Review: Verity – Colleen Hoover


Colleen Hoover


Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408726600

RRP $32.99


Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My View:



Unreliable narration.

So many surprises.


Psychological suspense.


Domestic Noir with many twists.


Post Script: Liar’s Candle – August Thomas

Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Liar’s Candle

August Thomas

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978 1 4711 6703 4



In this brilliant debut thriller, set in the US embassy in Turkey, one young woman finds herself at the centre of a deadly plot and marked for death … An intelligent, fast-paced spy novel for fans of Olen Steinhauser and Joseph Kanon.




Penny Kessler, a young intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, wakes up in a hospital on the morning of July 5th to find herself at the centre of an international crisis. The day before, the Embassy had been the target of a devastating terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Penny’s friends and colleagues. Not only has a photograph of Penny emerging from the rubble become the defining image of the event (#TheGirlwiththeFlag), but for reasons she doesn’tunderstand, her bosses believe she’s a crucial witness.


Suddenly, everyone is desperately interested in what Penny knows. But what does she know? And who can she trust? As she struggles to piece together her memories of the event, she discovers that Zach Robson, the young diplomat she’s been falling for all summer, went missing during the attack. Now his boss at the CIA, Christina Ekdahl, wants people to believe that Zach was a traitor. Only one person stands in her way: Penny. And Christina will do anything to silence her.


In a race to keep from being killed and to uncover the truth, Penny reluctantly partners with Connor Beauregard, a rookie CIA officer on his first overseas assignment. But the two won’t survive unless they can outwit – and outmaneuver – everyone from the Turkish president and his daughter to Islamic extremists, to the US State Department, to the CIA itself.


Praise for Liar’s Candle


“Stunning…a novel that brings the le Carré and Follett traditions into the 21st century.  Breakneck pacing, sharply observed detail, an all-too-plausible plot, and a protagonist to cheer for’ Joseph Finder


‘A high-energy thriller…The tension and relentless action ratchet higher from the very first chapter to the climatic ending as one terrifying escape follows the next and everywhere friends and foes change places. Thomas has eerily evoked not only the intrigue and brutality of terrorism in Turkey, but the country itself’ Paul Vidich


‘Tightly-plotted, well-written, and astute, Liar’s Candle is a remarkable debut’ Lisa Unger


‘August Thomas is a fresh, exciting new voice in international thrillers’ Chris Pavone


‘A propulsive, heart-in-your-throat thriller that’s loaded with unexpected twists and turns…. LIAR’S CANDLE is a shockingly good debut novel’ Daniel Kalla


My View:

What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? Only that the accolades are well deserved: this book is an outstanding read and if you love a fast paced, action packed, trust no one type of intelligent thriller – well then this book is for you.  So credible, such an authentic voice, I loved every word on every page.



Post Script: The Telling Error – Sophie Hannah

The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah

Hachette Australia

Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 9780340980767


Queen of psychological crime Sophie Hannah returns with a new literary mystery that’s impossible to solve…

Stuck in a traffic jam on her way to deliver her son’s forgotten sports kit to school, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer. He’s stopping all the cars on Elmhirst Road one by one, talking to every driver. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and takes a long and inconvenient detour, praying he won’t notice her panicked escape.

He doesn’t, but a CCTV camera does, as Nicki soon finds out when detectives pull her in for questioning the next day in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.

Nicki can’t answer any of the baffling questions detectives’ fire at her. She has no idea why a killer might sharpen nine knives at the murder scene, then use two blunt ones to kill, in a way that involves no stabbing or spilling of blood. She doesn’t know what ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ means, or why the murderer painted it on the wall of Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain her desire to avoid Elmhirst Road on the day in question without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.

Because, although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent…


My View:

The introduction to this psychological mystery had me intrigued – an ad from the Men seeking Women section on a website called Intimate Links UK –heading – Looking for a Woman with a Secret. This was intriguing and further the ad went on to describe an actual murder…even more intriguing!  However it took me a little time to warm to this narrative – after this enticing intro I found there was a lot of info that for me did not connect to the narrative for a very long time…however once I made the connection I was hooked.

I really felt for the protagonist Nicki Clements – she was able to express in her emails to her cyber lover so many cohesive, pertinent thoughts and emotions; the sub text was so revealing and worrying, I really felt for the child Nicki, her pain and trauma was very convincing and so very sad, the effects of her childhood abuse so very telling.

The underlying theme about social media, online ‘adventures’ or cyber-sex was very very interesting; when navigating  cyber space do we really ever know who we are connecting with? Be very wary.

This narrative showed such great insight into the human psyche, the need for connections and unconditional love, the need to be trust and to belong…the more I think of the nuances of this story the more I understand; this author has great psychological awareness and she is able to weave this awareness seamlessly into a murder/mystery. A great read.

Post Script: Night of Reunion – Michael Allegretto

Night of Reunion

Michael Allegretto

Open Road Integrated Media Road

ISBN: 9781480462793



At Christmas, a psychotic killer returns to torment a happy family


After her release from the hospital, Christine drives straight to Colorado. The heat in her car is busted and her clothes are thin, but Christine doesn’t mind the chill. She is going to find Alex, and when she does, she will have vengeance to keep her warm. Years ago, after giving up her son for adoption, this delicate young beauty flew into a fit of jealous madness, killing her child and his new mother. The boy’s adoptive father, Alex, got away. He did not go far enough.

Living in Denver with his new wife and her six-year-old son, Alex is happy for the first time in years. When he learns of Christine’s release from the hospital, the police assure him that she won’t be allowed to harm his new family. But when strange things start happening around their rambling old house, Alex begins to fear that Christine is closer than he thinks.



My View:

Allegretto is the master of creating suspense and tension.  This novel starts of slowly, providing plenty of details of a cosy life, a happy family, a peaceful existence, and then it explodes with fear and apprehension. The reader sits in the background screaming – Get out! Get out of the house! What a great device to create tension – the reader is privileged with information about the villain; knows of her existences, her whereabouts, her plans, the cat and mouse games she is playing with the family. The reader knows where she is hiding. The family are oblivious. The tension just keeps ratcheting up. A great psychological drama unfolds.

Post Script: In The Blood – Lisa Unger

An incredible psychological drama!

In the Blood

A Novel

Lisa Unger


ISBN: 9781451691177




LANA GRANGER LIVES A LIFE OF LIES. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to control­ling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her where­abouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

Lisa Unger’s writing has been hailed as “sensa­tional” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News), with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). Masterfully suspenseful, finely crafted, and written with a no-holds-barred raw power, In the Blood is Unger at her best.

My View:

Mysterious, full of plot twists and turns, lies, secrets and more lies…don’t believe that anything is as it first appears.

WOW! That pretty much sums up how I feel about this book and this author, WOW! This was an incredible read – I am giddy with anticipation and apprehension from the journey I have just taken on this twisty winding road that travels through a countryside littered with broken people, broken lives, lies and deceit. This was one rollercoaster of suspense and intrigue; in the end I could not trust anything that I had read…so much of my understanding of this narrative was turned on its head so many times…just incredibly well written and thought out. Love , Love Love this book and will definitely add this author to my must read list

Post Script: Good as Gone – Douglas Corleone

Thrills, spills and action aplenty.

Good As Gone

Good as Gone

Douglas Corleone


Pan Macmilan Australia



Former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk works as a private contractor, tracking down and recovering children who were kidnapped by their own estranged parents. He only has one rule: he won’t touch stranger abduction cases. He’s still haunted by the disappearance of his own daughter when she was just a child, still unsolved, and stranger kidnappings hit too close to home.

Until, that is, six-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears from her parents’ hotel room in Paris, and the French police deliver Simon an ultimatum: he can spend years in a French jail, or he can take the case and recover the missing girl. Simon sets out in pursuit of Lindsay and the truth behind her disappearance. But Lindsay’s captors did not leave an easy trail, and following it will take Simon across the continent, through the ritziest nightclubs and the seediest back alleys, into a terrifying world of international intrigue and dark corners of his past he’d rather leave well alone.

My View:

This was a particularly fast paced, action packed adventure that hooks the reader with a tale of kidnapping that criss-crosses continents, visits flash night clubs and seedy backstreets and the dens of drug dealers, pimps and other assorted criminals. Along the way Corleone manages to make references to many contemporary social and health problems; the major health issues in Russia since Chernobyl, drug use, poverty, and the rise of child pornography and crimes against women to name a few.

This narrative has an interesting core, a story of corruption, greed and moral and ethical questions that will become evident in the final chapters (no spoilers here). If you like your action at break neck speed then this book is for you.

Post Script: Solo – A James Bond Novel – William Boyd

Action and thrills aplenty.

Solo, William Boyd

Solo – A James Bond Novel

William Boyd

Jonathan Cape

Random House

ISBN: 9780224097482



It’s 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.

Bond’s arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.

Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon.

My View:

This is a well written thriller with an intriguing narrative and plenty of action, politics, plot twists and turns. I think it is important to remember whilst reading this that Boyd’s voice is constrained by the existing patterns and templates of the previous James Bond novels – he is stylistically obligated to keep to the existing pathways and negotiates this quite well. It must be very difficult for a writer, even for such a talented one as Boyd to follow someone else’s schemata and stick to known traits, characterisations and plots.

Although this book is set in 1969 the politics of oil are just as relevant today and with a few changes to contemporary fashion and media this could be a book set in the now. I found this point very interesting; broadly speaking the world is still focussed on oil rights and power this resource generates as evident in this novel.

This novel is intriguing, exciting and fast paced. Bond is the classic hero – smart, attractive, resilient, is able to make quick decisions and is able to make the best out of the worst situations.   In this novel I feel he shows more of his humanness, his flaws – his reflections on his time as a commando in the Second World War, his reactions to the sadistic behaviours displayed by the opposition, his anger and subsequent reactions to one of the significant characters death… his protectiveness towards his housekeeper…all make Bond a better man. However there is one character trait that made me feel very uncomfortable – his overt sexuality, his attitude towards the women in this book are deplorable, Bond’s first impressions of the women he meets are as potential sexual partners –   but I realise this is just another “pattern” that Boyd is forced to work with, this overt sexuality is a Bond trademark, a pity Bond hasn’t been allowed to grow out of this. Oh well it must please the diehard fans but not me.

In all this is a great mystery/thriller.

Post Script: From A Dead Sleep – John A Daly

From a Dead Sleep

John A. Daly

BQB Publishing

BQB Publishing

ISBN: 9781937084547



Few residents in the small, secluded mountain town of Winston, Colorado, have kind words to say about Sean Coleman. He’s a bully, a drunk, and a crime-show–addicted, armchair detective with an overactive imagination. After a night of poor judgment, Sean finds himself the sole witness to the unusual suicide of a mysterious stranger. With the body whisked away in the chilling rapids of a raging river, no one believes Sean’s account. Tormented over the doubts and mockery of the people of Winston, Sean embarks on a far-reaching crusade that takes him across the country in search of the dead man’s identity and personal vindication. At the end, he hopes to find redemption and the truth—but sometimes the truth is better left unknown. There are times when the truth invites evil. There are times when the truth can get you killed.

My View:

A thriller that packs a punch!

This was a very exciting debut novel from John A Daly. This novel packs a lot of jaw dropping action into its well structured narrative – a narrative that gives life to the myriad of characters that inhabit its pages and provides plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you glued to the pages.

I like that the protagonist, Sean Coleman, is flawed and is not the handsome mesmerising playboy or the angst filled detective you find in so many works of crime fiction. Coleman’s life attitude is shaped by many depressing and sad experiences; his father deserted the family when he was a child, he has few if any friends, he is an outcast, the adult Coleman leads a hand to mouth existence, he is ridiculed and excluded from the social networks of the small community he lives in. Coleman is his own worst enemy- he drinks too much, he takes poor care of his health and life, he lacks confidence and has lots of regrets. However during the course of the narrative Coleman’s strong points are slowly revealed; his acute powers of observation, his diligence and strong sense of justice that drive him forward on this case. As Coleman grows in confidence we get a sense of a shift in attitude that empowers and has the ability to change Sean Coleman’s life for the better. Let’s hope so.

I did enjoy this read, it had plenty of excitement, car chases, gun battles, murders and mysteries a plenty. I like the character development – I feel I could recognise the characters in this novel if they were to step out from the page. This a great work of crime fiction from a debut author. Please check out the book trailer at: and check out John’s website: to learn more about this author.


Post Script: Cross and Burn – Val McDermid

Cross and Burn

Val McDermid


Atlantic Monthly Press

ISBN: 9780802122049



McDermid is as smooth a practitioner of crime fiction as anyone out there. . . . She’s the best we’ve got.”—New York Times Book Review

Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid’s work speaks for itself: her books have sold millions of copies worldwide, won numerous accolades, and attracted a devoted following of readers around the globe. Her latest, Cross and Burn, picks up where The Retribution left off: following the best crime-fighting team in the UK—clinical psychologist Tony Hill and police detective Carol Jordan—who when we last saw them were barely speaking, and whose relationship will now be challenged even further.

Guilt and grief have driven a wedge between long time crime-fighting partners psychologist Tony Hill and ex-DCI Carol Jordan. But just because they’re not talking doesn’t mean the killing stops.

Someone is killing women. Women who bear an unsettling resemblance to Carol Jordan. And when the evidence begins to point in a disturbing direction, thinking the unthinkable seems the only possible answer. Cornered by events, Tony and Carol are forced to fight for themselves and each other as never before.

An edge-of-your-seat page-turner from one of the best crime writers we have, Cross and Burn is a chilling, unforgettable read.

My View:



Exciting, pulse racing tension packed pages of pure brilliance! This is a wonderful work of crime fiction that continues on from the explosive novel, The Retribution, however any fan of the TV series Wire in the Blood, of Val McDermid or of crime fiction in general will not have any problem reading this as a standalone.

It is a great police procedural, and a classic page turner, and the tension evoked is so real it can be measured – on a scale of 1 to 10 – this is a 10! For me this should have been a quick one night read, the first page was fraught with knowledge that no good was going to be happening, that something evil was about to explode on  the pages, doom was approaching , and fast  and by about page one hundred and twenty my pulse was racing and my imagination was in overdrive. I had to put this down, immediately. I couldn’t read any further. It took me several days to be able to pick up this book again and then only in daylight.

This is a story that will jolt all women, mothers, daughters, and sisters…female friends… into thinking closely about their personal security. How easily did this evil, sadistic villain mange to stalk and capture the objects of his desire; too easily. (I know this is fiction but it could easily be fact) I think, on one level, we are  far too complacent about our personal security and space, I think the majority of us think like McDermid’s character , Tony Hill, that if you are innocent and good  all will be ok, if you do no harm no harm will come to you, in truth the world doesn’t work that way, I doubt it ever did. Not enough people share the path of goodness and good intentions, or as the old missive suggests, share the view that we should treat others how you wish to be treated our self, which allows those with other less desirable intentions to escape our notice.  Take heed and notice what is happening around you. And enjoy this, the scariest read of the year.


Sneak Peak: I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

I have been fortunate to be asked to participate in a  blog tour launched by Random House Books Australia for the above book.

It is being marketed as “the breakout thriller for 2013.” And guess what? It is! All the hype that comes with this book is true!!!

AT the moment I am 250 pages into the 703 pages of the book – and I only put it down to go to bed last night and even then I did not stop thinking of all the possibilities for what is coming next. I cant wait to start reading again today but know once I pick it up I will be totally involved in it again ( there goes the possibility of doing anything else today). 🙂

Please look out for this book – full review  and author interview to follow next week. 🙂