Synopsis: When Ellie Fisher misses her train home one night, she has no idea that being in the right place at the wrong time will change her life forever.
That night she comes across Gareth, a young man about to take his own life, because as far as he’s concerned there is nothing left to live for. Putting her own life in danger Ellie convinces Gareth that there is always something left. Her own life is no bed of roses, she explains, but she always pushes on.
However, good deeds aren’t always repaid the way we want. Has Ellie unwittingly put her life in danger, or is the real danger a lot closer to home?
Kat’s Rating: 4/5
Kat’s Review: I was excited to read the new Mandasue book but have to be honest and say I was surprised at the type of book this turned out to be. It seems like a bit of a departure from the gritty gangland style books she normally produces and leans more towards a psychological thriller.
Ellie Fisher is introduced to us on her commute to work. She has no idea that her day will change when she attempts to help a young guy named Gareth who is attempting to take his own life. In the meantime she is dealing with her own problems with her husband Matt and her Mother and Sister. The thing that struck me most about this book was that I didn’t actually like any of the characters which is unusual. Ellie seems to be downtrodden and has almost zero backbone. Although I felt sorry for her it seems like she just doesn’t have the strength to be anything other than a doormat. On the other side of the fence we have her seemingly controlling and frankly abysmal husband Matt who I just wanted to smack for most of the book.
That strange sensation aside, what I realised was that in a strange was I was thoroughly enjoying this departure in style. It’s certainly different to her previous stuff but although I disliked the characters I felt the need to keep reading. Although this doesn’t have the edge of your seat type tension running through it there is a dark element which seems to be present almost from the beginning. I read this in one sitting and although initially I was thinking it wasn’t as good as previous stuff, I ended up really enjoying it. I also didn’t quite see the ending and found myself being pleasantly surprised. Overall, different but I think good different.
Synopsis: After being cheated on by her ex, Leanne Riley is trying her hardest to get her life back on track, which isn’t easy without a job and living in a bedsit surrounded by a junkie and a mad woman.
On a night out with her best friend she meets Jake, a face from her past who has changed beyond all recognition. Jake is charming, handsome and loaded, a far cry from the gawky teenager he used to be. Weary of men, Leanne isn’t easy to please, but Jake tries his best to break through the wall she’s built around herself.
But good looks and money can hide a multitude of sins. Is that good-looking face just a mask? And what’s more, what will it take to make it slip, and who will die in the process . . . ?
Kat’s Review: It’s been a while since I have read a Mandasue book and I was looking forward to her latest release. I must confess having finished it I was a little surprised at the change in pace almost, it seemed to me that there was certainly a slightly different theme to her writing compared to other books she has released. That said, this was still a great read and I was certainly engrossed, although admittedly a little surprised.
Leanne Riley lives in a grotty bedsit, has little money, no job, and little prospects. Her life seemed to have taken a downhill turn after catching her bloke cheating on her and losing her job. Her friend Chrissie seems to be the only good and consistent thing in her life. When she goes on a rare night out she bumps into the very handsome Jake who it turns out she knew back at school. Her life suddenly looks a whole lot more interesting with a new man on the scene who is showing interest. Although she is wary of men Jake is literally a Prince Charming and it seems Leanne’s luck has finally changed.
Leanne and Chrissie were great characters and very easy to read, I especially liked their obviously close friendship. Ben and Jake’s friendship seemed a little one sided but I loved Ben and thought he was a real gem of a character. By the halfway mark I could have been mistaking this sort of book for one that fall sin the Romantic Suspense genre, however once past that point it all seems to change…and very quickly.
I won’t say any more as it will inevitably spoil some great threads in the story line, suffice to say I was hooked with the plot and thoroughly enjoyed this latest release. I finished the book in a little over one and a half sittings and realised that although this was a slight departure from her usual style of writing, I really liked it. It almost keeps the work ‘fresh’ and instead of getting a dose of the ‘usual’, you get a variation of the usual which makes for a very refreshing change. Another great read with this new release and one that will no doubt tick the boxes for all her fans.
My Rating: 3/5
The Grange Estate is known locally as a `rough estate’ and Joe Weeks has just moved in. Joe is laid back but is quite eager to make friends with his neighbours. He meets Carl and Cheryl and before long he is one of them. With their regular parties and weed smoking, Joe fits in a treat.
Eddie Quinn also lives on the estate and is known as the hardest man around town. He is also living from his reputation which is one that you don’t wish to cross. When Joe is asked if he wants to work as Eddie’s driver he jumps at the opportunity. Joe soon runs into Katya who is a very frightened prostitute who is trapped as a practical slave and wants nothing more than to escape from Eddie. Joe soon gets drawn into a dangerous life surrounded by death, drugs and prostitutes.
Well first off I have to say I was shocked at the small offering that arrived when the book turned up. I am used to receiving a Mandasue Heller book that is a hefty offering as opposed to this slimmed down version. I picked up the book hoping that this one was better than her last book as I wasn’t that impressed with it. Initially the first few chapters seemed to be going well. We get introduced to Joe and get to know the goings on of all the people who live on the estate. Joe as a character isn’t the strongest Mandasue Heller has ever written but he was a likeable guy.
We also see the bad guy Eddie who again I didn’t think was that strong a character. Yes he seemingly had the right ingredients, the build, the attitude and the hard man look about him. Unfortunately that was all he had! Around the halfway mark I was beginning to wonder when the gritty storyline would jump in but sadly it didn’t materialise. The book wasn’t an awful read by any means it just wasn’t particularly strong or memorable.
The last portion of the book saw a rise in tempo slightly but it had an air of `unfinished business’ about it. In actual fact this was how I felt about 90% of the book. You felt like you got to know the people involved but beyond that, nothing. I have read all of Martina Cole’s books and felt bitterly disappointed that her more recent stuff was nowhere near as good as her original works. Sadly, it seems that Mandasue Heller is suffering the same fate. The storyline felt very lacklustre and had no real oomph in it. In addition to this, nothing that drastic or meaningful happened. I can tell from the writing style that Mandasue Heller still has a great writing style, but sadly the plot and characters are seriously lacking her usual standards.
I was bitterly disappointed with this and was hoping that we would see a return to her previously wonderful writing. Although the writing is there, it seems that nothing else is there with it. If I am being honest I wouldn’t recommend this particular book of hers and would say try her earlier works which were brilliant. I can still live in hope that she will return with a vengeance with her next book.