Book Reviews

My Book Deal

My Book Deal

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed a three book deal with Bookouture for my new crime series, featuring DS Ruby Preston. This will take me up to six books published with Bookouture, and I couldn’t be happier to be working with such a fantastic team.

It’s been an exciting week as the third in the DC Jennifer Knight series, The Silent Twin has been released for pre order on Amazon. Lots of people have asked me if I plan on adding any more books to the trilogy. Never say never is my answer, it’s quite possible that I will be lured back into the dark side of Haven one day.

Having said that, I’m really excited about introducing DS Ruby Preston into the world. This is a straight crime series, with no hint of the supernatural, however it is dark, gritty and still carries my signature ‘creepy crime’ style of writing. Based in Hackney in London, this series comprises of some very rich characters, and I draw upon my personal experiences in the police to provide the gritty authenticity of someone who has experienced the darker side of human nature.

I adore DS Ruby Preston as she’s unlike any character I’ve written. She adapts a work-hard-play-hard attitude, and is fiercely protective of her team. Ruby doesn’t break the rules, but has been known to bend them, and is the most unconventional police detective I’ve written. I’d love to tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil the story, so do sign up for my newsletter where you will be updated with further news.

My Book Announcement

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My Book Announcement

I’m so excited to announce that book three of the DC Jennifer Knight series is now available to pre-order. Twins have a special meaning for me. Growing up with an identical twin for a mum, I was able to see her special relationship with her sister first hand. When I met my husband Neil, I was pleasantly surprised to discover he was an identical twin too. I’ve been fascinated ever since. With book three in the DC Knight series, I wanted to pull something entirely different out of the hat. I’m satisfied I’ve accomplished that with The Silent Twin. Researching the plight of missing children in the UK was a harrowing but necessary task. As a police officer, I’ve dealt with plenty of cases involving missing children and high risk missing people. As a mum of four, I see it from a different viewpoint. I dread to imagine the sheer panic parents feel when their child disappears. Yet I have come to learn that not all people react as you would expect. And some families hold secrets. 

The Silent Twin can be written as a stand alone novel, or part of the series. Like to know more? Here it is:

I’m alone in the dark, please can you find me …

Nine-year-old twins Abigail and Olivia vow never to be parted. But when Abigail goes missing from Blackwater Farm, DC Jennifer Knight must find her before it’s too late.

Twin sister Olivia has been mute since Abigail’s disappearance. But when she whispers in Jennifer’s ear, Jennifer realises it is Abigail’s voice pleading to be found.

A damp and decaying house set in acres of desolate scrubland, the farm is a place of secrets, old and new – and Jennifer must unravel them all in order to find the lost girl. But could Olivia’s bond with her twin hold the key to finding Abigail? And can Jennifer break through her silence in time to save her sister’s life?

A darkly gripping, page-turning thriller that will enthrall fans of Rachel Abbott, Alex Marwood’s The Wicked Girls and Mark Edwards.

The Secret Behind Don’t Turn Around

Don’t Turn Around – The Countdown Begins!

There’s just two days to publication for the first in the DC Jennifer Knight series, and I can’t wait! Early Goodreads reviews have been amazing, and lots of people have pre-ordered the book already. This week I was thrilled to receive my paperback copies, and I’m sure you can tell by my happy face pictured below that it was quite a momentous occasion.

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The Secret Behind Don’t Turn Around

What you may not know is that there is a secret behind the inspiration for the DC Jennifer Knight series. I am also a police officer, and like my main character, I have also experienced the terrifying world of the paranormal. Don’t Turn Around is set in the fictional town of Haven, a place where nothing ever happens, apart from the usual petty crime. Jennifer complains she is bored, but she soon regrets her words as she is flung into a world where nothing is what it seems.

Just like Jennifer, I was thrown head first into the paranormal. Suddenly our house became a playground for an unknown entity that had the power to smash our crockery, throw knives, light fires, growl, moan, and physically prod and scratch. Sound far fetched? Perhaps. But it happened to me, and it prompted me to write my true story, Paranormal Intruder.

Terrifying Events

Writing my true story was harrowing, and there were chapters I wrote with tears in my eyes as I recounted the terrifying series of events. But as time went on, my husband and I learned to deal with what was happening. Writing my story was one of the things that helped me to cope. Paranormal Intruder was published, but I did not stop there. I imagined how much more fun it would be to write a fiction series, with a character I could empathise with, to weave my own experiences of the police and paranormal into the story.

Unprepared

DC Jennifer Knight is completely unprepared for what happens to her, just as we were, and there are times she feels very alone as she doesn’t know who to trust. Like us, she meets people who don’t believe her, but as we did, she also finds her true friends, people who believe her long before they see it with their own eyes.

Don’t Turn Around is mainly a crime thriller with paranormal threads running through it. Crime readers have said it is a mix they would never have considered before, but are now hooked. Paranormal readers found the crime element intriguing. At only 99p to buy on Amazon, you can’t lose.

Here are some of the fantastic reviews we’ve earned so far:

From the first line it had me hooked. Renita D’Sylva, Bookouture Author

Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell is a completely new take on police procedurals. She combines both her knowledge and skill of police work with the dark, frightening world of the occult. DC Jennifer Knight is a brilliantly written character who battles to investigate a series of seemingly unrelated deaths, with one foot in each camp. The daily grind of being a police officer is skilfully interwoven with her chilling beyond the grave experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more about DC Jennifer Knight. – Lisa Cutts, crime author

If you like your crime books dark, creepy, engaging and with a touch of the supernatural then this is for you.- OMG That Book.

This is a fantastically written story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I really didn’t want to put it down and was gutted when it ended. – Dawn Carol Taylor

Veiled in unseen danger and untouchable panic, Don’t Turn Around was absolutely fascinating. With a brilliant cast of crime characters, and a plot that was enough to make me feel dizzy, this was a compelling book that I just couldn’t get enough of. – Becca’s Books

Have you had the opportunity to read Don’t Turn Around? I’d love to hear from you. Post your questions and comments here.

Book Review – Normal

Normal by Graeme Cameron

Wow. I feel like I have a book hangover after reading this book. It was amazing, like nothing else I’ve read this year. I love originality, and it is one of the reasons I love Stephen King so much. When you pick up one of his books, you know you are reading something not replicated elsewhere, and this is how I felt about this debut novel by Graeme Cameron.

I almost didn’t read this book. The first few lines took me aback and as much as serial killers fascinate me, I don’t like gore. As I read on I realised I was wrong, and this wasn’t a slasher killer novel at all. It is in fact a cleverly written insight into the mind of a killer. An ordinary man, someone you could walk past on the street, or buy your newspaper from in the morning.  It feels wrong on so many levels, as you find yourself having empathy for the killer, someone you should abhor. Graeme does this by using humour and complicated relationships with other people to draw you into his world. It becomes a read you just can’t put down and I’m very grateful to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a preview copy.

The only downside is that sometimes it felt a little disjointed. There were times when I wasn’t sure what was going on, and had to concentrate to get back into the story. You are given the tiniest insight into his background, and I would have loved to have known more. But that’s minor compared to the story on a whole, and the very vivid descriptions given which made you feel like you were there. I have found a new author to follow. I will certainly read Graeme’s next book and wish him every success.

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Book Review – The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

I enjoyed this very original story which I downloaded on audio book for my morning commute to work. There was something very surreal about listening to The Girl on the Train as I travelled to work, allowing my own train journey to draw me into the lives of Rachael, Megan and Anna. Rachel’s character was written in great depth, so much so I found myself liking her despite all her self imposed problems and insecurities.

I got through this book very quickly and it kept me captivated throughout. The only thing I will say is that this is not my normal genre and I usually read fast paced crime thrillers or Stephen King novels. I’m not sure this book would have kept my attention as well if I had bought it in paperback form, and it was partly due to the fantastic narration that it kept me listening into the wee hours. I would recommend to anyone wavering between audiobook and paperback to go for the audio version. The plot was good, I guessed the ending three quarter ways through but this is not your classic whodunnit, to me it’s all about the characters and how their relationships interact, develop and change as their worlds collide. There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and it is very well deserved. It’s very cleverly written and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

The Girl on the Train

Book Review – Silent Scream

Silent Scream ticked all the boxes for me. Debut author Angela Marsons has done a terrific job of bringing the characters to life. DI Kim Stone is a character I will follow for as long as this series continues, and the relationship with Bryant and the rest of her colleagues really drew me in. I found it very hard to put this book down. Each chapter leaves you wanting more and I love the way Kim’s harrowing past is revealed over the course of the book, no information overload here, it gently leads you into her past, and is so beautifully written with depth which brought a tear to my eye. But don’t think this story is slow, not by any means! It’s a gripping story and the ending will leave you flabbergasted. I expect great things of Angie Marsons and am not surprised to see the early success of this thrilling book. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Synopsis

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Silent-Scream

Available on Amazon and all platforms. Click on the image to purchase.

 

Book Review – Eeny Meeny

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Book Review – Eeny Meeny

This book was recommended to me by a friend and I can see why. I have a weakness for a good crime thriller and this did not disappoint. It’s definitely a page turner. The short chapters and numerous hooks kept me reading into the wee hours.
It is not a police procedural as such, but it does not advertise itself as one and it was so well written that did not matter anyway. The protagonist DI Helen Grace makes for a strong character, and without wanting to spoil the story, I would have liked to have seen more development between her and her colleague DS Mark Fuller. You can’t help but root for the underdog, and Mark Fuller had more than his fair share of problems. Without wanting to spoil the story, it races from one incident to another as unwitting victims find themselves held captive with one choice before them; kill or be killed.

I can see why Eeny Meeny has been such a success, the name and cover alone sparked my interest from day one. I enjoyed reading about the other characters plights, and it lent some great background to the story. Be warned it does get a bit grisly at times. I don’t enjoy gory horror films but I love psychological thrillers, so I was quite torn! I enjoyed it so much I bought the kindle version after I returned the paperback to my friend.
Would I recommend it to others? Yes definitely. I could see this being made into a film one day, and I was not surprised to read of the author’s extensive history in television. A cracking read, not for the faint hearted!

About the book:

Eeny Meeny is the rocket-paced serial-killer thriller debut from M. J. Arlidge.

The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found – and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind?

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die . . .

Introducing M. J. Arlidge’s Detective Inspector Helen Grace. Eeny Meeny is an electrifying debut, with the nerve-shredding intensity of Saw and Along Came a Spider. Fans of James Patterson and Mo Hayder should pay attention.

 Click on the book to view on Amazon:

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Book Review – The Ghost House

Book Review – The Ghost House

I first came across Helen Phifer’s ‘The Ghost House’ while looking through new publishing imprint ‘Carina’, who publish a variety of books of various genres. Like me, Helen is a member of the police constabulary, and her experience lends a richness and authenticity to her writing.

Annie Graham

The story focuses around Annie Graham, a police officer who is on restricted duties after being assaulted by her abusive husband. After leaving him to start afresh, she agrees to help her brother by looking after his farmhouse while he is away. She finds herself becoming attracted to an old mansion in the woods, which reveals its past in the form of a diary by former resident Alice. While trying to solve past murders Annie is unaware that a present day killer is on the hunt, and she may well be his next victim.

Love Interest

This makes great women’s fiction as there is also love interest in the form of colleague Will Ashworth, and the banter between them reminded me of my own characters in my forthcoming Jennifer Knight series. I also love the cross genre of this book, which ranges between horror, crime and romance. Helen does a great job of interweaving the past and present, and her descriptive narrative really brings you back to the spooky old house of yesteryear. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next in the series, ‘Secrets of the Shadows.’

About the book:

There’s nothing much that scares Annie Graham. Not even the horrors she has witnessed during her years in the police force. When she agrees to look after her brother’s farmhouse, she finds herself drawn to the crumbling old mansion in the woods nearby. But an innocent exploration of the empty ruin and the discovery of the diary of former resident Alice leaves her more than a little spooked. She knows it holds the secrets to a dark past, and she has to find out more.

What was the terrible truth that Alice uncovered? And how could what happened to her over 100 years ago help solve the murders of young women in the town?

Annie needs to stop the serial killer before she becomes his next victim – but the past comes back to haunt her in ways she could never have expected.

Get the book:

The Ghost House

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

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The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

I heard about this book on Facebook and was intrigued by the synopsis. I found I could not put it down, and I read it in a few days. I was very moved by the story and contacted the author, Annie Kagan on Facebook. I was pleasantly surprised to get a speedy response from a lovely person that seemed very in tune with the world.

Not Your Average Story

This is not your average ‘life after death’ story. Unlike many books on the subject, the author has not had a near death experience. The story comes through communication with her brother who passed away in unfortunate circumstances. It’s an unusual concept I’ve not heard before, although psychics claim to communicate with the dead all the time, the author is not a psychic. She is just an ordinary person trying to come to terms with her brothers death.

“Turn to nature to pardon some of the difficulty you have to bear. Nature has more light than anything else on your planet.” – The Afterlife of Billy Fingers.

Reviews

I have read the reviews for ‘The Afterlife of Billy Fingers’ and while most of them are good, there are some that criticise, saying it’s too hard to believe and the thoughts of someone sitting in the clouds looking down is ridiculous. What I would say to these people is that they are taking it too literally, and looking at it from the viewpoint of where they are now. I dare say Annie seen her brother that way, but it didn’t actually mean he was physically sitting in a cloud like a genie. I take it to mean that it’s how she interpreted it, just as psychics are shown things and given messages, it doesn’t mean it in a literal sense, it’s how it was shown to them. People need to stop thinking as they are and think with the mindset that anything is possible. Maybe not in our physical narrow minded earth view, but in the broader sense as we are when we pass on. I feel we are very much blinkered in this life and it’s only when we open our minds and our perspectives that we experience much more.

Paranormal Intruder

While the experiences conveyed in my book ‘Paranormal Intruder’ were frightening and much more literal – chairs physically moving, knives being thrown – I also encountered some positive spiritual experiences, some too difficult or personal to put into words. I commend Annie Kagan for being brave enough to come out to the world with her story. I know it is not easy, but I am happy to see she appears to have a lot of support. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the afterlife, spiritual people, or those with a very open mind. Personally, I believe when we pass on we are initially treated in line with our own spiritual beliefs, so no two experiences may be the same. Having said that, most of the books I have read all have a common theme of love, energy and a positive presence, which is very comforting indeed. There are some real gems in this book and it is well written. I will no doubt read it again.

 

Click on the book to see it on Amazon:

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Over to you. Have you read the book? Have you experienced an NDE or communications from a  loved one on the other side? Comments are most welcome.

Pictures: Courtesy of the author.