Sunday, 31 December 2017

Dark Skies (DCI Ryan #7)

Dark Skies: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 7) by [Ross, LJ]

Dark Skies is the next instalment in the DCI Ryan series.  We join Ryan and the team as he returns from honeymoon with Anna and on returning to the force, notes that a new DCS has been appointed.  That woman is Jennifer Lucas, a woman who has a past with Ryan, a woman who Ryan had a relationship with and who he escaped to the North East to get away from, a woman who is determined to cause problems amongst the solid team.

Dark Skies is set in Kielder and you are immediately transported to the area and thrown into a mystery and the discovery of a body of a young boy by a couple who were diving, as Anna and her students arrive at Kielder.  The body discovered appears to be a boy who disappeared over 30 years ago and looks like his body has been well preserved. 

We see that Lucas has an issue with Ryan, and is set on disbanding the team, a team that appears to be solid.  McKenzie is sent to Cold Cases, Philips and Yates are tasked with investigating the murder at Kielder and Ryan is shoved back behind a desk, whilst it seems that Lucas has plans for Lowerson but what are they?

However, all is not as it seems and we see the usual Ryan determination is back, he’s not the desk type of guy and if he was well Lucas would not be there!  Ryan is a hands-on type of detective, happy to be out in the field doing the investigations and sorting things out as Ryan does in his usual manner.  McKenzie isn’t happy investigating cold cases but ends up with her team as the book progresses for a completely different reason and if you want to know what that reason is you will have to read the book.

Great book as usual from L J Ross and I look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store, which hopefully is more great books.  

Mother - S E Lynes

Mother: A dark psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Lynes, S.E.]

This is the second book by S E Lynes I’ve read and after reading Valentina was itching to read the next book and when I knew it was being released was like a kid in a sweet shop!

Christopher is due to start University and on going into the loft for a suitcase to start packing to move, stumbles across information which leads him to find out he was adopted.  He always felt that something wasn’t right, he looked nothing like his parents and was treated so differently to his younger brother and sister.

Heading off to University in Leeds he makes it is mission to find his real parents.   

At this point we are treated to two different storylines, one where Jack the Ripper is around (and am sure many readers remember the news items that were around then, or if not have heard the reports) and the second story is Christopher’s story told from a third person perspective which took me a while to get to grips with.

Compared to Valentine (and I know I shouldn’t compare books) I found this a hard book to read and digest, many times having to put it down and try to work out the background story.  I did however continue to read this and WOW when I got about half way through I was hooked and things started to fall into place and I then found myself picking up the book whenever I had a few minutes spare to read and looking forward to my commute to work and lunch breaks. 

This was an excellent book and OMG what an ending.  Yet again S E Lynes had me doing an OMG OMG moment.   S E Lynes is an author who certainly knows how to get her readers hooked, drawn in and gripped.   
My thanks go to NetGalley, the author S E Lynes along with publishers Bookouture for allowing me to read and review this book

NYPD Red 4

NYPD Red 4 by [Patterson, James]

After reading NYPD Red books 1,2 and 3 I couldn’t wait to read the next instalment.

We are back with the Detective Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald in NYPD Red 4.  NYPD is a special task force assigned to New York’s rich and well connected.  This time the duo is sent to investigate a murdered actress and a jewellery heist both of which are connected.

They are also tasked by the Mayor to investigate another case, however, this one is hush hush and therefore has to run side by side with the murder investigation with no one able to know what they are investigating.

As well as dealing with the two cases, we are also thrown head long into Kylie looking for her husband Spence who has disappeared again and Zach trying to please the two women in his life, his partner Kylie (who is also his ex) and his current girlfriend. 

We are treated to the usual short snappy chapters that James Patterson does which has me as a reader constantly saying one more chapter which turns into God knows how many! 😊

I read this book as a break from my review books and one of my personal list – which I vow to do more of next year and thoroughly enjoyed this book as I have all the other NYPD Red books.  Roll on the next one. 

The Girl Who Came Back

The Girl Who Came Back: A totally gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won't see coming by [Wilkinson, Kerry]

As most of you know will be aware I am a huge fan of Kerry Wilkinson’s book especially the Jessica Daniel’s series so was thrilled when I was asked did I want to review this book and immediately said YES!!!

Olivia disappeared from her garden when she was 6 years old, no one saw what happened and it appears she was in the garden one minute and gone the next.  Her mother never gave up hope she would come home and when it appears that the young lady that has returned states she is Olivia her mother is obviously extremely relieved and happy to see her and is convinced it is Olivia but not everyone else is and a few people are set on proving that Olivia isn’t the real Olivia. 

We are treated to alternating chapters which is the “now” and the “then” which pieces together the story and keeps us guessing as the pages turn.  It can draw you in and keep you hooked wanting to turn the pages quicker and quicker.  It was a great read and one that had me hooked, not as much as the Jessica Daniel’s series but keen to see where the story was going nonetheless. 

There are the usual twists and turns that Kerry puts in to his books, which has you thinking you know what is happening and then somehow the rug is pulled from under your feet with another twist.    

I did however figure out what was happening as I got about half way through the book but this didn’t stop my enjoyment of this and all in all was a great read by Kerry Wilkinson who is one of my favourite authors.

Thanks go to Kerry Wilkinson for allowing me to read and review this ARC as well as the publishers Bookouture.

This review is my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Silver Wolf (James Ryker #3)

The Silver Wolf (James Ryker Book 3) by [Sinclair, Rob]
Silver Wolf is the next instalment following on from Red Cobra and Black Hornet and wow what a conclusion to the series (or is it?).

James Ryker is back, determined to find out what happened to Lisa and who is responsible for this.  He is tormented by the disappearance of his wife and sets out to seek out the truth. 

We are taken across to Mexico’s Caribbean coast and back to England (London to be precise).  I enjoyed this book and found the scenes set in London really enjoyable as I could relate to them and knew what and where they were on about.  I love books set in the UK and particularly books whose locations I know or would love to visit at some stage. 

As usual we are taken on a roller coaster ride with Ryker set on finding out what happened and yet still managing to get embroiled in the JIA!  We are aware of someone called the Silver Wolf, but who is he and why does he want to hurt Ryker.  Is he responsible for what happened to Lisa?    

The book is the usual faced paced rollercoaster of a read and one which kept me as a reader turning the pages faster and faster.  I loved these books and also the Carl Logan series and cannot wait to see what Rob Sinclair has in store next. 

My thanks go to Rob Sinclair and the publishers Bloodhound Books for allowing me read and review a copy.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Seven Suspects

I found this book quite difficult to read not sure if it was because of the subject matter or the style of writing.
We meet Bobbi Logan a successful businesswoman who owns a hairdresser that deals with celebrities and the wealthy. She is a woman who has been through a lot, was raped, involved in a murder investigation and also has undergone a gender transition.
Bobbi is being stalked and is always looking over her shoulder through sheer paranoia or is it?  She’s made a number of enemies and at her last count she says it was 6. We follow Bobbi as she is being stalked and get to know the real Bobbi, what happened to her in the past and the relationship that she has with her best friend and ex wife from when she was male.  He mistakes she makes and has made.      
However, Bobbi has a theory and thinks that someone somewhere is her seventh stalker.  She believes in the law of sevens and is adamant it is someone else. She sets out to do her own investigation and we are taken on a roller coaster of a journey.
The story is told from the first person and is from Bobbi’s point of view. There are great details given about the violence and rape and I found these a struggle to read.
My thanks goes to NetGalley and the publishers Oceanview for allowing me to read an ARC of this book. This is my honest unbiased opinion. 

The Detriment

THE DETRIMENT: A compelling detective thriller based on true events (DI Jake Flannagan Book 2) (DETECTIVE INSPECTOR JAKE FLANNAGAN SERIES) by [Videcette, David]

DI Jake Flannagan is back in the Counter Terrorist Dept in Scotland Yard after a break following the last case.  This book sees up pick up some months later after The Theseus Paradox and if you haven’t read the first book, it would help you to read that before this if only to understand the characters.  With regards to the story it can be read as a standalone book.

We see ourselves 2 years after the 7/7 bombings with Jake having to take a bit of a side step and be under someone elses command, but still determined to be at the forefront of investigations and turning up as one of the first DI’s to the scene of a nail bomb planted outside a night club, a Jeep having been driven into Glasgow airport and a spy that has turned up dead.  Is there a connection between these incidents, will Jake be able to solve these incidents?

We meet the usual characters of Lenny (Jake’s sidekick) Claire (Jake’s on off girlfriend) and also get to meet a new DI called Mark Castle. Castle is a character that got under my skin and I wanted to grab him by the shoulder and shake some sense into him, which to me means the author has done a great job in describing him to annoy readers.   We also can’t have anyone upsetting Jake, can we?

Jake can see Castle isn’t all he cracks up to be and knows there is more to him than meets the eye and in usual Jake style becomes embroiled in investigating in the way and manner we know and love, setting out to annoy Castle and do what Jakes does best.

This was a page turner of a book and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for our loveable DI Flanagan.
Thanks go to the author David Videcette for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book

Two Sisters

Two Sisters: A gripping psychological thriller with a twist by [Wilkinson, Kerry]    Two Sisters
Two sisters by Kerry Wilkinson is completely different form the Jessica Daniels series and as most people know I’m a huge fan of those books.
Two sisters is a story about, well I think you can guess really.
Megan and Chloe recently lost both of their parents and venture to the cottage their parents have in Whitecliff, a place they haven’t been for a number of years.  A place that holds memories good and bad.  Megan the eldest sister is very keen to return to the cottage after receiving a postcard with “Z” written on the back.  Who is Z?  Could it be from their older brother Zac who mysteriously disappeared whilst they were on holiday in their cottage?
We are told the story of Megan and Chloe through alternating chapters, about Megan’s search for the truth about Zac and what happened to him and if he is still alive.  We learn about the real Megan who has an eating disorder along with various other issues and about her Chloe and the issues she has.
In the village that their parent’s cottage is in, we get to know two sets of people, one set who live in the village all year round who Megan feels knows the truth about Zak and the other set who are holidaymakers who visit every summer, some of them being there when Zak disappeared.  Surely one set must know what happened!
I enjoyed this book and found it was completely different to Kerry’s other books. It had me gripped from the first few pages and was such a good thrilling read.
My thanks go to Kerry for allowing me to read and review this book.  My review is my own, honest unbiased opinion.     

Friday, 29 December 2017

The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet

The Frozen Woman

A young unknown woman savagely murdered and her body dumped in a retired lawyers garden, left to freeze under some bushes.

The young woman does not appear to be native to Norway, but so far there are no clues to identify her, her nationality and her purpose for being in the country. The sticky tape residue on her body and her wounds, point the local police to look at her being a drug courier.

A local lad who is on the outskirts of a bike gang is killed in a motorcycle crash, but further investigation point to this being a deliberate sabotage.

Is the retired lawyer under suspicion for the murder of the unknow woman? What are his connections to the bike gang?

A good story with enough twist and turns / surprises to make the book a good read.

For me there was slightly too much background stories going on to take away from the main  why did he need to know the history of the statue that Stinbolt was looking at through the window? Why did he need to know exactly when Stinbolt was looking on his computer and how that tied him out with his essay from school?

I feel and know more about Norway history now but did it really add anything to the story.
My thanks go to the author and publisher No Exit Press for providing me with a copy of this book.

The above review is by Debbie Ramsden - guest blogger. 

Serenity Avenged (#3 - Shelby Alexander Thriller)

Serenity Avenged is the 3rd book in the Shelby Alexander series, but despite being book 3 can be read as a stand- alone book.
I’ve had this book in my to review pile for months, however, it had unfortunately got moved towards the bottom and was only on sorting my review list that I realised it had escaped me.  However, I soon sorted that out and can only kick myself for not reading this sooner!
Shelby visits his daughter who is due to have a baby, only to end up assisting his ex-wife Helen who has got into a bit of trouble with what seems to be a loan shark, trying to recoup the money that has been loaned to her, however, not all is as it seems, and the one who is chasing for the money is only a monkey, in the chain.
The henchman or leader of the pack is not as soft as we find out.  We follow Shelby and his friend Mack on a rollercoaster of events to save his ex-wife (who I think he still has feelings for).  As Shelby and Mack race against time they end up with help from an unlikely source.
My thanks and apologies go to the author Craig Hart for providing me a copy of this book to review, I’m only sorry it took me so long to read.
I have now however purchased the other books and once I’ve caught up on my reviews they will be moved to the top of my TBR pile.                       

Handcuffs, Truncheon and A Polyester Thong

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong was a fantastically funny, highly entertaining and had so many laugh out loud moments which caused some strange looks when reading on public transport. Luckily for me I had a journey to Kent via car to enjoy this book with a hubby who was subjected to my laughing episodes and asking what I was laughing at and therefore I was reading bits to him to explain!
This book is about a single mum who has a dream to join the police and the trials and tribulations that happen whilst she pursues her dream. We follow the days leading up to police training, whilst at the academy and what happened afterwards.
This book has so many laugh out loud moments and to describe these would spoil the book. It therefore is definitely a book I would recommend and kept me wanting to read to the end in one continuous period.   It was just a pity that daily things got in the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be keeping an eye on this author as I can’t wait to see what other book are lined up.            
Great laugh out loud book. 
My thanks go to Urbane Publications and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  My review is my honest and unbiased opinion. 

 Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong: The perfect laugh-out-loud comedy by [Kirkham, Gina]

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Extract from Just One Time

Just One Time
The first novel by K.S. Hunter, the alter ego of an international bestselling author, whose identity will remain a secret.

Desire can have dire consequences
Two years ago, David Madden made a mistake that almost cost him his marriage. His wife, Alison, gave him another chance, but she has not forgotten, nor has she forgiven.

She is irresistible
Then David meets the alluring Nina at a theatre in London. When he loses his phone in the dark, she helps him find it, and by giving her his number he unwittingly invites her into his life.

What David initially views as an innocent flirt turns into a dangerous game of deception. His increasingly suspicious wife thinks something is up, and each lie he tells pushes them further apart.
She is insatiable

Nina pursues David relentlessly, following him to New York where she gives him an ultimatum: sleep with her, just one time, and then she’ll get out of his life forever; or she’ll ruin everything he holds dear.
She is unstoppable

Of course, once won’t be enough for Nina, and what David hoped would be the end is merely the beginning.
A modern-day Fatal Attraction, Just One Time is a steamy psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath until its shocking conclusion. 

Praise for K.S. Hunter
‘An author to watch out for – always interesting and unpredictable’ Sophie Hannah

Today I am honoured to be taking part in the Blog Tour for #JustOneTime by K S Hunter.  My thanks go to @rararesources for inviting me to take part

Now if that above wasn't enough to tempt you, I have a extract which will definitely tempt you and make you want to click, buy and read and then when you have read it make sure you leave a review!

Extract from Just One Time by K.S. Hunter, Chapter Two

I arrived home just under an hour later. I parked in the driveway, locked the car and walked to the front door. A three-bedroom semi-detached property, only five years old, in St Albans, an expensive but attractive small city just north of London.
We moved into it when it was a new-build, when we’d just got married, when everything was fresh and exciting, before I ruined it for us by sleeping with a colleague who then didn’t take too kindly to me saying it was a mistake and that it shouldn’t – no, couldn’t – happen again. Who then spilt the beans to my wife, tore apart my marriage and almost permanently destroyed it. I fought for it, was desperate to save it, but merely managed to clutch hold of its separating ends.
As a result of my actions, our marriage was held together by Velcro and had remained that way for the past two years. An angry wife, an unforgiving one, one who remembered my actions and responded to my betrayal in every look she gave me, in every word she said to me, in every movement she made around me. She ensured I recognised her feelings of betrayal, endlessly. And I was tiring of it, but I knew that only I was to blame for the state of things.
I opened the front door of what was supposed to be our dream home. As I stepped in, I realised I’d forgotten to buy some flowers on my way back. Flowers for Alison. The house was dark inside, which suggested that my wife was already asleep. So gloating about the play would have to wait until the morning.
I grabbed myself a beer from the fridge and quickly drank it. I checked the back door was secure, the front door was locked, and went upstairs, heading straight for the bedroom.
My wife was indeed asleep, perched on her side as if she were speaking to my horizontal form beside her. Only I knew it was unlikely that she’d speak to me while in bed, for in bed we did little together, rarely even talk – one of the many consequences of my actions two years ago.
I removed the wallet and phone from my pockets and placed them on the chest of drawers, then pulled off my trousers and shirt. Keeping hold of them, I left the bedroom and went into the bathroom, which was down the corridor, where I put the clothes in the washing basket and hopped into the shower.
Ten minutes later, refreshed and with teeth brushed, I returned to the bedroom.
My wife opened her eyes, sighing angrily, loudly, exaggeratedly. ‘Do you have to make so much fucking noise?’ I knew that if I answered back, telling her I was being as quiet as possible, which was the truth, she’d only become incensed, raging more and more, louder and louder, until she was fully awake, unable to fall back to sleep, and then she’d blame me for waking her and for keeping her awake.
So I merely whispered, ‘Sorry.’
‘So fucking noisy.’
I retreated to the bathroom, hoping that if I gave her a few minutes alone she’d relapse into sleep and I’d get a reprieve. I heard her voice, no doubt swearing even more and becoming further incensed because of my inconsiderateness, while I moved along the corridor. I couldn’t make out any of her words and simply chose to sit on the toilet until I heard no more, before returning to the bedroom.
When I decided to see if the coast was clear, I switched off the light and crept back into the bedroom. I breathed easy when I saw she’d fallen back to sleep.
To my right, on the chest of drawers, my phone, whose case lay open, lit up. I walked over to it and picked it up. Glanced at the screen. A text message. From a number I didn’t recognise.
I opened the message. It was great to meet you tonight, David. Thanks for such a special time.
Movement from the bed startled me. ‘Will you go to fucking sleep?’ my wife, who’d stirred because of my movement, said through gritted teeth. Quickly and instinctively, without thought or hesitation, I deleted the message and closed the phone.
I slowly and quietly got into bed.
Another sigh from my wife. ‘You’re so fucking noisy all the time.’ I was expecting more, but there was a pause. Then, some moments later, ‘Who was that from?’

Fuck you, I thought but didn’t vocalise.
Now wasn’t the time to explain my whole evening to her, especially not when she was in one of her agitated I’ve-been-woken-up-who-do-you-think-you-are moods. Especially when she’d spoken to me like I was a piece of shit, again. ‘Just one of those Vodafone surveys,’ I lied. ‘Nothing important. Deleted it.’
She put her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. ‘Well, do it quieter. You always make so much bloody noise.’
‘Sleep well,’ I said in a mock, calm tone, suspecting she might not nod off, awaiting a possible restart of her tirade if she couldn’t get back to sleep.
I closed my eyes, but as soon as my mind returned to the message I’d received, they sprang open.

I didn’t tell her my real name, did I? I didn’t tell her my name’s David. I wanted to get up and check the phone, but I dared not move for fear of setting my wife off again. Did I?
No, it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t want to risk it. I’d check in the morning.

If I didn’t tell her, how does she know my real name?

Author Bio – K.S. Hunter is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author. The identity of the author, who lives in the United Kingdom, will remain a mystery.

Don't know about you, but that sneaky peak has made me want to read more and I can't wait to read this book.  Seriously need to make sure I set some time aside to read this book.

If you are tempted then the links are below for you to click and buy.

Purchase from Amazon UK
Purchase from Amazon USA
Purchase from Kobo

Social Media Links –

If you want to read some more reviews, then why don't you check out some of the bloggers who have already reviewed the book.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Extract of The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland.

Today I am lucky enough to be able to share with you an extract from The Secret Mother by Shalini Bolan.


Shalini Boland

 Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’


‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.
I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Don't know about you, but that extract has made me want to read more!  If the same applies to you then click on one of the links below and grab yourselves a copy.  It's due for release on 9th November 2017 and you wouldn't want to miss out!   


Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.
Not anymore.
She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.
After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…
A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

'Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am. I literally could not put it down!!!! The story line and the twists and the way it's written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it's going I couldn't read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant and an end I didn't see coming. This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I'm usually never surprised by an ending, but this one blew me away. I am totally in shock and think I'll have a hangover from this book for a while. A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word.’ Stacey Harrell, Goodreads 

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author… massive five stars from me.’ Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club, 5 stars

‘The ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down.’ For the Love of Books, 5 stars

‘The plot is gripping and once you've started reading, you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end.’ Bits About Books, 5 Stars
... one of the most chilling reads of the year for me.’Ajoobacats Blog, 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down!’ Bookishly Ever After, 5 stars
‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it's one of the best I've read. It is full of suspense and has more twists and turns than a fairground ride.’ Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club, 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the jaw dropping moment happened!... unputdownable!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the twists and turns… an outstanding explosive read!’ Mello and June, 5 Stars

'Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was fast paced and intriguing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars