“Don’t go into the woods. Because you’re in for a big surprise…
In an old album there is a beautiful Victorian photo that captures three young sisters, staring silently at one another. Only the trained eye can see the truth hiding in plain view. One of the sisters is already dead.
Annie Ashworth is currently off duty. With her baby bump growing fast, she is under strict instructions to stay away from police work and look after herself, especially as she has a history of leading danger right to her door. So when her police officer husband, Will, is called to the discovery of a skeleton buried out in the local woods, Annie tries to keep out of the investigation. But as another body is discovered and her own niece suddenly goes missing, staying away just isn’t an option.
As Annie is soon to discover, a picture really does tell a thousand stories. But which one leads to a killer?
The gripping new detective thriller that will haunt you”
I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the The Girls in the Woods blog tour. The Girls in the Woods is written by Helen Phifer and is book five in the Annie Graham series of paranormal crime thrillers. I’ve only recently started to read and enjoy books with a paranormal twist to them (ghosts…pah!) and this was an enjoyable addition to my slowly growing list of spooky stories.
Annie Ashworth is on sick leave, which is a good thing seeing as she’s 6 months pregnant and seems to have a penchant for attracting the worst kind of trouble wherever she goes. Being safely stowed away at home means she can’t get into any more trouble, can it? Bored and looking for company Annie meets Jo, a woman she has things in common with such as an abusive husband (ex-husband in Annie’s case). They form a bond but Annie is desperate to find out more about Jo and exactly how abusive her husband is. Then a skeleton is discovered in the woods behind Jo’s house and the local community is put under scrutiny. Heath, Jo’s agressive husband, is acting stranger than usual and is even more explosive towards her. It’s not long before a second skeleton is found and things start spiral out of control. Annie’s young niece goes missing, Annie is brutally attacked and hospitalised by a colleague only for that same colleague to step in front of a speeding car, almost killing himself. Can Annie discover what’s going on before another body is found? Any why does Heath have those large freezers in his photography studio…?
This was my first introduction to Annie Ashworth (nee Graham) and I’ve managed, once again, to start with book five in the series. Book five! I would however love to read the first four books in the series as I have one or two questions that I couldn’t find an answer to in The Girls in the Woods. Of course, that raises the question, can this book be read as a standalone? I think it can but my preference will always be to start with book one in a series (despite regularly ignoring my own advice!).
Annie can see and talk to ghosts following a blow to the head courtesy of her ex-husband. So she’s not your usual paranormal lead who has had ‘the gift’ since birth. She’s a likeable character; gutsy, strong-willed and fairly independent and I would happily spend more time reading about her.
The plot has some great twists. There were moments where I started to suspect one character of wrongdoing only to be thrown off the scent and my suspicions diverted elsewhere. I do enjoy books that can make you think one thing and then immediately make you question your own conclusions. The pace was good and I managed to read this book in one day (very quick for me!).
Would I recommend this book? I would, particularly if you were looking for a spooky read to while away a couple of hours on an Autumnal evening. I enjoyed it.
Four out of five stars.
Many thanks to Neverland Blog Tours, Carina, the author and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Girls in the Woods in exchange for an honest review.
Helen lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children and has done since she was born. It gets some bad press, but really is a lovely place to live. Surrounded by coastline and not far from the beautiful Lake District. She has always loved writing and reading, she loves reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.
Her debut novel ‘The Ghost House’ was published by Carina UK in October 2013 and went on to become a best seller along with the rest of the Annie Graham series. The Secrets of the Shadows, The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House and The Girls in the Woods. Her next book The Good Sisters which is a stand alone, ghost story is released on the 13th October 2016.