DEAKIN’S SECOND BOOK IS GONE BUT BLOOMS INTO THE SPECTACULAR

Standard

Gone Cover ImageAll good things must come to end, either by death or dispute. The maturity is accepting that people leave, friendships end, love vanishes and life goes on with empty feelings, sad smiles, and a broken soul.

This is something I am coming to terms with recently, owing to two of my best friends walking away from our thirty-five-year friendship over my refusal to accept their relationship with a convicted sex offender. This month’s second book review is a thriller, also about a group of people who also mysteriously walk out of their lives, it’s called “Gone” by Leona Deakin and is published by Black Swan (https://www.penguin.co.uk/company/publishers/transworld/black-swan.html) as an ebook on the 19th August and in paperback on the 3rd October.

When four people go missing from various parts of the UK on their birthdays after receiving cards from an anonymous source, daring them to partake in a game, the police don’t suspect anything. These people went voluntarily and are playing a game. But then the daughter of one of the missing persons contacts her neighbour’s brother Marcus Jameson, an ex MI6 Agent, and his partner Dr Augusta Bloom, a Psychologist, who together run a private investigation company dealing with unusual cases.

At first, they think it just four random disappearances across a couple of months, then with the help of the police, they discover there are over a hundred people missing supposedly playing this game. When one of the missing then returns home and brutally murders her husband in front of their young kids, Jameson and Bloom suspect there could be some sort of terrorist motive behind the game. As well as that, Bloom has realised all the missing share psychopathic personalities and that they are being singled out for this reason. But to what end? As their investigation digs deeper, Bloom and Jameson discover that they are now part of the game and are forced to take part in it. With psychopaths in all walks of life, is there anyone they can really trust? Can they stop this twisted game and find the mastermind behind it, and discover for what purpose is it being run, before another member of the public or one of their family or friends is hurt?

As well as the sense of loss running through my life in the past couple of weeks, I’ve also had to read this month’s choice for my book group, which was the Booker Prize winner Milkman. Well, I’m very glad that Gone came through my door, because compared to Milkman (I threw it down after twenty pages), the telephone directory was looking very appealing!

RColtrai necracker

Robbie Coltraine in “Cracker”(Denofgeek)

Deakin’s book on the other hand, is a sleep depriving, white knuckle ride from the first page to the dramatic conclusion at the end, that left me with a crick in my neck too.

The plotting is superb and the edginess of the story and the multitude of dark and sinister possibilities for why these people are targeted and then used is the biggest hook and the reason it’s an out and out page turner. When the two main characters started getting paranoid of people in public, I was so into this book, I too felt the need to look over my shoulder and became wary of people on public transport and in the street.

Deakin’s two main characters our straight out of the Mulder and Scully school of teamwork and interaction. There is a perfect chemistry of brains and brawn, Jameson is almost bond-esque, without the gadgets, while Bloom does all her fighting with her scalpel sharp mind. This book is similar to Val McDermaid’s Wire in the Blood which inspired the TV series of the same name and also in the same vain as The Cracker series starring Robbie Coltraine, as they both centre around the work of a criminal psychologist. But I felt Gone had a fifth gear as a result of its pace and the numerous possible threats to its protagonists along with the far-reaching consequences to the wider population. My hope is that Deakin can keep this is edge of your seat pace going forward into the next book.

It’s been a number of years since a decent crime series involving a criminal psychologist has stepped out of the shadows on to our book shelves and in this book we have the beginning of what could be a cracker (excuse the pun) of a series, written by a professional in the field. However, the public interest hasn’t waned, judging by the success of Netflix’s new Mindhunter series.  The level of detail in the book and the facts about those with this type of personality, speaks volumes about the authors expertise and allows you to be drawn deeper into this immersive and completely engrossing story.

This is English Author and occupational psychologist Leona Deakin’s (@leonadeakin1)

Leona Deakin Author pic

Leona Deakin

second book. Her first one was a romantic thriller called Anomaly published in 2013, but didn’t feature Bloom or Jameson. She has previously been a psychologist with West Yorkshire Police and lives in Leeds with her family.

This is undoubtedly up there as one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and we are still in August, I am really looking forward to seeing if it becomes a series featuring these two characters or at least reading her next book.

So download it now as an e-book, or I dare you to put and order in with your local bookshop before they’re Gone…

 

Reviewed by Adrian Murphy

This review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of it go to their blogs sites listed below. If after reading this or any of the reviews you go out and get  a copy, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Gone BT Poster

THE FORTY FIVE PAGES SHORT OF THE YEAR IS ALL THAT’S MISSING FROM KAYS MULTI-LAYERED THRILLER.

Standard

 

 

One Year Later CoverAs I was reading this months first book,  I was spending a long weekend in Kerry with my husband’s extended family. Nothing too sinister in the way of secrets involved, just a surprise 70th birthday celebration for his uncle. It had been planned over months and involved various relatives flying in or driving down to Kerry, caterers and, of course, a cake. All went off without a hitch, the birthday boy being left, for once, speechless. It was still interesting as a newcomer to the family to watch the interactions, the ancient but tolerated jokes and the acceptance of a few little irritations, which occur when a large group of people are forced together for several days.

The house we rented had access to its own private beach and there were some prior conversations regarding children and safety but as it turned out the beach was a good 15-minute walk from the house. Its easy to see how accidents may happen though.  In such a big group everyone assumes someone else is watching the children. Fortunately, the most dramatic event of this kind that occurred was myself being forgotten about at the serving of the party food, as I was keeping an eye on a three-year-old niece in a far-flung corner of the house at the time.

That is the premise of this month’s book, a family gathering following the tragic and untimely death of a young member. Its One Year Later by Sanjida Kay and published by Corvus Books (www.atlantic-books.co.uk) on the 1st of August .

One year after Ruby -May, Amy’s daughter dies in a tragic accident, the family go on a holiday to an idyllic Italian island to heal and repair family relationships. Once they arrive, they find nothing is as it seems and at least one of them hides a shocking secret. Things begin to spiral out of control and Amy wonders if all of them will make it back.

I can only imagine the horror and guilt that occur when a child drowns on a family property, as a result of a moments lapse of supervision. This is what has happened to Ruby- May, although for a while it isn’t clear what happened to cause her death. Guilt and recriminations have ravaged what was once a close family. Everyone is questioning their actions. Ruby-May’s grandfather has been blamed as he, we are told, was supposed to be looking after her. However, there is some suspicion that he has started to suffer from Alzheimer’s, so is he really to blame? The family go away for the anniversary of the death. Their father turns up as an unwanted quest and there are some other non family members along for the holiday too, such as their nanny and their sister’s personal trainer. Nick, Amy’s brother starts to question the events surrounding Ruby-May’s death . Also it seems someone is watching the family in their holiday home, creeping around. You begin to wonder if the family is safe.

I liked the way Sanjida Kay told the story from both Nick and Amy’s viewpoints. This gave you a different perspective to events. I enjoy books where the story is told by a different character each chapter and you slowly get the full picture. Here there weren’t too many characters to keep track of either. The plot was rather like an onion, with layer after layer slowly being unpeeled (and occasionally making your eyes water!) There was a slow build of tension to a clever twist or two and a satisfying conclusion.  In some ways this was Agatha Christie-esque with a limited number of suspects in an isolated location.  There were a number of red herrings to distract you too as almost everyone had a secret. It certainly had me turning stuff over between reads!

Sanjida-OConnell#2

Sanjida Kay (writingproject.co.uk)

Dante’s Divine Comedy is referenced at the beginning of the novel in an epigram and throughout by one of the characters reading it, and by his copy being seen in story locations. I have been thinking about its meaning in relation to this story. It has a link to the Italian location but I wondered if the author had referenced it in relation to the difficult path through grief or to the labyrinthine layers of secrets and pain to be worked through in this story in order for the family to reach a happier conclusion. I’m no scholar and it’s all a little too deep for me, but it piqued my interest. I wonder what others on the blog tour felt?

This is English writer and broadcaster, Sanjida Kay’s (www.sanjida.co.uk), fourth psychological thriller. The others are My Mothers Secret (2018), Stolen Child (2017) and Bone by Bone (2016). She’s also written a number of books of historical fiction including Sugar Island (2011) and The Naked Name Of Love (2009). As a result of her work on BBC televisions wildlife programmes she’s written books about nature and science as well as one looking at Mind Reading. She currently  lives in Somerset with her husband and daughter.

There are similar themed novels  to One Year Later out there, such as a particular favourite of mine, Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty, which has been optioned for a movie by Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman; but I see this giving that a run for its money. Its certainly a book I’d be recommending to friends, so don’t wait a year to get this gripping read.

Reviewed by : Georgina Murphy

 

This book is part of  a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of the book, please take the time to visit their sites listed below. If you read this book, please come back and tell us what you thought, it would be very much appreciated.

 

One Year Later BT Poster