While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Tara’s life is turned upside down when she wakes in her neighbour’s bed. The fact that he has been brutally stabbed to death makes matters worse and Tara does the only thing she can to protect her family; she runs. When the lies begin to flow, it’s hard to know who to trust but the desire to protect her family remains her priority.

Tara is a very ordinary woman with easily relatable conflict within her family but her daughter Rosie’s antics threw me off the scent every time. This thriller tricked me by constantly making me think I could solve the mystery only to dash my hopes and produce new or conflicting evidence. The brilliance of bringing a new suspect into the light at intervals kept the story fresh and interesting. Croft has a unique style, and I found it refreshing.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

While you were sleeping

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The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

Cass’s life had been wonderful until that fateful night but when she chooses the shortcut home, it changes the course of her life. Between the menacing calls and the constant forgetfulness, Cass doesn’t know where to go or who to turn to but she knows that she can’t keep her secret for much longer.

This thriller comes from a fragile woman’s point of view and it is terrifying because the reader feels Cass’s vulnerability and loneliness. It is an uncomfortable read which all thrillers should be and it certainly builds in suspense as the story moves forward.

I found the ending very satisfying, and I was quite relieved when Cass started eating again because food and drink had featured so prominently in the beginning. I like Paris’s ability to keep you guessing until the end.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Breakdown

Only the Innocent (DCI Tom Douglas #1) by Rachel Abbott

Hugo’s wife, Laura, is the prime suspect for Hugo’s murder but she has a watertight alibi. The closer Tom gets to the case the more he realises that Hugo wasn’t the hero he was portrayed to be and any number of people would have good cause for wanting him dead. Can he solve the case and locate what Hugo has been hiding all this time or will his attraction to the suspect cloud his judgment?

I am already a fan of Tom Douglas having read the series out of sequence but aside from a few issues I’ve managed to keep up. Now that I’ve read the first book everything had slotted into place.

Abbott doesn’t choose light-hearted subjects, in fact, she takes the grittiest, most uncomfortable subjects and explores them in detail. Her detective style leaves you dangling in suspense until the very last minute, after the thrill of the ride, where you finally catch your killer, or not.

Abbott’s characters are realistic and have the regular flaws but they are also full of hope and love which balances the darker side to her subjects nicely. Tom’s vulnerability keeps me wanting to read because I genuinely like the DCI and he gives the reader a reprieve from the depravity of Abbott’s villains.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Only the Innocent

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

While Amy is suspended in a long-term coma Alex struggles to go from day to day without letting her alcoholism take control of her life. When she stumbles upon a story far more exciting than the one her editor is expecting she reawakens a chance to solve Amy’s cold case.

This psychological thriller works backward from Amy’s narration and in the present from Alex’s. The parallels between them slowly close in as their lives become entangled together. Not only is Alex getting closer to the truth, but she begins to understand her own illness. The novel feels like it is two stories pulled together and it works. Alex’s struggle with alcohol reminds me of The girl on the Train in some ways and it highlights the problems that surround the topic.

I’m giving this book four stars because although I really enjoyed it I would like to have known more about the emotional and psychological state of the attacker.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Try not to breathe

My Sister and Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall

When Sam’s sister is brutally attacked and left for dead Sam begins a perilous journey to solve the mystery denying herself food in the process. The journey takes her to places that no child should visit, but she’s not finished. Only from the relative safety of the Ana unit can she fully understand everything that has happened and finally learn to forgive herself.

This is a disturbing and emotional story told in a unique way. Sam’s emotional strength goes hand in hand with her physical fragility causing a juxtaposition within herself. The story delves into some of the darkest subjects imaginable and the innocence of Sam, Jena, and even Rob creates striking characters in a world of pain.

The story is a coming of age novel with a thriller setting and a detective narrative. Dugdall has created something dark, beautiful, and most of all memorable.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

my sister and other liars

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Grace thinks she’s found the dream man and is eager to begin her dream life. She doesn’t see what’s in store for her and she doesn’t hesitate to hand her life over to someone who will crush it irrevocably. The question is can she protect Millie from what’s coming?

This thriller was sickeningly tense. I found it an uncomfortable read which is exactly what I want from a thriller. Jack’s control was frustrating as were any attempts of Grace’s to save herself. The book disturbed me.

Paris kept the pace slow and smooth throughout the whole book which really helped to keep the tension and the non-linear construction meant that we were teased with the truth finding out details in slow, well thought out chunks.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Behind Closed Doors.jpg

See How They Run by Tom Bale

When Harry and Alice are woken in the night by intruders of the worst kind they are sent spiraling into panic and fear but that is only the start of it. The men were looking for a package that was sent to someone called Renshaw, a man who is about to take Alice on a terrifying journey into an underground network of criminal activity of the worst kind.

This thriller is intense from the start and very uncomfortable. Bale isn’t shy about telling the whole story including the gory details. The characters are well-crafted and humanly flawed, they could be anyone and that’s what makes the story so disturbing. The inclusion of an eight-week-old baby heightens the fear factor and leaves the reader biting their nails.

The plot is brilliantly woven, tense and fairly fast-paced. The detail in the most terrifying parts of the story slows it down so we can really appreciate the horror of those parts. Bale really knows how to make you question the idea of safe spaces.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

see-how-they-run