Book Reviews by Boo

Meet Me in Bombay-Jenny Ashcroft.

Paperback published by Sphere- 11th June 2020 Hardback out now!

Normally I keep my reviews fairly brief but this book spoke to my heart & I sincerely hope you won’t mind indulging me a little with this slightly longer review.

First a little context as to why I wanted to read this particular book immediately!

Personal Family History:

My English Great Grandfather, Eric Leighton MBE, was Head of the Military police in Bombay and eventually, Nagpur, India. He was a bit of a cad by all accounts and was married three times! My nan & her sister, June, were born there. When she was 7, June was sent to a boarding school in the South of India at a Hill Station in the Nilgiri Hills.


There are lots of stories about them growing up in India; June remembers travelling with her mother to accompany her father, who was also responsible for visiting the Rajahs at their palaces to make sure they were governing along British lines. She visited their palaces, some incredibly sumptuous and grand and some extremely run down, with swimming pools full of frogspawn! June and her mother had to go to the women’s quarters with the Ranee (the Rajah’s wife) but she does remember eating with the Rajahs.

Both Gt. Grandpa & June’s mother became sick with Diptheria and were incredibly ill, her mother, sadly, died and Eric consoled himself by marrying the pretty Irish nurse, Doreen Kelly, who had looked after him. Like you do.

Doreen had my Nan and, when she was a few months old, took her back to the UK to stay with my Gt. Gt. Grandpa Harry.

One morning he went for a walk and when he returned, he could hear my Nan crying. After a short search, he found her crying in a drawer, where she had been sleeping, and her mother had vanished. They never saw her again and my Nan was sent back to India. Great Grandpa, obviously moved on again and Auntie Reenie, thankfully, lasted a whole lot longer than his previous wives!

Nan’s parents also went to lots of parties and their social life was centred on The Club with other Brits and some wealthy Indians.

She talked of the ‘unbearable heat’ with Punkah Wallahs-operating the fans, mostly the deaf servants were selected so that they didn’t overhear conversations! Her father had a ‘Bearer’ who was devoted into him and as the troubles started some of the Indian servants were attacked just for working for the British. There was a cook, a water carrier and boys who worked in the kitchen and the sweeper who had to empty the commodes. The houses had no running water and toilets had two doors. The inside one led to the house and an outside one was used by the sweeper (untouchable caste) to empty the commode. They kept a pet mongoose who job it was to get rid of the snakes!

She remembered the parties her parents would attend at The Club and at the house. The bungalows that they lived in, how she was looked after by her, much adored, Ayah-one of the many servants they had. How they would keep the tiger cubs in the garden after their mothers had been shot on a hunt &, when we discussed the very poor treatment of some Indians & the effect of ‘colonialism’, she was philosophical about how things were. Especially when catching my horrified expression, she would exclaim ‘Thankfully things have changed, but that’s just how it was darling!’

Coincidentally, my dad is from Bombay too-its name didn’t change to ‘Mumbai’ until 1995-he immigrated to Watford in the early 1970’s with his brother in search of a better life, and left my grandparents, Ali & Lila, there until a few years later when they came too. My mum was 17 when she met him and she was pregnant at 20-Eric was her grandpa-much to the absolute horror of my Nan & Grandad, and it wasn’t until I was a year old that they allowed my mum to visit the house again! Talk about two completely different backgrounds-I’m like a fusion of the two parts of India!

For me, I always feel a little conflicted. I’m so proud of my ‘English’ family, I adored my late Great Grandpa and he received an MBE for his work in India and Africa. When I went to the palace to receive my MBE, I know they would all have been bursting with pride! When I teach, I always explain that some parts of our British history are not always pleasant, especially the events around Partition. Equally, I’m as proud of my Indian background, the culture, the heritage and my dad’s hard work to build a new life in a foreign country & staying true to his Muslim faith.

You’re probably thinking ‘Fab Boo, now we’re up to speed with your family tree, but what’s that got to do with the book?’ I’m getting to that bit, bear with me; you’ll soon see!

When this book arrived, I picked it up straight away. I’d read ‘Island in the East’ and had thoroughly enjoyed it but, because this one was set in Bombay, I knew I couldn’t wait and I devoured it on my sun lounger in the garden yesterday!

Honestly, this book was superb from the very first line.

If you’ve stuck with me this far…thank you: it’s all about this amazing book from here!

The story, in case you haven’t yet worked it out yet, is set in Bombay! 🤣

Maddy Bright lives with her, slightly uptight, mother and her much adored father, who is the Head of the Bombay Civil Service. They live a charmed life enjoying all of the excitement of the Bombay social scene. I absolutely love the description of the city here; the complete assault on the senses that a busy Indian city has, the irrepressible heat, the noise in the markets & station, the smell of spices and the myriad of colours of the fabrics, street food, spices, fruit, vegetables, flowers that stall holders sell & so, so many people!

The thundering hooves of the polo ponies, the refreshing gin & tonics packed full of almost instantly melting ice, the food that wilted almost as soon as it was put on the table, not to mention slurping Kulfi in a race against time to eat it before it completely melted!

Jenny Ashcroft completely & utterly captures the way of life of the English in colonial India, just as my nan described it to me all those years ago.

Maddy’s mother is keen for her to settle with Guy, a surgeon 20 years Maddy’s senior and Maddy, whilst incredibly polite, struggles to take this idea particularly seriously. Then, through her friends, siblings, Della & Peter, she meets Luke Devereaux, and everything changes from that point on. It’s 1914, and despite the threat of war coming from Europe, they fall in love & continue their, seemingly idyllic lives in Bombay but word from the Civil Service offices reveal that Luke and Peter and several of the other officers, need to make plans to train Indian troops in order to begin to mobilise into Europe.

The inevitable happens and the men go off to fight, leading battalions of young Indians, who had probably never left the security of their villages before to fight for a country and an enemy they had never seen.

The way that Jenny Ashcroft writes about their (both English & Indian) experiences in the war is quite magnificent. I think it would have been easy to dismiss the part that the Indians played in this conflict, perhaps suggesting that they were inferior in battle in some way. She doesn’t.

1.4 Indian men, 22% Sikh, fought alongside and died with British troops-fighting the Empire that oppressed them in their own country. We can’t change our colonial history, and it is horrifying to know that despite their sacrifice, so many Sikhs were killed in 1919 in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops opened fire on thousands of unarmed men women & children who had gathered in some gardens in Amritsar. Not much of a way to thank them for all that they did is it?

However, it is clear throughout this story what sacrifices they made too, how they bravely & selflessly went out and fought in a strange country struggling with the language, & different climate, especially the snow, and I applaud her for that.

A Sikh regiment, 1914 France. Picture: Getty.

Jenny Ashcroft’s description of the trenches is accurate and vivid, and the character’s thoughts and feelings are equally as honest and true to life as I imagine they would have been: bravery, courage & selflessness intertwined with anxiety, fear and futility. One particular scene on the battlefield, although fictional, could have been any one of the real sons, husbands, fathers or uncles who had had similar experiences and was written so vividly, and she captured it so perfectly, that it had me weeping quite uncontrollably.

Luke and Maddy are obviously separated but they write to each other constantly, and like all families with men at war, she anxiously awaits his safe return. But life isn’t straightforward and Maddy’s life is going to change forever again.

I don’t really want to comment on how the story is constructed, because I don’t want to ruin it, except to say that it is written from several different character viewpoints, which weave the plot together beautifully. Half way through, I thought I knew where the story was going and then it twisted a completely different way again, and again AND again. It is utterly compelling- and I cried again at the end. My husband looked up in alarm from his newspaper and simply said ‘Whatever is the matter?’

I summarised the story and said ‘Isn’t it amazing that someone can make you feel such emotion that you cry real tears about fictional characters just from the words they’ve written on the page? What an exceptional talent.’ Then continued to sniffle for about twenty minutes!

I’ve never met Jenny Ashcroft, and of course the words are all her exceptional talent, but it felt like she had heard my nan’s stories too and embellished them beautifully, so that I could envisage her 1920’s India in all of its vibrant, exotic, glittering detail.  Hopefully now you understand the reason for Boo’s family history lesson at the start!

To confirm, you don’t need an Indian family history to appreciate this wonderful book! It is a stunning story of love, loss, devotion and loyalty & I loved every single word of it. Thank you Jenny. 5🌟



Never Saw You Coming- Hayley Doyle.

Published 2nd April 2020-Avon Books

Zara Khoury has decided to give up her life in Dubai to set up home in Liverpool. She’s had a steamy online relationship with Nick, who also lives in the city, and she thinks it’s as good a time as any to settle with him and go back to uni. An opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh!

Jim Glover is also feeling restless, stuck in a humdrum job with security, but no prospects and being a carer for his mum. His friends are all beginning to settle down and they see him as dependable, predictable Jim. He needs something to change, he just doesn’t know how to go about it, until he receives a phone call which, quite literally, changes his life!

Two very different characters with, it seems, nothing in common, cross paths and what ensues is not just a physical journey but an emotional one too.

There was so much that I enjoyed about this book. I loved the way that Hayley Doyle captured the relationships between Jim & his family and that she included all the Scouse colloquialisms in their dialogue. Similarly, she captures Zara’s thoughts and feelings about her fractured family sensitively too. I think this makes you warm to the characters easily and therefore have an invested interest into how their lives progress.

The thing I enjoyed most was the overriding humour, even in the face of adversity-there are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this book!

Never Saw You Coming is an enjoyable romantic comedy, which I could definitely see being made into a film in the not too distant future! What a superb debut; I couldn’t put it down! 5/5🤩

The Forbidden Promise-Lorna Cook.

Published 19/3/20 Avon Books

I really enjoyed Lorna Cook’s last book ‘The Forgotten Village’ set between two different periods and ‘The Forbidden Promise’ is written in a similar way with the story set between 1940 and present day at Invermoray House in Scotland.

Constance has just fled her own 21st birthday party in the summer of 1940, she tries to collect her thoughts on the edge of the loch which is part of her family’s estate. In the serene surroundings, the sound of a spluttering aeroplane’s engine seems out of place.

Astounded, she watches a Spitfire appear low over the water and crash. She dives into the water to help the pilot and, once safe on the bank, he begs to be kept hidden while he recovers. Against her better judgement, she agrees to help him and guides him to an unused ghillie’s cottage. (Gillie or ghillie is a Gaelic term for a man or a boy who acts as an attendant on a fishing, fly fishing, hunting, or deer stalking expedition, primarily in the Highlands- I had to google it!🙈)

Much later that evening, she makes her way back to the family home, hoping that no-one has missed her and torn between what to do for the best.

Flash Forward to the present day and Kate has left her employment as a PR Manager in London, under a cloud. In order to find her a new job, her friend Jenny has applied for several on her behalf. She successfully interviews for a position at an estate called ‘Invermoray’ in the Scottish Highlands run by Liz and her son, James, who want to run it as a bed & breakfast.

When she arrives, she is dismayed to find the house in a state of disrepair, that there isn’t much of a business to promote and that James, Liz’s son, has no idea that she had been employed and is furious.

As she awkwardly waits for mother & son to discuss what happens next, she begins to take in her surroundings. There are many portraits around the room and on the table, next to the bookshelves, is a Bible. As she turns the pages, she can see a long line of family names written carefully in ink, which she presumes are the current family’s ancestors. As she looks down the page, the name Constance Mclay has been, very deliberately, scrubbed out…

Lorna Cook, then cleverly weaves the two periods of the house’s history together. The tone of Constance’s story is more formal than Kate’s and the author consistently keeps each era’s formality & characterisation true to the period throughout the chapters. It’s sublime!

The plot is brilliantly written, it is in no way predictable-I thought I had it sussed, but was completely wrong. It’s a wonderful story about love, loss, family & friendship. 5/5🤩

Meet Me at Pebble Beach

Bella Osborne-Avon Books-Out 28th May 2020

I bloomin’ love a Bella Osborne book and ‘Meet Me at Pebble Beach’ is no exception!

Regan is stuck in a rut. She’s got a mediocre life with a mediocre boyfriend and a job that doesn’t challenge her. We’ve all worked in places where the job isn’t great but the colleagues make it bearable and in this case, Regan has Alex. They while away the work day playing daft pranks on each other for their own amusement.

One day, the prank goes too far, and Regan finds herself at a metaphorical crossroads, where she has to make some huge decisions. She meets Charlie, who helps her in more ways than one. He has his own demons to face but Regan and all her antics keep his mind off of those! There are a few sub-plots which weave together to reveal the whole story, all of which are brilliant. Kindness, compassion & loyalty are definitely the main themes though!

Like all Bella Osborne books-I’ve read them all-the charm is in the characters. Initially I couldn’t warm to Regan because she was too scatty and careless with both people’s feelings and material things too! But Bella is clever! The reader is supposed to feel that way, I think, in order to appreciate the journey that Regan embarks on.

There are some really interesting characters in this book, Kevin, Charlie and Regan herself, but my favourite it Elvis. Bella Osborne is a dog person and so am I. It’s easy to see her love of dogs in the way she describes the Irish Wolfhound breed so fantastically and, for the most part, any part where he is appears instantly makes the reader smile!

‘Meet me at Pebble Beach’ is a great story with a superb plot; it’s very funny and emotional. WARNING: it is sad in places though, so make sure you have a hanky close by!

A perfect holiday read-I loved it! 5⭐️🤩

Pax-Sara Pennypacker-illustrated by Jon Klassen-Harper Collins Children’s Books 2016

I’m really lucky in that, as part of my role of literacy co-ordinator at school, I’ve been able to purchase books to stock the new library. In order to be able to recommend and talk to the children about these books, I’ve had to read them and it’s been brilliant!

This one is about a boy, Peter, who rescues a fox kitten, naming him Pax. He brings him up as a pet. Peter’s mum has recently passed away and the fox inadvertently helps him with his grief by giving him something to focus on. Peter lives with his dad and their relationship is strained to say the least. His dad is dealing with his own grief & feels heavily the burden of bringing up his son.

His dad signs up to fight in the army as a war seems inevitable. He tells Peter that he needs to reintroduce Pax into the wild as he will have to go and live with his grandpa for a while and the fox will be a problem. Peter is devastated and pleads with his father. The fox is more or less domesticated, how will he ever survive alone in the wild?

The chapter where Peter is forced against his will to discard the fox that he loves reduced me to tears. I’ve never owned a fox but I have two dogs whom I adore. The thought of giving them up is heartbreaking; I simply couldn’t do it. However, when my parents divorced, I remember having to have my two Chow-Chow dogs re-homed and reading this brought some uncomfortable memories back: I remember my dad saying ‘They never forget; they’ll always love you’ 💔 I remember thinking ‘This is your fault’. All these years later, I don’t think I’ve ever forgiven them for that, I think that’s why totally empathised with Peter.

Peter reluctantly goes to live with his grandpa and instantly realises he has to go and find his fox. The story continues from two perspectives: that of Peter and that of Pax. Both embarking on a journey.

This is such a wonderful book for children and adults alike. Full of sadness, regret & hope. Heart wrenching at times, the confusion and heartache of both Peter & Pax is so palpable. The character’s thoughts and feelings are so genuinely shared by Sara Pennypacker that is hard to believe they are fictional characters, it’s as if she is telling you a story about someone she knows.

I’m not going to lie, I cried throughout, because I felt so strongly about all the main characters, they were easy to relate to. Their bravery and devotion is so admirable. Pennypacker carefully conveys to her reader about love and loss and coming of age-whether you’re a boy or a fox-and it’s absolutely beautiful. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Perfect Remains-Helen Fields. Avon Books Audiobooks

Thank you to Sanjana Cunniah at Avon books for including me on this audiobook tour.

It’s an absolute thrill to be included on the audio book tour for this novel. I am a huge fan of Helen Fields and have read all of the series so far of these Callenach/Turner thrillers. I am currently half way through her latest offering ‘Perfect Kill’, so I leapt at the chance to review this audio version of her first book in this series.

As I have a long commute, I tend to listen to these books on the way to & from work, although, I’m not going to lie, I stopped listening to this as the nights got darker as it got too spooky to listen to on my own driving down the dark Cornish country lanes!


A body is found smouldering in a remote Highland mountain and once the police get there all that remains are some teeth and a tiny piece of material.

Newly recruited DI Luc Callenach has come via Interpol to work at the police station; this is his first shout in charge, and he is finding it hard to settle in to a new team after relocating from Lyon. Fellow detective Ava Turner is a friendly face and they settle into a good working relationship.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reginald King works at Edinburgh university but has a terrifying side to his personality which is rarely revealed to his students. He’s been off sick from work but his lies about his illness cover a macabre series of events.

There is also another disturbing case that Callenach and Ava Turner are working on which involves new born babies being abandoned in a freezing cold park to die.

Both Detectives get to know each other professionally and their working relationships progress as the story unfolds. But then King targets Ava and there is a race against time for Callenach to find her…

As I said, I’ve read all of these books and they’re fantastic. Gripping and full of suspense with the friendship between the two main characters unfurling as the books continue. You can read any of them as stand alone reads or listen to them from the start via these audiobooks

Robin Laing narrates this story so brilliantly. I think that in order to keep the listener engaged, the ‘voice’ of the book needs to be interesting and tell the story well. At school we talk about having a ‘storyteller voice’ when reading to keep the reader hooked and he does this extremely well!

Fields is a fantastic author, it’s really difficult to write crime effectively, I think, and she definitely has the skill to make it horrific but readable if that makes sense?!

I often wonder how authors make these situations up, but her previous career as a criminal lawyer I suppose gives her plenty of macabre ideas to work with. There was plenty of time I cringed when listening to this audio version because her description is so vivid it’s hard not to visualise it in all its grimness!

It was nice to go back to the start of these stories also, and hear it through a different medium: it gave it a different perspective!

It’s not hard for me to give this audiobook a solid 5⭐️ I hope you listen to it and then read the others in the series too!

Boo x

The Author

Helen originally studied law at the University of East Anglia and once qualified she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. These books are set in Scotland where she feels most at one with the world.

She runs a film production company with her husband and she currently lives in LA with her three children.

Katheryn Howard-The Tainted Queen-Alison Weir. Headline Books 14th May 2020

I’ve just finished this book and, as usual, I’m blown away! Whenever I’ve finished one of these Alison Weir Six Tudor Queens book, I feel utterly bereft for the particular queen it focuses on, however her demise.

I mean, I know what happens, I’ve loved the Tudor period since I was a girl but, as I’ve said before, Weir has this outstanding ability to take you by the hand and lead you through the story as if you were two bystanders.

Clearly she’s a competent historian, obviously the facts are there, but she researches them thoroughly, discounting any sources that are not deemed credible and once she has those ‘bare bones’ she is able to weave this exquisite narrative, embellishing and creating dialogue, sumptuously, colouring in the grey facts.

Her flawless description enables you to inhale the sights and sounds of this point in history, the stench of the city, the wilds of Richmond park or the entertaining atmosphere at King Henry’s court. Her characterisation allows the reader to understand each character and their motives, understanding their personalities and considering, perhaps, from a different point of view, how they lived and the choices they made.

This book is about Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, a pawn within a powerful family whose ambitions carried high stakes & avarice and a lust for power.

After the death of her aunt, as a young girl, she is sent to her father’s stepmother, the Dowager Duchess, to be looked after and to learn the skills to ‘make a good marriage, or even a place at court.’ She is mostly given free reign to do as she pleases, in amongst completing her lessons & improving her dancing skills.

After a few years, the older ‘young ladies’ of the household, allow her to become a part of their ‘after hours’ activities and after they feast and drink alcohol, (& smuggle men into their accommodation) as a bystander, the teenage Katheryn learns more about carnal desires & becoming a woman. Despite one or two dalliances with men, Katheryn doesn’t believe that any of them have been serious & so when an opportunity becomes open for Katheryn to work for the current queen, she happily accepts without a second thought.

She enjoys the position because she adores the Queen, Anna; she has also become serious about Thomas Culpepar, who is her cousin and serves Henry closely in his Privy Chamber. However, as it becomes clear that Henry & Anna of Kleve are not producing an heir, her uncle, The Duke of Norfolk, constructs a plan for the king to notice her & and, potentially, become queen.

She was 19, Henry was 49.

I don’t think there are any spoilers here, the plan is successful!

However not all loose ends from her previous life are as secure as she hoped and this, sadly, becomes her undoing.

Like I said, we all know the history, but Alison Weir tells such a fantastic story that I momentarily forgot what had happened; the tension was palpable as I read on. As a female particularly, I really felt the injustice of it all. Women of this time were at the mercy of the men who surrounded them, often with no-one to trust and the weight of the crown on her head too. It seems so alien now that such a terrible punishment could fit the ‘crime’ and so devastating that this young queen was only 21 years old when she met her end.

This penultimate book is a well executed, supremely magnificent story, packed with love, honour, naivety, greed, & desire. A thrilling snapshot of the rise and fall of Henry’s fifth wife. 👑⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👑

NB: Not the final book jacket.

We Met in December-Rosie Curtis.

Published by Avon Books Audiobook available on

It’s an absolute pleasure to be included on the audio blog tour for the fantastic ‘We Met in December’ by Rosie Curtis. Thank you to Sanjana at Avon for my invite.

I was fortunate enough to have read this book a couple of weeks ago and I was really excited to be able to review the audiobook version of it. I have a 40 minute commute to school every day so I love to be able to listen to a variety of audiobooks in the car.

The Author…

Rosie (@karamina on Twitter) grew up in the Scottish Highlands before moving to Melborne, and now lives with her family in Southport, UK. Writing as ‘Rachael Lucas’ she is the author of four women’s fiction novels, published by Pan Macmillan, as well as two YA novels, published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

A little about the story…

After breaking up with her boyfriend, Jess has made some pretty big decisions and moved from her home in Bournemouth to London. Her friend, Becky, has inherited her grandparents house and has been able to offer Jess a room with a reduced rent in upmarket Notting Hill. Jumping at the opportunity, Jess is determined to make a fresh start focusing on her new job and giving relationships a wide berth which is helped further by Becky’s house rule: no couples!

On the first night in her new home, just before Christmas, she meets her new housemates: Emma, Rob, and a guy called Alex, who she fancies him immediately. Ooooops-so much for the house rules!

Before Jess moves in properly, she has a pre-arranged skiing holiday with her girlfriends, whilst there she cannot get her mind off the gorgeous Alex, but when she returns, she discovers that Alex has started seeing Emma.

Jess is mortified because she will have to now live in the house with them as a potential couple. Instead of moping in her room, she decides she will get to know London a bit better, which will keep her out of the house.

But fate has a funny way of intervening, and, over the year, despite what her head tells her to do, her heart has other plans…

The audiobook…

Because each chapter of the book is dated throughout the year, from the perspective of either Jess or Alex, The We Met in December audiobook is narrated by Jessica Preddy, who has previously lent her vocal talents to Disney, and has acted in Doctor Who and Outlander and Finlay Robertson who played Mark Harper in series three of Unforgotten. 

Jessica Preddy is a great choice for the character of Jess because I feel she really understands the character, her tone is almost Bridget Jonesesque and that is instantly appealing. Similarly, Finlay Robertson is an excellent choice for Alex, he just sounds like his character should-personable and relatable.

My thoughts

I did really enjoy the story, as I said, I’d already read and loved the book. I liked the character of Jess, moving to London or any big city, starting afresh is something lots of people could relate to. Jess spends her spare time, walking around London and Rosie Curtis is incredibly skilled in bringing this magnificent city-and where I grew up-to life. I loved her description of Little Venice so much, that I found myself hankering for a little walk along the canal. When I went up to London last month from where I currently live in Cornwall, I went out of my way to go there! It didn’t disappoint-it’s a perfect romantic setting.

The parallel stories of regret & love lost between Alex and Jess works really well too and, although the process takes a year, I liked how the relationship simmered along gently. I think the fact that they are just good mates at the start really set the foundations for the rest of the story.

The sub-plot surrounding Jess’ nan is a clever way for the author to really expand on Jess’ characterisation and the bond she has with her grandmother is lovely-it’s sweet how her nan follows her activities on Instagram.

This isn’t a typical Christmas story, but it is engaging and entertaining nonetheless. It says on one of the tag lines on the book:

‘The perfect Christmas rom-com for fans of Josie Silver & Richard Curtis movies.’

And that is exactly how it plays out while reading/listening to it! I can totally see this in movie version too!

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If you enjoyed it, please give it a like or the page a follow-it’s very much appreciated. Don’t forget to check out all the other great bloggers participating in this blog tour!

Woman in the Water-Katerina Diamond. Published by Avon 23/1/20

As you know, I’m a huge fan of Katerina Diamond’s books, I’ve reviewed her books for The Sun in the past, and I was excited to read this new one because the two main characters-Detectives Adrian Miles & Imogen Grey-have almost become like friends as the books have gone on, and I was excited to see how they were getting on!

There is always the danger that as a series of books continues, the author may struggle to keep momentum, but not in this case, Diamond is such a master story-teller that my heart was in my mouth by the time I got to the end of chapter 1, and I don’t think my blood pressure lowered until I read the very last word.

Miles finds a woman’s body in the water and their only lead is a local construction company owner, whose name crops up more than once in their investigations. However, they don’t seem to be getting anywhere-no-one will talk. As the investigation continues, it affects Miles more than he thought it would. This causes the relationship between both of the officers to become fragmented: Grey thinks that Miles isn’t acting objectively because of his past, and Miles vehemently disagrees, which in turn makes him question everything about their relationship up to this point. Then something happens which changes his perspective for good.

This absolute thriller of a book deals with some uncomfortable issues, I can’t say what, as it is pivotal to the plot, but what I can say is that Katerina Diamond, despite this being fiction, writes with an intense sensitivity which enables the reader to feel extreme sympathy-and in some cases, empathy-with the characters and their situations. What she has done so successfully with this story, is to highlight that mental cruelty is as dangerous as physical harm in relationships, and that either alone or combined, they can have serious consequences. For that, I commend her for her understanding and skilled ability to tackle serious subjects without dumbing them down or doing them a disservice.

Just a fantastic read-her best yet!


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