#BookReview: Witness by Caroline Mitchell @AmazonPub #Witness #damppebbles

witness“To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to the police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.”

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted to be sharing my review of Witness by Caroline Mitchell with you today. Witness was published by Thomas & Mercer on 20th December 2016 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I received a free eARC copy of Witness from NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

I loved this book and I’m kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to read it! If you’re a writer or an aspiring writer then give this book a read as it’s a wonderful example of how to write a truly despicable villain. Solomon Kemp made my blood boil and wormed his horrible, manipulative way under my skin. Absolutely brilliant stuff! I’m a fan of Mitchell’s writing and I’ve read a number of her novels (The Silent Twin | Death Note | Sleep Tight | Murder Game | Silent Victim) so I know a Caroline Mitchell novel will always be hugely entertaining with well-written characters and twists and turns galore. Witness was no exception.

Finally escaping her abusive relationship and leaving her ex-fiance to rot in prison, Rebecca is starting to put her life back together. She’s moved to a sleepy town in Wales, changed her appearance and has apprehensively started a new relationship. But her ex, Solomon, is not the kind of man to forget and spends his time locked up plotting and planning his revenge following Rebecca’s testimony. On his release ten years later, Solomon starts to play a game with Rebecca, who is now happily married with a four-year-old daughter. Rebecca is a silent witness to ten terrible crimes – one for each year Solomon spent in prison. She must nominate the victim and then stand and watch as the crime happens before her very eyes. Call the police and she will die. Solomon is in control, just as he likes it! As the crimes increase in seriousness and get closer to home, Rebecca has to confront her past and the secrets she holds, before it’s too late…

I absolutely loved the concept of this book; ten crimes of different severity, the victim decided by our likeable protagonist, a dastardly manipulator pulling all the strings. Wonderful stuff! Mitchell’s writing hooked me in from the get-go and I savoured every minute of this book. When I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be back in the story.

The story is told from three perspectives; Rebecca in the present, Solomon in the present, and Rebecca’s diary entries before Solomon’s arrest ten years ago. The diary entries are tense reading and certain scenes made me shudder with repulsion. The lengths Solomon goes to to get what he wants is a real eye-opener and Rebecca’s slow demise is heart-breaking. She loses everything, including her freedom and the reader can’t help but feel for this poor woman who is completely trapped within a real-life nightmare.

I really liked Rebecca but I did struggle a little with how easily she accepted the situation and Solomon’s game. She also felt a little naive to me at times but perhaps she had to be for the story to flow as well as it did. I did work out which direction the story was heading from the end of the prologue but I wasn’t 100% sure and the book was so darn entertaining, that I didn’t really care if I was right! Solomon is the stuff nightmares are made of. Controlling, manipulative, deluded and a total bully. I thought he was a perfect creation and so incredibly well-written. I could feel Rebecca’s fear of him, along with Solomon’s hatred and his palpable anger. Marvellous stuff!

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. Mitchell has done it again with another chilling page-turner of a book and I can’t wait to read more from this wonderful author. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then make sure this one goes on the TBR. Thoroughly entertaining, edge of your seat stuff and I loved it! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Witness. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Witness by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Thomas & Mercer on 20th December 2016 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | BookDepository | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

caroline mitchellUSA Today and Global #1 Bestselling Thriller Author.

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston trilogy is described as terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers.

Caroline also writes psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim, has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’. Her new DI Amy Winter series is published by Thomas & Mercer.

 

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) #ThomasandMercer @midaspr #SilentVictim

silent victim.jpg“Emma’s darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long.

Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother…and an involuntary killer. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.

It’s a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma’s husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can’t leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge…

Returning to the shallow grave in the garden, she finds it empty. The body is gone.

Panicked, Emma confesses to her husband. But this is only the beginning. Soon, Alex will discover things about her he’ll wish he’d learned sooner. And others he’ll long to forget.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Silent Victim blog tour.  Silent Victim is the latest release from one of my favourite authors, Caroline Mitchell.  I have been a fan of Mitchell’s writing for some time now but this (I’m ashamed to admit) is the first of her standalone psychological thrillers I have read.  I normally go giddy over her superb police procedurals which, being a former police detective, have bucketloads of realism in them.  But this…..this wonderfully addictive piece of fiction blew me away!  There was something so different, so beautifully dark about the writing that I was pretty smitten from the very first page.

We meet Emma (great name, there aren’t enough ‘Emma’s’ in the books I read!), our lead character whilst she is burying a body!  The reader immediately knows that this is not a normal night out for Emma and disposing of bodies in her palatial back garden is not something she does to pass the time.  I could feel the character’s disbelief, the sheer terror of the situation and the realisation of what she had done.  If the prologue of Silent Victim doesn’t draw you head first into this compulsive story then there’s no hope left for you I’m afraid.

Life is….good for Emma, her husband and their young son, Jamie.  Alex, Emma’s husband is desperate to return to the North though, to Leeds where he was born and spent many happy years.  So when a promotion lands in his lap, he grabs it with both hands.  Emma would like to make a clean break of it too, but is fully aware of the secrets buried in her garden.  Going behind Emma’s back Alex manages to find an eager cash buyer for their home and starts the search for a suitable property in Leeds.  The implications of what this could mean hit Emma hard.  What if the new owners discover the shallow grave on their property?  She would certainly go to prison, and who would care for Jamie then?  Moving the remains is the only answer, she needs to hide them somewhere they will never be found.  But when Emma returns to the burial site, there is something missing.  A body.  Where are the remains of the teacher who groomed her when she was 15?

Wowsers!  What a book.  I feel emotionally drained and quite exhausted after reading Emma’s story.  But what an addictive and thrilling story from the pen of Ms Mitchell.  I couldn’t put this one down, nor did I actually want to.  Normal life was officially put on hold!

I was repulsed by smarmy, manipulative Luke and his despicable treatment of teenage Emma.  The way he spun her so many revolting lies until he got what he wanted and then pushed her aside as if she were a mere inconvenience.  My heart broke repeatedly for teenage Emma, I could really feel her hurt.  Saying that, Emma is a very troubled character from start to finish but I very much liked her.  I can’t say the same for her husband, Alex.  I would be fuming if my husband sold our house from underneath us without consulting me first.  Alex made a couple of other decisions without Emma’s involvement at other points throughout the book and boy, did it wind me up!

Would I recommend this book?  Definitely.  It’s brilliantly paced, stuffed full of suspense and you never really know what to expect next.  I loved how utterly horrible Luke Priestwood, Emma’s teacher, was.  A firm favourite for ‘villain of the year’ in my eyes and a character for us readers to despise.  But he wasn’t the only one with a touch of the darkness within and that, for me, added so much to the story.  Mitchell’s writing goes from strength to strength.  I absolutely flipping loved it!

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Silent Victim. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Thomas and Mercer on 1st March 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Other books by Caroline Mitchell I reviewed on damppebbles: | The Silent Twin | Death Note | Sleep Tight | Murder Game |

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about the author3

caroline mitchellAn international #1 and USA Today bestselling thriller author, Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time, with over half a million copies of her books sold.

As well as her crime series, Caroline also writes stand-alone psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached the Amazon number 1 spot in the UK, US and Australia. Her highly anticipated DI Amy Winter series is published by Thomas & Mercer. The first book in the series, Truth and Lies, launches on 13th September. Her works have been translated into four different languages and one of her books is featured as an interactive app, due for release in 2018.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#CoverReveal: Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

I am beyond thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles this evening as I have something incredibly exciting to share.  Earlier today the fabulous folk at Bookouture (one of everyone’s favourite publishers) revealed the cover of the second Ruby Preston novel written by the extremely talented Caroline Mitchell.  Now I absolutely ADORED the first book in the series.  So much so that it made it onto my ‘books of the year’ post in 2016.  To read my review of Love You to Death click here.

So imagine how excited I am that book two in the series is to be published on 20th April. I’m half way through reading it at the moment and it is SO good.  I adore Ruby Preston.

Whilst I ponder on my new #girlcrush, here’ s the blurb for book two in the Ruby Preston series, Sleep Tight.

SLEEP TIGHT by Caroline Mitchell 

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise their twisted fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.

Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

Ruby is in too deep, knowing that the cruel individual is getting ever closer, looking for his next beautiful victim. But can she stop a killer hell-bent on fulfilling their horrific desires – before it’s too late? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

A terrifying, addictive serial killer thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for readers of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Rachel Abbott.

And here’s what my fellow bloggers and reviewers are saying about Ruby:

Oh my friggin God! Thisssss booooook! Su-bloody-perb! …a quadruple #HellYeah recommendation from me! Tantalisingly terrifying, twisted, and dark’ CrimeBookJunkie

Just superb!! I can tell you, you will NOT know the ending until you get there!! It’s a shocker!’ Next Book Review

‘OMG what a corker of a book. I absolutely love Ruby.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough … Loved it, loved it, loved it.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

Compelling, absorbing, chilling, gruesome and freakishly brilliant.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop.’  Jen Med’s Book Reviews (5*)

‘Ruby is an excellent character. Real, raw and utterly relatable’ Bibliophile Book Club (4*)

‘Caroline Mitchell creates some seriously dark and scary stuff ‘ StefLoz Book Reviews

‘Fast paced, great lead character and twists and turns, what more could you ask for?’ Worcester Source (4*)

‘It will certainly have you holding your breath on more than one occasion… I really can’t wait for more from this series.’ Victoria Wilkinson – I Love Reading

Oh my God…this book blew me away! Kept me hooked right till the last page’ The Book Guzzler (5*)

‘Ruby, well she’s just in a league of her own. She shows so much strength yet I love the vulnerable side to her’ By The Letter Book Reviews (5*)

‘I think I pretty much held my breath through the last few chapters! There are twists and turns aplenty and it’s packed full of action and suspense’  Chat About Books (5*)

‘It’s a compelling and dark read; it gives you thrills, it gives you the fear and it gives you all the twists and turns you are looking for’ Chapterinmylife (5*)

‘A thrilling ride that blurs the boundary of what is right and what is wrong. The plot is terrifying yet somehow heartbreaking’ Kitty Catalyst – Bibliophile (5*)

I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough.  Here’s the stunning cover:

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I absolutely love it and I can’t wait for you to read this book and enjoy it as much as I am doing at present.  So get clicking and pre-order Sleep Tight now!

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caroline mitchell.jpgA former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.  She now writes full time.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BookReview: Death Note by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

death note.jpg“Twenty years ago you were forced to give your daughter up. Now she’s back. Or is she?

Women who’ve had to give up children for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.

East London Detective Ruby Preston and her team must hunt down a disturbed individual before someone else is taken. But when bodies start turning up, staged in perfect, domestic scenes, it carries the echo of a memory in Ruby’s mind. The tinkling of a music box. A mother and child reunion…

Then just as Ruby thinks they’ve made a breakthrough, she receives a sinister email, and the case takes a terrifying personal twist. 

Can Ruby catch the killer before they strike again? Or will her troubled past catch up with her first?”

What a corker of a book!  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started reading…but I loved this book!  I came to Caroline Mitchell’s writing a little later than most.  I read Caroline’s The Silent Twin, which is book three in the Detective Jennifer Knight series, earlier this year (you can read my review by clicking here).  The Silent Twin was one of the first crime books I read with a paranormal twist to it, something I normally stay quite clear of.  The reviews were outstanding though and my FOMO (or, if you are my husband, my Fear Of Missing Out) kicked in.  I’m very glad it did as I loved The Silent Twin and wanted more Jennifer Knight.  So imagine my disappointment when I heard Ms Mitchell was putting Knight to one side and starting on a new series with a detective called Ruby.  I’ll admit it…I was a little disappointed.  Would it still have that paranormal aspect that I’d enjoyed so much?  Well, no, there are no ghosts assisting Ruby from the beyond. But oh my, DS Ruby Preston is SUPERB.  I absolutely loved this book!

Woman are being abducted from their homes only to turn up a few days later in an empty house, very dead and deliberately posed.  All of the women have one thing in common, they gave their daughter up for adoption 20 years ago.  Just like DS Ruby Preston did.  As the number of bodies rises, Ruby starts to receive correspondence from the killer who calls herself Lucy.  Lucy is the name Ruby gave her daughter…and the killer knows things that only the holder of Lucy’s birth certificate would know.  But surely Ruby’s daughter isn’t the killer, is she?  And is this some sort of sick revenge for giving her away all those years ago?  One thing is for sure, Lucy is on the hunt for her mummy and nothing will make her stop killing.  NOTHING! Not even finding her real mum…

DS Ruby Preston has the illustrious honour of being added to my girl crush list (other members of this elite group include Robert Bryndza’s DCI Erika Foster and M.J. Arlidge’s D.I. Helen Grace).  I loved her and I loved her relationship with gangster ex-boyfriend, Nathan. A brilliant addition to the story which leaves you wondering will they or won’t they.  It wasn’t a silly soppy romance that I find so stomach churning in other crime novels.  I could feel the character’s pain, their wanting to be together but knowing it just couldn’t happen.  Brilliant, clever writing as I’m not one for love affairs in my crime fiction but I couldn’t get enough of this one (or rather, these two!).

Lucy is one of those memorable serial killers; the kind that come back to haunt you in your dreams, the kind where you see a picture of a slightly malevolent looking child and you go, “yep, that’s Lucy!”.  She’s a chilling character and not knowing who (or at times, what!) she is makes the feeling of unease grow. By the time the reveal came I was completely clueless and not sure what to expect (and if you had made me put a bet on, I would have lost my life savings).  Fantastically eerie, chock full of suspense and wonderfully disorientating in the best way possible.

I was hooked from the opening lines all the way through the nail biting conclusion.  The one moan I do have about the book is that it was too short!  Now you may think 314 pages is sufficient.  Normally I would agree, but not this time.  I didn’t want it to end, I wanted LOTS more.  I hope Caroline Mitchell has already made a start on book two in the series, I’m not sure I can wait much longer!

NOT REALLY A SPOILER ALERT:  For those that have read the book, I can somewhat dubiously confirm that nutscaping is a real thing.  I was too scared to look for myself so approached Caroline Mitchell on Twitter.  She MADE ME look, my eyes will never be the same again!  Thanks Caroline…

Would I recommend this book?  If you love crime thrillers and don’t buy this book, there has to be something wrong with you.  It’s superb.  I loved the characters, I loved the relationships and I loved Lucy!  Don’t miss out on the start of a breathtakingly brilliant new series.  You have been warned!  Chilling, twisted and disturbing – exactly what I want in my serial killer thrillers! #HereComesLucy

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Death Note.

Death Note by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Bookouture on 11th November 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bookouture |

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A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.
Published by Bookouture, her DC Knight crime thriller series reached the number one position in the Amazon crime charts and sold over a quarter of a million copies in the first year and a half of publication. The first in her new series, Love You To Death, features DS Ruby Preston is due for publication 11th November 2016.

Her new psychological thriller, Witness, is published with Thomas & Mercer and due for publication 20th December 2016.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Facebook | amazon.co.uk | Goodreads |