Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for the latest Lisa Gardner release, Before She Disappeared, with thanks to Rachel Kennedy for my invite and review copy of the book.

A gripping thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten.

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier.

Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own. And she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. 

But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her …

I’m such a fan of Lisa Gardner that I always preorder her books as soon as they are available, even if they are still without a blurb! She’s a must read for me and so I was really looking forward to Before She Disappeared-and I wasn’t disappointed!

Before She Disappeared introduces us to Frankie Elkin, a woman with a traumatic past who searches for missing people when everyone else has given up. Her latest “case” is searching for a young Haitian girl who disappeared into thin air one day after school but moving into the rough neighbourhood where Angelique lived means that she is fighting against pretty much everyone to get any information about the girls life…

I love a flawed character so Frankie was a total gift for me! What has happened to her in the past has severely damaged her and she is fighting her demons every single day but her determination to find the missing people she seeks and bring closure to their families gives her what she needs to get up in the morning. Well, if she could without injury! A new flat mate means that the dangers she faces are much closer to home than expected! The characters Frankie meets on her journey are memorable-some likeable, others not, but all have a story to tell.

This is a powerful thriller with some topical subjects at the forefront of the plot delivering a believable and relatable storyline. Lisa Gardner has once again kept me on the edge of my seat with her vividly described and atmospheric setting and a protagonist that I took my heart. A brilliantly conceived idea for a novel that was carried out to perfection!

New York Times #1 bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, criminal minds and twisted plots into a streak of bestselling suspense novels. Her 2010 novel, THE NEIGHBOR, won Best Thriller from the International Thriller Writers. Most recently, she was honored with the Silver Bullet Award for her work with at-risk children and homeless animals. Lisa loves to hike, travel the world, and yes, read, read, read! 

Readers are invited to enter the annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Mate” Sweepstakes, where they can nominate the person of their choice to die in Lisa’s latest novel. Readers have nominated themselves, spouses, bosses. It’s cheaper than therapy and twice as much fun! For more details, visit Lisa’s website,

Her latest, BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED, is available January 19, 2021. Meet Frankie Elkin, an everyday average person who specializes in finding missing minority children. When the locals have given up, when the media has never bothered to care, Frankie takes on the challenge. Her latest mission has brought her to Mattapan, Boston to find a missing Haitian teen. Eleven months later, Angelique Badeau’s disappearance remains a mystery. What happened to the quiet, studious teen? Frankie learns quickly the dangers of asking too many questions, but that won’t stop her from discovering the truth behind what happened BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

In a town full of secrets…

Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?

Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death. 

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed. 

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered. 

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel.

The Appeal was one of my most anticipated books this month and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I don’t want to say too much about the plot for fear of spoiling it but it involves an amateur theatre company in a close community and what happens when the granddaughter of one of the members becomes seriously ill and needs expensive medical treatment. And when the fundraising becomes the focus of the members as they fit it around the rehearsals for their latest play, it becomes clear that people and things aren’t always what they appear to be!

It’s not often a book takes my breath away with how clever the plot is, but The Appeal is such a brilliant concept that I’ve never seen done so well before. It’s highly original format delivered a twisty mystery in a way I would not have expected considering the way in which it has been written. There is no narrative or chapters as such but a collection of emails, what’s app messages, text messages, social media and media posts and transcripts from police interviews. It shouldn’t work…but it does and better than I ever expected it to! Imagine Agatha Christie if social media had existed during her writing years and you get The Appeal!

There are some very unlikeable characters within this book which is amazing really as at no point are we ever able to watch them in their setting or even have them physically described for us! But through the power of their emails we are able to picture these players as they act out their lives, giving out clues as to what has happened within their community-can you work out who has been murdered and why? There is a suspect in prison for the crime that’s about to be commuted but is it the right person? You will suspect everyone!

The Appeal is a groundbreaking, intelligent read that had me completely immersed from start to finish. I did work out some of the clues but the red herrings thrown in to distract me often did their job perfectly to throw me off the scent. A wonderful debut novel!

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel.

One Chance-Surviving London’s Gangs by Terroll Lewis

‘It’d be easy for me to go back to my old life, but I know where that old life leads you. You’re either behind prison bars or six feet underground.’

Terroll Lewis has lived a crazy life. Growing up on Brixton’s Myatt’s Field estate, he was surrounded by gang culture, and like so many other young people, he found it hard to resist the lifestyle. By the time he was 15, he had already joined a gang, been stabbed, shot at, and was selling drugs. 

A chance to play professional football offered a way out, but the lure of an easier life – the promise of girls, money, and cars – led him back to South London and the notorious OC, or Organised Crime, gang. 

Violence and drug dealing were the norm in OC, but Terroll has long since turned his back on this world, though the association with OC endures through the ink on his skin. 

These days Terroll’s giving something back; Block Workout, a street-gym he founded in his old neighbourhood, gives young men an opportunity to follow a different road to the one he took during his adolescence – and the chance to live a better life.

One Chance is a tough read at times due to its content-Terroll Lewis doesn’t sugar coat his involvement in crimes including drug dealing and gang violence but then again, why should he?! The truth is rarely ever pretty and this raw, powerful and honest account validates his ethics as he tries to educate and guide others in his situation either in the past and the future whilst raising awareness in the here and now. It’s a topical subject, giving those who seek to accuse and judge others without looking at the bigger picture a chance to see a young man use his experience to help and support his peers.

One Chance needed its own glossary and I’m glad it was there as I did struggle with some of the language used. Terroll told his story with an easy style, drawing you into his life effortlessly without looking to assign blame or downplay his own responsibility for his actions. The relationship with his grandparents especially tugged at my heartstrings and opened up a very different side to him-they played such a huge part in making him the man he is today. The last few pages brought his life up to the present day and I was left thinking how very proud his family must be of how far he has come especially when it could have been a very different outcome.

An uncomfortable read at times but then life isn’t an easy ride and One Chance delivers a positive message that everyone needs to take onboard.

Terroll Lewis is the founder of the Brixton Street Gym, a charity-based community gym that has gained a huge cult following in the short time it’s been around. He also founded the BlockWorkOut Foundation – the charitable base that supports this amazing gym, making it accessible to everyone regardless of income – and The ManTalk, an online platform that promotes male positivity. 

Fitness in the community is one of his biggest passions and has enabled him to become an Ambassador for the Personal Trainer Academy, the largest personal training academy in the UK, which teaches people from all walks of life how to improve their own and other’s lives through fitness. 

Terroll had been embroiled in some of the most serious street gang warfare ever seen in London, leading a band of armed and dangerous young men through the streets of the city, a wild time that ended in him being accused of murder. He was eventually acquitted of the crime and proven innocent, but is thankful for his time in prison, as it enabled him to re-evaluate his life and come out a better man, the man he is today.

Many thanks to Mei at Midas for my review copy of One Chance.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour today for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. Many thanks to Anne Cater for my blog tour invite and review copy of the book.

You won’t want to leave…until you can’t. 

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in…

The Sanatorium is a chilling, claustrophobic debut novel that exudes class with its intelligently written, dark narrative. From the first moment I saw that eerie but stunningly beautiful cover, The Sanatorium wove it’s spooky spell on me, delivering a shocking storyline from start to finish.

Elin arrives at the isolated hotel in the Swiss Alps to spend time with her brother and his new fiancée. Her boyfriend Will is also along for the occasion and they arrive during the threat of stormy weather to come-both in the atmosphere and in the beautifully converted sanatorium. When her brothers fiancée goes missing the morning after Elin arrives, she puts her detective skills to the test to find out where she has gone and more importantly…why?

This was an intriguing mystery set within one of the most creepy settings I’ve encountered recently. The Sanatorium had a haunting atmosphere with the walls of its achingly beautiful renovation seemingly saturated with the echos of its unsavoury history. And this, combined with Elin’s family secrets hidden in the past, made The Sanatorium a gripping read-a gothic chiller that holds you prisoner, almost as it does Elin herself.

An accomplished debut novel that kept me on the edge of my seat with its short, sharp chapters and twisty plot.

Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel. Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy – remote spaces and abandoned places – so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes. You can find Sarah on Twitter @SarahVPearse and Instagram @sarahpearseauthor

Single Mother by Samantha Hayes @bookouture

I will do anything to protect my daughter. She’s all I’ve ever wanted and all I really have, but the moment I opened that letter and accepted the gift inside, I walked us right into a dangerous trap.

I know I should have got her to tell me who she’s been talking to on the phone late at night, and where she was the day I went to pick her up from school and couldn’t find her, but she’s not spoken a word since she discovered a secret hidden in our new home.

And now she’s missing

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Samantha Hayes fan and have been since her debut-and I can’t believe that this is her 17th book and she can STILL pull the wool over my eyes! I just love her attention to detail and stylish storytelling that packs in some brilliant twists and turns but never quite showing all her cards-there is always an ace hidden up her sleeve! Single Mother packed a hellva punch and I’m still reeling from its shocking revelations.

When Mel inherits a run down hotel, it couldn’t have come at a better time for her. Brought up in a children’s home after being abandoned as a baby, then left a single mum when her ex gets sent down for abusive behaviour, it’s losing her job that finally kicks her in the teeth. So a letter confirming that an anonymous benefactor has left her an expected inheritance seems like the answer to her prayers. A move away may also help her daughter Kate who could also use a fresh start but from the very first day in their new home she feels that they are being watched. And when a shocking discovery is made, Kates silence towards her mother may have terrifying consequences…

I was hooked immediately by this intriguing plot. Why had Mel been abandoned as a baby and who had left her the hotel and why? There were many MANY questions buzzing around my head and some of the answers weren’t those I had been expecting! There are some wonderfully unsavoury characters here to add to the menacing feel to the storyline and I can guarantee you won’t be able to put this down as it is definitely a “just one more chapter” book.

An addictive read from start to finish!

Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. After writing several books under another name, her sixteenth crime novel THE HAPPY COUPLE is out now, with SINGLE MOTHER due for release in January 2021. Her books are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’ And you’ll always find a BIG twist at the end! 

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING says “We’re big fans of Samantha Hayes. Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping…”

To find out more, visit her website
Or connect with Samantha on Facebook
And she’s on Twitter @samhayes
and Instagram at

Quite by Claudia Winkleman

Funny, moving and truthful… Quite
Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.

In this, her first ever book, Claudia invites us all into her world. She shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s (if you’re reading this sporting a bright red jumper and you’re 9, great! If you’re older, sorry).

This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life.

Heartfelt, wry and unmistakably Claudia, this book gets to the heart of what really matters

I love Claudia and her first book is a humorous and insightful look at her life that is, I imagine, the literary equivalent of sitting down for a gossip over a nice glass of vino with a friend. It’s not an autobiography but snippets talking about those little things in life that are probably bigger than we think! Boots, reasons to not date someone, napping and holidays all get the Claudia treatment and her authentic voice comes across perfectly. I especially liked the last page about life not being a competition which left me with a genuine fondness for this tv “celebrity” and her views on just about everything! Written in short sections (often subdivided-no surprise there!) this is an easy to read and thoroughly entertaining book that fans will love.

Claudia Winkleman is one of the best known broadcasters in the UK, she won the RTS Award for Best Presenter in 2015, the WFTV award for Best Presenter in 2019 and has been BAFTA-nominated. Claudia currently co-hosts Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) alongside Tess Daly and also has a Sunday night show on BBC Radio 2. Claudia also fronts the BBC1 cookery competition series Britain’s Best Home Cook alongside Mary Berry, which first aired in 2018 and will return to television screens again next year. She also regularly appears as a guest on panel shows including QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Big Fat Quiz of the Year and Would I Lie To You.

Claudia has previously presented four series of The Great British Sewing Bee and was the host of BBC Film. Claudia is also a trustee of Comic Relief and has fronted the live television shows for both Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, along with spin-off shows including Let’s Dance for Comic Relief/ Sport Relief and the Comic Relief Danceathon.

As part of the Strictly family, Claudia first presented Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two before joining Tess Daly on the main show in 2014. The following year she also hosted The People’s Strictly.

Claudia graduated from Cambridge University with an MA Honours in History of Art. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

Cover reveal!! And it’s one you’ve all been waiting for! @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter #thisishowwearehuman

I’m so delighted and extremely honoured to be revealing the cover today of the new Louise Beech book-This is How We Are Human. It’s always an exiting time knowing that one of your favourite ever writers has a new book coming out but this one has a storyline that is very close to my heart so I’m desperate for you all to read it! I read a very early copy some time ago and although that was a rough copy and nowhere near the polished version we can expect to read when it’s published (thanks to her amazing publisher Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books!) you will understand why I loved it. So first let me tell you a little bit about what to expect

When the mother of an autistic young man hires a call girl to make him happy, three lives collide in unexpected and moving ways … changing everything. A devastatingly beautiful, rich and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.

Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.

When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

A topical and moving drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Link to her website –

Louise has posted a video explaining a little more about how she came up with the idea for This Is How We Are Human which you can watch here

And now for the cover….

Having read the book I have to say it’s just PERFECT!!

This Is How We Are Human will be published by Orenda Books in June 2021 so get it on your wish lists NOW!

The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry @RandomTTours

Today I’m sharing my review of The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater for my blog tour invite and review copy of the book.

Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer.

Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths. Soon they discover that the cause of the deaths has evaded detection purely because it is so unthinkable

The Art of Dying is the follow up to The Way of All Flesh so it may be worthwhile reading its predecessor before picking up this one, although the storyline itself is a standalone one. And it is once again set in Victorian Edinburgh, a city that has a history of being at the forefront of medical research and invention. I have a personal fondness as I studied in Edinburgh and have great memories of doing my human dissection in the wonderful buildings of the medical school there-I often felt like I gone back in time whilst in the very rooms that those medical pioneers also inhabited all those years ago.

Dr James Simpsons name is synonymous with the use of medical chloroform and it’s widely known that many who thought that they should have some credit weren’t particularly happy he was getting lots of attention. So when a number of patients across the city start dying, he is the one that others seek to blame. His protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah are determined to clear his name and find the real culprit but there could be an unthinkable reason behind the deaths and that is that a serial killer is hiding behind a respectable facade ready to strike again…

I loved being back in the company of Will and Sarah again. Lots has happened since we last met them-none of which I want to spoil for you! But they are united in their determination to clear Dr James Simpsons name even if it means facing a rather shocking conclusion about who is to blame for a series of unexpected deaths. I like Sarah and her involvement in the medical profession when women were still seen as second class citizen’s no matter how intelligent they were.

The medical details throughout this book have been well researched and often graphic but they show a true representation of the dark and disturbing side of the profession during the Victorian era. The scenes describing gynaecological procedures especially were macabre and terrifying in their intensity as were the vile acts performed by the murderer. Not a pleasant experience at times but one that was spine tingling in its authenticity.

I adored The Art of Dying-it is Scottish historical crime fiction at its absolute best. Beautifully written, bringing to life it’s fascinating subject matter with superlative skill balancing real life facts with fictional characters. And the ending left me wanting more in the future-Will and Sarah definitely have unfinished business to resolve! If you haven’t read much historical crime fiction then you need to pick up on this series-it’s brilliant and I can’t get enough of it!

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years’ experience, whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this series, which began with The Way of All Flesh, is based. The Way of All Flesh was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

The Art of Dying is the second book in the series.

The Captive by Deborah O’Connor @deboc77 @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be reviewing The Captive today as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for my review copy of the book and blog tour invite.

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

I’m still slightly in shock after reading this book as it’s such a wonderfully unique premise that has been executed perfectly by Deborah O’Connor to such an extent that if you told me that this was based on fact, I would have believed you! I’m hoping that this book is a runaway bestseller as it totally deserves to be on everyone’s reading list this year!

Hannah has a small cell in her kitchen which is about to be occupied for the next 20 years by Jem-the man who murdered her husband. In a near future, criminals are required to live with the victims affected by their crimes so that they can see how what they have done affects those they have harmed. And if that isn’t enough emotional stress for Hannah, Jem wants to convince her that he is innocent of the crime he has been found guilty of…

I loved this book so much! I was intrigued by how the relationship would work between captive and warder especially due to Hannah not feeling able to cope with her husband’s killer watching her every move. Her business is run from her kitchen-the very room he constantly occupies. The whole dynamic of the situation is so carefully layered with intricate details of how it works that I became fascinated by the whole ethos behind it. It’s such an original idea and the author has put a lot of thought into how everything would work for both parties, with the intimate setting growing into a very different story. When Hannah starts to be taken in by Jem, it’s so difficult to judge her as I think it would probably happen more than not if this system ever did come into practice!

The narrative itself swaps between Hannah and Jem with a few flashbacks into Jem’s past where a number of shocks await the reader-things aren’t always quite as they seem. So the storyline didn’t take the path that I was expecting, becoming a thrilling and suspenseful ride to a shockingly unexpected conclusion. There were certainly plenty of twists throughput that played out perfectly, delivering a stunning and highly addictive thriller to the very last page.

Deborah O’Connor has really surpassed my expectations here and I absolutely loved her last two books! The Captive is an emotional rollercoaster at times, beautifully written with a genuinely unique and powerful plotline that played with all of my emotions. Expect to see this one on my favourite books of the year list!

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer responsible for well-loved programmes such as ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ and ‘A League of Their Own’.  She lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and daughter. Deborah’s first novel was the bestseller My Husband’s Son, followed by The Dangerous Kind. The Captive is her third novel. You can follow her on Twitter @deboc77


The Dark Room by Sam Blake @samblakebooks @RandomTTours #thedarkroom

Today it’s my turn to review The Dark Room by Sam Blake as part of the blog tour. Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my blog tour invite and my review copy of the book.

Hare’s Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery…

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing.

New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner.

As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth

Oh I really loved this book! It’s a wonderfully immersive mystery that kept me guessing throughout with lots of twists and turns along the way to keep the action fresh and the dialogue interesting. But for me the setting had a wonderful charm that drew me in as soon as I arrived at Hare’s Landing-I fell totally in love with the place!

Both Rachel and Caroline end up at Hare’s Landing at the same time but for every different reasons-Caroline is escaping from a scandal at work and wants peace and quiet to reflect on her life whilst Rachel is following a trail left by a mysterious man who may have something to do with her partners “accident”. Both women narrate the storyline as they come together to solve the mystery of what happens at Hare’s Landing 30 years previously. And I liked both of these characters as their strength of character and determination to discover the truth came together to form an unlikely partnership alongside the wonderful Jasper (possibly my very favourite character in The Dark Room-he’s expertly crafted which is quite a feat that you’ll understand more when you read it!).

Sam Blake had delivered a creepy and intriguing book with a twisty storyline set in a vividly described setting. Hare’s Landing sounded beautiful and The Boathouse…who do I call to book it?! I want to spend my days there away from social media and phone reception but only if I can take Jasper with me!

The Dark Room is a real page turner-I just couldn’t put it down and Sam Blake is definitely a writer I’m going to follow in the future. Highly recommended by me!

Sam Blake has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book. Her debut novel ‘Little Bones’ (Bonnier 2016) was No 1 in Ireland for four weeks, remained in the top 10 for another four, and was nominated for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. It launched the bestselling Cat Connolly trilogy.

Moving away from police procedurals Sam is keeping a focus on strong female characters, writing psychological thrillers for Corvus Books. ‘Keep Your Eyes On Me’ went straight to No 1 in January 2020 and ‘The Dark Room’ is due in January 2021. Sam has recently signed for two more thrillers with Corvus Atlantic that will keep her busy until 2023.

Sam is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow mountains for more years that she lived in the UK. She has two teenagers, three cats and lives in a 200-year-old cottage with an occasional poltergeist who moves things at the most inconvenient moments.

Follow her on social @samblakebooks. Visit for news and events and get a bonus free short story in audio & text when you subscribe to her newsletter.