Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Gone by Leona Deakin

Today is my final blog tour for 2019 and so close to Christmas I am certainly ending on an absolute cracker as I play host to Gone by Leona Deakin.

Synopsis

Four strangers are missing.

Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic, and psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom is persuaded to investigate. As she delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.
And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the puppeteer. But is she playing into their hands?

An addictive debut thriller with an ingenious hook that turns the missing person plot on its head

– what if the missing people are the dangerous ones?

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My thoughts

This was a very, very enjoyable read.  I have to say I am mightily impressed that this is a debut and rather excited that it kicks of the start of a series.

Right from the very first page this novel had a grip on me and I honestly found it hard to put down.  Daily life became frustrating as I was constantly on the lookout for my next opportunity to read, even waking up extra early to read.  The structure and plotting is superb and the twists and turns of the story executed with a expert hand.

The story begins with a crime scene.  A victim lies on the floor, life slowly ebbing away.  With him are two school girls.  At this stage we’re unsure what happened but the event leaves us with a feeling of unease. Something isn’t quite right and one of the young girls is sent to see Dr Bloom.  Alongside this runs what appears to be the main plotline of the disappearance of a young mother. Lana disappears without a trace on her birthday.  The only clue that remains is an unsigned birthday card simply stating ‘YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.  DARE TO PLAY’.  As Dr Augustus Bloom and her partner Marcus Jameson begin to investigate it becomes clear that there are more disappearances and that the danger doesn’t lie with the missing people but is closer to home.

Exciting, fast-paced and with an very engaging detective team this is definitely a series to watch.  I can’t wait to read more. There are also reading group questions at the back and a sneak peek at book 2.  Thankfully the second novel is not too far away, with Lost due to be published in 2020. 🙂

Gone was published by Black Swan (Transworld Books) in paperback on October 3rd. Also available in EBook.

Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

About the author

Unknown-1Leona Deakin

Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.  Gone is her debut thriller.

You can follow Leona on Twitter at @LeonaDeakin1

You can follow Transworld Books on Twitter at @TransworldBooks

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Suspense, Thriller

Blind Witness by Vicki Goldie

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Blind Witness by Vicki Goldie, the first novel in The Charters’ Mysteries Series.

Synopsis

In 1922 a blind WWI veteran and former intelligence officer attends a weekend with his aristocratic wife and her family at a country house in the New Forest, Hampshire. Fourteen people sit down to dinner on the Friday night; by the end of the weekend there are tow murders, an attempted murder and a suicide.

This is book one in a series of humorous murder mysteries and introduces young sleuths The Hon Melissa Charters and her war veteran husband Major Alasdair Charters.

The pair collaborate using Melissa’s powers of observation and Alasdair’s old skills gained in the Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the events unfolding over the weekend. A murder mystery, with a spy plot told from many different points of view in the tradition of Simon Brett, M.C. Beaton and Kerry Greenwood.

My thoughts

Major Alasdair Charters returned from the First World War without his sight. What happened the night he sustained his injury is unknown but there is something about it that still doesn’t sit well with him. Relieved to be alive and yet feeling much less of a man, he has struggled to come to terms with being looked after by his young, long suffering wife, Melissa Charters. He wonders why she is still with him and fears it may be more duty and pity than love. Melissa, however, adores her husband and wants nothing more than to remain by his side. If only she could lift his war battered spirit. After much patience on her part, he finally relents and agrees to escape the safety of their London flat and accepts a weekend visit to her family house in the country. A house that has also seen it’s own loss during the war. Melissa’s family have been summoned by her uncle, Brigadier Ferguson and his wife, Lady Honor. At first it seems like an innocent reunion but before the first night is over a murder has been committed and everyone in the house is a suspect. Could there be evil lurking within the family or could the small number of other guests, strangely invited considering it is a family gathering, have something to do with it? Desperate to discover the killer and prevent further crimes Alasdair shakes off his sense of uselessness and with Melissa by his side the two delve deeper into family and war time secrets – secrets that someone will resort to anything to keep quiet. Alasdair may be blind but his mind (and hearing) is still sharp as a tack and with Melissa as his eyes the pair may just get to the bottom of the mystery.

I am a big fan of crime novels and in particular the style of Agatha Christie, the original Queen of the murder mystery. She was of course a master creator of character and could find evil in the most mundane of situations, creating a thrilling read along the way. Her novel always entertain and thrill/  Blind Witness provided me with a welcome return to this gentle, yet intriguing style of crime novel and an interesting debut. I found the central characters interesting and I feel there is still a great deal to be seen from them. This is an engaging read and I feel that it shows a promising start to the series. I hope that we discover more about Major Charters and his wife. They make a good team and I look forward to revisiting them again in the second novel of the series.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour and to Vicki Goldie for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I wish you all the very best with the series.

About the author

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Vicki Goldie

Vicki worked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in Bournemouth and Poole. There she enjoyed arranging and attending writing courses and author events, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon and Peter James. With the Reading Agency and other librarians round the country she reviewed and selected books for The Radio Two Book Club. All the time writing away in her spare time.

Born in California but brought up in England she was introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother. She is married to a blind physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the twenties and thirties.

She has always had a fascination with the Art Deco period and the Golden Age of crime writing. She has been filling her house with Art Deco inspired artefacts and clothing for 40 years. 

Blind Witness is her debut novel and is the beginning of the Charters Mysteries Series featuring Major Alasdair Charters and The Honourable Melissa Charters.

 

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Thriller

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the outstanding Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver.

Synopsis

A shocking, mesmerisingly original, pitch-black thriller, which, following the critically acclaimed Good Samaritans, confirms Will Carver as one of the most imaginative, innovative and exciting authors in crime fiction.

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge.

They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths.

Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event.

Two of them will be next.

By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

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My thoughts

So, take a crime thriller,  someone is murdered and then a determined and quietly brilliant detective will investigate, leaving  no stone unturned as they work towards bringing the killer in, hopefully avoiding further deaths in the process.  Now turn that idea completely on it’s head and you might come somewhere close to Will Carver’s latest offering, Nothing Important Happened Today.

This novel is unlike anything I’ve ever read.  It was certainly gripping but oh did I find it an uncomfortable (yet wonderful) read.  The power of suggestion is alway slightly unnerving and yet, in reality, we are surrounded by it every day – every time we turn on the TV, open a newspaper or simply, innocently scrolling through the tiny screens that have become almost a part of our very being. It’s tricky to talk in too much detail without giving the plot away but in a nut shell Will has created a modern psycopath who uses the mind as a tool for their killing.

This is very much a crime story for the world we live in today.   There is no evil lurking in the shadows here, theyr don’t even have to lay a hand on their victims. The killer is subtle in their method uses the victim’s weakness against them as he drives them to their undoing.  They don’t want to die, of course they don’t, that’s what makes it so thrilling for our killer but somehow they just can’t seem to step away from the edge.

There is bucket loads of suspense following the victims as they go about their everyday lives and yet on one particular day, just one tiny thing changes and suddenly they are in mortal danger, from themselves – all quite brilliantly orchestrated by this unknown leader (and they didn’t even realise they were in a cult).

It is actually a rather brilliant novel.  The style is unique and Will has the ability to hit the nail on the head with modern society and what makes us tick (or not) as human beings. It’s almost a bit of a wakeup call.  He uses social media within the story to show how an idea can spread and how our perception can be manipulated.  It’s rather unnerving to say the least, yet there are even further ways to reach the inner workings of our minds, as our killer shows us.  This is a superb example of an author watching the world around him, looking deep and showing us how it could be, how it is.  His ending is, I think rather superb and incredibly satisfying.  Read this impressive piece of fiction and look at your world around you…perhaps turn off your phone for a bit and take back your mind.  You never know it might just save your life.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the wonderful team at Orenda Books for my review copy.  As always, they and their authors make me look at the world around me in a slightly different way.

About the author

1Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series.  He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction, Psycological Thriller, Thriller

Violet by S J I Holliday

Today I’m so delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the stunning new novel by S J I Holliday, Violet.

Synopsis

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

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My thoughts

I absolutely loved The Lingering which I was lucky enought to review last year.  It was a brilliantly chilling novel and so I was super excited to receive a copy of Susi’s next novel, Violet This story is very different but doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Violet explores the darker side of friendship where  obsession and desire become deadly and it will certainly leave you with a deep sense of unease.

Violet and Carrie are both travelling from Beijing to Russia. Both are looking for adventure and fun. But one is looking for something more and she doesn’t like it if things don’t go her way.  No, she doesn’t like it at all. The story mostly comes to us through Violet’s viewpoint and it serves well to build a portait of both girls. Both girls have their secrets and Susi does a brilliant job of keeping the tension running throughout.  One of them is extremely dangerous though and isn’t who she says she is.    I absolutely loved the twists and turns, Suzi’s prose is brilliant and she is master of suspense.  We never really know what lurks beneath the surface of anyone and this novel is a prime example that you should always be weary of strangers (and friends).  You never quite know what they are capable of.

Absolutely brilliant, Susie is a true master of the psychological thriller.  Her stories take us on dark journeys with complex, terrifying characters that you just can’t help feel compelled to follow into the unknown.  I can’t wait to see where the darkness of her imagination takes us next.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  Thanks also to the lovely people at Orenda Books for my review copy.  I always know I’m in for a treat when an Orenda title arrives at my door.

About the author

1-5S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawingon her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

You can follow Susi on Twitter at @SJIHolliday

About the publisher

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with aheavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.

Find out more by visiting their website www.orendabooks.co.uk
You can follow Orenda on Twitter at @OrendaBooks

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Thriller

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson.

Synopsis

The third book in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, featuring true-crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy.

Previous titles in the series, Block 46 and Keeper, have won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balaid’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards and sold in 19 countries. A French, Swedish and English TV series is in production, adapted by and starring award-winning French actress Alexandra Lamy.

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…

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My thoughts

Back in April 2018 I read and reviewed Keeper, the second instalment in the Roy & Castells series.  I absolutely loved it and so have been waiting in anticipation to see what would come next.  Johana Gustawsson is fast becoming one of my favourite crime writers.  She just sweeps me away with the story.  These ain’t no light hearted old fashioned crime novels.  They reach right in and grab you by the heart.  She brings the horror of the past into our modern world reminding us that these events remain with us, that the effects are still being felt.

The backdrop may be Franco’s dictatorship in which so many suffered and died but Johana shines a light on the evil amongst us that feed off of those darks times to satisfy there own ends.  Within her novel we see the pain and suffering of the innocent at the hands of those who should be sheltering and protecting them.  There were times when I wondered how one human being could do something so hideous to another.  There are parts that are quite distressing but Johana does not embellish or glorify those.  She brings them to the page with an eloquent, expert hand.  The historical aspects are brilliantly portrayed as she focuses on the effects on the everyday people, the victims of the heinous times. Do monsters breed monsters or are they living within us waiting to be unleashed.

Johana’s novels have strong, smart and professional female protagonists.  I like them very much.  There is a tenderness behind their steely professional exterior that add an interesting dimension to the story. After Aliénor’s family are brutally murdered profiler, Emily and writer, Alexis set out to track down the perpetrator.  Is it a serial killer satisfying a sadistic need or is there a more personal motive behind the killings?  We move back and forth between the present and the past as the crime takes us from Sweden to the blood soaked streets of Franco’s Spain.

I really can’t praise this highly enough.  It is a superb, engrossing read.  I am normally a lover of a paperback but on this occasion I was oh so grateful to be reading it on eBook so I could read on into the night whilst the rest of the house slept.  If you haven’t discovered this series yet then I strongly urge you to seek it out. I really don’t think there is an absolute need to read them from the start to finish but really, they are all fantastic so why stop at just one.  I’m excited to read that a TV adaptation is underway. I think it could make for some very exciting viewing.  Now I just need to to wait for the next novel…I do hope there is going to be one.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  I haven’t read one book by this publisher that I haven’t loved and this one is right up there with the best. They are an amazing team and their translators are heroes, bringing the authors stories to us and capturing every nail biting moment perfectly. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

About the author

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone.  This is an absolute must read for lovers of psychological thrillers.

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Synopsis

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive
and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

My thoughts

‘Superb’ springs to mind when I think of how to describe this novel.  It’s an absolutely chilling read and right from the moment John discovered that single, mysterious shoe I was absolutely enthralled with the story.  Any parent will admit that a child disappearing is their worst fear.  never knowing what happened to them?  How can anyone deal with such a thing?  And yet there is so much more to this story then that.  The mystery surrounding the family is intriguing and throughout the novel a darkness is hinted at with whispers of memories hidden, memories that are bound to erupt above the surface leaving catastrophe in their wake.

John is an interesting character and you know that there is so much going on there, he is struggling with something but he doesn’t know what.  All he knows is that drink and avoidance keep him sane. He craves normality.  A good job and a woman to love but something is holding him back.  The self destruct button is never far away.   Life begins to spiral out of control as he begins to investigate a brother he has no memory of.  So what happens when the memories can no longer be avoided, what happens when they begin to return?

This was a fantastic page turner and one that I really didn’t want to put down.  Another fantastic novel from the team at Orenda Books and another author that I can add to my ‘must read!’ list.

Thank you so much to the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.  Another absolute cracker you guys!

About the author

1-1Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Thriller, Uncategorized

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Synopsis

The victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara is determined to fight for her. Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?

Thrilling, brave and explosive, Take It Back is a masterclass in storytelling and will hold you in rapture until the final, breathtaking page.

My Review

This is a fantastically written taut drama that had me gripped right until the very end. Brilliantly plotted and structured throughout this is an absolute corker of a novel.

Zara Kaleel is a damaged character in herself. She fights against so many hurdles; her family honour, religion and ultimately her own guilt. She turned her back on a successful career as a barrister because she wanted to make a real difference and help people. Yet this latest victim may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is a very complex issue and is so much more than an accusation by a girl against four boys, this is an accusation of a white disabled girl against four muslim boys. In helping Jodie, Zara is seen as turning against her own but all she cares about it bringing justice for the victim.

Author Kia Abdullah highlights so many issues in the novel. Jodie is a disfigured young girl and so doubt is instantly placed on her claims – why would four, handsome young men attack her? Throughout the novel there is a shadow of doubt over both sides of the stories and it brilliantly highlights how difficult such cases are to take through the courts. This is a complex case that sends waves of conflict beyond the local community, including Zara’s own family. Kia manages to put in plenty of twists and turns, and I have to say the ending was rather superb.

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Many thanks to the lovely people at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me the review copy for an honest review. They have a fantastic selection of novels being published this year so do check out their website via the link above.

About the author

Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer. She has contributed to The Guardian , BBC, and Channel 4 News, and most recently The New York Times commenting on a variety of issues affecting the Muslim community. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, which receives over 200,000 views per month.

Visit Kia’s website at Kiaabdullah.com