Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty: first-class psychological thriller

 

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. 

This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

Review:

It’s a very different book from the recent TV series (which I also loved). This is far darker and more dangerous and deeper, and I much prefer it! I enjoyed the fact that the main character, Yvonne, is neither particularly likeable, nor particularly honest, but her voice is just so strong that she becomes an absolutely gripping character and I couldn’t put the book down.

The writing is both detailed and precisely fitted both to the characterisation and the flow of the story which makes for a first-class read. Doughty is now on my reading list and I will definitely be getting more of her books.

Anne Brooke Books

The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft: psychological page-turner

Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them. Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her?

When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her baby and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts. Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory.

My review:

A good page-turning read and I very much liked the main character, Simone. However, as other reviews have said, there are so many books like this now that the ‘female in jeopardy’ novel is probably rather old-fashioned. Also, I worked out the twist a third of the way through so the ending was no surprise, and on a really picky note, I don’t think you can draw blood from trying to stab someone with car keys but I’m not prepared to put this to the test, LOL!

However, still a good quick read and I will probably try this author again.

Anne Brooke Books

I See You by Clare Mackintosh: Gripping Crime Novel

mackintosh-i-see-you

This novel has excellent pace and very good tension throughout. The female characters are very well rounded, and there is good development during the story. I also loved the fact that the violence was not centre-stage, but the focus was on the psychology of crime. The ending is totally fabulous and I really enjoyed THAT twist.

The only down sides to this book were the fact that the men weren’t very well developed, and also the general cliche of women being victims of sexual crime – surely there are other crimes to explore! Anyway, that aside, this is a gripping read and I will be putting this author on my list.

Anne Brooke Books

Thorn in the Flesh: psychological thriller

Psychological thriller Thorn in the Flesh has just been republished today at Amazon with a delightful new cover, that I absolutely love!

Kate Harris, a lecturer in her late thirties, is attacked in her home and left for dead. The assault and the hate letters she starts to receive bring to light the past she longs to leave behind, a past which includes the son she chose to give away.

What happens to Kate also affects the people she counts as friends and colleagues. She has loved her best friend, Nicky, for a long time but Nicky is happily married with two young children, and Kate is determined never to damage the lives of those she cares for.

However, when she makes the decision to contact the father of her son, Kate sets in motion a series of terrifying events she has no control over. Can she save herself and those she loves from the menacing enemy who stalks them?

Thorn in the Flesh was longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards 2006.

Reviews:

“Thorn in the Flesh is emotionally stirring, dealing with circumstances that most of us will never understand … Despite never having been in Kate’s circumstances, the story made me think about my own life and where I am currently. I recommend the book to everyone.” (Open Book Society Reviews)

“Thorn in the Flesh is a slow burning mystery woven into the ordinary lives of a close-knit group of friends. This is a great choice for readers who prefer to get to know characters well before the plot heats up. The payoff at the end is well worth the initial emotional investment!” (Long and Short Reviews)

I hope you enjoy the read!

Anne Brooke Books
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The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy