Tuesday Thrillers -The Missing by Daisy Pearce

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the gripping read, The Missing, by Daisy Pearce. Let’s take a look at the cover and find out a bit more about the book.

Blurb:

Teenager Edie Hudson was nobody’s little darling, which made vanishing all too easy. Two decades later, she’s been forgotten by everyone except her mother, Samantha.

And the person who knows what happened to her.

Samantha has had a long time to remember, and to regret. Having seen how little her daughter mattered to the community in the months following her disappearance, she wonders if Edie was lost before she was even gone. Or was it guilt, not indifference, that made the locals turn a blind eye? When she meets Frances, she at last starts to hope for answers.

Because Frances is obsessed with the mystery too, after finding a photo of her husband with the girl who disappeared.

What really happened all those years ago? And just how dangerous could it be to find out?

Read an extract from The Missing:

Start with a joke, they’d told him, and so he did. It was the only joke he knew.

‘Why is a woman like a vet’s finger? Because they’re both stuck up bitches.’

The wedding speech went downhill from there. Six months later I gave birth to our daughter, and three days after that he left, moving back to his parents’ in Northampton. I never heard from him again. So for a time it was just me and Elizabeth, and now it is just me.

Her name was Elizabeth but I always called her Edie. Ee-dee, like the percussion of a heartbeat. The drum of her feet on the stairs that led to her bedroom. Ee-dee. It was a fanciful, wistful name, conjuring up images of beatniks and poetry and dappled sunlight on skin. My girl, my Edie, she was not like that. She was a dagger, a thorn, the upturned tack embedded in your heel. Never still, a loose-limbed nail-biter with thick dark hair and round eyes, permanently worried.

After Edie first went missing, I shook for days. I lay in bed, curled on my side with my knees tucked up to my chest, and I trembled so much it looked like a seizure. The doctor told me it was adrenaline, the body’s way of coping with the shock. As a kid I’d once witnessed a storm take out the power line of our house. The cable had crackled and snapped and twisted like a snake. My daddy had told me that if I touched it, I’d be barbecued meat. Lying there in my bed, the covers pooled around my feet, body jerking with shock, I felt that same frantic current pass through me.

I still have something from that time: a shopping list that I keep in a drawer. My handwriting is a spidery crawl across the page, almost without cohesion, sliding on a downward tilt. There is nothing steady about it, and it frightens me a little. That’s why I keep it. To remind me of how bad it was, those first days after she’d gone. My hands are still shaking now.

My pregnancy was a nine-month-long dash to the toilet, me bilious and woozy, barely able to hold anything down. Try ginger, they told me in the baby group, which I attended alone. Try peppermint. Try yoga. Try going and fucking yourselves, I thought, feeling the slow burn of bile rising in my throat.

When Edie was born, I was terrified. It wasn’t the blood or the way it seemed to coat everything with its coppery odour. I wasn’t afraid of the pain either, not even when it felt as though my spine were filled with crushed glass.

I was afraid of her. The baby.

The midwife who passed her to me whispered, ‘She’s beautiful’, told me she was a perfect little girl, but I wasn’t able to see it. I was terrified of Edie; the weight of her, glossy and slick as a baby seal, coated in a waxy vernix. She opened her mouth and instead of the primal howl I had been expecting, she began to mewl like a kitten, tiny fingers clenching and unclenching, her plump face crimson and crushed-looking, irritable. I lay back on the pillows feeling hollowed out. In that moment I wished I could go back in time and undo everything, starting with Mark Hudson and his stupid promises to pull out of me, delivered with his fuggy, alcohol-laced breath. To a time before then even, to ever meeting him, to ever going to the bus stop on that rainy Tuesday, trying to hide behind my Just Seventeen magazine and risking sly peeks at him over the pages. Imagine how I feel now, looking back at myself, at the young woman in the past, this new mother, thinking that I wished I could undo it all.

Talk about a life sentence.

Wow! If that’s got you gripped, you can purchase the book here:

Amazon

Audible

Waterstones

Meet Daisy

BIO

Daisy Pearce was born in Cornwall but currently lives in Sussex. After spells living in London and Brighton, Daisy had her short story ‘The Black Prince’ published in One Eye Grey magazine. Another short story, ‘The Brook Witch’, was performed onstage at the Small Story Cabaret in Lewes in 2016. She has also written articles about mental health online. In 2015, The Silence won a bursary with The Literary Consultancy, and later that year Daisy also won the Chindi Authors Competition with her short story ‘Worm Food’. Both ‘The Silence’ and ‘The Missing’ were published in 2020, the weirdest year on record. Specialist subjects include: ghosts, poltergeists and the perfect red lipstick.

https://www.daisypearce.com/contact/

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Daisy. Wishing you lots of sales!


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Friday Reads – Burke in the Peninsula by Tom Williams

My recommended Friday Read this week is the exciting historical novel Burke in the Peninsula, by Tom Williams. Let’s take a look at the cover and find out a bit more about the book.

Blurb:

1809 and Burke has barely returned from South America when he is sent off again, this time to join the war being waged by Spanish guerrillas against the French. It’s not long before he’s fighting for his life, but which of the Spaniards can he trust?

Burke faces new adversaries and finds old allies in a dramatic tale of adventure during the Peninsular War, set against the background of the bloody battle of Talavera.

It’s real history – but not the way you learned it in school.

Buy link

mybook.to/BurkePeninsula

Extract

James Burke has just arrived with the British Army in Spain. He is to reconnoitre ahead of the army, disguised as a Catholic priest. But first, he needs a cassock. His sergeant, the resourceful William Brown, suggests that he can probably have one made by one of the camp followers.

“The area that the camp followers occupied was, as usually seemed to be the case, remarkably well ordered given the bad reputation of the women inhabiting it. In fairness, Burke knew the reputation to be often undeserved. Many of them were the wives or, at least, common-law wives of men in the Army and all the women contributed to the welfare of the troops by helping with cooking and cleaning and, indeed, occasional sewing. It was true, though, that many – if not most – of them helped keep body and soul together by providing, for consideration, the companionship that men on the march would be unable to get elsewhere.

Burke was hardly a prude but, as he stood by listening to William negotiating with the women, he found himself blushing at their conversation. He was pleased that he had left this part of the business to his sergeant who was all too clearly comfortable with this badinage.

Soon things were settled. William introduced Burke to Sofia, a comely wench who had attached herself to the Army somewhere in Portugal. “She’s from these parts, you see,” explained William, “so she knows what a Roman cassock should look like.”

“So she can start now. We need the wretched thing by morning.”

“Ah!”

Burke did not like the sound of that ‘ah’.

“We need the cloth.”

“She doesn’t have it?”

“Be fair, sir.” There was the slightest tone of exasperation in William’s voice. “You can hardly expect her to be carrying a bolt of cloth with her just on the off chance.”

“Well that leaves us in something of a quandary, doesn’t it, sergeant?”

“Don’t you worry, sir. You can rely on me.”

Burke nodded. He suspected that he could. William’s abilities as a scavenger were second to none. Burke settled down to wait, ignoring the half heard jokes of the alleged seamstresses around him, while his sergeant vanished away into the camp.

He was starting to worry when, half an hour later, William returned with the cloth.

“Well done, William. Where did you find that?”

“Best you don’t ask, sir.”

Burke looked at the cloth, looked at William, and decided not to ask again.

It was very good cloth and Sofia turned out to be a very good seamstress. She used a knotted string to make some measurements and then told Burke that he could leave her to it. “It will be ready for you in the morning.” Burke rose to return to the officers he was to mess with but William showed no sign of leaving.

“Don’t worry, sir. I’ll bring it to you first thing.”

“You don’t have to wait here, William. We can collect it in the morning.”

“I’m happy to wait, sir. It will be my pleasure.”

Burke caught Sofia’s eye and she nearly burst out laughing. He pretended not to notice and made his way back to where Jenkins had left him.”

What readers are saying

‘I was very happy when I saw that Burke In The Peninsula was out… His adventures are realistic and historically accurate.’ Amazon.com.

‘Wonderful writing. Really enjoyed it.’ Robert Pocock of Campaigns and Culture, (a battlefield tour guide and recognised expert on the wars,)

Meet Tom

Author bio

Tom Williams used to write about business but he’s given that up to indulge himself and write historical novels. The latest in his series about Napoleonic-era spy, James Burke, was published in September.

You can read more about the world of James Burke (and Tom’s other books set in the mid-19th century) on his web-site: https://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk. There’s a blog on it as well.

Tom is on Twitter (as @TomCW99) and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams.

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Tom. Wishing you lots of sales.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – Gone Before by Sam Hepburn

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the captivating Gone Before by Sam Hepburn. Let’s find out a bit more about it.

Blurb:

The disappearance of five-year-old Maya Duncan remains one of the most famous missing person cases in British history. She vanished without a trace. Until now…

Fifteen years after the abduction, Phoebe knocks on Kay Duncan’s door, clutching a yellow rainhat with Maya’s name stitched into the back. Phoebe is convinced that she is Maya Duncan, and that the woman behind the door is her real mother.

When Phoebe sees Kay, the memories come flooding back, and it seems that mother and daughter are to be reunited at last. But when a shocking discovery shatters the fragile relationship they have begun to build, Kay commits suicide, leaving Phoebe riddled with guilt.

Alone and unanchored, Phoebe travels to London to dig into Kay’s life, hoping to uncover the truth behind her own identity. But as she pieces together Kay’s past, Phoebe discovers a disturbing link to the woman who raised her, and a terrible secret that even now could put her life in danger.

Read an extract

A grey, startled bird takes off as I come around the ridge and ahead of me, just a few yards away, sits the Villa Rosa. I take in the open shutters, the red espadrilles kicked off on the step and the basket of courgettes – their buttery, star-shaped flowers still attached – and my legs give way, as if I’m going to hit the ground. Somehow I stay upright and keep walking, each step a little slower than the last until I reach the sun-bleached blue of the door. All I have to do is lift my fist and knock. I don’t. I strain to make out the song pulsing faintly from an upstairs window, glance back at the spit of white rock thrusting into the electric glitter of the Mediterranean a few hundred feet below, and try to remember how to breathe.

Roz’s voice snaps in my ear, sharp as the twigs underfoot. Go on, kiddo. Don’t bottle out now. I curl my fingers, reach for the words I’ve been mouthing on the plane from London, the bus from Marseille and all the way up the zigzag road from Cassis, and rap out a sharp double knock that jolts the lazy hush of the hillside. The music stops. A long, hot silence. Then movement. The tentative scuff of footsteps. A darkening of the pinprick of light behind the spyhole. A bolt slides back. A latch lifts. The door opens a few inches, disturbing the air just enough to send a quiver through the overhanging tendrils of vine.

It’s her. I feel it like an electric shock that leaves me seared and limp. She’s older. Of course she is – nearly thirty-six by now, the spiky wild-child glamour of those early photos long gone. But who is it that her tired eyes are seeing as they stare out at me through that tumble of dark hair? A sweaty, suntanned stranger in cut-off shorts? Or the embodiment of fifteen years of guilt and hope, and fear and dreams?

‘Yes?’ The voice is wary.

‘Kay Duncan?’

A twitch around the eyelids. ‘Who are you?’

‘My name is Phoebe Locklear.’ I lick the salt from my lip. ‘But I think I’m your daughter.’

An angry hiss shoots from her mouth. ‘What are you after? Money? Publicity? A sick thrill?’ She glances over my shoulder, as if she’s expecting an accomplice to spring from the bushes. Her eyes jerk back to me. ‘Leave. Right now. Or I’ll call the police.’

‘Please!’ I slam my shoulder against the closing door and thrust my hands through the gap. The pressure eases when she sees what I’m holding: a child’s yellow sou’wester, the chinstrap a grubby spiral of withered elastic. Slowly I turn back the brim and show her the name inked along the inside of the crown. Maya Jane Duncan.

‘I was in Botswana.’ The word seems unreal, out of place. ‘On a nature reserve. That’s why the police never found me.’

Her jaw moves. I shove the hat towards her. She takes it slowly, her eyes stuck fast to the smudge of lettering, her thumb pushing at the bumpy stitching along the seam.

‘Where did you get this?’ She’s wagging the sou’wester in my face, eyes screwed up with what could be fury but feels more like fear.

What do I say? There’s too much to tell. Two thirds of my life to unravel and explain. ‘Roz… the woman who took me. She died. Cancer. Seven weeks ago. It was in a box of stuff she left me. And there was a letter.’ I rummage in my duffel bag and push the folded sheet into her hand. ‘Don’t be upset by what she says… I don’t blame you… not for any of it.’ I’ve rehearsed that line so many times I almost believe it’s true. I don’t blame you, Kay. Not for any of it.

It sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Amazon reviews describe the story as ‘twisty’, ‘gripping’, ‘compelling’, ‘mysterious and addictive’. You can grab yourself a copy here:

Buy links

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08CW5398ZSocial  

Apple: http://ow.ly/vZFe50AxCta 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/HCyG50AxCru 

Google: http://ow.ly/qFIi50AxCv4

Meet Sam

Sam Hepburn read modern languages at Cambridge University and, after a brief spell in advertising, joined the BBC as a General Trainee. She worked as a documentary maker for twenty years and was one of the commissioners for the launch of BBC Four. Since then, she has written several books, including psychological thrillers Gone Before and Her Perfect Life, and novels for young adults and children. She won the 2017 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story award and has been nominated for several other prestigious prizes, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal for her YA thrillers.

Sam has worked and travelled widely in Africa and the Middle East, and is a trustee of the Kenyan’s children’s charity, I Afrika. She now lives in London with her husband and children.

Contact links

www.samhepburnbooks.co.uk
Twitter: @Sam_Osman_Books
Faebook: Sam Hepburn – author

Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your book,Sam. Wishing you many sales!


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – Final Second by John Ryder

My featured book this week is the unputdownable action thriller, Final Second by John Ryder, the second in the bestselling Grant Fletcher series.

Sometimes it takes a stranger to find a killer…

In a small farming town in rural Wisconsin—where generations of families have lived in peace for decades—no one expects trouble to come calling.

But then a farmer’s beautiful young wife is found brutally murdered, with a chilling calling card that suggests she’s just the first victim of a serial killer. And the FBI elect not to send one of their own. Instead they send a stranger to town—former Royal Marine turned mercenary, Grant Fletcher. And they’re giving him no choice. Find the killer. Because we know what you’ve done.

With the threat of the executioner’s chair hanging over him, Fletcher finds himself in an impossible situation—and a race against time. Catch a murderer whose killings are escalating with every day that passes. Or face certain death…

Here’s a sneak peak of the Prologue

Carl Friedrickson ignored the early reaches of the Wisconsin autumn cooling the morning air and sprinted towards the small duck pond that lay fifty yards from his front door. The rubber boots a half size too large made his wild dash ungainly. He didn’t even hear the squelches they were making as they moved on his feet. His entire focus was on the shape in the pond.

It was a shape he was more than familiar with. A shape he loved with all his heart. A shape he’d vowed to love, honor and cherish.

The cold water of the duck pond splashed up his legs unnoticed as he waded towards his wife, the now water-filled rubber boots heavy on his feet.

Carl could see Jane’s blonde hair fanned around her head. Could see there was no movement in her body. Could see no reaction to his panicked shouts.

If she’d been face up, he would have carried hope with him. She wasn’t. Her face was in the water, her back humped camel-like as her limbs hung down towards the pond’s bed. His brain was telling him he was too late to save her, though his heart didn’t believe what his mind was saying.

A duck swam past Jane, unaware or unconcerned by the human tragedy that had invaded its space.

Carl reached out a hand and snagged Jane’s coveralls. His fingers grasping the sodden material as he hauled her body towards him.

She didn’t respond to his touch. As he moved her limp body, a reddish stain remained in the spot where she’d been in the water. His back arched as he wound his arms around her and lifted her free of the pond. Her body was inert as he carried her to the nearest shore, unresponsive to his shaking movements or his pleas for her to speak to him.

He laid her on the grass he cut every Sunday and started to perform CPR. As his hands went to her chest he saw the blood on the front of her coveralls. It was centered round where her heart lay. The heart she’d told him was his for eternity. The heart whose beat he’d listened to so many times, his head on her chest.

It was when he saw the blood and the wide gash in her coveralls that Carl realized that which he could not change. Jane was gone. He couldn’t bring her back. Nobody could.

His first tear fell as he reached down to close her eyes and smooth the hair away from her face. Carl didn’t notice the tremble in his fingers nor the peaceful expression Jane wore. Grief had turned to anger. To unbridled fury as he looked down upon her. The stab wound to her chest was bad enough to contemplate, but he’d remember the message carved into her forehead if he lived to be a thousand years old.

Oh my goodness, what a start to the book! I’m absolutely gripped already. Here’s what some readers have said about Final Second:

“I was already impressed with the first book, but this one was even better… For heart-stopping tension, danger and incredible action in this compelling book, as well as a thrilling conclusion, look no furtherFinal Second fits the bill.” Robin Loves Reading ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“What a brilliant story it is. I didn’t think the author could top the first one but OMG he blew this one out the park!!!!!… I’m already looking forward to the next book.” Goodreads Reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My word. This tingled me from my head to my toes. I’m a firm believer in this new author and look forward to the next stunning surprise to come my way.” The Secret Book Sleuth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The tale is fast moving and readers will need to set aside time to complete the book. It can cause insomnia! 5 stars.” Rosepoint Publishing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If, like me, you can’t wait to read more you can buy Final Seconds here:

https://geni.us/B08B8ZRJ92Cover

Meet John

Bio

John Ryder is a former farmworker and joiner. He’s turned his hand to many skills to put food on the table and clothes on his back. A life-long bibliophile, he eventually summoned the courage to try writing himself, and his Grant Fletcher novels have drawn inspiration from authors such as Lee Child, Tom Cain, Zoe Sharp and Matt Hilton. When it comes to future novels, he says he has more ideas than time to write them.

When not writing, John enjoys spending time with his son, reading and socialising with friends. A fanatic supporter of his local football team, he can often be found shouting encouragement to men much younger and fitter than he is.

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/johnryder101

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnRyderAuthor Website: www.johnryderauthor.com

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book, John. I’m sure it will be a big success.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – The Ex-Boyfriend by Rona Halsall.

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Bookouture author Rona Halsall to my blog today, to talk to us about her edge-of-the seat psychological thriller, The Ex-Boyfriend. I stayed up late to finish this book and can promise you that it is a tense, gripping read with a brilliant twist at the end.

Let’s find out a bit more about it.

Blurb

He promised to love her until her dying day…

When Becca’s first love shows up on her social media feed, she can’t help but smile fondly. Once upon a time Connor was the love of her life, and though it was over ten years ago, he’s always held a place in her heart.

Then he sends her a message. He sounds happy – still kind and funny, still living across the world in Australia. But he wants to know everything about her life now. How can Becca tell him the truth? About her workaholic husband, her stressful job, and the challenges of caring for her elderly father and her longed-for, adorable but exhausting three-year-old daughter Mia?

Becca hesitates, knowing she shouldn’t even reply. But Connor lives on the other side of the world. Just how dangerous can becoming friends again be?

It feels harmless. Until Mia gets sick – in a way that no one can explain. And it starts to become clear – someone will do absolutely anything to make sure Becca never escapes her past…

A completely unputdownable psychological thriller – perfect for fans of My Lovely WifeThe Girl on the Train, and The Woman at the Window.

Let’s take a sneak peek at the Prologue

Prologue

Becca twisted the chocolate wrapper and tied it into a neat knot. Then another and another. Her eyes glanced at the double doors which led into the A & E department before checking the clock on the wall again. Almost forty minutes since her husband, Dean, had arrived and she’d been asked to wait outside. Their three-year- old daughter, Mia, was having tests, and the medical team had insisted that Becca stay in the waiting room to calm down, her agitation making her daughter more anxious than was necessary. To be fair, she had been screechy and loud when she thought she was being fobbed off again – but sometimes that sort of behaviour was needed for people to actually listen and take you seriously.

The waiting room was mercifully quiet, only a trickle of people coming in and going out. She watched them, her nurse’s eye trying to gauge what their problem might be, as a way of distracting herself from what was happening to her daughter. Were they taking the blood tests she had requested so many times now? Doing toxicology to see if they could identify what was poisoning her and causing these acute bouts of illness?

Her leg bounced up and down, her whole body twitching with the not knowing. Okay, she understood why they’d chosen Dean to go with Mia instead of her. He was calm, always calm, and she was so thankful he’d finally arrived at the hospital. But Becca was Mia’s mum, the one who looked after her most of the time, and she felt she should be there, making sure they were checking the right things, telling them the whole story. Dean hadn’t been there half the time Mia had been ill – he’d been working away, as was the norm these days.

She stood and did a tour of the walls, reading the posters, willing her heart to beat at a more sensible rate. What if it was something serious, some underlying condition that hadn’t occurred to her? She’d never forgive herself if it turned out to be an obvious disease. Something a district nurse should be aware of.

‘Becca.’ She turned at her name and saw Dean walking towards her, Mia holding his hand. His face was grim. ‘They want to have a chat with you.’ He nodded his head towards a doctor and nurse, who stood by the door of a little meeting room that opened off the waiting area.

‘Is everything okay? Do they know what’s wrong with her?’

A third person came bustling through the double doors. A woman with a stethoscope round her neck, but not in the white coat used by the A & E doctors. A consultant, Becca thought, her heart leaping up and down now, hands clammy.

Dean sat down and pulled Mia on to his knee. The three people were standing by the open door of the room, obviously waiting for her.

‘Aren’t you coming in?’ Becca asked him.

He shook his head, an odd expression on his face that she couldn’t quite interpret. ‘It’s just you they want to talk to.’

Mia snuggled into his chest, clearly exhausted.

Three of them? Oh God, no, this is serious.

She took a deep breath and steeled herself for bad news. I’m a nurse. I’ve heard bad news before. I can handle this. Giving them a tight smile, she walked into the room and sat in the chair they indicated. Waited while they introduced themselves, not really hearing anything as her pulse whooshed in her ears.

Silence.
‘Have you found out what’s wrong with my daughter?’

They glanced at each other and the woman with the stethoscope nodded. ‘Yes, we think we have.’

Becca waited.
‘We think someone has been deliberately poisoning her.’ Becca swallowed. Her skin prickled as she took in the stern faces, three pairs of eyes fixed on her.

Do they think it’s me?

Hooked? You can get a copy of the book here:

Amazon: https://geni.us/OPJI7x 

Apple: http://ow.ly/DSAs50AM4Me

Kobo: http://ow.ly/sBYU50AM4IH 

Google: http://ow.ly/Yxmw50AM4Pk

Meet Rona

Author bio:

Rona is the author of Best Selling psychological thrillers published by Bookouture. Her challenge in writing is to find domestic storylines with twists that her readers will never guess.

She was born in Nottingham, grew up near Blackpool and went to college in Leeds. She then moved to Snowdonia, North Wales where she brought up her family while working as a business mentor. She now lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and two guinea pigs.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful glens and beaches on the Island while she’s plotting her next book. She has three children and two step-children who are all grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories.

To find out more about Rona and her novels, visit her website: https://ronahalsall.com/

Contact links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RonaHalsallAuth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ronahalsall/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18051355.Rona_Halsall

Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Rona. I hope it keeps soaring up the charts. 🙂


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – The Webs We Weave by Michelle Morgan

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the absolutely gripping psychological thriller, The Webs We Weave by Michelle Morgan. Michelle is more well-known for her non-fiction work but I think this book is going to be riding up the charts.

Could you ever be friends with the woman who stole your husband?

That is the question facing Jenny, when Helena appears at her door.

Five years ago, Craig abandoned Jenny and moved in with Helena. Now it seems Craig has moved onto a younger woman. Helena pleads with Jenny to help find out who the mystery woman is.

Jenny’s friend Kate, and adult daughter Rebecca, warn her not to become involved. But Jenny can’t resist…

This might just be the opportunity she has been looking for. It’s not very often the chance for revenge comes knocking. But does Jenny really know what she’s getting into and is Helena really the person she appears to be?

Extract

Helena disappears into the hall, and then up to the first floor. I use the time to imagine what it must have been like when Craig lived here, such a short time ago. Did he sit on this sofa and read his car magazines, like he used to do in our house? Did he make her cups of tea and massage her feet? This room is full of memories of him, and yet I can’t imagine him living here. The décor, the furniture, the artwork – even the thick smell of blossom air freshener – none of them say Craig to me. I bet he never felt comfortable in this house – or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

I gaze into the hall and my eyes fall onto an item that transports me straight back to 2014. It’s a yellow hooded jacket; the same one Helena wore when she turned up on my doorstep, and persuaded my husband to leave me on our twentieth anniversary. My chest contracts and all the past agony hits me once again. How could she do that to a human being? To another woman? I’ve been through it in my head, time after time and I’m still no closer to knowing how she could be so cruel.

I tiptoe over to the coat hook and feel the material. It is cheap and itchy. There are huge blue buttons running down the front, and a zipped pocket on either side. It’s weird to imagine that this coat was witness to such a catastrophic occasion in my life. I wonder what else it was witness to.

Before I can stop myself, I reach for the top button, and yank it as hard as I can. It comes off and leaves a thick, yellow thread behind. I shove the button into my pocket and dart back to the living room. I doubt Helena will ever be able to find an exact replacement. What a shame. What a bloody shame.

As I sit on the sofa, fingering the button and waiting for Helena to come back downstairs, I make the decision to help investigate Craig and Anna’s relationship. Not out of sympathy, not out of helpfulness, and not in any kind of caring capacity. No. I decide to help Helena Love because I want to, and because by keeping her close to me, I can play with her life in ways she can’t even begin to imagine.

This will be fun.

If the blurb and extract has got you hooked, you can purchase the book here:

Amazon UK – click here.

Amazon US – click here.

Amazon Australia – click here.

The Book Depository – click here.

Waterstones – click here.

Barnes and Noble – click here.

Meet Michelle

Author bio:

Michelle Morgan is the author of many non-fiction books, including the bestselling, ‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed,’ and ‘The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones.’ ‘The Webs We Weave’ is her first novel, but certainly not her last. Michelle lives in Northamptonshire, England, and when she isn’t writing, can be found reading psychological thrillers and watching reruns of Sex and the City.

Michelle can be found on social media:

Instagram: @MMWriterGirl

Twitter: @MMWriterGirl

TikTok: @MMWriterGirl

FaceBook: The Official Michelle Morgan Author Page

Website: www.MichelleMorgan.co.uk

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Michelle. Wishing you many sales.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – All In Her Head by Nikki Smith

My Tuesday Thrillers this week is the ‘tense and moving’ debut thriller All In Her Head by Nikki Smith.

Blurb

All In Her Head is a timely psychological suspense thriller about the darkest corners of a mother’s mind. Alison feels like she’s losing her mind. She is convinced that her ex-husband, Jack, is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work. She knows she has a good reason to be afraid but can’t remember why. Then the mention of one name turns her world upside down…

Prologue

It’s much harder to grip the railing than I had expected. The cold metal bites into my hand until I can’t tell if it’s attached to my body, the last brittle anchor holding me in place. A crowd gathers a short distance away from me on the bridge; some watching through their car windows, others standing with their vehicle doors wide open. A woman points in my direction, her shouts muffled by the noise of the wind. The strands of hair that whip across my face sting my eyes, and I reach up to tuck them behind my ear. A sudden gust nudges me off balance and my stomach lurches, momentarily suspended, before I scrabble to retrieve the iron bar beneath my fingers.

Ripples appear as tiny white flecks on the muddy surface of the river far below me. The two giant towers guarding each end of the bridge look on in anticipation and I draw strength from their solidity. I glance back at the ensemble whose numbers swell as their sense of urgency escalates. I wonder what Jack would say if he was here. What he would do.

I’d watched him this morning as he’d pulled on his trousers and T-shirt, and had realised I was staring at a complete stranger. The urge to get up and unpeel his skin to see if I could reveal something familiar underneath, some evidence that would prove we were once connected, had been almost irresistible. He’d walked out of the bedroom without speaking, whilst I’d feigned sleep, my breath trapped under the edge of the duvet, warm against my chin.

He’s been observing my every move, waiting for an opportunity to vent the anger that flows just beneath the surface of our daily lives. I know he’s hiding something from me. He denies it, but his eyes say he’s lying every time we look at each other. As soon as he left the room, I knew I would do it. Now I’m standing on the narrow girder, there is no fear.

Someone in the crowd breaks away from the group and walks slowly towards me, his hands held up in a gesture of surrender. The noise of wailing sirens grows louder. The stranger keeps coming, his confidence and pace increasing as he makes eye contact and smiles nervously. I turn my face back towards the river and look down. He sees the movement of my head and cries out. I hear his footsteps speed up as he tries to reach the barrier that separates us. He won’t make it.

I let go of the railing, feeling the pressure of the wind against my face that offers up a final moment of contemplation. Then the breeze tapers off, as if acknowledging the decision has already been made, and I step forward into the silence.

Buy links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Her-Head-must-read-thriller/dp/1409192997/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Waterstones:  https://www.waterstones.com/book/all-in-her-head/nikki-smith/9781409192992

Bio: 

Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance. Following a ‘now or never’ moment, she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative course where she started writing this book. She lives near Guildford with her family and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. All In Her Head is her first novel.

Contact links:

Website

Twitter  (@mrssmithmunday)

Facebook

Instagram

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Nikki.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – The Stranger in My Bed.

I’m taking over my Tuesday Thrillers blog today to tell you a little about my new book, A Stranger in My Bed, which will be published by Bookouture on 23 November. I’m really excited – and a bit nervous – about this book as it’s the first pyschological thriller I’ve written and the story has been one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Let me show you the cover, and tell you a bit about the story.

Blurb

‘We have a patient who has been involved in a serious accident. We believe he’s your husband.’

When Freya first met Phil, she thought he was the man of her dreams. He bought her roses every week, booked surprise trips to sun-soaked destinations, and showed her affection like she’d never experienced before. But over time the dream had become a violent nightmare. And now Freya is packing her bags, knowing it’s time she escaped their increasingly broken marriage.

But then Freya gets a visit from the police. Phil’s been in a horrific car crash and – as he comes around – it becomes clear that he remembers nothing since their blissful honeymoon two years before, back when their relationship was perfect. All he wants is to be happily married again.

Freya knows giving him another chance could be dangerous. But now he’s the one who needs her, it’s a chance to turn the tables, and to change the outcome of their relationship once and for all. After all, he will only know what she chooses to tell him…

But what really happened during those two years of marriage? And as they start over again, who is safe? And whose life is in danger?

Fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and Date Night who are looking for a dark, gripping psychological thriller, with a final twist that will leave their jaw on the floor, will love The Stranger in My Bed.

If you fancy reading it and want to grab yourself a bargain you can preorder it now for only 99p, and it will automatically pop onto your kindle/ereader on 23rd November. It will be available in print on publication day, and as an audio book too.

Here are the preorder links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover 

Apple: http://ow.ly/u5Po50B8dyr

Kobo: http://ow.ly/RvQb50B8dwv

Google: http://ow.ly/1IPa50B8lnh

Tuesday Thrillers – Ransomed by M.A.Hunter

The Tuesday Thriller this week is Ransomed, the gripping opening case in the new crime thriller series (The Missing Children Case Files), by M.A. Hunter.

BLURB:

Some secrets are too big to bury…

Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at an orphanage.

Some secrets breed in the dark…

All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twenty-year-old secret binds her to the beach.

And some of them always escape…

But then she finds herself sucked into the chaos of another cold case and soon realises the search for the missing girl will not only unearth the rot ravaging the safety of children across the south of England, but could even solve the mystery that has tortured her since she was seven years old…

Ransomed marks the beginning of a nerve-shredding new crime series of feral reckonings and found family in the face of harrowing inhumanity, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Ann Cleeves, and J M Dalgliesh.

PRAISE FOR RANSOMED:

‘Mind-blowingly addictive!’ – Samantha Lee Howe, USA Today-bestselling author of The Stranger in Our Bed

‘Wow! What an incredible start to this series. Kept me guessing throughout and I raced to the end – and what an ending! Can’t wait for the next instalment!’ Caz Finlay, bestselling author of the Bad Blood series

‘Hunter serves up an auspicious and gripping start to a darkly thrilling new series and I can’t wait to get hold of the next one!’ R. J. Parker, bestselling author of The Dinner Party

‘A captivating book that kept me riveted and left me immediately wanting to read the next in the series’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

EXTRACT:

‘She’s not in the house,’ Penny said nervously, as she joined him in the tall grass.

Gerry paused momentarily, out of breath, a fresh sheen clinging to his cheeks. ‘I’ve checked the fence and there are no holes she could have squeezed through to get out, and it’s too high for a six-year-old to scale. I’ve been calling her name, but there’s no response. Most of the ground here is uneven, and there are so many branches that it’s impossible to see whether she might have fallen and bashed her head.’

Penny hadn’t even considered that Cassie could be lying hurt somewhere. ‘I think we need to get all the children together and ask them whether they know where she went.’

Gerry surveyed the rest of the wilderness, and slowly nodded. ‘I’ll keep checking out here just in case. It’s not like anyone has come in and snatched her from under our noses!’

Penny reached for her husband’s hand and squeezed tightly; he reflecting her concern with an assured nod. ‘She’ll turn up. She has to.’

Returning to the castle, Penny hollered at the group of children and told them it was time to eat. One by one, they stopped rushing about, slowly disembarked and began the hunt for their shoes. After nineteen pairs had been located and pulled on, the panting group remained on the mat waiting for their next instruction.

‘Cassie’s wearing her shoes,’ Penny whispered to Gerry as he joined her, pointing down at the mat. ‘Whenever she left the castle, she put on her shoes.’

‘Can anyone tell me where Cassie Hilliard is?’ Gerry said, staring at each of the faces, looking for any sign of recognition. ‘We can’t go in for food until we’ve got everyone together. Has anyone seen Cassie?’

The faces remained blank, with the odd shrug of shoulders.

‘Everyone just wait here a minute,’ Penny said, putting on a brave face, before leading Gerry away from the group. ‘What are we going to do? Should we phone the police?’

‘It’s a bit premature for that,’ he replied. ‘She must be here somewhere; if not in the garden then in the house—’

‘I checked the house, Gerry,’ Penny interrupted with a low growl. ‘She is not in the house, and she is not in the garden. What if…’ But she couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence.

‘What if what?’ Gerry began, before connecting the dots. ‘You think someone’s come in and taken her? Don’t be ridiculous! We’ve both been here all day, and there hasn’t been a spot of trouble. Besides, we would have seen someone.’

Penny eventually let out a frustrated sigh, knowing Gerry was trying to remain pragmatic. ‘Well, if she is here, where the hell is she hiding?’

Wrapping a large arm around her shoulders, he pulled her closer to him, and kissed the top of her head. ‘I don’t know, but someone must. Get the other children inside and I’ll check the security camera footage for the last hour and see if it caught her.’ He paused. ‘We’ll find her. We have to find her. There’s more than just her future at stake here.’

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2WOhX91

iBooks – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/ransomed/id1510915235

MEET M.A. HUNTER:

M.A. Hunter has been a huge fan of crime fiction since a young age, and always fancied the idea of trying to write some. That dream became a reality when One More Chapter signed The Missing Children Case Files series.

Born in Darlington in the north-east of England, M.A. grew up in West London, and moved to Southampton to study law at university. It’s here M.A. fell in love and has been married for fifteen years. They are now raising their two children, on the border of The New Forest where the family enjoys going for walks amongst the wildlife. They regularly holiday across England, but have a particular affinity for the south coast, which formed the setting for the series, spanning from Devon to Brighton, and with a particular focus on Weymouth, one of their favourite towns.

When not writing, M.A. regularly binge-watches the latest shows from streaming services, or can be found with head buried in the latest stories from Angela Marsons, Simon Kernick, or Ann Cleeves.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMAHunter

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Writer_MAHunter

Instagram – https://instagram.com/steph.edger

Website – https://www.stephenedger.com/m-a-hunter

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, M.A.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the gripping pyschological thriller You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley.

YCTM cover

BLURB:

You can trust me.

But can I trust you?

Olivia is the domestic goddess who has won millions of followers by sharing her picture-perfect life online. And now she’s releasing her tell-all autobiography.

For professional ghostwriter Nicky it’s the biggest job of her career. But as she delves deeper into Olivia’s life, cracks begin to appear in the glamorous façade. From the strained relationship with her handsome husband, to murky details of a tragic family death in her childhood, the truth belies Olivia’s perfect public image.

But why is Olivia so desperate to leave an old tragedy well alone? And how far will she go to keep Nicky from the truth?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1409175804

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781409175803

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/you-can-trust-me,emma-rowley-olivia-dowd-stephanie-raci-9781409175803

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/You-Can-Trust-Me-Audiobook/1409186334

EXTRACT:

Ghostwriter Nicky Wilson has gone to stay with her new client, influencer Olivia Hayes, to help her write a bestselling book. She soon learns, however, that Olivia’s beautiful family home has a past that Olivia doesn’t want to talk about. Here, Nicky has gone into the cellar looking for clues as to what really happened when a fire devastated the house decades ago, when Olivia was just a little girl. But she may find something else entirely…

I take the first step, pulling the door to behind me so that just a thin strip of light from the cellar cuts across the kitchen floor. I can’t quite bring myself to shut it. Then I go down the stairs, gripping the banister to my left. At the bottom, under the bare bulb, I look at the paper in my shaking hand.

It is easy to miss at a glance.

The sheet of paper shows four shapes: the first two – the main floor and the upstairs floor – follow the same sprawling footprint. The attic space is a smaller set of boxes, while another diagram shows the cellar layout: three rooms, off this little hallway.

And that’s it, but for a little detail – a line of dots in a square, that someone has barely bothered to mark on the floor of the biggest cellar room. A place like this is full of nooks and crannies, after all.

But I understand what it means now. That there is another space down here, deep in the heart of the house. I just have to find the way in.

I know there are no stairs or doors or anything like that, from when I looked around before. And as I go into the room, the one with the table tennis table and dart board, I still can’t see how . . .

Then I remember how I noticed before that the carpet doesn’t go right to the walls. And when I bend down to lift its edge, it comes away easily. I roll it back a few metres to expose an old brick floor: small thin bricks in a herringbone pattern, so smooth and shiny with age that I am sure they were not part of any rebuild.

I’m inside the old house, I think, the house that burned down. The door should be about here, but the plans are rough. So I shuffle the table back, to clear the way – I am sweating now, despite the chill in the air – then roll the carpet back further until I see the dark wood blackened by age, or perhaps smoke. Age, I tell myself.

I haul the carpet all the way off it. There is a metal ring set towards one side of the trapdoor, cool to the touch.

I expect resistance as I pull, but it swings open easily, the hinges silent. I stop it from banging against the table, resting the open door against one metal leg.

I can smell earth and damp inside but can’t see anything except steep wooden steps, almost a ladder, and a patch of bare earthen floor. I wish I had brought my phone with me for its torch. I didn’t think this through.

But this is OK. There will be plenty of light from the bulb overhead.

Before I can spook myself further, I turn round and descend the wooden steps as quickly as I can, feeling the grain of each smooth, flat board under my hands. As my bare feet touch the ground, I spin round, braced for another surprise, as my eyes adjust to the dimness – but find nothing but bricks and the dirt floor.

It is cold in here. It’s just a little space, the arched walls the same neat herringbone brick as the floor above: I could almost touch the sides if I stretched my arms out wide.

An old wine cellar? There is nothing in here now but a cardboard box, pulled an inch or two away from the walls so the damp can’t seep in.

A wide strip of brown masking tape holds the top folds down. I unpeel it carefully, but it has long ago lost its stickiness . . .

The light overhead flickers for a second.

I look up, holding my breath.

Everything is still. But I want to hurry, I am going to have to bend the cardboard folds a little, they are slotted around each other . . .

And I can smell something – can I be imagining it? But it is there, so faint. The acrid tang, thin as a ghost, of smoke and fire.

Careless now, I tear open the box.

There is not much in it. Just junk, on the face of it. But my heart starts to thud as I sift through the contents.

A set of wooden skittles. A small badminton racquet. These must have been kept outside. A white mug printed with a Disney princess has come through almost unscathed but for the long cracks in its glazing – it must have been found among the rubble inside the house. And here is a book that I pick up carefully: a children’s Bible, its blackened edges stuck together.

I knew that photo album, pieced together by other people, couldn’t be all Olivia had left of her life before. This is what I couldn’t find when I searched the house above me – these old secrets, hidden below . . .

I freeze, lifting my head. Did I hear something, feel something in the air – a breeze? All the hairs on my arms are standing up.

But nothing changes.

I turn back to the box. I suppose the focus after the fire would have been to retrieve any valuables that survived, jewellery or silverware. So I wonder who collected all this, things with only sentimental value, if that. It’s like no one has looked at them since . . .

Gingerly, I lift up a skittle: underneath is an old football, still holding air. But there is something else under that, chunky under my fingertips.

I pull it out: it’s a small silver frame. The glass protecting the photo is smeared with dirt, but I can see the family inside. Why isn’t this in the album upstairs?

I fiddle with the metal fastenings at the back, stiff with age, and open it up. It is a lovely family shot, as they all were before the fire. Elsa and Alex, him smiling, golden, her all big dark eyes, and between them a young Olivia, maybe ten or so, a black velvet bow in her hair, and––

It must be a movement in the corner of my eye that makes me look up, because I didn’t hear a sound. The trapdoor swings towards me, shutting out the light.

I shoot my hands up to catch the underside of the trapdoor before it slams shut completely, stretching to hold it open. For a second, I expect to feel pressure against it. Then, driven by instinct, I clamber up the steps as quickly as I can, one hand keeping the door open, to see . . .

No one is there.

I shouldn’t have left it propped open like that, leaning against the table leg. Lucky I caught it – I don’t know how easy it would be to open from the inside.

I shiver, wanting to get out of here now. But I make myself arrange the door so it can’t swing shut again, then go back down to replace things as they were.

I dropped the frame when I caught the trapdoor and the glass has cracked – so I thrust it to the bottom of the box face down, then fold the soft cardboard back into place, arranging the tape on top as if it came loose. It’s the best I can do.

Then I scramble up the steps again, shut the trapdoor, unroll the carpet and push the table back. I am standing back, checking how it all looks, when I hear it: the faint moan that I register as the hinge of the cellar door at the top of the stairs as it swings slowly back towards its frame.

But that’s OK too. There wasn’t a Yale lock or anything that would click shut . . .

And then, with the softest of plinks, all the lights go out.

The darkness is total. I can’t see anything, not even the hand I bring to my face. The switch was on the wall outside the cellar, to control all the lights, but did I see any down here too? There must be one in each room, surely . . .

I start to walk round the edge of the room, one hand on the cold wall to orient myself. I just need to find the doorway, and then I will be in the hall, the stairs over to my left.

Who turned off the lights?

Don’t think about that. Maybe they were on a timer.

But my breathing sounds too loud in the pitch black, and it takes longer than I expect to find the doorway out of the room: wasn’t there just this one wall here, not this corner too? I don’t feel a switch anywhere.

If only I had left a light on above in the kitchen, to signal where the edge of the cellar door might be. But it’s OK, I’ve found the doorway of this room now, so it’s just a few steps more to the cellar stairs.

I slide my feet forward carefully, remembering the stuff stacked in the little hall, but still I knock into something, the jangle of gears and chains telling me it’s a bicycle. They surely can’t hear me, upstairs in their bedroom, but I am fast-forwarding to my embarrassment, my cheeks flushing, as Olivia and Josh listen with polite bemusement to my excuses . . .

Better that than getting stuck in here.

Shut up, shut up.

I stop for a second to try to work out where I am. But I hate this darkness, so thick it’s almost a living, pulsing thing against me.

I put my hands out a little in front of me, and shuffle to the left. I can’t bring myself to stretch them out properly, afraid to touch something I don’t expect . . .

Then – oh thank you God – one foot hits something hard: the bottom step. I put out my right hand and fumble for the banister, and there it is, relief is flooding through me, I’m nearly out of here, and I relax enough to let out a shuddering sigh, almost a gasp. I didn’t want to admit how scared I was, lost in the bowels of the old house––

And that’s when I hear it: soft, but crystal clear.

Someone sighs back at me.

About Emma

headshot

BIO:

Emma Rowley is a writer, ghostwriter and editor with a background in newspaper journalism. She has spent considerable time in the courts and covering major crime stories, which informed her first novel, Where The Missing Go, a 2020 Edgar nominee for The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her second thriller, You Can Trust Me, is inspired by her experiences as a celebrity ghostwriter. Visit emmarowley.co.uk for updates.

CONTACTS:

Twitter: @emma_rowley Insta: @emmacharlotterowley FB: EmmaRowleyAuthor

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your novel, Emma.


FB Header - The Stranger In My BedPublished by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover