Book reviews

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell #blogtour #bookreview



Home Is Where The Nightmare Is

Beautiful double room to let to single person

Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.

Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.

As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to capture close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth… 

Dreda Say Mitchell - Spare Room_cover


So here goes:

Lisa Kendal is a mess, she takes antidepressants ad hoc, she has night terrors, sleep walks and is a little paranoid to say the least.

Lisa rents the Spare Room in Martha and Jack’s beautiful home, there are very strict house rules, which seem a little over the top but she is determined to stay and find out what happened to the previous tenant. She has found a suicide note and writings on the wall and is certain something bad went on in that house…

Oh my…..what a story, Dreda Say Mitchell has created a taut tale that just bristles with tension. CLICHE ALERT…..but I really couldn’t put it down, I had to know, was Lisa having a breakdown ? Is Jack violent ? What terrible event happened in that house?

This truly gave me goosebumps, that shivery tingle down my spine with the final, marvellously horrific reveal. A masterpiece of tension, brilliant and a must read for lovers of psychological thrillers.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest review. 

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Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.

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Book reviews

Intention by C S Barnes – Book Review.



When twenty-two year old Gillian Thompson returns from university for the summer, it is apparent there is tension at home. An irritant to her father and a concern to her mother, Gillian’s home life is less than ideal.

Geraldine, Gillian’s mother, has suffered abuse from Joe for years. 

However, it is not until Joe dies that the family dynamic shifts and Gillian starts out on her own dark journey…

When Gillian meets Paul and Daniel she starts to become the person she always knew she was. And as people around her start dying Gillian faces scrutiny from her mother.

But are the deaths accidents or is something more sinister at work?

Phil Kurthausen - Don’t Let Me In_cover_1


Well where do I start? What a disturbing, brilliant read that grabs you with both hands and won’t let go…..

Gillian’s father, Joe, is a brutal drunk, who regularly beats her mother. These injuries are hidden but Gillian is aware from a young age what is going on. While life plods along, Gillian is experimenting, putting bleach in the fish pond, breaking cats bones and more…this is the most disturbing part to me, a fledgling psychopath that no one seems to notice……….but do they?

Joe has a fatal accident, a fall down the stairs, ably assisted by Gillian, but her mother takes the blame as she ‘can’t lose both of you’. Due to his past brutality there is no prison sentence but she goes to visit her sister for a while, leaving Gillian at home alone with her box……!

There is a stint at university, where she carries on with experiments but while at home for the holidays she meets Daniel and his sick Aunt Emily. She has a relationship with Daniel and is upset when Emily dies peacefully…

Gillian is very clever at hiding her lack of social skills and learns what is acceptable and expected of her…..but someone is killing young men in her area. Her mother knows what and who Gillian is………..does Daniel?

This is an extraordinary book by C S Barnes, that shows the inner mind of a psychopath and the relationship she has with others close to her. 

It has some disturbing moments like….. “For my own curiosity then, tell me: what shocked you more, the animal with the broken neck or the patricide? Really take some time to consider that, and then tell me why I’m the only monster”…. 

My intention is making sure my windows are all shut tight !!! If you like a dark thriller then you’ll love this, it doesn’t come much darker. 

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest unbiased review.   


About the Author:

C.S. Barnes (Charley to her long-time pals) is a Worcestershire-based writer and poet who has recently achieved her Doctorate degree in Creative Writing, and now spends a lot of her time wondering what to do with it. She is a lecturer, content writer, tea-drinker and book-reader with a passion for psychological thrillers that shines through her own work.

Barnes is the Managing Director of Sabotage Reviews and she also runs her own monthly open mic/spoken word event in Worcester City Centre, titled Dear Listener.

She published her debut short story collection in May 2017, titled The Women You Were Warned About (Black Pear Press), and her debut poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, was published be in July 2018 (V. Press). Intention is Barnes’ debut novel.

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Twitter: @charleyblogs

Instagram: @charleyblogs



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Book reviews

Out Of The Silence by Owen Mullen – Book Review #blogtour #OutOfTheSilence

Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen


Owen Mullen - Out of the Silence_cover

Book Blurb:

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…









This story is set in Lahore, Pakistan and starts with a young woman being admitted to a hospital after being the subject of an acid attack. While she can, she tells her story to Doctor Simone Jasnin and so the tale begins and we travel back to 1986…

It tells of Afra, a young girl in love with Jameel, a village boy, but her mother arranges her marriage to another man for the dowry.

Jameel leaves the village alone to make a life with his Great Uncle in Lahore, Afra’s life is one of brutality and slavery as is the case for many women in that area. Dr Jasnin and the reporter, Ralph Buchanan, try to highlight the dreadful treatment of women and help where they can.

Without giving away too much, this is one of the most gripping, heartbreaking and morbidly satisfying books I’ve read for a long while. 

It is, at its heart, a love story, tragic and moving, but also covers the abuse of women in Pakistan that appears to be the accepted norm, and a tale of retribution and revenge. The author, Owen Mullen’s excellent writing will make you angry at the injustices but then cry at the sheer heart rending emotion. I know this is a cliche, but I really could not put this down and read it in one (quite long) sitting. 

Books are my escape and relaxation and my reviews are my honest opinion. If it’s tripe, I’ll say so and alternately if it’s excellent I may gush a bit. Many books are a good read, but are a bit forgettable, others, however, touch your soul a little and stay with you bringing a little magic to life, this is one of those books. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest review. 






About the Author:

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.


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