Monday, 27 February 2017

Review - Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

Before I Let You In is a book written by Jenny Blackhurst which spent far too long sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. This was an absolutely incredible psychological thriller that was full of so many twists and turns that it was quite honestly breathtaking. From the moment I picked this book up all I wanted to do was sit there, glued to the pages, which I most certainly did as I ended up reading this book in less than a day, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time! 

Despite now all leading very different lives, Karen, Bea and Eleanor are the very best of friends having known eachother since they were just five years old. Whilst Bea is single and Eleanor is married with young children, Karen is a psychiatrist who is never happier than when she is supporting her friends and helping other people with their problems. One day a new patient, Jessica, walks into Karen’s office who immediately senses that something is very wrong as Jessica seems to know far too much about Karen’s personal life, friends and family. As we soon see things spiral quite rapidly out of control, just what will the consequences be of Karen letting Jessica into her consultation room not only for her but her friends and family too? 

This book explored the theme of friendship amongst three people who, having known eachother for most of their lives have been there for eachother through both the best and worst of times. But one thing that became apparent as you read this book, as we see some pretty big secrets revealed, is that there is certainly a lot that they don’t know about eachother. Although the story is mainly narrated by Karen, there are many chapters throughout the book that are told from the perspective of Eleanor and Bea and they all seemed like such believable characters. All of this combined works perfectly and makes for a very successful novel, as it helped me to connect with them all and it was great to hear their thoughts and see how they each reacted very differently to what was going on around them. 

One thing I can definitely say about Before I Let You In is that this is a book that will keep you guessing right up until you turn that final page. Every time I thought I knew where the novel was going and what was happening, Jenny threw another twist into the mix which made me question everything I thought was true and this was something that I personally really liked. It made the book extremely compelling, I wanted to read on and find out exactly what would happen next, some of which was truly shocking. Throughout the book, the tension grows at an incredible pace and there is a real sense of urgency, something which is undoubtedly helped by the short chapters.

As a gritty, fast-paced book, Before I Let You is an absolutely exceptional book that I really wish I had picked up sooner than I did. Given how much this book had me well and truly hooked from beginning to end, I will now always look out for Jenny’s novels and look forward to reading more by her in the future. If you’re looking for a new psychological thriller to read, make sure it’s this one!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Review - A Country Practice: New Beginnings by Judith Colquhoun

When I heard about A Country Practice: New Beginnings by Judith Colquhoun I was instantly intrigued and so, despite never having watched the television series which it is based on, decided to give it a go. Put simply, I’m glad that I did take the time to read this book as overall I really did enjoy it and thought that it surpassed my expectations. 

A Country Practice: New Beginnings takes us to the town of Wandin Valley in New South Wales, Australia during the 1980s. Whilst there we are introduced to the local hospital - The Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital - and the people who both work and visit there, including Dr Terence Elliott, the new doctor on the scene Simon Bowen, and Brendan and Molly Jones to name just a few. As we learn of the character’s individual stories throughout the novel we witness much romance, humour and tragedy both inside the hospital and outside in the rural community it serves. 

Thanks to the way in which the story is told, with the book being told from multiple viewpoints, we really get to know and quickly become involved with the lives of many individuals. Whilst this is a good thing in that it gives you the opportunity to find out exactly what everyone’s thinking and feeling with a whole range of different emotions being presented to us, I occasionally felt that there was slightly too much going on and too many people to keep up with. That said there were several storylines that I was invested in and it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book too much. 

Whilst I feel that Judith has done a brilliant job at writing this novel, presenting us with so many beautiful moments in a perfect way, it is clear to see that the book is based on a television series and I could imagine how well it must have worked on the screen. That said you certainly don’t have to have watched the television series to appreciate the book, as Judith has made such an effort to really set the scene for the reader and I certainly never felt like I was lacking information. With several themes running throughout, I have to say that I particularly enjoyed the medical side of things and thought that it provided both an interesting and entertaining insight into the fictional world of Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital and beyond. 

A Country Practice: New Beginnings was the first in a series of books and I thought that it got things off to a brilliant start. I for one would most certainly be interested in returning to read the next book in the series and discover what happens next to those I have met so far in Wandin Valley. Whether you have or haven’t seen the television programmes, there is something in this book that will appeal to all readers so why not pick this book up today?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Extract - The Promise by Casey Kelleher

Today I have an exclusive extract from The Promise, the latest book written by Casey Kelleher. It's a book that has received a great deal of praise, one that would be perfect for fans of Martina Cole's writing. Without further ado, what follows next is the prologue to this chilling book, set in a world that is quite unlike anything you could ever imagine:

Standing in the middle of the room, she began to sway.
Her legs suddenly weakened as the room began to spin violently, twisting her around and around until she felt as if she could barely stand.
She felt dizzy. Sick.
How had this happened?
How had she let this happen?
Her body started to tremble as it threatened to give way and collapse on the bedroom floor.
She was determined to stay upright, to stay focused.
She had to, even though her heart was pounding wildly. It echoed inside her head. Whooshing. The noise deafening.
The shouting stopped.
Now, a blood-curdling, terrifying screech.
Suddenly, she realised…
It was her!
She was screaming.
Pouring out of her uncontrollably.
It was as if she was outside her own body. Floating in mid-air.
She could see the looks of shock and horror on their faces. The tears in their eyes.
She looked down – saw what they could see…
A jagged spray of deep red splattered across the front of her clothes.
A flash of silver held in her hand, knuckles white, fingers still gripping the weapon’s handle…
A pool of dark liquid around her feet.
So much blood.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Review - Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell

It’s always a sign of a brilliant book when you sit down to write a review and genuinely don’t know where to start, how to do it the justice that it so desperately deserves. This was most certainly the case with Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell that I did not hesitate to award five stars to. Put simply, it was a truly stunning piece of fiction and a wonderful debut novel. 

In the book we are introduced to Rachel and Adam, old school friends who thanks to Facebook are getting back in touch with eachother after a period of silence during which both have married and had children. With Rachel struggling with both her marriage and post-natal depression and Adam trying to recover from PTSD following a dreadful car accident that killed both of his parents, it’s fair to say that life’s pretty difficult for the pair. Both desperate to recover for the sake of their families, Rachel and Adam find a great deal of comfort in communicating with eachother via Facebook, but what will the consequences be when this turns into an obsession?

One thing that must be said is that I feel the characters in this book have all been perfectly created, they are all characters who seem incredibly real and those whose lives you quickly become wrapped up in. With the story being told from the viewpoint of multiple important characters, you really get the chance to see the bigger picture and this is something which undoubtedly works in this books favour. Whether good or bad, Hayley successfully managed to make me feel something for each of the characters involved and I couldn’t turn the pages of the book quickly enough as I became desperate to find out what would happen to them next in their world. 

A very strong theme in this book is that of mental health, something that I am always interested in reading about and I have to say that I think Hayley has handled this topic in a beautiful and sensitive manner. It was certainly emotive and very powerfully written for as I was reading of the trauma the characters were experiencing there were many times when I found myself with tears in my eyes. That said nothing felt exaggerated and everything felt very real, giving an honest insight into what it can be like to suffer from any psychological illness and have those around you really not understand what you’re going through in the slightest. It seemed to demonstrate how important important it can be to have just one person in your life who knows what it’s like. 

Whilst I wouldn’t say that Because I Was Lonely was a cheerful book, it was one of the best I’ve read so far this year and I’m so glad I picked it up. Told at a good pace, the book was very engaging and I really couldn’t help but devour it all in one sitting. With Because I Was Lonely, Hayley has become an author whose books I will now eagerly look forward to and I can’t wait to see where her writing will take us to next. 

Review and Extract - If Ever I Fall by S. D. Robertson

Ever since I read and fell in love with Time To Say Goodbye, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of S. D. Robertson’s second novel, If Ever I Fall. Going into this book I had very high expectations and I’m delighted to say that it was one that more than lived up to them. Everything about the book from the stunning cover to the words written on the pages were beautiful and it was a pleasure to be reunited with the author’s writing once again.

The story within If Ever I Fall is told through three very different narratives from Maria, her husband Dan and Jack. With Maria’s narrative being presented to us in the form of letters what quickly becomes apparent is that both her and Dan have suffered a terrible loss in their lives which ultimately resulted in the break-up of their marriage. Meanwhile Jack was a man who suffered from amnesia and only knew what he did thanks to Miles, a retired Doctor who he stays with. 

One thing that I’m finding is that it’s quite hard to write this review without giving too much away to readers which I desperately don’t want to do as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Whilst the way in which the story’s told does require a fair amount of concentration in order to keep up with and understand what’s going on, this wasn’t something that prevented me from enjoying the book. It was great to become involved with the lives of Maria, Dan and Jack, accompanying them on their journey and seeing how everything eventually came together in a way that took me by surprise and was completely unexpected. 

Throughout the book S. D. Robertson has blended several topics together in what can only be described as a truly special way. Firstly this book introduces the reader to the subject of OCD, a condition that I’ve heard of but never really read that much about before, giving an insight into exactly how those with OCD behave. What’s more it also gives a heartbreaking insight into grief, particularly that which parents go through if they lose a child, highlighting the very important fact that people handle grief in different ways. There’s also the subject of amnesia, something which I found both fascinating yet scary to read about in equal measure. All the different themes blend together in an effortless manner, proving that S. D. Robertson really does know what he’s doing when it comes to writing. 

The only way to appreciate this book, is to read it and I highly recommend that you do for it is a true gem with a story that will stay with me for such a long time yet to come. S. D. Robertson is an author whose writing I truly adore and I hope we’ll be treated to another book written by him in the future. 


Outside, the fresh sea air feels great on my skin. Despite what I’ve told Miles, I can’t resist walking over to the rickety fence and peering down the jagged cliff face to the swirling sea, which looks chilly and agitated. I’m not sure what time of year it is, which is an odd feeling, yet I’m dressed for winter in a jumper and jacket. That must be right, I think. The sun might be out, but there’s no warmth, especially in the coastal breeze. I take in my surroundings, noting the bare branches of the few trees nearby and the lack of any flowers. Then I look back at the house: a last outpost of civilisation in this remote spot, as worn and neglected as it is imposing. There’s so much still to be done, I think, eyeing all the flaking paintwork, rotten wood and damaged roof tiles. No wonder Miles needs my help.  
Wandering over to the rear of the house, I come across a mud-caked green Land Rover parked at the top of a winding dirt track. I assume this leads to a proper road. The car looks old but functional. I stare down the track; just knowing for sure that there’s an actual route to civilisation comes as a relief.
I hear a thumping noise behind me and I turn to see Miles struggling to open a decrepit wooden window on the first floor. He eventually succeeds and waves to me with a smile. ‘Ring a bell?’
‘Sorry?’ I say, cupping one ear and moving closer. 
‘There,’ he replies, pointing to a spot of overgrown grass and a mound of earth to my left-hand side. 
Despite having a good look around, I’ve no idea what he’s talking about. I shrug, perplexed.
‘That pile of soil,’ he says, pointing again. ‘It’s where I found you unconscious after your accident. 
‘Really?’ I look again, but still nothing comes back.
He nods to one side. ‘The ladder’s over there.’ 
I go to it, run my hands over the cold aluminium, but it’s as unfamiliar as the rest.
‘I think you must have been looking at the state of the roof. We’d been talking about sorting out the tiles for a while. I’m not sure why you decided to do it when I wasn’t around, though; it’s not wise to go up a ladder alone.’
‘Clearly not.’
‘And? Any recollection?’
I look around again, as if that might somehow trigger my memory, but there’s nothing. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this side of the house. I shake my head. ‘It’s not familiar at all. I was—’
I stop mid-sentence as something catches my eye: a flash of red in my peripheral vision. I turn in that direction, but there’s nothing there. 
‘You all right?’ Miles calls down to me.
‘Yes, I’m fine. I’m going for a wander. See you in a bit.’
‘Be careful. Make sure not to lose your way.’
‘Don’t worry, I won’t.’
I’m convinced the red is from the woman I spotted out of the window yesterday: the slender figure looking over the cliff, who Miles claimed not to have seen. There’s no logic to this other than the fact that she was wearing a red coat, but I’m gripped by the notion and I race in that direction to try to catch her.
There’s no sign of her at the front of the house. I’m confused. I look all around, casting my eye up and down the coastline. I retrace my steps to the rear of the house, taking care to stay out of Miles’s view, but still no luck. Eventually, after several minutes of scratching my head, I figure I must have imagined it. It’s the only rational explanation. I have had a recent head trauma. Seeing flashes of colour is probably a side effect. Besides, if I’m to believe Miles, I probably imagined her in the first place. And yet somehow I’m still not convinced of that. The first time I saw her she was so realistic, so alive.
I return to the front of the house and decide to walk to the place along the clifftop where I first saw the mysterious woman in red. Miles wouldn’t approve, but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. I soon reach the spot, but of course she’s not there and there’s no sign of her either. So I carry on, focusing on a crooked sea stack in the distance that reminds me of a witch’s nose.
I take in the cool, fresh air with deep breaths – as slow as I can manage – in a bid to calm myself down. I feel all worked up; my shoulders ache. I hadn’t realised how tense I was until now. Having no memory is so frustrating; how can I understand myself when my past is a mystery? My mind is like an empty library: useless without the volumes of knowledge that define it. 
I’m picturing that image in my mind when it’s ripped apart and set alight by the burning arrow of another memory. 
It’s dark and the streets are full of monsters with bags of loot.
A little ghost is gripping my hand and pulling me towards the light of a nearby front door. ‘They have a pumpkin in the window,’ she says. ‘They should definitely answer.’
‘Well spotted,’ I tell her. ‘You’ve got excellent eyes for a ghost. Would you like me to come to the door with you or to hang back?’
‘I want you to come. You don’t look scary though. I said you should have worn a mask.’
‘Never mind. I’ll pull a really creepy face instead. How’s this?’
She looks up at my attempt at facial contortion and giggles while pressing the bell.
A moment later the door swings open and we both shout: ‘Trick or treat!’
‘Wow! You do look scary,’ booms the large bald man who answers. ‘I’d better give you some sweets, hadn’t I? 
He reaches to grab a big bowl of mini chocolates from a shelf above a coat rack standing beside the door. How strange, I think. All the jackets hanging there are red. 
‘Here, help yourself,’ he says. ‘And please don’t trick me.’
As the little ghost reaches out, the man turns to me. ‘Are you okay?’ he asks. His voice is different now, though. It sounds female. Like that of a young woman.  
What’s happening? One moment I’m looking him in the eye, wondering what the hell is going on with his voice, and the next everything fades to black. I’m shouting out, but I can’t hear myself, like I’ve been muted. I’m confused, afraid.
Then I hear that voice again. 
‘Can you hear me?’  
It definitely sounds like a young woman; maybe a teenager. The tone reassures me somehow. It seems familiar, although I can’t put my finger on why.
‘You have to get up. It’s not safe here. You need to open your eyes.’
Bright sky is above me: light blue with fluffy sheep clouds. I turn my head to the right, feel damp grass under my cheek and view the sea through the gaps in the rickety fence. Why am I lying on the ground? What happened?
I heave myself up. First into a sitting position and then, once I’m sure everything’s working, on to my feet. I feel dizzy, especially when I look at the sea far below. There’s a twinge from my head, but nothing like the pain I felt when I first woke up after the accident. I must have fainted or passed out. It didn’t feel like that, though. It was more like I was in a trance – reliving a forgotten memory, as I had before. 
So who was the young girl trick-or-treating with me? Was the little ghost my daughter? It felt like she was. But how can I be a father and not remember? That’s not the kind of thing you ever forget, is it? I must be mistaken. Maybe she was a niece, a young sister or a friend’s daughter. Perhaps it wasn’t a memory at all. It could have been a scene I watched in a film, although again it felt so real.
I think back to the feeling I keep having that I should be somewhere else, with someone else. Maybe there’s a good reason for that.
I shiver in the wind. What about the older girl’s voice that spoke to me at the end? She told me to get up. She said I wasn’t safe. Was she right? And why did she sound so familiar?
I turn 360 degrees, scanning the open space in every direction for some clue. And then I see her: far in the distance along the clifftop, in the opposite direction from which I was walking. 
The woman in red. Or maybe not a woman at all. Could she be the one who just spoke to me? Could she be a girl? A teenager?
She looks identical to the last time I saw her; same jeans and knee-length coat, billowing long black hair. She’s looking at me, although she’s some distance away: too far to clearly make out her face. So how could she have been talking to me?
I cup both hands around my mouth and shout to her. ‘Hello! Can you hear me?’
She doesn’t react, so I wave my hands above my head, staring at her the whole time and shouting some more.  
She stands there, hands in her pockets, looking straight at me but through me.
Then I blink and she’s gone.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Review - All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Having now read and loved All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, the author’s first novel for adult readers, it’s safe to say that I already can’t wait for the second book in the series. All The Missing Girls was an incredibly powerful psychological thriller, told to us in a way that really makes it stand out from other books of its genre. I was well and truly hooked from beginning to end!

When the book opens we meet Nicolette Farrell who, after ten years away, returns home to Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, in order to help care for her ailing father. In the space of ten years, Nicolette has been desperately trying to put the past behind her and rebuild her life after her best friend, Corinne, mysteriously disappeared from Cooley Ridge. However, as we all know, you can never escape your past and it’s not long after Nicolette arrives back in her hometown that Annaleise Carter goes missing. The question is just what has happened to her and can any light be shed on what happened to Corinne all those years ago? 

Once the scene has been set, the rest of the story is told in a truly unique and special way. As Nicolette tries to figure out what’s happened to Annaleise recently and also come to terms with what occurred to Corinne, the story is told backwards from Day 15 to Day 1. Whilst this may seem slightly confusing, which I have to admit it was for me at first, when you realise what is going on and what Megan Miranda is trying to achieve you really appreciate just how clever it was - I’ve certainly never read a story told in this way before. 

Although there isn’t a shocking reveal at the end of this novel, one thing that has to be said is that All The Missing Girls is one tension-filled book from the very start. It was a book that pulled me in and gripped me from the first page to the point that I genuinely never wanted to put it down. As I was reading it there were many times when I found myself not knowing what to believe - on several occasions I tried to guess what had happened only to be proven completely and utterly wrong. Flying along at a good pace, the book introduced us to many characters who were all well developed but who we didn’t learn too much about. This is something that I feel worked perfectly, added to the tension and helped to get me thinking. 

What more can I say apart from the fact that I feel that this was an incredible start to what promises to be a fabulous series. I for one can’t wait for more and can see why All The Missing Girls has already received so much praise and attention - it deserves it. A book that’s guaranteed to keep you awake until the early hours as you frantically turn the pages to find out exactly what’s happened, my only advice is that you read this book. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review and Extract - Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

Over the past few weeks I seem to have found myself reading a lot of crime/detective novels and can now introduce you to the latest one I’ve read - Perfect Remains by Helen Fields.  As the first book in a new series, I thought that this was one of the most cleverly constructed novels of its genre that I have read to date, and it seemed to get the series off to a great start!

Having recently left a job with Interpol, it’s only Luc Callanach’s first day as a D.I. with Police Scotland, but he’s not in for an easy start as he receives a call to explain that someone has met a rather unpleasant end on a remote Highland mountain in the Caimgorms. Despite not being his jurisdiction, there’s a chance that it could be missing Edinburgh lawyer Elaine Buxton so he throws both himself and his team into the investigation, receiving some criticism for doing so. Although it’s too early to know it at this stage, they’re up against a malicious, devious criminal and as more people go missing, time is of the essence in discovering exactly who is responsible. 

Throughout this novel, which is told from the viewpoint of both the criminal and D.I. Luc Callanach, Helen Fields introduces us to a number of outstanding characters who I’m really looking forward to watching grow and develop as the series progresses. D.I. Luc Callanach was one of my favourite characters and I found myself really looking forward to his chapters. I was particularly interested in reading of his new friendship with his colleague D.I. Ava Turner and I’m really excited to see where this will go in future novels.

From reading this novel, one thing that’s very clear to see was how much time Helen must have spent thinking this novel through for it to be as successful as it was. I spent the entirety of the novel genuinely not seeing how the detectives were going to crack the case as the criminal was extremely calculating and very careful to cover his tracks. One thing that I feel must be said is that this book is not for the faint-hearted, there were scenes told from the criminal’s chapters that I found to be quite gruesome and often struggled with to the point where I just had to skim read them. That said, for me the police investigation seemed incredibly realistic and something that I often felt like I was a part of, which certainly helped to make it a compelling read. 

Providing a brilliant introduction into the world of D.I. Luc Callanach, Perfect Remains proved to be an incredibly intense read. After what was altogether quite a promising start, I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series and seeing where it will next take us - I’m sure we’ll be in for another dramatic ride!


DC Barnes walked in, which Ava took as either a cue or an excuse to leave, Callanach wasn’t sure which. Barnes’ face was alight with a mixture of concern and adrenaline. ‘We think we’ve got another one, sir. A woman’s been missing since last night. Her assistant called it in.’
‘What’s the link with Elaine Buxton?’ Callanach asked.
‘The woman left work as usual but there’s no sign of her entering her home. Similar age to Elaine, single, no children. Totally out of character for her to go off the grid. Missing person report’s available in the briefing room and we’re bringing in the assistant for more information. We’ve got units at the woman’s home and are making the usual enquiries with colleagues.’
The briefing room was buzzing. Callanach took a seat at the back as he prepared to listen to what information had been gathered, notebook ready on his lap. Ava Turner opened the door and looked in quizzically. He beckoned her in.
‘I was coming to collect my extra bodies,’ she whispered. ‘What’s going on?’
‘Another woman is missing,’ he said.
‘Mind if I stay and listen?’ she asked. He shook his head and she took the seat next to his.
Jayne Magee’s face appeared on the screen. There was a  slightly suppressed intake of breath from everyone watching. Callanach didn’t know why it was so shocking, only that the surprise came from what was around her neck in the photo. The sergeant who’d taken the missing person report began to speak.
‘This is the Reverend Jayne Magee, thirty-six years of age, Caucasian, Scottish national. Her administrative assistant, Ann Burt, called in her disappearance when Jayne failed to arrive for a meeting this morning at the Cathedral Church of St Mary in Palmerston Place, part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. What rang alarm bells is that she appears not to have been home last night. Her assistant says Jayne had no plans. The Reverend had told Ann she was looking forward to a quiet night in with a curry. Her only vice, apparently. When she failed to attend the meeting this morning and couldn’t be reached by phone, the assistant went to her house. She has a key and let herself in. There was no sign of Jayne. No bag or coat and in the fridge the curry they’d talked about was sitting untouched. Ann had emailed her at seven yesterday evening, passing on a query and got no response. Usually, the last thing the Reverend does every night is to check emails and respond to them. Ann Burt said she was curious about it last night but assumed some­thing had come up, either illness or an unexpected visitor, and didn’t pursue it with a phone call.’
‘Where’s her home?’ Lively shouted from the far side of the room. 
The sergeant shifted images and the screen flashed up a map of the city. The cathedral was marked with a blue cross and a red dot denoted what Callanach presumed was the home.
‘She lives in a detached house in Ravelston Park, across the river from the cathedral and roughly north-west. She always walks to and from work, even in the worst weather, and we’re told she was on foot yesterday.’
‘So, she left St Mary’s at?’ Callanach asked. 
‘Around seven p.m. She’d been there for choral evensong, stayed to chat with a few people then gone home. There’s no sign of a break-in or a struggle, nothing missing that the assis­tant can identify.’
‘I see the similarities,’ Callanach said, ‘but do you not have anything more tangible that connects this to Elaine Buxton?’
‘Only this.’ A new photo filled the screen. As one, the people in the room leaned forward to make out what they were looking at amidst the green tangle in the picture. ‘Here, at the very bottom, is where Jayne Magee’s mobile phone was found. Just inside her front garden, at the roots of a bush. Whether she dropped it or someone else discarded it, we don’t know. It’s been sent off for prints and data.’

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Review - Don't Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt

Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt is the second book in the Eden Berrisford series and, being quite a fan of Mel’s writing it was a book that I had eagerly been waiting for. Having read several of Mel’s books already, I can safely say from the start of this review that Don’t Look Behind You is undoubtedly her best novel to date. Gritty and engaging from beginning to end, I found myself flying through this book at an incredible speed. 

Within the book we are reunited with Detective Sergeant Eden Berrisford, a single mum to her daughter Casey and the team leader of the Community Intelligence Team. Upon meeting Eden in Don’t Look Behind You, we learn that the small city of Stockleigh is in shock after three women are brutally attacked within days of eachother. As we follow Eden throughout the investigation, we not only see her cross paths with Carla who is desperately trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to an abusive man ended in tragedy but also put herself in grave danger. Can Eden catch the person responsible for the attacks before they strike again?

As I have come to expect from a book written by Mel Sherratt, all of the characters that we meet within Don’t Look Behind You really come to life. Carla was a character who I felt extremely emotional for, my heart went out to her throughout the book and I couldn’t help but feel the fear that she did herself being faced with what she was. There’s no doubt in my mind that hers is a story that will stay with me for a very long time to come, one that I won’t forget in a hurry. Meanwhile, despite experiencing a few troubles of her own in her personal life, Eden once again comes across as a strong female lead who is extremely passionate about and dedicated to both the job and the victims. Meeting Eden for a second time in Don’t Look Behind You, I would say that whilst this book can be read as a standalone novel the first book in the series provides the background information you need to understand what Eden is going through more so I do recommend reading them in order. 

Dealing with domestic abuse and painting what I fear is a very real picture of it, I can’t say that Don’t Look Behind You was always a pleasant read and there were many times when I felt more than a little bit uncomfortable. However, I do believe that Mel is to be commended for the way in which she handles this topic in such a brilliant and expert way, with sensitivty and tact, demonstrating how abuse can not only affect someone physically but also emotionally which I feel can sometimes be so badly overlooked. 

A truly thrilling yet also a very harrowing read, I often had to remind myself to breathe whilst reading it, Don’t Look Behind You was one that pulled me in from the start and gripped me from the very first page. It was dark, full of twists and turns and everything you'd expect a good thriller to be. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author and seeing where she will next take us in what has so far been a great series!