The Passengers – John Marrs

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Set in the not-so-distant future, eight people get in their cars unknowingly that the next 2.5 hours may be their last.

Among the eight are: a pregnant woman, a British actress, an abused wife, a war hero, a husband and wife (in separate cars), an illegal immigrant and a suicidal man. Collectively they are known as The Passengers. They are all in autonomous cars which are hacked by an unknown aggressor. The Hacker provides the public with newfound information on each person and with help from worldwide social media, the global community must decide out of the eight, which Passenger survives.

This is fast-paced book and very thought-provoking in that these driverless cars are already in development and that this tale could in fact happen.

I’m a huge fan of John Marrs and I don’t think this was a patch on The One or The Good Samaritan but it’s way up there!

Rating: 7/10

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As Long As We Both Shall Live – JoAnn Chaney

cover161317-mediumThank you to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for this ARC.

Matt has been married twice. Matt has also been a widower, twice.

Is he a very unlucky husband or a calculated killer?

When I read the blurb on this it looked right up my street. Set across two timelines, it details Matt’s time with both of his wives Janice who tragically died in a house fire, then 20 years later, Marie who met her fate after falling from a cliff.

I felt this had a lot of peaks and troughs but when I got to about 60%, BAM! It got brilliant.

If like me, there is anyone who is struggling with this, I urge you to persevere, you will not be disappointed!

Rating: 8/10

Bird Box – Josh Malerman

birdbox~~~ Contains spoilers ~~~

Written across two timelines, Malorie and her two children have survived several years of torment by something they must not see. Wearing blindfolds when venturing outside for fear of seeing the ‘thing’; this is their story and that of the people they meet along the way.

This is a brilliant and original concept. Initially it was creepy and when reading it in the dark I was hearing all sorts of noises in the house. This is what I want from a great horror story! But it let me down. Immensely.

I love a good gory thriller/horror story and at the start I thought it was great. There were quite a few people killing themselves and others after seeing the ‘thing’. But then it stops. From about half-way through I would have happily given it to my 11 year old son to read. I kept on it as I was hoping that the gore would re-emerge and apart from a scene after a woman gives birth, the horror simply isn’t there. It’s a vaguely memorable story. I finished it less than 12 hours ago and I don’t remember a lot of it.

It’s a fantastic premise. But it seemed as if the author just wanted the book finished, it felt rushed. It also posed a lot more questions than answers: what happened to the bodies from the house? Why was Tom’s voice on the recording? When did he do that? When they got to the refuge, why was it ok for some people not to wear their blindfolds? Why did Malorie call the children ‘girl’ and ‘boy’? I understood why she did this but why did they never question why she called them this when they did have names? And the one question of which I’m sure everyone wants the answer; exactly what is the ‘thing’ that everyone was terrified of?

If there is a sequel to this, I will not be reading it.

There’s film tie-in to the book and I’ve heard that it is a lot different to the film (aren’t they always!) so I may watch it, I may not. But if this too leaves a lot of unanswered questions, I don’t think I’ll bother.

Rating: 5/10

You Belong to Me – Mark Tilbury

youbelongtomeThis is a tale of four school friends; Danny (son to a chain-smoking mother), Rob (a self-harmer), Kieran (a born-again Christian) and Josh (an alcoholic motor mouth), all hell-bent on revenge for a secret they were forced to keep when they were teenagers. Nine years later, a similar event has reopened old wounds and they will do anything to make things right.

Written across two time lines, it’s an extremely dark tale. Grisly, sad and at times, uncomfortable.

It’s a very believable story, which quite frankly, is frightening.

Mark’s writing style makes it a very easy read and keeps you wanting more.

Even though I loved this book the characters are really annoying in their own unique way.
Danny. He is a bit of a sap. His mother exasperated him but he never confronted her about anything that was bothering him.
Rob. A wannabe thug living in his brother Pete’s shadow.
Josh. He never knows when to keep his mouth shut, even if he knows it will get him into trouble.
Kieran. A former drug addict and gambler turned devout Christian. He knows that praying doesn’t always go to plan.
Calum. Danny’s brother. He is instantly hateable.

The way Mark writes makes you want to either punch them in the face or give them a bloody good shake and say “what’s the matter with you?!”

Like a film director who manages to make you love or hate certain characters, Mark Tilbury does this with his writing. Fantastic.

The Abattoir of Dreams – Mark Tilbury

Abattoir-of-Dreams-coverMichael Tate wakes up from a coma to realise he’s been arrested for his girlfriend’s murder, with no feeling from the waist down because he also tried to kill himself. And he has no recollection of anything that led to this moment. But then strange things start to happen…

It’s spooky, chilling, funny and heart-breaking right up to the last chapter.

This is my first read by Mark Tilbury and never has a book made me want to laugh and weep all at the same time.

I’m now going to see what other books of his I’m yet to adore.

Absolutely fantastic 10/10!!

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C.J.Tudor

anniethorneThank you NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for this ARC.

Yet another cracker from C J Tudor! How this is only her second novel is beyond me. Some people can be taught to write, some are born with the gift but it’s certainly the latter with C J Tudor.

“Joe Thorne’s little sister Annie went missing. After 48 hours she returned but she wasn’t the same.”

I’ve never really liked the term ‘page-turner’ but this definitely falls into that category. It was very reminiscent of an early Stephen King novel but I won’t say the name as it may be a potential spoiler for those who may have read it. It’s a creepy read and the village of Arnhill is not somewhere I’d like to be during the day, let alone at night.

Another 10/10. Absolutely superb!

The Chalk Man – C.J.Tudor

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Wow wow wow!! C J Tudor certainly knows how to grip you from the very first paragraph right to the last. It was so well written and massively compelling.

It reminded me a lot of Stephen King’s “The Body” which was later turned in to the film “Stand by Me”. I loved the friendships between them all (four boys and a girl), their ups and downs and the way it goes back and forth from 1986 to 2016 and everything in between.

There aren’t many books that I have thought about constantly and did not want to end even though I did because I wanted to see what happened! There are twists all the way through it right to the end.  Absolutely fantastic 10/10!