“Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.
Unbeknown to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined.
But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.
Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?
One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.”
I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on The Puppet Master blog blitz which I share with six other awesome bloggers. The Puppet Master is author Abigail Osborne’s debut novel and was published in eBook by Bloodhound Books on 13th November 2017, having previously been self-published last year.
The Puppet Master is a rather twisted love story which I enjoyed but found hard going at times due to the disturbing themes within. Billie’s tormentor is by far the nastiest piece of work in this book. I was, however, flooded with emotion at points thanks to Billie’s hideous mother and her negligent treatment of her tween-age daughter. Regular readers of the blog will know that deeply flawed and negligent parents really get my goat and Billie’s mother is a prime example of the type of character who makes my blood boil.
We first meet grown-up Billie as she lives out her isolated existence in Worcester. Billie hides. That’s it. She hides from everyone, from everything, she hides from life which happens around her and to other people. A chance encounter in the local bookshop cafe sends her spinning when she unwittingly meets journalist Adam. Adam shows a keen interest in Billie when others easily ignore her. Billie struggles to understand why he would want to talk her so she does the only thing she knows how to do in that situation and that’s run. But Adam appears to be her knight in shining armour. When she is set upon by a group of teenagers, Adam strides to the rescue (minus one shoe!). From there, their relationship slowly blossoms. But both Billie and Adam have secrets. Billie has a traumatic past which she wants to keep hidden, but Adam has the biggest secret of all….
I was both fascinated and appalled watching Billie and Adam’s relationship grow. The levels of manipulation within this book are something else altogether! I wanted desperately to like Billie but found it really hard to do so. I felt sympathy for her, I wanted her to be safe and free from fear but I couldn’t warm to her in the way I wanted to. Adam was probably my preferred character in the novel but it is quite normal for me to like the darker characters, the more mysterious personalities, often the bad guys.
The story starts in the present, moves back in time to the late ’90s/early ’00s for part two and returns to the present day for the final section. Part two, which features the flashback scenes, was hard to read with some disturbing scenes and acts alluded to. I loved the menace in part three; the simmering danger imposed by one particular character. I enjoyed the third section purely because the threat was more violent than anything else and that (weirdly) sits better with me than any other threat. Part three (the conclusion, the reveal) was my favourite part of the book.
Would I recommend this book? I would and I take my hat off to Abigail Osborne as this must have been a really tough book to write. Plus, it’s her debut which makes it even more astounding as it’s a subject many would steer clear of, even after writing for many, many years. Osborne is an intriguing new voice in the psychological thriller world and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read an eARC of The Puppet Master. The above review is my own unbiased opinion. My thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for asking me to join the tour and for providing me with a review copy.
Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. ‘The Puppet Master’ is Abigail’s debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.