Roadside Crosses is the second installment in the Kathryn Dance series by Jeffrey Deaver.
In a previous blog post I spoke about 2 books in the Lincoln Rhyme series which I won in a competition, that prize also included this book!
Kathryn Dance is a special agent at the California Bureau of Investigation and an expert in interrogation and kinesics.
After having read other books by Jeffrey Deaver I was excited to read this one. I like to read a series as I feel more engaged with the characters and their stories. As I was reading this book I felt that this could be a new series on my TBR list!
Roadside Crosses is a novel where roadside crosses are appearing in memorium to deaths that have not yet occurred. This in intelf intringued me to read this book!.
The roadside crosses and crimes all stem from a blog post on the ‘Chilton Report’ where Chilton questions road safety, the comments soon start to be directed at a young boy named travis who is blamed for a previous crash on the highway. After this leads to an attempted murder on someone who posted about Travis, the blame for that starts to shift to him himself. As Dance investigates this and hunts Travis down the books takes a dive into the online world and how that can be used in an investigation and how someone can confuse real life with the virtual one. This was an interesting angle which I enjoyed reading. It was a page turner and I wanted to continue to find out more about what happened.
Reading about Dance’s expertise in kinesics was really interesting and I felt gave another dimension to the character. She is able to interpret body language in a way that others wouldn’t realise and make deductions which aid the case. I liked the character of Dance, a special agent and mother who uses her expertise to solve the crimes shes faced with.
I felt that the book was full of surprised and twists which I like in a crime/thriller novel and I like this book so much I started to read the nexr book in the series. As you may take away from that, I would recommend this series but would recommend starting at #1!
The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard is a psychological thriller partially set in Lithuania that features many themes including trafficking, crime as well as love and family.
This is Susanna Beards second novel but the first I have read and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a novel full of suspense and twists which keep you compelled to keep reading. It begins with the main character finding a body on a beach and Lithuania and as she tries to find out what happened for the body to be there she uncovers secrets she didn’t expect to find. Although it is a psychological thriller there is also action and danger throughout. As we follow Anna with this journey we follow her life including her meeting Will, and she begins to fall in love. Through this area of the novel we explore the themes of love and family. We see how Anna life and mindset changes when Will comes into her life.
I really liked Anna as a character and thought she was realistic and likeable. She has her flaws and has made decisions that everyone won’t agree with but I think this helps for the readers to relate, nobody is perfect and its good to see that represented in a novel. We also see the aspects of being in a relationhsip where the woman is older is good to see as it is generally written about with the opposite.
The book has some heavy topics (such as trafficking, abortion etc) and I think that Susanna Beard tackled this really well! I would highly recommend this book.
I reached out to Susanna Beard and asked if I could ask her a few questions and she kindly said yes! (greatly appreciated, thank you!) So the following is those Questions and answers.
What made you want to become a writer, primarily of psychological thrillers?
I’ve wanted to write novels since I was a teenager – but didn’t have the confidence to go for it. In those days there were no creative writing courses, and writing (except for journalism, which didn’t appeal) wasn’t seen as a ‘proper’ job, sadly. I enjoyed writing throughout school and my English teacher gave me a love of reading and books — she was a great teacher and really inspired me.
When I started my first novel, Dare to Remember, I was just writing a story: I didn’t have any idea it would turn out to be a psychological thriller! When my publisher called it that, it was a surprise. At the time, the genre was very popular (and still is), so I decided it was going to be my focus.
2. Did you have any specific inspiration, or influence to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Well it was around the time of the huge interest in thrillers, so after my first was published, I decided to start with a thriller-y premise – like the body on the beach!
I then added in some themes I was interested in, like the older woman with a younger man, the concept of people being thrown together – as they were when the Icelandic volcano erupted – and sex trafficking.
3. What research or process did you follow in order to write ‘The Truth Waits’?
Having decided to set the book partly in Lithuania, I looked online at images of the coastline, which looked perfect – great long, empty sandy beaches, dark skies, threatening waters. I also researched sex trafficking, mostly online, and talked to agencies like Victim Support to get a good picture of how sex trafficking works and what happens to the victims.
I met the Lithuanian Attaché in London to get further background on the country, its politics and history. I then spent four days visiting Klaipeda and the Kuronian Spit where the beach was, and travelled by train across the country to Vilnius. It was great to visit a completely different place and to learn about the geography, customs (and even the police!).
4. What made you write this book in the third person, rather than the first?
I suppose I felt more comfortable in third, though I have since written some characters in first. I think it depends on how close you want to be to the deeper thoughts and feelings of your character – though in ‘close’ third (where everything is written from the personal POV of your protagonist, including description), you get a similar feel to first.
5. Was it a conscious decision to make the main character a female, a strong, independent businesswoman at that?
It was indeed! There are parts of me in her – although she’s not me. I like strong female characters and would find it hard to write a woman who stayed weak and submissive throughout the story. I would have to make her change as events unfold and become strong.
As I’m writing mostly contemporary fiction, I aim to write my stories as a realistic picture of women’s lives, and I think today there are many, many women (in developed countries, at least) who are independent and successful, in multiple ways.
6. The book features some tough topics, i.e. sex trafficking, was it difficult to write about this?
Actually, no – although I understand why you’re asking this. I’m an avid watcher of dark films, drama and thrillers, including crime. The theme is covered fairly regularly, and sometimes in shocking detail, so I knew how it would be.
I also think sex trafficking needs more exposure – it’s a sophisticated, international activity run by gangs of career criminals. I looked particularly at Eastern Europe and Russia and found that Western Europe and the US are often the destinations for these girls. Once you start researching, you realise that it’s a terrible problem, all round the world.
7. Was there any reason you decided to set the book in multiple locations including Lithuania. I really enjoyed this international aspect but curious whether there was a specific reason?
I was looking for a beach as a setting – but it couldn’t be a holiday beach with sun and tourists; it had to be empty and unknown – for the dark, suspenseful aspect of the story. I started with the idea of Sicily (where my sister was stranded because of the volcanic ash incident) but soon realised it was too beautiful! So I looked on the map for a more northern location, largely unfamiliar to a British audience. The Baltic coast was perfect.
8. The book also features a forming relationship between two people, was there a reason it features a younger male and the themes of wanting a family and balancing this with careers?
Yes. I think there’s still prejudice about women with younger partners (the word ‘cougar’ used for them is evidence of this!), while men have always been looked on as ‘lucky’ for pairing with a younger woman. The theme of balancing family with career is one that will run and run, for women at least!
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors and writers? Yes – be patient, keep writing. The rewards are fantastic. If you can, give yourself confidence through training – there are so many brilliant courses out there.
10. Is there anything else about ‘The Truth Waits’ that you would like to share?
I dedicated the book to my dear friend Sharon, a talented and wonderful TV drama producer, who helped me sort out a plot that turned out to be a bit of an octopus! Sadly she passed away last year. I will always remember her generosity in helping me.
I think we can all agree these answers were fab, so many thanks again to Susanna Beard! I would highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it the same as me!
I bought a ‘pamper box’, surprise gift box’ from Second Chapter Books on Etsty, and this is what I received and thought of it.
First of all, I thought this was a great purchase! I got to buy a surprise book (pre-loved) and receive some goodies all whilst supporting a small business.
When I first ordered this I wasn’t really looking for it but it popped up on my Etsy and it looked like something I would be interested in. I went to buy it and I saw that this seller has a bunch of different box options, from book only to multiple books plus surprises.
I chose the pamper self care box as I saw it included a face mask and that is something I appreciate. It was only £12 so i feel like its good value for money but there is other options that are even cheaper! When I nought this you got the option to choose the genre your book will be. (the options are romance, young adult, nonfiction, mystery/thriller and surprise me!) I think this is a great addition as if you like a specific genre you wont be diccspointed.
Personally I am a fan of mystery/thriller books so that is the genre I chose. The book I recieved (was beautifully wrapped, first off) was I Found You by Lisa Jewell. I read the back and immediatly thought this is the klind of book I would have picked and I am excited to read it.
from the blurb, the book looks as if it centres around the theme of memory loss and what happens when Lily new husband disapears, and Alice finds a man on the beach outside her home who has no memory at all. This book intruigues me and I can’t wait to delve into it.
I would highly recommend this seller on etsy and I will leave a link to it so you can look into it aswell!
A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci is the second book that features FBI agent Atlee Pine. This novel follows Agent Pine as she tried to find out what happened one fateful night when she was 6 years old and her twin sister Mercy was taken and Pine herself was left for dead. When she oversteps her mark on an arrest she is given a leave of absence which she uses as a perfect opportunity to try to figure out what actually happened all those years ago.
I picked this book up when I was browsing one day and it caught my eye immediately, I love investigative books and this one seemed to be one that I would like. Upon reading my initial thoughts were correct.
I feel that as soon as I began reading I was gripped on the story and wanted to find out what happened to Pine and her sister. In the beginning of the book we find out Pine is visiting a criminal in a Colorado maximum security prison who she beleives knows something about what happens and he plays mind games with her which proves to be frustrating to Pine. I thought this was an interesting way to begin. As Pine already believes she has found someone who knows something the book takes off from there and with Pine being given leave of absence brings an opportunity for us to follow her journey to the truth.
As she delves back into her past her memory of that night are hazy but she meets up with people who knew her parents and family or lived in the area at the time. She uncovers shocking surprises and secrets which makes her question her parents and her own past. What did she really know about her family?
As all of this goes on a string of murders begin to occur in her hometown which as an FBI agent she helps out with. It makes you as the reader think about whether the current crimes were connected to those of the past.
Atlee Pine is a strong female FBI Agent who I found was a character I wanted to stay with and was likeable. You want to help her find the truth and seeing the main lead of the book as a female FBI agent was great! as Pine reflects on her memories of the event that lead to her sister being taken you want to help her to find the truth. The book shows how she has never really gotten over what happened that night and not knowing what happened to her twin sister was affecting her. This book allows insight into why Pine is the agent she is today!
I found this book an easy read in the sense that the book made me want to turn the pages. I wanted to find out what happened on the next page and chapter! It was a thriller full of great twists and turns which proved to be a compulsive read. The first in the Atlee Pine books, Long Road to Mercy, is for sure on my to read list after reading this! (although I would say I didn’t find I was missing anything huge without reading in the correct order but I would recommend doing so!)
I found Baldacci writing to be engaging and easy to comprehend. With a book about discovering something that happened in the past it can sometimes become a confusing read with different timelines and tenses but this book never had that problem! I like that the chapters were not too big and allowed me to see progress clearly.
I would recommend this book for sure, especially to those who like a book with twists, turns, investigations and crime!
The Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver conisists of 16 novels, which were the basis for a TV series that was realeased in January 2020.
I am not going to lie and say I have read all 16 (but I will one day be able to say that). I have read two of the series that I was fortunate to have won in a competition. The two I have read, The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector, I loved and has made me add the other 14 books to my TBR list. (the list just got a whole lot longer:))
Lincoln Rhyme is a former NYPD homicide detective, forensic anaylist and crimanalist who after being injured during an investigation becomes a quadriplegic. He is now a forensic consultant who works from a state of the art lab in his own home. He works alongside Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through crime scenes and helps to solve the crimes they are faced with.
The Burning Wire was the fist one I read which also happened to be the 9th in the series. For this reason I was skeptical about how much I would understand or engage with the characters having missed out on the previous 8 books. I would say the main story of the killers whose weapon was electricity was one I found unique and made me want to read on but there was a sub-plot based around the Watchmaker, one of the few criminals to get away from Lincoln Rhyme which I felt a bit of background knowledge could have been useful. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book a lot and it didn’t really affect my reading enjoyment.
I found this book a page turner which is the best kind of book in my opinion. In this novel there is a killer whose unique weapon is electricity. I found this quite a different weapon of choice compared to others in different books which I liked and it felt new to me. Reading how something most of us take for granted can be turned into a weapon and seeing how Rhyme and his team tackled finding this killer was really engaging.
I have to admit I am not sure how much I loved the little bits of input about the watchmaker story line. I get that it is more of a bigger picture moment but I felt it kind of stunted the flow of the book. This could have just been due to the fact I hadn’t read previous books but I felt it took away a bit from the investigation ongoing.
I liked how we got to read this book from different points of view, I personally find this more engaging as we see differences within the characters and there perception of what is happening around them.
I was a fan on the character of Lincoln Rhyme and how even though he was a quadriplegic he is still one of the best in his field of work. How he utilises help from people and equipment was fascinating to read. I felt that this book showed some vulnerability in Lincoln which was nice to see that he wasn’t just a crime solving machine.
The second book was The Skin Collector, this is the 11th installment in the series.
This installment I also found to be a real page turner and I loved getting to read about Rhyme taking on another criminal. In this book the weapon of choice was poison, which was administered via an unvoluntary tattoo by the criminal. I also found this quite a unique way to poison someone and I hadn’t really read of that before which was intriguing. The killer leaves messages with these tattoos and we are able to read as Rhyme and his team try to find the killer and what these messages mean.
I was a fan of this book as well, and I think it gave more of an insight into Rhyme as a Character and more about how he works with his team to find out who is responsible for these crimes. This installment has links back to The Bone Collector which was the very first book in the series which I liked, even though I haven’t read the first one. I liked how even though it was the 11th in a series it is still connected to the book 10 books prior.
I felt this book gave more of an insight into Amelia Sachs as we see her connection with 19 year old Pam whom Sachs has taken under her wing. This relationship does make referals to previous books however I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t understand the relationship and I still enjoyed it!
There is also a TV series, Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector, which was released in January 2020 which I haven’t watched yet but I do intend to! Comment below if you have seen it !
I feel that book books were skillfully told, with twist and turns to keep your pages turning with them. I would recommend to read these, especially to those who enjoy mystery, thriller crime books!
‘Imaginary Friend’ is a book written by Stephen Chbosky which is due to be released in October. This is a release I am scored about as Chbosky first novel ‘Perks of being a Wallflower’ was a great read that I loved.
‘Perks of being a wallflower’ was then made into a film which Chbosky wrote and directed himself. Since then he has written screenplays such as The live action Beauty and the Beast.
‘Imaginary Friends’ is his second novel and follows Kate Reese. Kate is a single mother who flees an abusive relationship by moving to a new town and starting over with her son. But Mill Grove, Pennsylvania is not the place they thought it would be… after her son disappears into the woods their life begins to unravel. This disappearance is strangely familiar with a similar occurrence happening 50 years prior. When he returns 6 days later it is a relief to find him unharmed but he isn’t the same as he was before. He doesn’t come back alone and is accompanied with a voice only he can hear.
This book is thrilling and eery with a masterpiece of imagination and emotion.
I was lucky enough to be sent a link to where I could read the first couple of chapters and so far I am liking it and can’t wait till October. As with every post I will say that reading is entirely a personal choice and which books you like could be completely different to other so although I am recommending it if you don’t like it that’s fine too,
If you would like to get an extract from this book follow this link!
The Chalk Man is a thriller novel that follows the life of a young boy and his friends as they use chalk to communicate which links to a series of tragic events. Now older we see how all characters have moved on (or not) from these events and how a letter received featuring a chalk man brings it all back. Will they ever know what really happened all those years ago?
I really enjoyed this book as it was much more focused on being psychological thriller than on the actual crimes committed which I liked. It showed a different dimension to the events and how everything unfolded. It did also feature the crimes and events that happened however it wasn’t focused on a police or investigative point of view and on the people that they effected. There are some slightly gruesome descriptions and scenes however I always feel as though this allows the reader to gauge how bad the event was and to understand what the characters have been through.
I thought that the characters were realistic and thought that the use of two different time periods helped as it showed how he was as a boy and who he is now after growing up and moving on. It also shows the realistic aspect of friendship at a young age, naturally friends drift as they grow older and that didn’t change for these characters despite what they had been through together. They all had been effected in different ways and I feel as though this also added realism.
I also really enjoyed the structure of the book and it helped me to grasp the story line much quicker. The use of two different time periods using separate chapters for ease made it much more simple to follow along. Each chapter was titled by the year the chapter is set in to also diffuse confusing. I did originally think that the story may be lost by readers trying to catch up on what part of the characters lives they are reading however CJ Tudor has written it in a seamless way. I enjoyed they way this was written as well as the structure as I felt as though I was really involved in what was happening and that I was reading a book written by a character rather than the office.
I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a good book if you want to get into psychological thrillers as it is a mix of both mental and physical events. I would also like to read more or this authors books in the future as her writing style is something that engaged me in the story. Considering this is her debut novel!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or have any psychological thriller recommendations)
The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is a book I previously purchased and I am excited to read it.
The Chalk Man is a thriller that follows ‘Eddie’ as he relives his childhood after receiving a drawing of a chalk stick man. It takes him back 30 years to when a game he was playing went horribly wrong.
This book was originally published in January 2018 and had received many positive reviews. It has plenty of twists and turns and the use of flashbacks to help explain the events of previous years. It has a complex and intriguing storyline however although it has good reviews there is also some bad reviews. It’s rare to not receive any and they mainly said that some parts are a little unrealistic.
Saying this however I am excited to see what my opinion of this book will be and get to create my own views of the story.
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or plan to)
‘No Time For Goodbye’ is a crime thriller novel by author Linwood Barclay that was published in 2007. The book centers around a woman named Cynthia and the disappearance of her family. She wakes up one day and her family is gone, no bodies, no crime scene, no evidence. What really happened to her family? It follows her journey trying to find out what happened to her family 25 years ago and the new clues that are appearing.
I really enjoyed this book as it wasn’t entirely based from a police procedural view and looked more and the view of Cynthia and her husbands. How they are coping with the new information and trying to figure out what happened to Cynthia’s family.
I found both Cynthia and her husband likable characters which made me more invested in finding out how it all ended. We see a flashback to the night Cynthia family went missing at the beginning of the novel which helped to show who she is today and how she has been shaped by these traumatic events. The guilt and sadness that came alongside the experience becomes apparent in her life with her husband and daughter now and how she has become more paranoid than ever. Her husband is also likable as we see how the events effect him and their daughter. We see him becoming more annoyed and suspicious which I think adds realism because if he was always positive and supportive would that be truthful to what would actually happen in that scenario.
I found that the book started off at an average pace but soon speeds up as more pieces of the jigsaw fits together and her husband becomes more and more involved in finding out the truth.
I think the ending of the book matches to the build up and is an exciting ending. There are more twists and turns up until the last page so it keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to know what happened all those years ago and you want it to be a happy ending (as much as possible) for Cynthia and her family.
Overall, I would highly recommend this thriller as it keeps ypou on the edge of your seat throughout with a realistic story. I am excited to read the sequel ! ‘No Safe House’
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on this book or any others by Linwood Barclay)
‘Those Who Lie’ is the first published novel by Diane Jeffrey and is a psychological thriller. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and is very engaging. It focuses on a character, Emily, life and how her past experiences and choices effect her present. She kills her husband whilst in a car accident but cannot remember doing do. Due to the fact it is a story which does feature an amnesia sub-plot it allows you to read the book without fully knowing what went on and discovering what happened alongside the character. It is a novel that is well written and is a great read! Especially for those who enjoy the crime/mystery/thriller genre. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a new book to get involved in.
The author of this book, Diane Jeffrey was very kind and answered some of my questions without hesitation so I would just like to thank her for her involvement and time.
Diane Jeffrey is an author from Devon who currently lives in France and is an English Teacher. ‘Those Who Lie’ is her first published novel and she is due to release a further novel in summer.
1 What made you become an author?
Well, I’ve always wanted to be an author. It has been my dream ever since I could write, really. I’ve always written, mainly short stories, one of which was recently longlisted for a competition and one of which was broadcast a couple of years ago on Irish radio. The first novel I wrote was unanimously rejected by all the agents I sent it too, quite rightly, too, as it wasn’t brilliant! That was about 14 years ago! But HQ Digital (HarperCollins) published my second novel in January 2017. It was quite a moment! (And quite a long journey!)
2 Were you inspired by any other authors/books?
I was inspired by other books in the genre of the psychological thriller, particularly Elizabeth Haynes’s Into The Darkest Corner, which for me really stands out in this genre, but more recently by Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, both of which I consider to be well worth the hype!
3 What made you decide to write in the crime/mystery/thriller genre?
I have quite eclectic tastes in reading, but I do like a good thriller! So I thought I’d try my hand at that. My first book (the unpublished one) was actually a Chick-Lit novel!
4 Regarding your book, ‘Those Who Lie’, why did you decide to write the story at different points in Emily’s life?
Hmm. That’s an interesting question. I wanted to show what had made Emily into who she was today. She has a past, which has shaped her as a person and affected her psychologically, and I wanted to use that to make her character as fleshed out as possible. She’s not necessarily likeable, so I felt that my readers needed to understand her if they were going to root for her. In addition, there are a lot of strange things happening to Emily in the present that are clearly connected to her past and so I decided on the dual timeline.
5 What made you decide to feature an amnesia storyline?
I love unreliable narrators and having the main character a little amnesic meant that I didn’t have to give the game away too early! It’s also very common for someone with the trauma that Emily suffered to block out painful memories.
6 Is there a specific reason you decided to make the majority of the main characters female?
Are they? I think my favourite character is Emily’s brother Matt. I suppose I killed off two of the important male characters in the first two chapters, which tipped the balance in the favour of the female characters!!!
I do like to have strong heroines as my main characters. This is also the case in my second novel, which is due to be published in July, in which a woman is prepared to put up with a lot more than she should for the sake of her child, but ultimately sets a trap for herself which she needs all her inner strength to get out of.
I’m currently writing my third novel and the main character in that is a male journalist. It’s proving to be quite a challenge getting inside an imaginary man’s head! I’m trying to make him a little arrogant and more flippant than I would be but I do want him to be loveable, so it’s hard getting the balance right!
7 Did you do any research or follow a specific process whilst writing this book?
Lots and lots of research. I learnt loads. I found every topic I researched so interesting that I then wanted to include everything in my book, but I ended up with whole chapters that read like an encyclopaedia or a page from Wikipedia, so I had to cut, cut, cut!!! I researched PTSD, bi-polar disorder, Han van Meegeren’s fake Vermeers, child abuse, the parvovirus in puppies, Lewis Carroll, blood spatter and ballistics… I was lucky to have a few very useful contacts who answered some very strange questions to help me along the way!
8 What is your favourite book and/or author?
My favourite book when I was younger (after I reluctantly came out of my Enid Blyton stage) was Wuthering Heights. In THOSE WHO LIE, Emily’s grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, buys her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland every year for her birthday. This is based on my own grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, and who gave me Wuthering Heights as a gift many, many times. I reread it every time.
In recent years, I’ve fallen in love with The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. These books just stay with me and I still miss the main characters although I finished the books a few years ago now!
9 Are you planning any other books to be released in the future?
My second psychological thriller is due to be published in July this year and I’m currently working on my third novel.
10 Do you have any advice for aspiring authors or avid readers?
Never give up. Keep writing. Keep reading. Get in touch with as many authors as you can on social media, especially from your genre.
I’m a mother of three and I work full-time as an English teacher and live in France, so I couldn’t do any of the wonderful courses available to people who want to learn more about writing. But I read a lot of how-to articles, particularly by Joanna Penn and Writers’ Digest (Brian Klem) and the tips they give are invaluable. The agent Johnny Geller also gives some very good advice for aspiring readers
Many Thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment your opinion on this book or any recommendations you have)