#BlogTour | #BookReview: A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward (@sarahrward1) @FaberBooks

a deadly thaw cover.jpgAutumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .

A Deadly Thaw confirms Sarah Ward’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers.”

I’m extremely excited to welcome you to my stop on the A Deadly Thaw paperback blog tour.  A Deadly Thaw is written by the very talented Sarah Ward and is book two in the DC Childs series. Having been released in eBook format last year it is now also available in lovely paperback as well (published 2nd February 2017).  And what better way to celebrate than with a blog tour packed full of some of my very favourite book bloggers!

It’s 2004 and Lena Fisher is a murderer.  After welcoming her husband home and spending some hot, sweaty time in their bed together, Lena suffocates her husband with a pillow.  She’s eventually arrested, stands trial and ends up in prison for 10+ years.  Fast forward to 2016 where Lena is a free woman once again.  She returns to her childhood home; Providence Villa – a large, crumbling, Victorian estate.  Her parents are long dead but she has her estranged sister, Kat for company.  Lena isn’t surprised when DC Connie Childs and DS Palmer turn up on her doorstep, after all she is a convicted felon.  What she isn’t expecting is for them to inform her that her husband’s body has discovered in a disused morgue.  That he is very recently deceased with a gaping chest wound and that they know the man Lena killed in 2004 wasn’t her husband.  Will DC Childs and DS Palmer be able to uncover the complicated truth?  When Lena goes on the run, Kat struggles to understand what is happening and exactly who her sister is.  Kat’s muddle is not helped when a teenage boy, who claims to be a friend of Lena’s, starts leaving cryptic clues for Kat.  Who will be the first to solve a mystery that dates back many years.  And is Kat’s life in danger?  Is she the only one….?

A Deadly Thaw is an excellent example of how to write a gripping, multilayered, character focussed crime thriller.  It’s full of secrets, family tension and bucket loads of suspense.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be making a point of downloading the first in the series, In Bitter Chill to my Kindle immediately after finishing  writing this review.

Author Sarah Ward has been on my radar for a while now.  I remember seeing the reviews for A Deadly Thaw back in the Summer and being intrigued.  And who wouldn’t be drawn in by that brilliant blurb.  Some authors you read because…well, just because really.  Other authors you read because you know deep down, that their words, their story and you will be a brilliant fit.  That’s exactly how I felt about A Deadly Thaw.  

I don’t know where to begin with DC Connie Childs.  You can probably guess that I absolutely loved her.  Yes, there are two male detectives who work alongside Connie.  Yes, they are also brilliantly written, essential characters.  But, for me, they faded into the background.  She’s the first character in a while that I’ve found to be relatable.  OK, so the fawning over DS Palmer I probably could have done without but it gave an incredibly strong character a necessary weak spot (which probably made me feel for her just a little bit more).  I loved the get up and go attitude, I loved the fire in her belly when it came to the treatment of the victims, I even loved her naivety – something which would drive me quite loopy in other characters.  Although DI Sadler led the investigation, I felt at times that there wouldn’t BE an investigation if it wasn’t for Connie.  She’s definitely high on my favourite character list and I can’t wait to see where Sarah Ward takes her in future.

I found the setting to be suitably creepy and loved the eerie feel of Sarah Ward’s Derbyshire (I’m terrible at geography and have to admit to consulting a map of England to discover where Derbyshire is.  Yes, I am British.  Yes, I live and have always lived in England/UK/GB.  Yes, I feel suitably ashamed!)  Whitby also features heavily in the book and that also needed investigation as to its location (rubbish at geography!).  Ward paints such a vivid picture of these grey, dank places that I can’t help but want to go and see them for myself.  Bampton, Derbyshire felt like a living, breathing character.  Strangely mesmirising.

The plot has many different strands to it and at times it is hard to see how they will tie together.  But tie together they do in an explosive, nail-biting conclusion.  At times, I found myself getting quite upset by the stories unfolding in front of me.  I experienced anger as well, at the injustice and poor treatment of the victims.  It’s quite a shocking and unsettling read, but oh so good!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would!  But prepare yourself for a lot more than you expect.  Sarah Ward knows how to tell a brilliant story and I can’t wait to read more from her.  Dark, creepy and highly addictive (and I may be a little bit in love with DC Connie Childs).

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of A Deadly Thaw.  Many thanks to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward was published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 2nd February 2017 and is availble in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Faber & Faber |

ADT_BLOG (2).jpg

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

sarah ward 2.jpg

Crime fiction is in my blood. From Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five to Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, I was reading the genre at an early age. In my teens it was Agatha Christie followed by Ruth Rendell and PD James. Later influences include Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Minette Walters. Then I discovered Scandinavian crime writers.

I’m the author of two crime novels In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw which are set in the Derbyshire Peak District where I live. They are published in the UK by Faber and Faber and by Minotaur Books in the US.

In addition to this blog, I have reviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books, crimesquad.com and Eurocrime. Articles and short stories have appeared in the Sunday Express magazine, Traveller and other publications. I’m one of the judges for The Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel and I particularly love reading translated crime fiction.

Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

#BookReview: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (@PeterSwanson3) @FaberBooks

her every fear cover.jpg“Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?”

So the first thing you need to know is that I love (and I mean LOVE) Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing.  (No, really, I LOVE it!)  It’s a book I will always recommend.  It’s the book that I felt deserved all the hype Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train received (The Kind Worth Killing is, in my opinion, far superior).  So if, in the future, you read another of my reviews (no matter what the book) and I say, ‘this book had a lot to live up to’ then please think about Her Every Fear.  Because of all the books in all the world, this is the one I have been anticipating the most.  This is the one that has the most to live up to.

I guess the question is, how did it fare in comparison?  It’s a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it…but it didn’t move me in the way A Kind Worth Killing did.  I think it’s time for me to shut up about A Kind Worth Killing (if you haven’t read it, BUY IT – here’s a helpful link) and tell you more about my Her Every Fear experience.

I immediately liked the main protagonist, Kate Priddy.  Kate, because of a traumatic experience several years earlier, sees the worst situation in absolutely everything.  She’s nervy, anxious and scared.  As you can imagine, this stops her from living her life to the full.  So when her American cousin suggests a 6 month house exchange so he can work in London, Kate is shocked to find herself accepting and on a plane to Boston.  Her new apartment is a the opposite of what she has left behind and she finds herself starting to relax.  That is until her new next door neighbour’s mutilated body is discovered, mere hours after Kate’s arrival.  Meanwhile, Kate’s handsome cousin Corbin is settling into London life.  London holds some dear memories for him; particularly his love affair with mysterious Claire.  Before long the police are asking Kate questions she can’t answer and Corbin’s flat is searched, time and time again.  Were Corbin and the neighbour involved? He’s denied it, but is he telling the truth?  And what other secrets is Corbin hiding…?

There were moments whilst reading Her Every Fear that I had goosebumps.  Peter Swanson’s ability to build the suspense in his novels is breathtaking.  And for me, he is a master of his craft.  As I mentioned before, I loved Kate and saw a little of myself in her. She’s such a likeable character.  I know Her Every Fear is a psychological thriller, but I really didn’t want anything bad to happen to her (normally I’m desperate for the bad stuff to happen)!  It was however interesting to see how this somewhat neurotic character coped with the reality of being in these awful situations.

Peter Swanson shows at times an incredible ability to make you dislike one of his characters, only to reveal their shocking backstory and make you completely change your mind.  There were several occurrences where I had made my mind up about a character, only for Swanson to throw a twist into the story and for me to question my original verdict.

The story was fascinating and I enjoyed seeing how the loose ends tied together.  I particularly loved the closing chapters which were intense and shocking.  I want to say so much more at this point but by doing so I’d be giving spoilers away, which I try to avoid doing at all costs.  So I will say that I finished reading this book last week but I can still picture that final scene as if it were real.

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would!  Peter Swanson is officially one of my favourite authors and although this isn’t quite up to A Kind Worth Killing it is still a superbly written, dark tale which I enjoyed and would recommend without hesitation.

Four and a half stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Her Every Fear.  Many thanks to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Her Ever Fear by Peter Swanson was published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 10th January 2017 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow later this year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

peter swanson.jpgPeter Swanson’s debut novel, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (2014), was described by Dennis Lehane as ‘a twisty, sexy, electric thrill ride’ and was nominated for the LA Times book award. His follow up The Kind Worth Killing (2015), a Richard and Judy pick, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger, was named the iBook stores Thriller of the Year and was a top ten paperback bestseller. He lives with his wife and cat in Somerville, Massachusetts. His third novel, Her Every Fear, will be published in early 2016.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |