Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: “The Other People” by C J Tudor

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Thank you @randomhouse for my gifted copy of “The Other People” by C.J. Tudor! (pub date 1/28/20).

A gripping new thriller about a man’s quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of “The Chalk Man” & “The Hiding Place”.

Q: Why are you called the Other People?

A: We are people just like you. People to whom terrible things have happened. We’ve found solace not in forgiveness or forgetting. But in helping each other find justice…

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again. Three years later, Gabe spends his days & nights traveling up & down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Q: What sort of justice?

A: That depends on the individual. But our ethos is a punishment that fits the crime.

Fran & her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside & Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.

Q: Can I request to have someone killed?

A: If your Request is acceptable, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, we fulfill all Requests.

His search leads him to a group called The Other People. If you have lost a loved one, The Other People want to help. Because they know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like. There’s just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.

I read this one a few months back, just missed posting about it. I definitely remember this book giving me all the chills & it was so hard to put down! From what I have heard, this is Tudor’s best novel to date, & I would probably agree, but I still have to read my copy of “The Chalk Man” & I need to get a copy of “The Hiding Place“.

The Other People” is a shockingly twisted, ominous, super creepy supernatural/psychological suspense novel that nearly compelled me to nail biting (which I do not do!). With well-written & developed characters, expert plotting, & a gripping story-line, this is one of those books you will want to read all night long…with the doors & windows locked, of course! This book is available now wherever books are sold! Add it to your TBR list today! You won’t be disappointed! Be sure to click HERE to give my Instagram post a LIKE to show the author & publisher your support.

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to look for it at an independent bookstore near you or online using BookStoreLink.
Click HERE to get this book or others on audiobook from Librofm (use code MOMLOVESREADING for a 3-for-1 deal)

What other authors are saying about “The Other People“:

“Eerie.”Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

The Other People will delight you with the same creepy atmosphere you expect. . . . At more than one point while reading, a person might be tempted to access the dark web and see if groups like this exist. Although who knows what might happen once they’ve got your data? Shudder. . . . What will keep readers engaged is the menace of the titular conceit and the authenticity of Gabe Forman’s grief, easily recognized even by those who [have] not experienced such hellacious loss.”NPR

The Other People will keep you up all night, reading frantically and searching for answers. Warning: This fast-paced, engaging story is so spooky, you might need a nightlight.” HelloGiggles

“Hugely enjoyable and deliciously creepy . . . I was hooked from its gripping opening, all the way through its many twists and turns. You may think you’ve got it worked out, but C. J. Tudor is always several steps ahead. She is a brilliant storyteller.”—Alex Michaelides, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient

The Other People is a creepy, intense novel that drew me right in and never let go. C. J. Tudor’s books keep getting better and better, and this one won’t let you stop reading until the very last page!”—Samantha Downing, author of the international bestseller My Lovely Wife

“C. J. Tudor has done it again. . . . A mesmerizingly chilling and atmospheric page-turner.”—JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

The Other People is tight as a straitjacket, diabolically clever, and propulsive as a roller coaster. If you like twisty thrillers that leave you guessing till the very last page, this is a must-read.”—Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger and The Deep

“Like no book you’ve read before. It’s the definition of a nail-biting page-turner and sets the bar high for every other thriller this year. Tudor remains at the top of her game. Tightly plotted and utterly unpredictable, The Other People proves that Tudor is the queen of the cliffhanger.”John Marrs, internationally bestselling author of The Passengers and The One

“Chilling, moving, and disquieting, The Other People proves C. J. Tudor is a force to be reckoned with. With nuanced characters and a satisfying, intricately braided slow-burn that builds to a heart-pounding finish, this novel gripped me, surprised me—and stuck with me long after the final page.”—Andrea Bartz, author of The Lost Night

“A mesmerizingly chilling and atmospheric page-turner.” —JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury & grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner & young daughter. She left school at sixteen & has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter & voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson & Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts & was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Jr showed her his chest.
While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl. She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’
She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag & the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth. She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters & Frank Turner. Her favorite venue is Rock City. Her favorite films are Ghostbusters & The Lost Boys. Her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall & Harlan Coben.
She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties. She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza & champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.
Everyone calls her Caz.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “This is How I Lied” by Heather Gudenkauf

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Thank you @parkrowbooks for my gifted copy of “This is How I Lied” by the always amazing Heather Gudenkauf! (pub date 5/12–my BDAY!)

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, & her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death & that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, & seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces & the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates & reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, & they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Gudenkauf has been on my “automatic buy” list of authors since I read her first book years ago. I would seriously buy her grocery list if she published it! I have loved all of her previous books, but I think this one if my new fave of hers! (Plus, “This is How I Lied” was released on my Bday, so there’s that…)

This suspenseful tale is told from 2 POV’s & in dual timelines. It’s well-written, perfectly paced, shocking & twisty, & a gasp outloud ending. I love unsolved murders in fiction novels so I can try to figure out the whodunnit & why along the way & the best books (like this one) are the one’s where you are truly surprised in the end. “This is How I Lied” is a true page turner that captivates the readers attention from the get go & doesn’t let up.

I am will always be a fan of Heather’s (& LoLo…her gorgeous dog!) & she has never disappointed me with her novels! I encourage you to get this book & check out her previous novels as well. Be sure to shop your local independent bookstores first. They need our sales now more than ever! This pandemic is knocking over businesses left & right & I would hate to lose any of our bookstores.

More editorial reviews:

“Once again Heather Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin…. The question of who can be trusted, and how far, will have you racing to the end. I was utterly absorbed.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew and The Nanny

“A twisty, evocative tale of the danger of secrets and the power the past has to lead us down deliciously dangerous paths. Immersive and richly atmospheric, This Is How I Lied intertwines page-turning suspense with characters that creep into your very bones…. An exhilarating thriller that shows Heather Gudenkauf is at the top of her game.” —Christina McDonald, USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell

“Suspenseful… Through alternating viewpoints Gudenkauf keeps the tension high. Fans of dogged, resourceful female detectives will cheer Maggie every step of the way.” Publishers Weekly

“Be prepared for all kinds of surprises because nothing is as it seems in Heather Gudenkauf’s latest compulsive thriller, This Is How I Lied. Full of dark twists and turns, and questionable characters, this one will keep you wondering who did what, who will do what next, and if they’ll get away with it. Gudenkauf is a master at writing small-town creepy, and this novel deserves a top spot on your reading pile.” —Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling author of Her Secret Son, and The Neighbors

“Utterly chilling, This Is How I Lied is a deep, twisting mystery from a writer hitting her stride. You won’t see it coming, and you won’t be able to turn away.” —JT Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie to Me

To add Heather’s books to your Goodreads, click on the links below:

This is How I Lied” (pub 5/20)

Before She Was Found” (pub 4/19)

Not A Sound” (pub 5/17)

Little Mercies” (pub 6/14)

One Breath Away” (pub 6/12)

These Things Hidden” (pub 1/11)

The Weight of Silence” (pub 7/09)

And be sure to use BookStoreLink to look for “This is How I Lied” & any other books at an independent bookstore. BookStoreLink can help you find the book along with bookstores websites, who has online sales, & all the other information you may need to get the books you want without going straight to the “billionaire’s website” (you know who I mean…).


Happy Murderino Monday and (almost) my Birthday…time for a GIVEAWAY!

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It’s Murderino Monday where I generally post about a true-crime book or two, but this week, I have not one…not two…but THREE fiction murderino-esque novels up for grabs from author Jamie Mason. This giveaway will start on my Instagram page sometime today so keep an eye out for that. In this giveaway will be the following books:

The Hidden Things (pub date 3/3/20)

A brilliantly original thriller and “a startling, smart, vivid book” (Tana French, New York Times bestselling author) from the acclaimed author of Three Graves Full—inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting.

Twenty-eight seconds.

In less than half a minute, a home-security camera captures the hidden resolve in fourteen-year-old Carly Liddell as she fends off a vicious attack just inside her own front door. The video of her heroic escape appears online and goes viral. As the view count climbs, the lives of four desperate people will be forever changed by what’s just barely visible in the corner of the shot.

Carly’s stepfather is spurred to protect his darkest secret: how a stolen painting—four hundred years old, by a master of the Dutch Golden Age—has come to hang in his suburban foyer. The art dealer, left for dead when the painting vanished, sees a chance to buy back her life. And the double-crossed enforcer renews the hunt to deliver the treasure to his billionaire patrons—even if he has to kill to succeed.

But it’s Carly herself, hailed as a social-media hero, whose new perspective gives her the courage to uncover the truth as the secrets and lies tear her family apart.

Monday’s Lie” (pub date 10/13/15)

From the acclaimed author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full comes a new thriller hailed as “superb…will entrance readers from page one. Sly, poignant, and beautifully written” (Library Journal, starred review).

Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life…a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.

With pulse-pounding prose and atmospheric settings, Monday’s Lie is a thriller that delivers more of the “Hitchcockian menace” (Peter Straub) that made Three Graves Full a critical hit. For fans of the Coen brothers or Gillian Flynn, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

Three Graves Full” (pub date 2/12/13):

“There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

But it could always be worse. . . .

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn’t necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.

Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense.

Three great thriller/mystery/suspense books that one lucky reader will receive directly from Jamie Mason herself! So be sure to watch for that Instagram post sometime today. And in the meantime, comment on this post what you are currently reading. And as always, stay home, stay safe & stay sane. Now go wash your hands!

About ME · Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Familiar Dark” by Amy Engel

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Thank you @duttonbooks for my gifted copy of “The Familiar Dark” by Amy Engel!

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, “The Familiar Dark” opens with a murder.

Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature.

Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

What a gripping, darkly addictive, heart-wrenching read! Just so good! Engel’s previous book, “The Roanoke Girls” gave you taste of her amazing writing skills, and “The Familiar Dark” is no exception.

Engel created an expertly paced novel wrought with grittiness, betrayal, vengeance, and perfectly nuanced, damaged characters. “The Familiar Dark” is a disturbing, psychological thriller at heart, but it is also powerful, emotional and thought-provoking. You will remember this story long after you have finished reading it.

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The Familiar Dark” was released on 3/31. Look for it at your local independent bookstore. Many bookstores are doing curbside pickups and home deliveries. Amazon is not prioritizing most books and it may takes weeks to get it from them…Shop LOCAL. Independent bookstores need our help right now more than ever! Use BookStoreLink to find a bookstore near you or one that ships.

QOTD: What are you reading this weekend? Also, stay tuned…new giveaways (yep, GIVEAWAYS) coming soon!

I am struggling with reading lately. I am on week 5 of homeschooling and having kids home (and having ZERO quiet time or a moment to myself) and not gonna lie, it’s getting to me. I’m starting to get salty with the ones I love and snapping at my husband and kids, catching myself doing it, then feeling like a piece of garbage afterwards. Honestly, I think I just need a good ugly cry, a long walk with an audiobook, and maybe a glass of wine (or two) on days that have just gotten the better of me. I did stay up til 1am last night with my daughter watching “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” & “PS I Still Love You” on Netflix, I did have 2 small glasses of Cabernet, and just getting some alone, quiet time with her was nice! (And it DID help my mood, and the movies were cute, YA fluff, based on the books by Jenny Han.)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! And as always, stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now go wash your hands!

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Little Secrets” by Jennifer Hillier

Click HERE to find the book at an indie bookseller

Thank you @minotaur_books for my gifted copy of ‘Little Secrets‘ by Jennifer Hillier!
From the author of one of my favorite thrillers EVER, ‘Jar of Hearts‘, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.
Four hundred & eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.
Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, & Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community & are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She & her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.
Kenzie Li is an artist & grad student—Instagram famous—& up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, & dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—& that was never part of the plan.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads list

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.
Little Secrets‘ is absolutely gripping, all-consuming, twisty & darkly emotional. You will want to binge-read this one, as it is perfectly paced & just so freakin’ good! I plan to grab up some of Hillier’s earlier books now: ‘Creep’, ‘Freak’, ‘The Butcher’, & ‘Wonderland’ & if you haven’t read ‘Jar of Hearts‘, try it on audio…it’s fantastic & will haunt you! (Not gonna lie, Hillier’s mind scares me a little bit…)

Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads list

Add it to your TBR list & look for ‘Little Secrets’ next Tues, 4/21! Don’t forget to check with your local indie booksellers & see if they have it or will order it for you. You can use BookStoreLink to find an independent bookstore near you that is doing curbside or home delivery orders or one that does online orders & shipping. Independent bookstores need our help now more than ever!

And as always…stay home, stay safe, stay sane. Now, go wash your hands.