Source: Purchased

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Rapunzel

Posted September 26, 2022 by louisesr in Age 5-7, Childrens / 0 Comments

The Fairytale Hairdresser and RapunzelThe Fairytale Hairdresser and Rapunzel by Abie Longstaff
Series: Fairytale Hairdresser #1
Published by Puffin on 6 Jan 2011
Genres: Childrens
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Join Kittie Lacey, as she faces her most hair-raising challenge - an evil witch, a tall tower, and a girl called Rapunzel who is having a very bad hair day. Will Kittie manage to tame unruly tresses that go on for miles, rescue a princess and create a happily ever after?

My daughter loves this series. In this first book Kittie Lacey is called to a tall tower where the witch is complaining she can’t get on with her evil plans as there is hair taking over the tower, Rapunzel is having a bad hair day. Kittie to the rescue!

This features a cast of many favourite fairytale characters who make an appearance to get their locks looked after by the best hairdresser is all the land!

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Review: Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas

Posted September 19, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Review: Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo ThomasRetreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas
Published by Random House on June 1, 2022
Genres: Women's
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property... but now they're all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter's pug. Combined with the online course she's trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn't the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying 'house-sitters wanted', Eliza can't resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner's Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies... and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

As a “woman of a certain age” this book appealed to me. The idea that you hit your mid forties and realise that you no longer have an identity outside of mum is all too real. As my children are 4 and 6 (hello geriatric motherhood!) I have a long wait until my kids leave home but I can imagine that it’s tiring going from them leaving and being an empty nester to them all returning and upturning your life (again). I don’t know whether my time of life affected my reading, I so understand where she’s coming from in having put everyone else first for so long that it’s hard to remember who you actually were before the kids come along.

Oh to get the chance to house sit in the sun!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having been in the rain of the UK for the past 2 years, this is the closest to a sunny holiday I’ve had in some time. I can’t wait until I’m on Spanish shores again. This has really whet my appetite for it!

The opening to the book was a little rushed; we pretty much had “oh the kids are back, they’re driving me crazy, I need some space, hello house sitting in Spain” which is fair enough as the “meat” of the story happens once Eliza is rediscovering herself (see what I did there, meat – pig farming 🤣)

four-stars
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Review: A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter

Posted September 15, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter
Published by Random House on September 13, 2022
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

Unnerving, unrelenting, unputdownable.

Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues - and the college authorities are keen to avoid a scandal - but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don't add up.

Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim...

You can’t go wrong with a Karin Slaughter book!

As ever, you’re not eased into the storyline slowly, it comes flying at you at 100mph right from page 1. I was sat opened mouthed, texting my reading buddies “why didn’t you warn me!!!”

Lena played a huge role in this book and I loved getting to see how she was (or wasn’t) dealing with the aftermath of her earlier attack.

I felt Sara was relegated to more of a side character in this novel than in previous books, I’d have liked to have seen more of her.

There was a lot of misdirection as to who the perpetrator was, this was a bit heavy handed for my liking. When all signs point to a certain person, you know it can’t be them!

four-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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Review: Spring Tides at the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redlands

Posted September 12, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 1 Comment

Review: Spring Tides at the Starfish Cafe by Jessica RedlandsSpring Tides at The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on April 5, 2022
Genres: Romance, Women's
Pages: 425
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
five-stars

Welcome back to the Starfish Café - where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

A new season...

As winter turns to spring, Hollie - owner of The Starfish Café - is feeling content as she settles into her new life with her loving boyfriend, Jake, and their adorable dog Pickle.

But when an unwelcome visitor threatens the future of her café, Hollie must stay strong to protect her family's legacy...

A leap of faith...

Emerging from an unhappy relationship, Tori finds herself with nowhere to stay and nobody to talk to. The long-hidden secrets of her past weigh heavily on her until a chance encounter with Finley, struggling to come to terms with his own secrets, provides an opportunity to open up.

Can she find the strength to stop hiding from her past and face up to her family? Especially when that would mean letting her guard down and learning to trust again...

A fresh start...?

Little do Hollie and Tori know that their lives are about to collide at The Starfish Café and they may be able to help each other with a fresh start. After all, with good friends in your life, nothing is impossible...

Jessica Redland does it again! I don’t know how such a prolific writer manages to turn out such quality books, is she the UK’s version of Nora Roberts?

Anyway, as ever I loved this book! I feel that the Starfish Cafe series is that little bit extra special for me as it really resonates with my childhood home town, especially with the inclusion of the RNLI.

Hollie and Jake are such a fantastic couple, I loved getting to know them. Then we have Tori and Finley, from the start you are routing for them. At 20% in I knew what I wanted to happen with them through their relationship and their housing, I wasn’t disappointed!

I love how both Hollie and Tori offer such practical advice and literally spell out what a loving, committed relationship should be like. And that you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

five-stars

About Jessica Redland

I live in Scarborough on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast in the UK. My home inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where I set some of my books. The Hedgehog Hollow series takes readers to a gorgeous countryside setting on the Yorkshire Wolds.

I live with my husband, our teenage daughter and sprocker spaniel, Ella. I’m a stationery addict with a notepad obsession who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love me), hedgehogs, 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.

My career has mainly been in HR as a trainer and recruiter. I had a brief detour into retail to set up and manage my own specialist teddy bear shop and started writing my debut novel on quiet days in the shop.

In June 2020, I became a full-time author. I’m so very grateful to anyone who has bought or borrowed my books in whatever format, helping me fulfil a long-held dream of writing full-time. I still can’t believe I get to spend every day chatting to my fictional friends and making stuff up.

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Review: A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Posted September 9, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Review: A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica RedlandA Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
Series: Hedgehog Hollow #4
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on January 6, 2022
Genres: Romance, Women's
Pages: 440
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
five-stars

It's time for the wedding we've all been waiting for...

Life at Hedgehog Hollow is never dull, although Samantha hopes that the new year ahead will be a little less chaotic as she prepares to marry the love of her life, Josh. But disaster strikes when she checks the rescue centre's bank account after the festive season and discovers it has been emptied. Who would do such a thing, and why? With the future of Hedgehog Hollow now in jeopardy, planning a wedding has lost its shine.

Phoebe is desperate to escape the shadow of her family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha's beloved rescue centre. Could the kindness of the Hedgehog Hollow team be the chance she needs for a fresh start, or will her family's secrets continue to drag her back?

I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Love, love, love, love, love. Oh how I love this series. Every time I read it I want to give up my life, move to the country and start an animal sanctuary.

This story is told alternately between Samantha – our hedgehog rescuer – and Phoebe, a member of the Grimes family who’ve been making Samantha’s life a misery.

This book tackles some really heavy subjects; child neglect, abuse, drug use/dealing, theft. And yet, I would still class it as feel good fiction. This is every credit to Jessica Redlands writing talents. She has created a cast of characters that I love, and a few others that I love to hate.

I love how we have seen the characters develop over the course of this series and while this can be read as a standalone (the first couple of chapters recaps on what has happened previously) I would recommend going back to the start and reading the first 3 books in the series before settling into this one.

I was so sad to hear that there’s only going to be another 2 books in this series, I understand why this has got to happen, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it!

five-stars

About Jessica Redland

I live in Scarborough on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast in the UK. My home inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where I set some of my books. The Hedgehog Hollow series takes readers to a gorgeous countryside setting on the Yorkshire Wolds.

I live with my husband, our teenage daughter and sprocker spaniel, Ella. I’m a stationery addict with a notepad obsession who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love me), hedgehogs, 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.

My career has mainly been in HR as a trainer and recruiter. I had a brief detour into retail to set up and manage my own specialist teddy bear shop and started writing my debut novel on quiet days in the shop.

In June 2020, I became a full-time author. I’m so very grateful to anyone who has bought or borrowed my books in whatever format, helping me fulfil a long-held dream of writing full-time. I still can’t believe I get to spend every day chatting to my fictional friends and making stuff up.

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Book Review: Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Posted August 29, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

Book Review: Triptych by Karin SlaughterTriptych by Karin Slaughter
Series: Will Trent #1
Published by Random House on August 15th 2006
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 514
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Atlanta police detective Michael Ormewood is called out to a murder scene at the notorious Grady Homes, he finds himself faced with one of the most brutal killings of his career: Aleesha Monroe is found in the stairwell in a pool of her own blood, her body horribly mutilated.

As a one-off killing it's shocking, but when it becomes clear that it's just the latest in a series of similar attacks, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is called in, and Michael is forced into working with Special Agent Will Trent of the Criminal Apprehension Team - a man he instinctively dislikes.

Twenty-four hours later, the violence Michael sees around him every day explodes in his own back yard. And it seems the mystery behind Monroe's death is inextricably entangled with a past that refuses to stay buried ...

This is the first book in the Will Trent series, I’ve just finished Slaughter’s Grant County series (I recommend you read those books first as this follows on from them) so I was excited to meet a new cast of characters. I went in to this with a vague idea of what I expected, obviously I knew we had a male lead, the entire series is named after him so I went in expecting a bit of a Jack Reacher type character – the all action hero. That is most definitely not what I got!

Will Trent is damaged, not through being ex military or anything like that but from his childhood neglect and being severely dyslexic. I found it really interesting to see the number of little things he does to help him through the day and to be able to do his job. What I also liked was that he’s not like Robert Hunter in the Chris Carter books where he’s just got a brilliant mind. Trent is someone who knows he has limitations and works bloody hard to ensure that they’re not actually limiting. He gets his answers through sheer determination.

While reading this there were a number of assumptions that I made, now granted, Slaughter deliberately led me towards these assumptions and then BAM she ripped them to shreds and I had a Holy Moly moment when I realised what had actually happened – and my stomach churned. I started this book almost feeling sorry for certain characters, believing that they had been badly treated and misunderstood. Then as the book progressed and you learnt more about them, those feelings disappeared. They weren’t misunderstood, they were trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and they deserved all they got.

I’m intrigued to see where this series goes. Here we were introduced to Will and also to Angie, who works in Vice and grew up with Will. They’ve been supportive to each other throughout their lives and have previously had a relationship. I get a feeling we’ll have a will-they-won’t-they, they-do-then-regret-it type of relationship throughout the series.

Although dark and twisted, I didn’t think this was as dark as some other of Slaughter’s books and most definitely wasn’t on the scale of the Chris Carter that I reviewed last week! However, it’s not for the faint of heart.

four-half-stars

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe, her 22 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, PIECES OF HER, and FALSE WITNESS. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is now streaming on Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Will Trent series are in development for television.

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Book Tour: Quarter to Midnight

Posted August 11, 2022 by louisesr in Review, Tour / 5 Comments

Book Tour: Quarter to MidnightQuarter to Midnight by Karen Rose
Series: New Orleans #1
Published by Hachette UK on August 4, 2022
Narrator: Lee Osorio
Length: 21 hours
Genres: suspense, Romance
Pages: 560
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night.

His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death.

PI Molly Sutton knows what it's like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack the investigation, as she tries to fight off her growing feelings for Gabe.

They soon realise Rocky was working on an investigation of his own; one that threatened to expose the deep corruption going all the way to the top of the police department. And that the key to the puzzle lies with a young witness to a murder that happened years earlier: Xavier Morrow.

Just what did Rocky know? And who might have shut him up?

As they get closer and closer to the truth, they realise that the killer is not going to stop at Rocky. And that Xavier is in very real danger. Someone will go to any lengths to protect what he witnessed that night coming out...

'High-wire suspense that keeps you riveted' Lisa Gardner

'Intense, complex and unforgettable' James Patterson

'Fast and furious' Sun

I am so happy to share that I am on the book tour for the new book from Karen Rose – Quarter to Midnight. This is the first book in a new series form her set it New Orleans. Thank you so much to Random Things Tours and the publisher for inviting me on to this tour.

*although I was gifted an advance copy of this book the version I had was unreadable. HOWEVER, I love Karen Rose books and would have bought this any way so although this is a tour, the book was purchased by myself.

I only discovered Karen Rose earlier this year and I am slowly working my way through her backlist. I was going to pass on this as it would have meant reading out of order (I know I do that a lot but I’m trying to stop) but then I discovered that this was the first in a new series so it would be rude not to right?

This is a huge book coming in somewhere around 600 pages, I got the audio and it was over 21 hours!!! Luckily for me, I don’t listen to it on 1x speed (seriously, does anyone really speak that slowly?) I found that 1.75x was the perfect speed for me with this and I read it over 3 days.

This was a bit of a weird book for me as it was all about the investigation, we know who was killed and we know who by. As the story unfolds we find out the why. The beauty of the story is in the process of what Gabe and Molly go through to avoid being killed themselves and to identify and catch the killer. I got so invested in this story and where it was going to go. There was non stop action and a bit of romance thrown in. It really didn’t feel like it was overly long, something which had worried me a little when I first looked at it.

I particularly like Xavier and his motley crew of family and friends. I thought they made a great addition to the storyline. They were so down to earth and likeable.

This is classified as romantic suspense, rather than the thriller that I know from her earlier books. While I enjoyed it, I definitely prefer a book with more thriller/suspense and less romance. But that is a personal preference of mine and as romantic suspense goes this was really good

four-stars
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The Daughter Book Review

Posted July 12, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 2 Comments

The Daughter Book ReviewDaughter by Jane Shemilt
Published by HarperCollins UK on 3 March 2015
Genres: Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

A mother driven to the brink by uncertainty . . .
A family that was never quite as perfect as it seemed.

Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to her loving husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, the seemingly ideal life Jenny has built begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide investigation with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold and the police have more pressing cases to investigate. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from girl she thought she’d raised.

Jenny knows she’ll never be able to find Naomi unless she uncovers the whole truth about her daughter—a twisting, painful journey into the past that will lead to an almost unthinkable revelation .

I’ve got to say I rather liked this book but it didn’t thrill me the way that I expected it to. It’s one of those books that keeps going at a steady pace giving you plenty of detail about the everyday comings and goings in life without there being anything that was terrifically shocking.

“When you are young you have no idea what you will need as time passes or how strong you might have to be.”

There are two main themes in The Daughter; the deceptiveness of teenagers and the blame game on working mothers. Both are things which people bury their heads in the sand about and pretend don’t exist. Both are things that are happening every day in a variety of families throughout the UK (and the rest of the world). I’ve seen a lot of reviewers mark this book down because they don’t believe that teenagers would lie to their parents like that. They’re wrong. I see a lot of parents who think that their children aren’t keeping things from them when the children are having intimate relations and taking drugs. I’ve also seen a lot of people complain about the way that Jenny is treated in this book because she feels guilty for the hours she works as a GP and is also made to feel guilty by her husband and son while they accept the fact that her husband had to work long hours as a surgeon. I wish we lived in a world where this didn’t happen. I wish we lived in a world where women weren’t made to feel guilty for going to work when they have young children. I wish we lived in a world where a man would be asked how he juggles a demanding career and family life. But we don’t.

“The trick was simply to balance it all. Family. Marriage. Career. Painting. If the balance tipped in one direction and work took up more time, no one complained. It sometimes felt as if I was rehearsing for real life, so if it went wrong it didn’t matter. One day I would have it all organized. I would be the perfect mother, wife, doctor, artist. It was just a question of practice. If I made mistakes, I could simply try again.”

Shemilt has done a very good job or portraying family life, the backdrop to this is the disappearance of a family member. She’s done a no hold barred accurate reflection of what happens in a hell of a lot of homes. I’m not saying it should. But it does. For me though, the book falls short in not being pacey enough. It focuses too much on how a mothers grief can weigh her down and because of that a lot of the story feels like swimming through treacle. I still very much enjoyed it but it could have had a far bigger impact.

three-half-stars

About Jane Shemilt

While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a postgraduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. Her first novel, Daughter, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and went on to become the bestselling debut novel of 2014. Since then Jane has published three more bestselling thrillers: Little Friends, The Drowning Lesson, and How Far We Fall. The Patient is her first novel with HarperCollins, and will be out in April 2022.

She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

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Hidden Book Review

Posted May 26, 2022 by louisesr in Review / 0 Comments

Hidden Book ReviewHidden by Emma Kavanagh
Published by Random House on November 5, 2015
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

HE'S WATCHING
A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.

SHE'S WAITING
To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?

As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...

Emma Kavanagh, has written a very clever novel which sucks you in from the very first page. Not least because she starts the novel, just after the shooting has happened. The first chapter is told from the POV of Charlie, who is assessing the carnage around her, who she can see, who’s alive, who’s dead, who’s unlikely to make it. At this point the names mean nothing to you but then the story goes backwards 6 days and we start the process of getting to know the characters while slowly moving towards the present day.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view; Charlie the reporter, Imogen the Psychologist, Aden the police officer and The Shooter. Between them they shed light on the events that have led up to the shooting, not just the immediate 6 days prior to it, but the relationships and incidents from the past which have led everyone to this point and led to the lives of the main characters being interwoven.

At first I got a bit confused by all of the different people, not just the narrators but also their families and work colleagues who also have major roles in the storyline. However, it didn’t take me long to get comfortable with all the names, personalities and the relationships/history they had with the other characters.

About half way through I had to go back and reread the first chapter, the one describing who’s been shot and the state they’re in, by this time I had formed an attachment with certain characters and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t misremembered anything. I think it was a very brave move that Emma Kavanagh made in setting up the novel in the say she did.

There’s a lot of clues thrown in as to who the shooter is, there’s also a lot of clues to throw you off the scent. Although I figured out who it was I think it’s from reading so many crime novels and having an idea of how a crime writers mind seems to work, although she did have me alternating between a number of other characters for a time!

four-stars
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