17 Church Row by James Carol #17churchrow @Tr4cyF3nt0n @JamesCarolBooks @ZaffreBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for 17 Church Row alongside my #blogbestie Emma Welton at damppebbles Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite.

About this book…

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

My review…

This is actually the second book that I’ve read this year that has a thriller built around an Alexa type virtual assistant and it’s a very topical and thought provoking storyline that proves very intriguing. In this case the AI was called Alice and it completely ran the household at 17 Church Row. You want pizza? Ask Alice to order some in. You want doors to open? Ask Alice! In fact, pretty soon Alice became able to do things even before she was asked which sounds great doesn’t it? But for Ethan and Nikki this is their new start and Alice seems to be causing problems instead of making things easier for the family.

I did feel very sorry for Ethan and Nikki as they were struggling to raise a daughter who had been separated from her twin in horrific circumstances. Bella has been rendered speechless by what she witnessed and communicates via her tablet. The move to 17 Church Row was supposed to bring them all closer together but right from the start something seems “off” and I found that I wasn’t sure who I could trust. The architect who designed the house seemed to remain fully invested in the property even though it was no longer hers to worry about. And there were others who also seemed to have an overly keen interest in the home and the new family within its walls. There is an unknown narrator who’s voice echos throughout the narrative and I thought I knew who this was but (talk about misdirection!) I was actually shocked when I realised who’s POV this turned out to be!

This was an interesting and relevant techno thriller that really does make you sit up and think about the way our technology is heading and I find it an incredibly scary direction to be facing. I already hate the way I can be talking about a certain brand or object and then be hit with adverts for it all over my social media channels! But our lives are now intrinsically linked with this kind of technology and it can only go forward from here so let’s hope it develops in a positive way.

This is a gripping storyline that would work perfectly transferred to the big screen as it has a slow burning and disturbing menace that gradually creeps up on you and I’d love to see it made into a film. It left me with goosebumps long after I’d finished it.

Meet the author…

James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

‘BROKEN DOLLS has it all. Horrifying evil, a brilliant, conflicted profiler and cracking pace and tension. I read it in what seemed like two trembling gulps.’ (Stephen Fry)

‘Strikingly well-researched and written with a real swagger, it leaves you desperate for more.’ (The Mail)

Praise for WATCH ME:
‘James Carol is a non-American who has mastered the idiom of the US thriller … Carol is no [Lee] Child clone, and carves out his own menacing canvas with real panache. (Barry Foreshaw, The Independent)

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in a pair of headphones writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: http://www.james-carol.com

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.