Thursday, 12 September 2019

Review: The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

I've been a fan of Tess Gerritsen for years and I love her Rizzoli & Isle crime series. Reading the blurb for The Shape of Night, I thought this book might be a return to the romantic suspense Tess used to write. I was partly right; the story is an interesting mix of domestic thriller and ghost story.

Something terrible has happened in Ava's past, something so bad she has cut herself off from her family and rented Brodie's Watch - a spooky old house, high on a cliff, once owned by a Victorian sea captain. But Ava begins to get the feeling the house really doesn't want her there. But does she have more to fear from the living than the dead? Or is the weight of her guilt causing her to slowly lose her mind?

The Shape of Night is basically The Ghost and Mrs Muir meets Fifty Shades of Grey. I did enjoy the story and I read it very quickly because I was so keen to find out what happened! But this is the kind of ghost story where the ghost is real enough to chat and romance the heroine. I much prefer jump shocks! I loved the 'small town murder mystery' vibe, the gothic house and Ava's cute cat, but I really didn't like the BDSM bits, which I felt came over as abusive rather than erotic (this might be what the author intended). And if you've read a lot of crime books, the villain is easy to spot.

Although I enjoyed the story and I'm happy to give it four stars, I'm not sure what kind of reader to recommend this book to. Perhaps fans of cosy mysteries who don't mind a ghost story and a bit of BDSM? The closest thing I've read that compares would be While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt, although The Shape of Night is not as dark.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of The Shape of Night, which will be published in the UK on 3rd October 2019.

Thank you to Tess Gerritsen and Bantam Books (Transworld/Random House UK) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Review: Mistletoe by Alison Littlewood

I chose this book because I adore ghost stories, particularly Christmas ones, and I loved the sinister-looking cover.

After tragedy strikes, Leah buys the Maitland Farmhouse on a wild impulse. It had belonged to her family decades ago, although she hadn't appreciated how isolated and rundown it is until she moves in and spooky things begin to happen. She can hear voices and children's laughter, catches glimpses of shadowy figures in a mirror, and then finds a sinister old doll...

Alison Littlewood excels at creating a deliciously creepy atmosphere, with the hint of a supernatural presence around every corner. Even plain old mistletoe (which I'd quite liked before!) becomes something more sinister - an allusion of something reaching out from beyond the grave. I had expected more jump shocks but the ghosts, when they do appear, are very solid. Therefore Mistletoe is more time slip than ghost story, as Leah is given glimpses into the lives of those lived in the farmhouse during Victorian times. As a bonus, there is a murder mystery to solve - with a few unexpected last minute twists!

Mistletoe will appeal to anyone who loves Christmas murder-mysteries and ghost stories that take their time creating a truly chilling atmosphere - in more ways than one!

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book, which will be released on 10th October 2019.

Thank you to Alison Littlewood and Jo Fletcher Books (Quercus) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.