The Woman Next Door by Cass Green

The Woman Next Door by Cass Green is a dark psychological thriller about two women who become unlikely partners in crime when they collude to conceal a murder.

Hester is a widow. We first encounter her in the library where she is learning to use computers. She talks to herself and she’s clearly a bit eccentric. She has a distorted view of the world and her stream of consciousness quickly shows that she’s not a likeable character. She’s needy and she always sees the worst in people but, in many ways, she’s her own worst enemy.

Hester and Melissa are neighbours. Melissa is married. Her husband is a successful doctor and they have a teenage daughter, Tilly.

On the surface Melissa’s life seems comfortable but secrets from the past are a threat to her peace of mind. And, when a visitor turns up at Tilly’s birthday party, it seems those secrets are about to spill. Events take a dark turn and the first part of the novel culminates in a shocking manner.

Cass Green draws believable characters

By the end of Part 1, Cass Green has established a nice bond between Melissa and Hester that’s destined to last a very long time indeed.

There are a lot of things to like about The Woman Next Door. Cass Green draws believable characters and it is easy for the reader to understand why they do what they do.

Hester and Melissa both make bad decisions but there’s a satisfying inevitability to the way that the story unfolds and there are some good twists and surprises along the way.

The chapters lead nicely into each other and Cass Green sustains a good pace throughout.

All in all, The Woman Next Door is an easy and entertaining page turner. It should appeal if  you enjoy an unreliable narrator and a good, dark yarn

The Woman Next Door by Cass Green is a Harper Collins ebook.
Disclosure: I received an ARC via Netgalley for the purpose of this review.

Her Turn to Cry by Chris Curran | Review

Her Turn to Cry by Chris Curran is an atmospheric suspense story. It’s about Joycie Todd, a famous model living in London in the 1960s with her photographer boyfriend Marcus Blake. On the surface, Joycie and Marcus enjoy a glittering life but secrets from the past threaten Joycie’s happiness.

Then, a friend dies leaving a letter that stirs up past memories. The letter becomes a trigger that sets Joycie on a journey to discover what happened to her mother twelve years previously.

Before long, the mysterious Bill turns up to warn Joycie off and it’s clear that the road ahead will be dangerous. There are people willing to protect the past at any price.

Our Kid

In her modelling career, Joycie is known as ‘Orchid’. The exotic name derives from her stage name, ‘Our Kid’. During her early teens, Joycie played a comedy role on stage alongside her father Charlie. Joycie was in her early teens and Charlie was the stooge for a comedian called Sid. It was Sid’s idea that Joycie should go on stage and she was soon a hit with the audience. But while Joycie had a good relationship with her father, she didn’t much like Sid.

Then, Joycie’s mother disappeared. People said that Mary ran away with another man but Joycie doesn’t believe her mother abandoned her. She remembers strange noises the night that Mary disappeared and she found Mary’s new shoes under a bed alongside a bloodstained rug.

Joycie fears that someone she knew murdered Mary. Worse still, she suspects her father Charlie or one of his friends.

When Charlie committed suicide some time later, Joycie suspected that the motive was guilt.

But Mary was not the only person who disappeared all those years ago. And Charlie was not the only one with a potential motive to murder.

As Joycie starts asking questions, it soon becomes clear there are people who will do anything to keep the past buried.

Chris Curran spins a good yarn

Plot is stronger than character in Her Turn to Cry but this is a story with interesting themes behind the suspense.  Worth a look if you’re in the mood for a fast, enjoyable and easy read.

Harper Collins are the publishers of Her Turn to Cry by Chris Curran. [Disclosure: I received a copy via Netgalley for the purpose of this review.]

Local Girl Missing | A tense psychological thriller

Local Girl Missing is a tense psychological thriller. This is the second novel by Claire Douglas. Her earlier work, The Sisters, was one of the best selling debut novels of 2015.

If you enjoy psychological drama and suspense, this could be a good choice to load on your Kindle or pop in your holiday suitcase. It’s a pacy, page turner with plenty of suspense and drama. Part ghost story, part psychological drama, it catches your interest from the first page and keeps you guessing to the end.

The story is about possessive friendships. It is set in a Somerset town called Oldcliffe-On-Sea. It’s a place where seagulls squawk early in the morning and there’s a smell of fish and chips in the air. It’s a faded seaside place, a claustrophobic town where everyone knows everyone.

Francesca Howe, “Frankie” to her friends, grew up in the town.  Her parents owned a hotel and she and her friend Sophie worked there as teenagers. The girls spent a lot of their free time on the town’s decrepit pier. They drank cider, swapped ghost stories, fancied the same boys. Inevitably, there were jealousies. There were also some dark secrets.

 

Local girl missing

The novel opens on dreary afternoon when Frankie gets a call on her mobile phone. She recognises the caller’s voice from the past. It’s her best friend’s brother, Daniel. He tells her that a body that has been found on the beach and he thinks it’s his sister, Sophie because the body is wearing  a shoe that matches trainers Sophie wore the night she disappeared eighteen years earlier.

People think Sophie fell from the pier and drowned. If she did, Sophie wasn’t the first because Frankie and Sophie’s friend Jason also lost his life from the pier.

When Daniel has to identify the body, he wants Frankie with him. He’s sure that that the body is Sophie because of a shoe that matches the ones Sophie wore the night she disappeared. So, Daniel asks Francesca to return to Oldcliffe-On-Sea. He wants her help to find out what happened all those years ago. Frankie agrees because, like Daniel, she wants to know. She’s also glad of an excuse for a few days away from her partner Mike.

Daniel arranges for Frankie to stay in an apartment. It’s a lonely place and she’s not altogether happy with it. But it’s only for a few days, so she agrees to stay and together they start asking questions. But as they pry into the past, it seems like everyone is suspicious and there are secrets everywhere.

Two narrators

The action flips back and forth between 1997 and the present. Francesca  is the present day narrator while Sophie narrates the past. As their stories unfold, it becomes clear that they share some dark secrets from the past. Not all of the characters are likeable but that doesn’t take away from a strong plot. More and more questions crop up as the story unfolds.

And the questions don’t just concern events from the past. For example, where did Daniel get Francesca’s mobile number? How did Mike find the address of the apartment? Who is crying baby that keeps Frances awake at night? Who is sending her anonymous letters? And who is the mysterious hooded woman that she spies on the pier?

In the end, there aren’t answers for all of these questions but short chapters and a strong plot make Local Girl Missing a pacy and enjoyable read. A good choice for holidays.

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas is published by Penguin. Disclosure: I received a review copy via Netgalley.