The Nurse by Valerie Keogh is an absolutely marvellous contemporary psychological thriller that I just could not put down.
Valerie Keogh is a fantastic author who draws you into the world of The Nurse with her words. Whilst of questionable motives, the lead character is likable, realistic and elicits feelings of sympathy from the reader. I could recognize myself in her as a child, suffering at the hands of the school bully. We feel shock and horror at the event that left her alone at aged just sixteen.
The leading lady is a blend of vulnerable yet strong; empathetic and downright evil. She seems to have second sight into the character of people but at the crucial moment, it lets her down.
We see the devastation that loss leaves – a character is frozen in time; another sees his daughter everywhere he looks.
Our responses to characters are guided by Valerie Keogh’s marvellous pen. I found it surprising when I did a complete u-turn in my response to a character!
The Crying Cave Killings by Wes Markin is another fabulous crime suspense and the third book in The Yorkshire Murders series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous books first for maximum enjoyment.
I enjoyed being reunited with familiar faces who were once more relentless in their search for the truth.
The line between good and evil is blurred as a ‘good’ character is tormented by a terrible past event. The guilt over the choice made, and the path taken, continues to eat away.
There is the theme of identity. Some hide who they really are through shame of what others might think. There are some tragic decisions taken.
Family is important. Sometime we choose our family, at other times we are born into it. True family will always protect the vulnerable.
Evil At Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson is the fourth book in the marvellous Alardyce House series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous novels first.
Twelve years have passed since the end of book two as we follow the fortunes of Robert Alardyce and his family. We travel from Edinburgh to Africa and back again. The intervening years have helped Robert Alardyce realise what is really important and what he wants from life. Returning to his family they have to decide – is Robert the man he was? Or is he who he now claims to be?
Family is important. Matriarch Amy holds the family together, knowing that one day the mantle will pass to the next generation – but who?
We see the strength of character of both Amy and her daughter-in-law Jane. They have an inner resilience that means they are survivors.
Life is a battle between good and evil. We see souls in torment as a battle rages within.
The Girl From Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl is a marvellous timeslip novel that captivated me from the start.
The story is set in 1943 and present day as a granddaughter slowly uncovers her grandmother’s wartime experiences. A lifetime of keeping secrets means her granddaughter was surprised by her discovery.
Even without having to keep secrets, we see that many characters keep their own. What is hidden will have to surface sooner or later.
We witness betrayal in both time periods. Betrayal hurts especially when it appears as a bolt from the blue. The reader has their suspicions way before the characters do. As we read we can feel the tension rising within us.
Wartime is hard. Losses are felt not just by the characters but by the reader too – I did gasp out loud in one place. Kathleen McGurl is clearly a masterful story-teller as my emotions were completely invested in the book.