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Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas a review – Blog Tour

I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for the latest novel by Claire Douglas as she has been a firm favourite of mine since we first met her in Harrogate a few years ago.
Then She Vanishes begins with the shooting of Colin and his elderly mother. When Heather is then found with a self inflicted gun shot wound the small seaside town they live in is stunned. Why would a seemingly happy young mother go on an apparently random shooting? Reporter Jess is sent to investigate the story and is horrified to find out the shooter is her best friend from school. Jess and Heather had been inseparable when young, until their friendship started to fall apart when Heather’s older sister went missing and was never found.
This was an interesting story focusing on two main narratives. Present day as we delve into why Heather would carry out a shooting with seemingly no motive, and past times looking at what happened around the disappearance of Heather’s sister. I personally enjoy this dual timeline way of telling stories and this was done masterfully.
The characters themselves were not particularly ones I warmed to. Jess was quite a cold person, she had had to leave her previous job due to scandal yet I felt she seemed to blame everyone but herself including her rather downtrodden boyfriend. Heather we know more from the chapters about her past and whilst there is sympathy again I felt she was a bit self centred. However this is actually what pushes the story along so well. All of the characters are entwined by circumstances yet they can’t see the wider picture.
The story itself was a slow burner that I found gripping. As with all good crime fiction all of the characters have secrets which lay hidden until the end, and this is no exception. The story picks up pace and the ending really did surprise. I had suspicions of who was to blame throughout, yet suffice to say I was way off the mark.
I would highly recommend Then She Vanishes for an interesting domestic crime fiction story that will keep you turning the pages until the unseen end.
Find out what others thought of Then She Vanishes by visiting the other stop so on the BlogTour.

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Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas – a review BLOG TOUR

Do Not Disturb begins when Kirsty moves with her family into a small B&B in Wales which she is going to run with her Mother. Having had a hard time in London, Kirsty sees this as the opportunity for her husband Adrian and their two girls to all have a fresh start and are delighted when guests start arriving. Unfortunately one of their first guests is Kirsty’s cousin Selina, who Kirsty hasn’t seen for years after they fell out. Whilst they start to rebuild bridges strange things start happening around the house and soon Kirsty doesn’t know who she can trust.

The idea of a family having a fresh start is always an intriguing premise to me and this book didn’t disappoint. Do Not Disturb was a great story of a family with secrets all threatening to tumble down. I liked the dynamic between all the characters, which were well written and believable. All the usual family niggles were in this novel, the husband and wife trying to get along, the children at new schools throwing tanturms. The slightly strained relationship between Kirsty and her Mother who she is reliant on for the business adds to the tension of a family already on the edge.  Kirsty is clearly hanging on by a thread trying to keep her family together and not let her daughters know what is going on. Selina on the other hand plays the victim and comes across as the struggling single mother trying to care for her daughter and make amends to how she treated Kirsty in the past.

Whilst part of the Selina story was quite obvious from the start this didn’t at all detract from my enjoyment. There were lots of twists and red herrings, and every character has their own skeletons in the closet which just added to the tension.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable story that kept me guessing all the way along and I certainly didn’t see the end coming. Thanks to Katie at Penguin House Random UK for letting me read it. Do Not Disturb is available here 

To find out what others thought of Do Not Disturb make sure you visit the other stops on the blog tour:

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Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas – a review

I was given a copy of this via netgalley.

Local Girl Missing begins with Frankie returning to her home town, after the discovery of human remains. It is assumed that the remains belong to her best friend Sophie who disappeared one night when they were both just teenagers. Sophie’s brother had called Frankie and asked her to return to the town to help try and work out what had happened to his Sister. Frankie is not happy about returning but feels she owes it to her friend. She soon starts to discover that everyone in the town seems to have secrets and Frankie is no longer sure who to trust.

This was quite a good easy read. The story is told from two different viewpoints. We hear from a present day Frankie who is having a conversation with an imaginary Sophie. This gives the reader an incredible feel of Frankie’s paranoia and sense of isolation. We also get the impression that she is hiding something regarding her family. The other viewpoint is that of Sophie. We get to hear from her in the form of her diary which she wrote in the lead up to her disappearance. Gradually the two viewpoints reveal the truth of what happened to Sophie, and to Frankie.

This was a good story that kept me interested. I did find the crime reveal a little predictable, however that didn’t actually detract from my enjoyment. The writing was good and I felt that the two main characters had very distinct voices. Some of Frankie’s story was a little repetitive which adds to the feel that she isn’t quite keeping herself together. Sophie’s voice is that of a young teenager, with all the angst and fluctuations that come in that time between child and grown up. This does give the slight impression of it being a teenage novel, as there are lots of talk about boys and parties but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I have to say I didn’t really care about Frankie, or any of the things that were happening to her. She was rather annoying and very self involved, which is of course exactly how she is meant to come across. I did however like the character of Sophie and you do care about what happened to her, although the final twist at the end of the book was a little unbelievable.

Overall I did enjoy this story. It probably wasn’t as dark as my preferred reads, but it is a good story that was a quick easy read.

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