Posts Tagged ‘Psychological thriller’









I was given a review copy of this crime novel by the publishers prior to publication. It’s always interesting to read a novel from a debut writer, especially one that was shortlisted for the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in 2014 and hotly contested in auctions around the world.

‘The Widow’ has been described as the next ‘Gone Girl’ or ‘Girl on a Train’. A description I disagree with, it hasn’t got the pace or depth of characters, but it is nevertheless a fascinating read.

It has an unusual take on the crime genre because it tells the story of an unsolved crime from the viewpoint of the widow of the suspect. The story starts with her husband’s death which of course releases his widow to reveal what she knows to both the police and journalists, if she chooses to do so.

The crime her husband is suspected off is abhorrent, the abduction with a likely rape and murder of a small child. Never an easy thing to live with.

The novel vividly brings to life what it must be like to partner and love someone suspected of such a crime. It is told from the viewpoint of the widow, Joan and also from the investigating detective and the journalist’s. The multiple points of view are woven together seamlessly and the story is very well constructed. The narrative moves between the present time after the death of her husband and four years ago when the child abduction occurred as well as the period immediately afterwards.

I particularly enjoyed reading a story about a suspect’s wife. As a probation officer, I spent a number of hours with offender’s partners helping them to understand what was happening and sometimes keeping the clamouring press at bay. The offender’s family are often a further victim of a crime, especially one like this and it was good to gain an insight into that world. However, I did find the pace flagged a bit at times and although a very good novel, it didn’t have that edge of your seat enjoyment factor that would promote this book to a five star read.


Until you're mineI was looking forward to reading this psychological thriller from Samantha Hayes as I enjoyed ‘Someone else’s son’ and really liked the rather mixed up protagonist mother. ‘Until you’re mine’ took me much longer to get into. It’s about a woman who is out to create her family by destroying yours. There is a gripping prologue about a woman obsessed with having a baby which makes an excellent insight of what is to come. The main body of the novel is told in three alternating viewpoints, that of the mother to be, Claudia; her nanny, Zoe and a police woman investigating a series of murders of pregnant women. Although this sets up plenty of tension as the nanny appears to be behaving suspiciously and Claudia becomes more unnerved by her, while the police woman’s getting nowhere fast with her investigation, I didn’t warm to the characters and found the first half of the novel hard going. Largely I think to the alternating viewpoint structure. I got more engrossed in the subplot of the police woman’s fractured family life and almost wanted to skip the chapters from the main protagonists.

However, it was worth pursuing the plot to the end and as I read on I became much more involved and keen to work out the twist ending from the rather too much misdirection I found on the way. In the end I did guess the twist but the final chapters were compelling and very well written. ‘Until you’re mine’ is an interesting psychological thriller with a bit too much misdirection through the use of the shifting points of view. I don’t think the structure worked as well as other writers’ use of this style but I would still recommend the novel for its pace and interesting theme

A big thank you to all of you who turned out on a wet and windy morning just before Christmas for the launch of the paperback version of REVENGE RITUAL at The Clock Tower Café in Sidmouth.

All set up but will anyone come?

All set up but will anyone come?



They came - and even stayed to listen to the opening.

They came – and even stayed to listen to the opening.

But the ramble round the settings from the book was rained off!

But the ramble round the settings from the book was rained off!


Join local author CJ Browne for the launch of

REVENGE RITUALC J Browne Twitter header

a crime thriller set around Sidmouth.

At The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens, Peak Hill Road, Sidmouth EX10 8RZ.

On Thursday, 17th of December, from 10 to 11 a.m.

And afterwards for a short ‘Revenge Ritual Ramble’ – a guided tour of the settings where the action happens.

Come and find out about the scary side of Sidmouth . . .

Copies of the paperback will be available to buy and have signed. REVENGE RITUAL is published by Endeavour Press and also available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle Site.

For more information email:

I love this book.  I found it on Goodreads, my new favourite way of finding new books and recording my reviews. It’s such a compulsive chilling thriller. It tells the story of a teenage girl who goes missing. Something we hear about all too often in the media. But Clarrisa Lynch’s skilful atmospheric writing takes us right inside missing girl Wendi’s mind. You’ll know what it feels like to be estranged and desperate. As readers we share her thoughts and emotions. So much so that you’re compelled to read on to find out what happens next. ‘Have you seen this girl?’ is a real page turner, with its short, sharp chapters, a narrative which twists in unexpected ways, realistic context and gritty descriptions. Start this novel when you can read it to the end. You won’t be able to put it down.

Clarrisa Lynch is an author to watch out for andHave You Seen This Girl FRONT COVER the good news is that this book is the first of the ‘Flocksdale Files’ series, and the second book ‘House of lost girls’ is coming out in November. I can’t wait to read it.

SuccessRevenge Ritual CoverEndeavour Press have just published the eBook version on and It came as a surprise as I wasn’t expected it to be released until next week. But I’m delighted – and I hope it’s going to make brilliant and intriguing Bank Holiday reading.

A print version will be available soon, which I’d love to sign for anyone who can find me.

Endeavour Press have just sent me the cover design for REVENGE RITUAL.


Revenge Ritual Cover

There’s something thrilling about seeing your slightly ravaged name in blood red capitals.

The graphics are great. They raise questions that need answers:

Who is the woman?

Where is she?

And – what’s waiting for her behind those doors?

REVENGE RITUAL IS OUT SOON. Read it to find the answers.

Just the book for a scary night in with cocoa and biscuits

Just the book for a scary night in with cocoa and biscuits

I read Paula Hawkins’s debut novel The Girl on the Train after hearing about its international success back in February this year and its rave reviews. Described as the English follow up to Gone Girl, it remained in the New York Times Fiction Best sellers list for 13 consecutive weeks and Dreamworks are making it into a film (possibly starring Emily Blunt). I was eager to know what all the fuss was about. Was it as good as people said?

I loved the opening. Girl on train looks out of window on her regular commute to work and imagines what the people who live in the houses she passes are like. Something I’ve done myself and I’m sure many other readers have too.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Rachel, the girl on the train, and reads like a diary entry, alternating with Megan, the girl who lives in the house Rachel watches and where she herself lived until her marriage broke up. We get to understand Rachel’s sadness and frustration with her current life. Megan’s seems so much more exciting with her handsome partner, often seen by Rachel drinking wine and smooching in the garden that used to be hers.

Both Rachel and Megan have unlikable thoughts and behavior. Rachel drinks too much and often forgets what she’s said and done. A characteristic that becomes more important as the plot develops. Megan has a guilty secret and seems unable to commit to a relationship.

The chapters of ‘The Girl on the Train’ are short and compelling. The alternate point of view and uneven timelines work well, adding to the tension as Rachel gets more caught up in Megan’s life and as a reader you wonder just how much you can trust her. The characters are extremely well drawn, especially the women, and the red herrings are skillfully placed. Overall this really is a satisfying read and I can’t wait to see how the film version pans out.