Reading is my ultimate go to for relaxing; whether it’s a Friday evening after a stressful week at work or a lazy Sunday afternoon, you can often find me curled up in my snuggle chair with a brew or glass of wine. I also read for around 30 minutes every night in bed before I go to sleep as I find it helps me switch off after looking at a mobile/computer screen or watching tv. I’m always looking for inspiration and recommendations for what to read (and what to avoid) so I’ve decided to share with you my monthly reads in case you’re looking for a spot of inspo yourself.
This month I’ve been gorging on Rachel Abbott books! I discovered Rachel Abbott back in 2012 when I spent a week in hospital and, after 2 days of being BORED OUT OF MY MIND, I decided to download a book on the iBooks app on my phone. Yes you read that right, my phone. I’ve never had a Kindle, and I didn’t even have an iPad back then, so after a few days of mind-numbing boredom I resorted to reading an entire book on an iPhone 5! Dedication right!
Only The Innocent
The book I read, “Only the Innocent”, was a murder mystery about a woman, Laura Fletcher, who returns home to Oxfordshire from a holiday to find that her high-powered, philanthropist, husband, Sir Hugo Fletcher, had been murdered in his bed in their London apartment. And the police are certain that a woman was the culprit. He is initially painted as a very generous and well-liked man however, as the book progresses, his indiscretions and malicious nature are slowly revealed and the mystery around who is murderer was, and what their motives were, gets more and more intriguing.
As suspect numbers grow, all with strong motives, the police struggle to piece together the complicated mystery surrounding his death whilst also receiving little offered help from Laura who tries very hard to keep everything about her life with Hugo under close wraps. The identity of the murderer is shocking, the motives behind it are unexpected and the logistics of how they carried it out are so meticulous and detailed that you will find yourself turning back to the start of the chapter to re-read and make sure you caught all the finer points. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it is one that has stuck in my memory ever since.
I started thinking about this book again last month and the next thing I knew I was ordering the paperback version (along with two of her other books) from Amazon. When they arrived I started with re-reading Only the Innocent and, even a second time around, it didn’t disappoint! There were a few details that I had forgotten in the 4 and a half years since I last read it which meant that, whilst I remembered the identity of the killer, I was still questioning some details right to the very end. There is also a smaller story focusing on the lead detective, DCI Tom Douglas, nestled in the background of the murder mystery which then flows through the rest of her books. Tom Douglas is a constant throughout the three books I read this month; either being the investigating officer or involved in the main characters lives in some way.
The Back Road
Straight after finishing Only the Innocent I began “The Back Road”. To be honest this one wasn’t as intriguing or as intricate as the previous book however it’s still a great read. It focuses on two stories that coincide and interweave with each other and you spend the whole book wondering how they’re related.
1 – There is a hit and run incident in a small town in Cheshire; on what the locals call “The Back Road”. Abbie, an escaped teenage abductee is running for her life when she is hit by a driver; the abductor sees the driver and thinks the driver sees them too.
2 – Suspecting him of having an affair, Ellie is unfaithful to her husband. Regretting it immediately she tries to forget it ever happened. However the “other man” becomes obsessive, refusing to accept her rebuff, and even begins stalking her.
Abbie is intensive care and the doctors believe she will wake up. She knows who her abductor is. She might know who the driver is. Then somebody tries to kill her. Is it the driver? Is it her abductor?
Unbeknownst to her, the abductor knows of Ellie’s indiscretion. Ellie begins getting blackmailed; her house is even broken in to in the middle of the night. She begins to worry for her family and her life. Who is blackmailing her? Her stalker or the abductor? Are they the same person? What do they want and why have they chosen her?
The ending is less intricate than the previous book however you’ll still be unsure “who done it” until the very end! Tom Douglas features in this book as Ellie’s next door neighbour; he has quit the police force in London to move back to the Manchester area.
The final book I read was “Sleep Tight”. This was back to a similar level of intricacy as Only the Innocent.
Sleep Tight centres around a woman, Olivia Brookes, who appears to have some unfortunate luck with her partners. The father of her first child vanishes without a trace, leaving her alone with their infant, and then, several years later, her husband and children disappear from the family home. The police locate them quickly but there seems to be more to the story than meets the eye. Two years later it is Olivia and the children who disappear and, once again, the police are called in to try and locate the missing family members.
DI Tom Douglas, having returned to the police force in Manchester, was a rookie when Olivia’s first partner disappeared and is now the acting officer in charge of finding her and her children. The more the police dig in to Olivia’s life to try and establish an idea of what could have happened to her, the more they realise something isn’t quite right in the Brookes household. Her husband is less than helpful and, as they piece together the events of the last few days, it becomes clear that actually; they need to start looking a lot further back than that.
Rachel Abbott is a fantastic writer and a master at creating suspense and intrigue in her books. Throughout the stories she slowly weaves an intricate web of details that are so subtle you’re never sure whether they’re relevant or not until they all tie together in the end with a flourish. These three definitely had me constantly reading “just one more chapter” which is why I finished all 3 in less than a month! She has another book, “Kill Me Again” that I am about to order and a fifth book “The Sixth Window” is released at the end of April so I’ll definitely be ordering and reading these very soon. Watch this space…
What are your favourite books? Have you read anything great lately?