't living quite the perfect life that she thought they were; maybe Tom wants someone else?!

Harriet decides to focus on hooking Tom, she contacts him at work pretending to be someone else and soon starts flirting with him online.  Meanwhile Lexie is getting more and more despondent about having a baby, things aren't going well, and Tom, well Tom seems distant, less interested in her.  With secret phone calls and emails, and certain items being discovered in the flat that have no place in being there, Lexie soon convinces herself that her boyfriend is having an affair - but with whom?

Through The Wall reminded me at times of the 90s film thriller Single White Female which in itself is no bad thing (I love that film) but I did feel at times that the middle of the story dragged and I wanted to know which way the book was going to go and which female was going to come out on top.  Harriet has a past - this much is hinted at throughout the opening part of the book, but what did she do when her and Luke split up that makes her so dangerous?  I was itching to find out.

Having read this I'm only thankful I don't have neighbours!  Through The Wall is out now in paperback and at the time of writing, is a bargain 99p on Amazon Kindle!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Our Stop

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
Published by Avon Books
August 2019

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.
Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.
One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?
So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

Our Stop is Laura Jane Williams' first foray into the fiction market following the successful publication of two non-fiction titles (both of which are very good by the way) and I think it is probably set to be THE beach read of the summer, and probably a film to boot - Reese Witherspoon are you listening?!

Nadia and Daniel both get the 7:30 train every morning without fail - well Daniel does, Nadia's dependability is sometimes hampered by events of the night before, but this time it's different, she's starting her new life, one where she will be glamorous and organised and healthy, oh and on time too!  One morning when she has actually managed to catch the train, her best friend sends her a text showing her a message from the Missed Connection section in the daily paper.  She's convinced it's been written about Nadia, but our heroine isn't convinced; I mean who on earth on her train would write to her?

Encouraged by her friends, Nadia responds and so begins our written romance - drawing with it it's own hashtag #ourstop as people in the online community follow the back and forth dialogue of two strangers on the same train.  As you may imagine, the path of true love never did run smooth and there are lots of near misses and close encounters as the book progresses.  Will Daniel and Nadia ever get it together?

Well reader, I can't possibly divulge that information online, you are going to have to get yourself a copy and find out for yourself (and if you have a kindle, you can get it now ahead of its paperback release date currently for only 99p). What I will say is that Laura Jane has written a fantastic novel, I couldn't stop reading it and loved both Nadia and Daniel and the journey that they embark on through these pages.  Seriously - big screen here they come!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 17 June 2019

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan
Published by Avon Books
May 2019

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…
It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.
Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.
When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.
But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

Walking her dog early one summer morning, Elizabeth O'Loughlin discovers the body of a young woman with horrific injuries.  She is alive, but barely and as they wait for the ambulance to arrive, her final whispered words are "warn them".  But who does Clare mean for Elizabeth warn; they haven't even met before.

Clare has two best friends, Rachel and Julie and their lives are torn apart when they learn of her horrific death. To make things worse though, the police think that the killer may have a grudge against them too as a seemingly innocent bunch of forget me nots, sent to Julie, seem remarkably similar to a bunch that were left where Clare died and the messages on them aren't those normally associated with flowers left to remember the dead.

Laura isn't sure who she can turn to, her husband has been very distant of late and her lover Michael is growing impatient at their lack of time together. When a man approaches her youngest daughter at her nursery school she realises that things might be a little more serious than first anticipated.

Elizabeth tries to bury the discovery of Clare's body in the back of her mind but the persistent calling of a journalist for more information about that day opens up a can of worms into the suicide of her own daughter Laura.  What she doesn't expect to happen is to discover that Laura went to school with Clare - can there be some strange connection between what happened to her daughter and the murder of Clare?

Forget Me Not has lots of twists and turns, leaving you wondering which character's to believe or which to suspect.  I was wrong in my assumptions by the way!  I think this book definitely calls out to appear on television - it would make a great mini series!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

In conversation with Anna James

Today I am in conversation with Anna James, author of an exciting new series of children's books called Pages & Co.

Image result for anna james author

Your first novel is set in a world of books, was this important to you?
Books are so much a part of me and my life that I don’t think the first time I wrote fiction it could have been any other way to be honest. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision, as a natural and instinctive thing to write about what I love. I also really enjoy reading books about books and writers and libraries and I think it’s important to write something you would love to read. On a more specific level and once I had the basic idea sorted, it was really exciting for me to hopefully be able to introduce some young readers to some older books such as Anne of Green Gables and A Little Princess which I think have absolutely stood the test of time.

Why did you choose to write a children’s book as opposed to a book for adults?
Again this wasn’t really a conscious choice and I think often the idea you have dictates your audience. I actually wrote about a page of a book that was very loosely the start of Pages & Co but it didn’t work at all. I love children’s books; I think that usually the books that have the most formative effects on us as those we we read at around the age of 10 and so it’s a huge privilege to write for that age group – if Pages & Co means what my favourite books meant to me to even just one reader then I feel I’ve done my job. On a more technical perspective, I also felt the story would benefit from the sense of whismy and adventure and lack of cynicism that MG allows for.

What were your favourite books as a child and are they still favourites now?
I read voraciously as a child and it’s hard to pick out favourites but among them were many that are still my favourites; Anne of Green Gables, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Momo by Michael Ende, Eva Ibbotson and Diana Wynne Jones. I still reread these books.

Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?
It’s the most common advice but I think that’s probably because it’s the best; read. There’s a level of storytelling you have to have inside you to write fiction that I think you just soak up and learn from reading for pleasure. I would also write what you love to read, try not to think about what you think other people want to read.

Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
Primarily it’s books; obviously not stealing ideas or anything, but I’m inspired by reading things that I love, that change me, that challenge me, that test and play with what fiction can do. I often read before I start writing – nothing similar but something that reminds me of the power of writing and how it can make you feel. It makes me want to get as close to that as I can in my work. There’s also just the beautiful serendipity of ideas and how a phrase or a picture or anything at all can be the seed of a new idea.

What are you working on next?
I’m currently at the latter stages of editing Pages & Co 2, which is called Tilly and the Lost Fairytales and comes out in September this year. It’s a direct sequel to the first book, and sees Oskar and Tilly visit Paris, and do some bookwandering in fairy tales, where things aren’t quite what they’re expecting. There’s a sneak peek of the first chapter in the paperback edition of Tilly and the Bookwanderers which comes out in June.

If, heaven forbid, there was a fire, what possession would you grab first to save?
I am generally not too sentimental about books as physical objects but there are a few that are incredible precious to me; books that my grandparents gave me, a signed first edition of my favourite book, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, a signed copy of Wolf Hall, my dad’s childhood copy of Momo by Michael Ende. So I’d try and grab as many of those as possible!

What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?
Ever since reading Royal Bodies, Hilary Mantel’s extraordinary essay for the London Review of Books (https://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n04/hilary-mantel/royal-bodies) I would say I would invite Anne Boleyn, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Hilary Mantel to discuss said essay and its ideas, and I would invite Virginia Woolf as my fifth because I think she’d have a really interesting take on it too!

Thank you Anna for taking the time out to chat with me about your books.  The first book in the Pages & Co. series, Tilly and the Bookwanderers is out now!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x