My Book Reviews for May 2022

My Book Reviews for May 2022

My book reviews for May 2022 are all for NetGalley titles I had the privilege of reading in exchange for independent reviews. They comprise a mix of thrillers and literary thrillers that are variously sizzling, quirky, unsettling, thought-provoking and cosy. I would like to thank the authors, publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read copies prior to their publication.

One of the Girls Lucy Clarke

This was a masterclass in genre fiction, the genre being the modern-day versions of Christie’s And Then There Were None where a group of characters gather for a celebration in a remote location and one of them is intent on murder.

As most are set during a snowstorm, it was a pleasant change that this story was set in the balmy heat of a Greek island in a cliffside villa. The celebration is Lexy’s hen party, attended by her old school pals, Bella and Robyn, and her new pal, Ana. Making up the numbers are Bella’s girlfriend, Fen, whose aunt owns the villa, and the groom’s sister, Eleanor.

Told from the viewpoints of all six women, we gradually learn what secrets each is hiding. Interspersed in the story are flash-forward monologues that hint that one is now dead (although it’s a wonder they didn’t all succumb to liver failure with the amount of alcohol consumed).

It’s a slow build-up that has a page-turning quality that I really enjoyed. I’d recommend it as a great summer thriller.

It’s the second book I’ve read by this author. My review of The Castaways is here.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Quantum Leap meets The October List in this sure-fire hit.

After witnessing her 18-year-old son commit murder, Jen finds herself travelling back through time. Every morning she wakes up on a different date in the past and searches for clues that might help her to stop the crime in the future.

The author has created a likeable protagonist in Jen and she has done a good job of plotting the mystery.

Young Women by Jessica Moor

This is a slow-burn book that heats up at the forty-percent point. Emily, who is supressing her own brush with toxic masculinity, observes the effects of sexual assault on two friends. Her old school friend, Lucy, was groomed into a sexual relationship with her English teacher when she was a sixth-former, while Emily’s new friend, Tamsin, was sexually assaulted by a Hollywood producer when she was an 18-year-old actress. Now, a few years later, other actresses have come forward to say the same man attacked them. The book is an exploration of how the two women deal with their experiences and of how society both accepts and challenges predatory behaviour. It also questions the way Emily reacts to her friends and how she treats the two women differently from each other. Ideal for fans of feminist fiction who a seeking a take on the #MeToo movement.

What She Left Behind by Emily Freud

I can’t say much about the plot without giving the game away. Seasoned thriller readers may cotton on quickly, but will enjoy this different take on the domestic noir. Rebecca meets Sleeping with the Enemy, perhaps. With its likeable main character, it will be a hit.

The Safe House by Louise Mumford

As with her first novel, Sleepless, Louise Mumford takes a fresh approach to the psychological thriller. This latest novel explores how the decisions a loving mother makes for her child move from protective, through overprotective, to abusive and increasingly criminal. With questions about health and climate also raised, this title would make a good book club discussion.

Summer Fever by Kate Riordan

Set against the backdrop of a crumbling Italian villa, this is ideal for fans of very slow-burn, well-written stories. Dark and literary, it deals with sexual coercion. In this case, it is for the victim that the lines of consent are blurred, even years later.

The Murder List by Jackie Kabler

A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin cosy suspense. Great premise – not unlike The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie although it went off in its own unique direction. The author is good at conjuring up a large field of suspects.

Idol by Louise O’Neill

A highly successful social influencer starts to believe her own curated narrative and denies her past. But her former best friend may have the power to destroy her. Good for fans of thrillers on the topical issues of sexual consent and the power of social media.

So that’s all for my book reviews for May 2022 publications but I’ve got my kindle loaded up for June and hope to have a good old read over the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

My News – Her Deadly Friend by Rae Sargeant

At the top of this post is the cover of my forthcoming novel, Her Deadly Friend. I’m delighted with the design by Jayne Mapp and this banner by the publisher Hobeck Books.

Thank you to everyone who retweeted the cover reveal earlier this month.

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. Under the name Rae Sargeant, she writes the Gleveham Killers Suspense series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend. Her titles as Rachel Sargeant, with HarperCollins, are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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