The Woman Next Door Cass Green

Melissa and Hester have lived next door to each other for years. When Melissa’s daughter was younger, Hester was almost like a grandmother to her. But recently they haven’t been so close. Hester has plans to change all that. It’s obvious to her that despite Melissa’s outwardly glamorous and successful life, she needs Hester’s help. But taking help from Hester might not be such a good idea for a woman with as many secrets as Melissa…

This is a dark contemporary psychological thriller, there’s no doubt about that. At times the antics of Heather and Melissa are so outrageous it takes your breath away and at others they make you smile wryly. But no matter how weird the characters are, or the plot becomes, this book works on many levels. Cass Green’s writing is superb, but am I the only one who thinks this book is reminiscent of the monologues in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads? Or am I showing my age?

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The Assistants Camile Perri

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful. But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid. She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts. Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.

What happens next is sort of predicable, but it’s what happens after that and after that etc that makes this such a fun read. With lots of humour, twists and turns this is a great easy read novel. Pack it in your beach bag! Darkly humorous.

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The Stepmother Claire Seeber

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships. No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work. And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.

The tension in this book is palpable and it proved to be a great read. I was unsure what to expect after all the hype the publishers created around the book, but Ms Seeber pulled it off with aplomb. Jeanie is portrayed as ordinary really, easily manipulated and someone who likes to think the best of people. But this story shows us how such trust and naivety can go spectacularly wrong and that secrets can eat you from the inside out.

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The Woman in Cabin 10 Ruth Ware

This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship. A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship. Except things don’t go as planned.

To me this read like a cozy mystery. It wasn’t the blockbuster, page turning thriller it was billed as, but it was a good mystery, likeable and an easy read. Just don’t take the book too seriously and you’ll enjoy it. If you like dark gritty realism then this isn’t the book for you. If you like flawed heroines trying to make the most of a bad job, then grab a copy now.

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The History Major Michael Phillip Cash

After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday.

And indeed they’re not. Amanda has to learn to face up to her problems and past behaviours, but the clues are subtle and as a result she blunders around until the climax of the story.

Well written and interesting up to a point, but I’m glad it was only a novella. I felt this was the right length. Any longer than that and the narrative would have been teetering on navel gazing.

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