I absolutely love Fiona Cummins’ previous novels, her debut Rattle is still one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have devoured her follow ups, so when her latest appeared on Netgalley I was rather excited.
When I Was Ten follows the Carter family. Twenty years previously Dr Carter and his wife were killed by their daughter in a case that gripped the nation. Ten year old Sara Carter was nicknamed the Angel of Death, but having served her time she now has a family and a life of her own. However when her older sister does her first ever TV interview, Sara’s life comes crashing down around her. The sisters childhood friend Brinley is now a journalist tasked with covering the breaking story, forcing the three women to confront the reality of that terrible night.
This was another superb novel from Fiona Cummins that was utterly compelling. The story is told from two viewpoints, the sister and the journalist and cleverly entwines the two in a way that keeps you wanting to know just a little bit more. As with all Fiona Cummins books you get a great insight into not only how messed up family dynamics can be but also how far people will go when they want to protect their secrets.
The writing is as always engaging and completely sucks you in. I thought the story itself was very clever. There were some very upsetting elements as you find out about the family itself and what happened in the lead up to the murder. It is a very emotional story based around family life. I did find the inclusion of the MP storyline a little unnecessary, as I didn’t really feel that his storyline added to the book much, however the reasons behind him being included became clearer as we hit the end. I liked the way the story was structured, it was very much an act in three parts as the story switches between the before and the after for the Carter sisters with little let up inbetween.
One of the things I really like about all of Fiona Cummins’ novels is the unexpected twists and turns that run throughout, whenever you think you have a handle on where it is going something else will happen that completely throws the theory out of the water. This was no exception.
When I Was Ten was yet another fantastic story from one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read what comes next from Fiona Cummins.
Order your copy here When I Was Ten
As many of you will know fellow blogger Noelle Holten is not only a great book blogger, she is also a fabulous author, therefore I was very pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel Dead Wrong.
In Dead Wrong notorious serial killer Bill Raven is behind bars. DI Maggie Jamieson put him there and is convinced of his guilt. However when one of the missing women that Bill Raven admitted to killing turns up dead, and it is clear that she was alive until a few days ago, her colleagues start to doubt her. Maggie is then in a race against time to find a second killer and the other missing women who could potentially still be alive.
This was a fantastic second novel that kept me gripped from the beginning and just like her debut it didn’t let up. Unlike the first in the series, the main character in this novel was actually Maggie rather than Lucy (although she was still there of course) I actually liked Maggie more this time, she seemed a bit less annoying than in the previous novel, the fact that she may have been wrong about the conviction of Raven has dented her confidence slightly, despite her belief that she convicted the right person.
I enjoyed the interaction between Maggie and Bill Raven, he is clearly enjoying playing games and the scenes between them were practically crackled with tension. The writing in this book is crisp and punchy, the twists are ones you don’t see coming and it is a very enjoyable read. My only criticism about this is the short chapters, the fact they are short means that the temptation to keep reading just one more chapter meant it kept me up late into the night!
This can be read as a stand-alone but I wouldn’t recommend that, purely because the first novel is so good you should definitely read that too. For my review of Dead Inside click here.
To find out what others thought of Dead Wrong you can visit the other stops on the tour.
I am a huge fan of Matt Wesolowski, he is an author that is definitely in my top ten and therefore I was over the moon to be offered to the chance to read and review the latest in the series, Beast.
Beast is the latest installment of Six Stories, a podcast lead by elusive online journalist, Scott King. Six Stories looks at cold cases and in this series Scott is looking into the chilling case of the death of a popular shopping vlogger found frozen to death in the local ‘vampire tower’. Elizabeth had been barricaded into the tower during the storm in 2018 (The beast from the east) Three local men had been charged with her death, although they claim it was just a prank gone wrong. Scott speaks to six people who knew Elizabeth. They all give very different stories of the victim and what is was like living in the village at the time. Were the three boys really guilty or is there a different story?
Beast was another absolutely fabulous read that I loved. It is written in a podcast style with six separate ‘episodes’ (or chapters to us old style readers). Each episode is told from the viewpoint of the different people being interviewed by Scott. As the listener learns more about the background of the victim Elizabeth, we are lead deep into a world of social media, where likes and ‘hits’ are felt to be the be all and end all of a person’s worth.
The story is set against the miserable storm of 2018, the village is almost cut off by the weather. This gives the story a sense of bleakness and hopelessness which is a fitting background for a world where people can make a living out of emptying their shopping bag live on camera. I really enjoy the structure of these stories. The chapters whilst not short are easy to read as they flow as though you are listening to it. It is this that really makes this series stand out to me and I really enjoy the structure of the books
The story itself is chilling, unsettling and highly believable. You are drawn into a world that gets more complicated the more we learn and the tangled web of characters all vie for attention and recognition. Elizabeth we hear from via her vlog pages which intersperse the episodes. What I thought was especially interesting is that despite the horrific end she met, she isn’t actually a character that elicits sympathy, in fact it is the people around her who were more deserving.
I cannot recommend this series highly enough. It is a style of writing that appeals to people like me who enjoy stories that draw you in, but macabre enough to make you read through half closed eyes. The Beast is a fantastic novel, however if you haven’t yet read the others in this series you definitely should!
To find out what others’ thought of the Beast visit the other stops on the blog tour, and get your copy of Beast here.
I was really pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allen as I thought the whole premise sounded intriguing. Joe McKee, Pillar of the Irish Community, is dying. He is being cared for by his step-daughter Heidi and as they realise that he has little time left the rest of his family come to his side including his daughter Ciara and his sister Kathleen. However his death comes quicker than expected, and so when the mourners start arriving, so do the police.
The Liar’s Daughter is a novel about family lies and terrible secrets that I found incredibly compelling. I read it on a recent trip to Manchester and really couldn’t put it down. I really don’t want to give anything away but the big issue was relatively easy to guess from the beginning, however the twists and turns kept the suspense high. The characters in this story are all very different and each have their own motive for wanting Joe dead. This gives the story an almost Agatha Christie feel to it, with a closed cast of characters in the middle of the ‘whodunnit’
The story is told mainly from the viewpoints of Ciara and Heidi, both in the present day and when growing up. We also hear from Joe at the beginning which gives an additional element to the story. This is quite a dark and emotional story and deals with some hard issues, the murder of Joe is almost a secondary story. Therefore using the term enjoyable in a review doesn’t feel quite right, but I would recommend it. The issues are dealt with sensitively and the quality of the writing means that the story flows easily.
The Liar’s Daughter is an excellent read that will stay with you long after you finish it.
Order your copy here.