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4 stars

Doll Parts – Azzurra Nox – BLOG TOUR

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I’m excited to be part of another blog tour. I don’t do many of them… Only if the book really appeals to me do I get involved. And the cover grabbed me from the start with this one. Thankfully I enjoyed Doll Parts, these three dark stories of twisted love from Azzuria Nox.

Doll Parts Goodreads Summary:Doll Parts - High Resolution

A haunting trio of short stories about love, obsession, and secrets. Each short story is titled after a song, The National’s Apartment Story, Placebo’s Scared of Girls, and Skunk Anansie’s Post Orgasmic Chill.

Apartment Story 
A lonely married woman nostalgically rekindles a friendship with a former lover and the apartment they shared. Dark secrets and mysteries surround the apartment building and its new tenants that delve deep into the woman’s psyche and prove to be fatal.

Scared of Girls
A glamorous go-go dancer and a failing university student are bound by a dark secret that may change their fates forever. 

Post Orgasmic Chill
The destinies of a cynical rock star, a groupie, an arrogant DJ, and naïve university student intertwine in a rainy London that serves as the backdrop to their tormented lives. Secrets and lies coincide in this dark tale of love gone wrong.

Hauntingly spare, beautiful, and twisted, Doll Parts is a disquieting and at times darkly morbid collection of short stories about normal people who suddenly discover their own dark possibilities.

Review:

Firstly, the cover of Doll Parts is fantastic! When I first saw it I was compelled to check it out! I feel the cover gave a fairly accurate indication of the mood of the three stories. Especially the second story.

There are three short stories in this book. Their names are all based on songs. I wasn’t sure if the author got inspiration from the songs themselves, or merely the name of the songs, but I thought it would be fitting to listen to them in combination with the stories. Music is obviously very important to the author and I’m pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed them. Especially the Skunk Anansie album – I haven’t listened to them in years!

Apartment Story: I enjoyed this little story. A bored married woman finds herself speaking to an old lover, who wants to rent out an apartment that she owns. Temptation follows, however then her ex lover disappears… I loved the feeling of the story, the angst of the main character in her dull life and the opportunity to rekindle something that was lost. I admit I was disappointed by the ending. I really wanted more answers, however I think I get what the author was trying to do with it.

Scared of Girls: This was my favourite story in the book. I really enjoyed the twist, even though I saw it coming. I wont give a story run down of this one because it will give it away. It touches on subjects of homosexuality and transgender issues. It had a bit of violence but ultimately was really beautiful in the end. Makes you think about love in a whole different way. I loved that.

Post Orgasmic Chill – This was my least favourite of the stories… I thought it was clever intertwining all the different characters together. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting it to be quite so graphic, and I’m afraid the relevance of the graphic scenes, was a bit lost on me. I think I just failed to see the point of it. I’m imagining its about what constitutes fidelity, but I’m still a bit confused to be honest. And the pregnancy and abortion storyline lost me also. Perhaps it was just about how completely stuffed up all their lives were at the time… And what turned me off the whole story was Lux. The whole thing left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth after the two previous stories.

Overall Doll Parts was written really well. I enjoyed the music references and the stories flowed well. The first two stories were really enjoyable and I especially would have liked to read more about the first story. I really wanted to know what happened. It also made me want to get out my old Marilyn Manson CD’s which are lost somewhere. Thankfully there is spotify!

The characters in Doll Parts were all original and even though a few of them were not likeable, they were still all interesting to read about! I will be interested to check out the authors other work!

This book is definitely not for readers under 18.

Overall I enjoyed it. I would recommend it for fans of darker stories, who are not afraid to read about controversial issues, and are ok with graphic scenes including a disturbing rape scene.

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

ADD TO GOODREADS

AMAZON US | AMAZON AU

About the Author:

Born iAzzura Noxn Catania, Sicily, she has led a nomadic life since birth. She has lived in various European cities and Cuba, and currently resides in the Los Angeles area. Always an avid reader and writer from a young age, she loved entertaining her friends with ghost stories. She loves horror movies, cats, and a good rock show. She dislikes Mondays and chick-flicks. CUT HERE, her debut paranormal urban fantasy was inspired by a nightmare the writer had a few years ago. Some of her favourite authors include Anne Rice, Oscar Wilde, Chuck Palahniuk, and Isabella Santacroce.

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Lost Girls – Angela Marsons

Lost Girls

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Fast paced is right! The latest in the D.I. Kim Stone series starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up! From the first gripping page you are hooked! Lost Girls is a fantastic read!

Kim Stone is back again after two young girls are kidnapped. One of the mothers asks for Kim directly to get her daughter back. But why did she ask for Kim? What history do they have? And is Kim going to be able to find both the girls when she discovers that the kidnappers have previously taken two young girls, and only one was returned?

Totally gripping from the start to the end. Thought it was fantastic!

If you haven’t read the previous two Kim Stone novels, its not a necessity – however I feel that you will not grasp the entirety of Kim’s character, and why she is the way she is, if you don’t read the others. Especially Evil Games.

Kim, what can I say about her? I have totally warmed to her character in the last two novels. I really enjoy her escapades and the way she works. I love her team and love her lack of social skills! I think she is fantastic! I only wish for a touch of romance! That’s the only thing that I feel has been missing from the series. We had a glimmer in each book, but that was it.

Lost Girls is really well written. Easy and quick to read and its not easy to put down!

My ONLY criticism is something that is totally my fault… I guess I read so many thrillers and ‘who-done-it’s’ that I always guess who the bad guy is. And this one was a bit too predictable for me. I knew who the uber bad guy was straight away, and even in the parrallel storyline I guessed who the perpetrator was straight away. I must say I was disappointed that I was right. HOWEVER it didn’t take any of the fun away from the story. And hopefully others will be more surprised.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! It was a really enjoyable read!

Many thanks to Angela Marsons and the publisher Bookoutre via NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

If you enjoy this book you may enjoy:

Evil Games    little black lies    the girl with no past

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Evil Games – Angela Marsons

Evil Games

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Evil Games is the second book in the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons. Admittedly the first in the series was not my favourite book. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it – I read it before I started blogging my reviews so I actually can’t remember what it was about it that didn’t totally grab me. It seemed to grab the majority of my reading buddies who rated it extremely highly.  I wasn’t against reading the sequel, but it wasn’t on my list of priorities. However when I kept seeing phenomenal reviews for this and the third instalment “Lost Girls”, it sparked my interest again. When a few trusted book friends suggested that I give Kim Stone another shot, they convinced me. And I’m extremely glad they did!

Detective Inspector Kim Stone is back in this fabulous psychological thriller. Stone investigates the murder of a convicted rapist. Something doesn’t quite add up when they find the perpetrator, and trusting her instincts, Kim investigates deeper and gets more than she bargained for when she is faced with an extremely intelligent and difficult adversary, who is manipulating mentally vulnerable people to do their bidding.

I am really enjoying the depth of Kim’s character. Gradually we are learning more and more about why she is the way she is. Her childhood is explained in a lot of detail in this book and we begin to understand the horrors of her past. I’m extremely glad I read the second book before the third one, even though I have heard it is great as a stand alone. I also enjoy her interactions with other characters. I remember one of the things I didn’t like about the first book was the lack of… I was going to say “romance” but that’s not the word I am looking for, I guess tension or chemistry with Kim. There was a female teacher in the first one and someone else if I remember correctly, and in this one there was a glimmer of attraction with David, but I just felt it wasn’t enough. I understand why though. Her character is MAJORLY damaged… Sorting out her life comes before a roll in the hay – I understand that, but still I am hoping that the third book will focus a bit on her attempting a not so platonic relationship with another human being. I always enjoy a bit of chemistry/tension in thrillers, even if it doesn’t end well.

I really enjoyed the psychological aspect of this book. What a character Alex was! Loved to loathe her! It was refreshing and original to read of events from her perspective… Her skewed view of the world. And I really enjoyed the mind games and the extent that she would go to, to get her way. I have read characters like hers before, in other books by other authors, but I didn’t enjoy them half as much as I enjoyed Alex.

There is some subject matter that is disturbing, but there are no overly graphic scenes. So this book will appeal to any thriller fans, even the ones who don’t like too much violence and just enjoy a good story!

 As like the first one, Marsons writing is impeccable. Easy and so much fun to read. There are not too many characters, but there are just enough to make it difficult to guess who the bad guy is at the end. I was glued to this book from beginning to end and I am really looking forward to the next one! I have Lost Girls on my kindle ready to go! 🙂

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! Marsons is emerging as one hell of a thriller writer!

If you like this book you may enjoy:

the girl with no past    Baby Please Don't Go    imperfect strangers    Now you see me   Pretty Baby    little black lies

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Romance, 50’s Style – Margaret Lynette Sharp

Romance 50's Style

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ah the 50’s… What an era! Even though it was set 30 years before I was born, I still appreciated this story of Romance, 50’s Style!

The novel is comprised of two stories, Whatever it Takes and Sisters and Rivals. Whatever it Takes is a story of Lisa, who goes back to Australia from London for the wedding of her father to his secretary. She has left behind her boyfriend Liam who she was starting to get serious with. There she runs into an old flame, and has to ultimately decide her future. Sisters and Rivals is the story of Linda. Linda has started dating Harry, whom she adores. However her sister Tessa has a history of stealing her boyfriends. Even though she is engaged to one of Linda’s exes, can Linda trust Harry not to fall for Tessa’s charms?

Loved all the characters! I found Linda to be a bit of a bore though. I guess at that time it was less common to stand up for yourself, and it just wasn’t her personality. However I felt utterly sorry for her situation. It made me appreciate that I am an only child and don’t have a horrid sister!

The thing that I kept thinking about when I read this book was just how different things are now. I guess its up to interpretation to decide if this is a good thing or bad thing, but personally I am glad I am from this generation. I appreciate the different style of “courting” that we have now. It was much simpler back then, or superficially so anyway. Life is different now. Multiple marriages in a life is beginning to be a norm, social values are so totally different, and of course we all have huge flat screen televisions now 😉

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, it was light but interesting and I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue between the different characters. Sharp did a great job recreating the era and the mood of the 50’s with her writing.

I enjoyed the setting of the 50’s in Australia, specifically my home town Sydney. It was interesting reading about places I have been and love, from such a different time perspective.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, for all fans of a little bit of romance and a bit of fun.

Many thanks to author Margaret Lynette Sharp for a copy of this book to review.

If you enjoyed this book you may enjoy:

taking leaps and finding ghosts     piece by piece - Cathie Whitmore    The Secret Years    the mine

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Midnight Burning – Karissa Laurel

Midnight Burning

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Sometimes you just need to get out of reality for a while and read a good paranormal fantasy. It is not my most favourite genre, but I really enjoyed this fun mythological/paranormal fantasy Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel.

Solina travels to Alaska following the death of her brother, to organise his belongings and his apartment. While she is there she spends time with her late brothers best friend Val and his friends, and their employer Thorin. It soon becomes apparent that whomever killed her brother is now after her. She has dreams of wolf-like creatures and discovers that her brother was killed by being torn to shreds by a wolf. Soon she is on a quest to discover who she really is and who she can trust, and is running for her life.

First of all I had to comment on the cover. I love it! I’m not sure why it grabbed me so much when I saw it, but it suits the book perfectly and is absolutely gorgeous!

 I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, REALLY well written. The book grabbed me from the start!

I loved all the characters and it was great to watch them and their relationship with Solina develop. I loved Skyla, I found her to be one of my favourite characters. And I enjoyed Solina’s character. Even though she did a few things that annoyed me.

I am not a big fan of love triangles in books. They make me cringe. A lot. But Laurel is clever here, she makes it a love triangle without having any of the characters actually commit. So its not a love triangle exactly…. Its hard to explain, It just works. I love the tension between the characters, especially Solina and Thorin. I was hoping that a bit more would happen between them, but she is obviously saving that for subsequent books!

I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. I was actually expecting it to be a werewolf story, but it most certainly isn’t. It is so much more than that. Once the truth came out and Solina discovered who she was, it started to get a bit too mythological for my liking. Its just not stuff I’m particularly interested in and a lot of the characters and mythology was over my head. However it wasn’t all about that and still had an awesome story line, so I still enjoyed reading till the end!

Speaking of the end! Loved the ending! I will absolutely read the next one as I want to know what happens!!

Would I recommend it?

Yup! For fans of paranormal fantasy. It was a fabulous story, a great escape from reality for a while and was really well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thanks to the author Karissa Laurel for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Servants of Twilight – Dean Koontz

the servants of twilight

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Silly me didn’t quite realise when I borrowed The Servants of Twilight audio book from the library that it was originally written in 1984. It’s almost as old as I am! I was wondering why nobody was using mobile phones and why the police and investigators were not exactly using the most advanced technology, when it suddenly hit me. DUR MEL! Anyway it was still a really great book. I was expecting more a horror story, instead it was an action packed suspenseful thriller!

Single mum Christine is living a quiet existence with her son Joey, until one day they are confronted by a ragged old woman in the car park of a shopping centre. Appearing harmless at first, the old woman makes small talk with the boy, and then things suddenly change when the hag becomes aggressive and announces that Joey has “GOT TO DIE!”. Unfortunately for Christine and Joey, this batty old woman is the head of a cult who now believes that her son is the Antichrist and will bring about the end of the world. And most of the members of the cult are shady characters with lots of murderous skills and are all absolutely OBSESSED with killing him. Suddenly they find themselves running for their lives. Like a cat and mouse! Christine enlists the help of Charlie, a private detective, as they attempt to escape death. And Joey couldn’t possibly be the Antichrist… Could he??

Talk about ACTION PACKED!!! After the scene is set, BOOM!! Its action scene after action scene, dodging bullets, running for their lives. Never a dull moment! Fabulous!

Loved the characters. Christine, Charlie and Joey were all written really well and I loved all the dialogue between them, especially 6 year old Joey. I even loved the dogs and the bad guys! Especially Grace.

I wasn’t expecting there to be much romance in this book so I LOVED that aspect of it, and one of the scenes was quite raunchy. I like that he managed to squeeze the romance in amongst all the thrills, and I always find the best romances (in books obviously, I doubt in real life) are the ones that spawn from a bit of action and suspense.

I probably would have rated this book higher if it wasn’t for the ending. I was really disappointed with the ending. I can’t really go into it more or I will spoil the story.

However, it was still a fabulous book to listen to! I loved the 80’s feel (once I realised what it was) and the action and suspense was all very exciting!

The audio version: Ok the ladies voice annoyed me a lot at first. A little too animated at times, and I really didn’t like her portrayal of the male characters. However, as for all other audio books, I soon became used to her voice and didn’t have a problem with it by the end.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! I think most thriller fans will enjoy this one!

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Cherry Season – Trish Morey

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

I have been constantly reading thriller after thriller lately, this book was just the break I needed from the blood and gore!

American backpacker Lucy loves living in the moment, and never stays in the same place for very long. She randomly finds her way from Melbourne to the hills in Adelaide where she tries to find some work. Cherry orchard owner Dan is looking for cherry pickers and hires the carefree (and beautiful) Lucy. Dan has run the orchard since his father passed away and doesn’t really have time to date, let alone find a wife and settle down with a family. So when sparks fly with his new cherry picker, he tries to extinguish them. After all, she is only staying for the cherry season, and will then be on her way to the next place. But can they resist each other?

Loved the setting of this book! I haven’t read enough books set in Australia! I also knew nothing about cherry picking or the process that goes into sorting and selling the cherries, so it was interesting to learn a bit about that.

The characters were sweet and charming. From the main characters, to the grumpy next door neighbour, I enjoyed reading them all! Dan was the typical romance hero, rugged and handsome… And Lucy was beautiful and fun. It was completely predictable and sweet and corny, but that’s exactly what I loved about it!

I really enjoyed the relationship between Dan and his sisters and family. I felt that even when the things they were talking about were not that interesting, that I was still engaged with them because they were such wonderful characters. I really enjoyed reading about Lucy. I liked how her back story was finally revealed and I felt I could relate to her in some ways.

The romance was lovely. It had a lot of tension and a few hot and steamy scenes, and some very sweet moments.

There were quite a few funny scenes in this book that had me giggling out loud. Especially with the birds! That’s all I will say about that scene, because I don’t want to spoil it!

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I feel it lacked a little bit of excitement, I think I prefer a bit more drama with my romances. However this didn’t matter at all, as it was still a wonderful read!

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to fans of a good sweet and sexy romance story!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and the author, Trish Morey for a pre-release copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Available in store from the 24th November, 2015

Buy This Book online:

Pan Macmillan | Pre Order from Amazon AU

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If you enjoy this book, you may also enjoy:

The Secret Years   Practice makes Perfect - Julie James   Search for the Truth   the saddler boys

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Gravity – Tess Gerritsen (Audio Version)

Gravity

4 Stars (4 / 5)

This is my first Tess Gerritsen book. I know right? I’m a crime and thriller fan, AND a nurse… I should have read all the Rizzole and Isles by now!?? Well I never intended to, but having read this one I am inclined to give all of her books a go!

To quickly summarise it, some bizarre virus is killing off the crew of the international space station. Where did it come from?? How are they going to stop it? Doctor on board Emma must try to keep everyone alive whilst her husband back on earth goes on a mission to discover the origins of the pathogen.

Great read! Extremely suspenseful and exciting! Loved the whole thing! Yes, it was pretty corny… But it was supposed to be! I thought it was fantastic!

The characters were great! Soon to be ex husband and wife Emma and Jack are a great team.

The audio version was fantastic. The narrator was wonderfully talented and probably the best narrator of any audio book I have listened to so far. Even his portrayal of the female characters was fantastic and he really captured the emotion of all the characters.

There was quite a bit of blood and gore in this book and I really enjoyed it! Because most of the gory scenes happen in space it added an extra grossness… Floating blood etc. Thought it was really well done.

Some of the medical scenes were totally over the top, but Dr Gerritsen obviously knows her stuff as everything was quite accurate. I guess that is what makes her one of the top medical thriller authors.

Would I recommend it?

Yes it was great fun! Really enjoyed it. Any thriller and fan of a little space blood and guts will love Gravity! I’ve already started putting her other books on my TBR list!

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The Red Door – Rosa Fedele

the red door

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Glad to have found another Aussie book by an Aussie author to add to the list! I have been extremely unpatriotic through my life and have avoided Australian books. Only recently am I beginning to hugely regret this, as I have found some incredible books. I have wasted a lot of my life not reading Aussie books!!  I am really enjoying the Australian settings, especially in my home city Sydney – So I was glad to review this book as it is set in Glebe.

The main character (who we don’t know by name until the very end), bought the mansion “Rosalind” after a troubling event from her past. She is in the process of renovating and refurbishing the whole place. Its going smoothly with exception of some strange events on the upper level, and the fact that the tenant in number three wont let her in, and she begins to suspect he may be watching her. She does a little digging only to find her tenant may be connected in some way to the vicious murders of two teenage girls that occurred twenty years prior. Her quest to find out what happened leads her to some stunning realisations that will shake up the comfortable life she has created for herself, and her new friends. Has she found a killer? What happened in her past to make her run away to Rosalind? And why is it so cold upstairs?

I must be honest. When I first started reading this I didn’t think it was going anywhere. It felt quite disjointed, went around everywhere and I was a bit confused about who was who. I failed to see the significance of all the characters and parallel storylines. And the writing, with the small sections that ended without an explanation, began to frustrate me.  However I stuck with it and was extremely pleasantly surprised as the story began to unfold and I couldn’t put it down! Having finished it now I can appreciate how cleverly refreshing the writing was.

I loved the characters, especially Monique and Claudia. The main character and Anne annoyed me at times, but overall all the characters had their appealing qualities. I liked the main character a lot more after we learn of her back story. I enjoyed the romances and especially the complex – sometimes destructive friendships in the novel. And there were quite a few character twists to keep me satisfied! Especially towards the end of the book.

 I would call this novel more of a mystery than a thriller, although it did have a few thrilling moments. However it was completely engrossing, especially in the last two thirds of the novel. The author also did the illustrations throughout the book which are beautiful, and definitely give the novel more character and texture. I only wish there was more of them, as they seemed to randomly appear at the beginning of some chapters but not others.

It was set in 1983, the year I was born, so perhaps I’m a bit too young to appreciate a lot of the early 80’s references, however this didn’t matter in the slightest. I have seen Duran Duran live (admittedly only because they were opening for Robbie Williams), so at least I wasn’t completely clueless!

Would I recommend it?

Yes for any mystery and thriller lovers and fans of 1980’s Sydney.

Many thanks to author Rosa Fedele for a copy of The Red Door, in exchange for my review.

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Deeper Than The Dead – Tami Hoag

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

I am totally addicted to audiobooks now! I absolutely LOVE being able to do other things while I listen to a book! I listen when I’m doing the housework, driving my car, folding the washing… Even have it on speaker when I’m in the shower! Feels like I am accomplishing something when I am doing menial tasks! Love it! And I LOVED this Tami Hoag thriller! This is the first book I have ever “read” of Hoag’s, but it absolutely wont be the last!

The year is 1985 and while running through the woods, children find the body of a woman buried in the ground. Her eyes had been glued together, the ear drums destroyed and the mouth glued shut. It is soon apparent that they have a serial killer on their hands in the town of Oak Knoll, as two other bodies have been found this way in the last two years. Investigator Mendez calls out FBI agent Vince Leone t0 help with the case. Vince is an expert at the controversial new skill called “profiling” (controversial back in 1985 that is…), and he uses his talents to find the killer. The story also delves into the lives of the children who found the body, and mainly focuses on their teacher Anne Navarre, who finds herself at risk of becoming the next victim.

Deeper Than The Dead was a great story! Although I was a bit disappointed with the ending and the “twist” that was not really a twist at all, I was still thoroughly entertained by this wonderful book.

The audio version worried me at first, as Kirsten Potters American accent is quite heavy, and I cringed at having to listen to it for 10 hours. However she did a really great job at the narration. I enjoyed her performance and after a little while the accent didn’t distract me at all. I especially enjoyed her portrayal of Chicago’s Vince.

The characters were all really detailed and enjoyable. The children were written really well , I really enjoyed how all the characters interacted and intertwined within the story. Loved the 1985 setting. I can barely remember when mobile phones weren’t the norm, and fingerprinting was done by a fingerprinting expert and not a computer system. Really makes you thankful for the technology that we take for granted today. DNA evidence was unheard of, and even police reports had to be sent or faxed over. No email here folks!

Loved the romance, even though it was EXTREMELY corny. I want to marry you after knowing you for 3 days and going through an extremely traumatic ordeal… Yeah right… But still, I found myself getting swept up in it. I love a bit of romance with my thrillers!

My favourite character was Vince by far! Fabulous! Bullet in the head Vince. I hope he is in the future novels set in Oak Knoll, yes this is the first in a series apparently.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! Thought it was a great read! Looking forward to future ones, hope the audio versions are done with the same narrator!

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