My Book Reviews for November 2023

My Book Reviews for November 2023

My Book Reviews for November 2023 comprise a police procedural by a bestselling American author and a British historical crime debut.

Her Final Words by Brianna Labuskes

This is a well-written, fast-paced police procedural. Seventeen-year-old Eliza confesses to killing twelve-year-old Noah. With a full caseload, FBI agent Lucy Thorne should be calling this a wrap. But there are too many holes in the story. What was Eliza’s motive? Why, if she committed the crime in her home town in Idaho, did she drive five hours to Seattle to confess? And – most concerning for Lucy – why did she ask for Lucy by name and make her say aloud the biblical quote that was carved on the victim’s body?

When Lucy gets to Knox Hollow Idaho, she finds a close-knit community that places the belief system of the local church above almost everything, perhaps even above the welfare of their children. The only person not enamoured of the Church is the local sheriff, Hicks, but he’s keeping his cards close to his chest and making Lucy’s job difficult.

Told across two timelines, it features four narrators: Lucy, Eliza, Hicks and Molly, a missing sixteen-year-old. All are intriguing and rounded characters. This story is a page-turner that draws a complex plot to a satisfying conclusion.

 

The Last Line by Stephen Ronson

Rural Sussex in 1940, meet John Cook – part gentleman farmer, part sleuth, part killing machine.

Under the growing threat of invasion, John – a veteran of the French battlefields and the Far East – seeks out like-minded fighters and prepares a secret defence.

But it’s not just the Nazis who threaten peaceful life in Uckfield. An evacuee child has gone missing, violent black market racketeers operate and a young woman has been murdered.

John is the only one who sees connections and strives for the truth. He’ll stop at nothing for justice.

A good start to a new series that’s like Foyle’s War on steroids.

With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an early copy in exchange for an independent review.

Henshaw Press Competitions

If you’re a budding short story writer, why not enter one of the Henshaw Press quarterly competitions? The competitions are now run by independent British publisher Hobeck Books. There is still time to enter the December competition. More details are here.

Henshaw/Hobeck offer a critique service. For a reasonable fee, the judges will provide a critique of your short story. This can be a critique of one you entered into the competition (after the results of the competition have been published) or for another story. Details are here.

Message for Anna H

A reader kindly contacted me on my website to ask me about The Good Teacher, but I couldn’t see the email address to reply, so I hope Anna sees this. There are no plans for sequels at the moment, but I am working on my Gleveham Killers Suspense series. The first title, Her Deadly Friend, featuring DI Steph Lewis, came out last year. I have now signed the contract for book two. Her Charming Man will come out next spring.

Chef Vanessa

With Christmas round the corner, my daughter-in-law and Cordon-Bleu chef, Vanessa, has produced the magnificent gingerbread house in the photograph at the top of this blog. To find out how Vanessa created this masterpiece, check out her post on Instagram.

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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