The reading of The Lost Village is as haunting and frightening a story as any M. Night Shyamalan movie I have ever seen!
Alice Lindstedt is attempting to film a documentary about a “lost village” where it seems overnight all of its residence just disappeared. Years later, still no one can figure out what occurred in this small sleepy village. But the mystery is quite personal to Alice. Her grandmother was from there. She had married and left just before the mass exodus. She too had no idea what happened to her family who stayed behind. Although she told Alice tales about the people and her relatives, she needed to find out more.
When Alice and her small crew arrive, it seems as if time had just stood still those many years ago; dishes in sinks, a coffee cup and plate on a table, laundry half folded. They seem to be witnessing the eerie remnants of a lost community. What could have happened to all those people? Although they are excited to wander the empty village in hopes of clues, there is also an unnatural feeling attached to many of the structures perhaps as if the village is watching them.
And when they do begin to investigate those feelings begin to become reality. Episodes of not feeling alone, of being watched and shadow figures all start to rattle the well-being of the team. Are they real or just in their imaginations. Then this uncomfortableness turns into reality as there is an explosion and they are now trapped in the village.
It is then they realize they really may not be alone, that someone or something wants to do them serious harm, perhaps kill them. But who? Is it one of them? They find refuge in the church where they begin to learn more about the villagers and especially the very animated and hypnotic pastor whom most seemed to love. They learn of a young woman’s mysterious pregnancy whose child’s birth becomes just another puzzle to the team.
They begin to become paranoid, not being able to trust each other only to finally come to an incredible realization. With that understanding comes the explosive, intense and shocking ending you could not see coming. The Lost Village is a terrific suspenseful horror story with a build-up of palpable anxiety which ends with an astonishing finish. This story should only be read with the lights on…trust me!
Thank you #NetGalley #MinotaurBooks #TheLostVillge #CamillaSten for the advanced copy.
Lexi and Jake live in an ordinary house with their two children. They struggle to make ends meet. They struggle to give their children the best they can. They have a group of friends others would be enviable of. They have been through births, deaths, happy and significant times in each other’s lives. They even still get together once a week after all these years of friendship. They also play the weekly lottery together as a group and imagine what it would be like if they actually won. What they would buy? Where they would go and what they would give to charity?
But that all changes one Saturday night when the group gets into an argument and two of the couples decide they don’t want to play the lottery anymore, and it seems don’t want to even associate with Lexi and Jake. Heartbroken, Lexi and Jake decide to play the lottery numbers alone, and they win! But even before they get to enjoy the excitement of what comes with winning millions in a lottery, their friends decide they are entitled to some of the winnings.
And thus begins not only the unraveling of years long friendships, but secrets, deceits, lies and hidden agendas which had been hidden for many years. As the group breaks apart, their children who have been friends since birth must decide whose side they are taking. And some of them decide to take their jealousy a bit too far.
Jake and Lexi try to adjust to a life of not worrying about money and spending as fast as they can (well, mostly Jake), Lexi believes in giving back, something she seems to be trying to convince her husband to do. Greed swiftly begins to take over. As does the harassment from people trying to cheat them out of money.
And when the family decides to have an extravagantly lavish party at their new mansion, something incomprehensible occurs during the celebration which tears the families apart. Is all this money worth the jeopardy? When the dust finally settles and they get to the bottom of who was the mastermind, the shocking revelation and the accumulation of all the lies blow up and leave everyone horrified, revolted and traumatized.
Just My Luck is a story with a moral. Be careful what you wish for. It shows the evil side of what could happen with instant wealth and the greed with which some will go to receive their just rewards. And then there are those in which no amount of money will ever make them happy. The ending is both astounding and impressive.
Adele Parks has brought her #1 Sunday Times sensation, JUST MY LUCK (MIRA Trade Paperback; April 6, 2021; $17.99) to the US!
Be careful what you wish for…
After spending happy hours, parenting classes and barbeques together for the last 15 years, Lexi and Jake Greenwood have celebrated and shared almost everything with the Pearsons and the Heathcotes, including their lottery numbers. Then one night, the unthinkable happens. Someone has been telling lies – lies dark enough to burn bridges and tear the tight group of friends apart. When the Greenwoods win a stunning $23 million in the lottery with their group’s numbers shortly after their dramatic falling out, the Heathcotes and Pearsons believe they’re entitled to part of the prize… and the three couples will do anything to claim what is theirs.
Reader beware: the last chapter will change everything.
A compulsively readable portrait of the fragility of friendship, the corrosiveness of sudden wealth, and the dark side of good luck, Adele Parks’ latest domestic thriller will make you think twice about trying your hand at the lottery.
Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her In. Just My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.
Q: How much research do you do before beginning to write a book? Do you go to locations, ride with police, go to see an autopsy, etc.
A: For me, one of the best things about being a writer is that I get to poke around in so many different worlds. I am not limited to my own career or viewpoint. I can – and do – research so many other professions, lifestyles, businesses or scenarios. Over the years, I have shadowed people who worked in the TV industry, teachers, police, florists, charity workers, bankers, photographers, prison wardens, librarians…I pride myself on being as thorough as possible in my research, especially if someone else’s profession is involved. For example, with my novels that have any crime procedure included, I interview police people, I visit their places of work and I also ask them to read over the parts of the novel that relate to their world. It’s critical to me that I not only get the facts spot on, but also nail the tone of voice and language that might be used. For Just My Luck I worked closely with some people who work at the British lottery company, I also interviewed lottery winners.
I often join forums and support groups that relate to my plotlines, it’s a great way to research. I have joined forums for people who have won the lottery, others where the objective is to support alcoholics, forums for Alzheimer’s sufferers and those who care for them, and for people with rare specific genetic diseases. I always declare that I am an author doing research, because I think it’s only fair that people know who they are sharing with. I find people who have been through these challenging life situations are often looking to tell their stories.
I always visit the locations where I set my novels and become familiar with them. I research in galleries, museums and libraries too. I’m certain I’ll never attend an autopsy though; I’m fairly squeamish!
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
A: First and foremost, I am a reader. I always have a book with me and most of my down time you will find me with my nose buried. I am also a big fan of upscaling furniture. I enjoy mooching around junk shops, vintage fairs and eBay. I am always buying bits of old furniture, which I then, strip, paint, stain, or have re-upholstered etc. I love finding something that is past it’s best and no longer loved, then breathing new life into it. I really value having unique one-off pieces, that have a story behind them, in my home. I also enjoy walking and practicing yoga.
Q: Do you write under one name for all books across genres or do you have other AKA’s?
A: I write under my name all the time, no matter what genre. Looking back, I’m not sure this was my smartest marketing move. Maybe I should have written my historical novels (IF YOU GO AWAY and SPARE BRIDES) under a pseudonym as they are set during WW1 and the 1920s and quite a different feel from all my other novels which are contemporary. However, even within my contemporary novels I’ve written in different genres – from romantic comedy to dark psychological thrillers and domestic noir. If I’d had a different name for each genre that might have got confusing too! I can see an advantage of writing under a different name. It might have saved my blushes; some of my novels are quite steamy in places and when my son was younger, the school gate was sometimes a little awkward if the other mums were reading my novels!
Q: Do you have pets?
A: I have a moggy cat; her name is Lilac. She’s 10 years old and much adored! Sadly, she’s not really keen on giving or receiving affection; her area of expertise is looking incredible and treating the humans in her family with disdain. She’s quite a loud cat and ‘chats’ to me a lot which is fun!
Q: What’s your favorite part of writing suspense?
A: I’m a great fan of the plot! I do pride myself on rather unexpected but utterly believable reveals and twists. The intellectual challenge of constructing plots is unquestionably my favorite part of writing. The best suspense novels continually astonish and defy the reader until the final page. How great is it when we think we’re heading in one direction, but the author spins us around and takes us somewhere else? That’s what I like to achieve, action that appeals to sharp, inquisitive minds.
I also love taking my readers on an emotional ride. It’s undoubtedly compelling for readers to track a seemingly ordinary family and then watch as something exceptional happens when they’re placed under extraordinary stress. I believe we’re all capable of horrendous actions under the right – maybe that should be wrong – circumstances. A fascination with darkness is part of being human. We all have light and dark in us but we’re not heartless, books provide a safe environment to explore these different lives without ruining our own or anyone else’s.
Q: Do you prefer reading and/or writing suspense with elements of romance? Why or why not?
A: I don’t think I mind whether there is romance in a book or not, but I do need relationships of some kind. Without a doubt, the most important thing in life is my relationships with people, yes my romantic relationship – now limited as I’m married 😉 – but also my relationship with my son, my parents, sister, friends. For me, in real life, stakes are always highest when my relationships are threatened in some way, or when the people I love are in turmoil or jeopardy. I do not think I’m alone in this. Ultimately, the vast majority of us prioritize relationships over fame, money or career. I believe we are defined by who we love and who we are loved by. Therefore, in the suspense novels I write, I use relationships as a device that heightens the drama and the potential threat. Suspense novels do not have to be full of blood and dead bodies (although they can be!). I think the most successful ones are those where the reader feels a sense of familiarity and connection with the characters or environment. We believe the story really could happen, and most awfully, it could happen to us. For me, the best suspense looks at the horror that goes on in seemingly normal everyday families.
Q: From the books you’ve written or read, who has been your favorite villain and why?
A: What a great question, I’ve never been asked it before. Thinking about it now though, I realize I’m not a fan of the villain. I’m always rooting for the goodie, I guess I’m secretly very square. I do like writing villains though, possibly because they get to say all the harsh one-liners that I only ever think up way after the efficacy has passed! Villains are dangerous, extreme and usually selfish or cruel. They are also quite often glamourous and charismatic, so definitely fun to write.
Q: What was your inspiration behind the book?
A: A friend of mine works for the lottery company in the UK. He was telling me fun stories about what winners spend on, what their reactions were to hearing the news they’ve won, how the lottery company has a duty of care towards the winners etc. It was all fascinating. Then he just casually commented, ‘We always offer to arrange security for their children if the win is seriously big’. I found that so interesting. Imagine, the best moment of your life, being handed a check for millions and then suddenly realizing your family were now at risk in a way they never had been before. That was the moment I thought, I really need to write about this!
Thank you #NetGalley #MIRA #AdeleParks #JustMyLuck for the advanced copy. You can purchase the book now at the links below:
In 1926 mystery novelist Agatha Christie disappeared without a trace for 11 days. There were massive man-hunts and front page headlines as to what could possibly have happened to her. Rumors swirled that her marriage was breaking down, although her husband denied the claims. And then she came back claiming amnesia. But, for the rest of her life Christie never spoke of those missing days, (not even in her own autobiography).
Enter historical fiction writer Marie Benedict and through her impeccable research creates a very interesting explanation as to what could have possibly been the reason for the sudden disappearance. Christie vanished at a volatile period in her life with her mother having recently passed away and not long prior becoming aware of her husband’s infidelity. Could it be possible that these pressures could have given way to Christie’s heightened anxiety and caused some sort of a breakdown?
Benedict’s amazing fictional account at attempting to recreate what could possibly have happened and why is written in two time frames, the first being Christie’s tumultuous marriage to her husband Archie and their seemingly different bond with their daughter Rosalind, from their first meeting up until the day she disappeared, as well as Archie’s reaction to his wife’s untimely disappearance just as he was planning to leave her. Could Archie possibly have known more than he was telling the police?
What we do know is that whatever happened in those 11 days made Christie a stronger writer and she was able to create her greatest masterpieces upon her return.
The compelling theory Benedict gives as to why Agatha Christie disappeared is incredibly intriguing and although this book is a bit of a departure from her other historical fiction novels, nevertheless it is just as gripping. And true to form she has picked another strong historical woman’s story to tell.
Julie Carrick Dalton’s first novel Waiting for the Night Song has so many incredibly profound layers it makes it difficult to know where to begin a review of this truly deep and haunting story.
Years ago two best friends Cadie Kessler and Daniela Garcia, both very young spent a summer picking blueberries and writing down promises they made to each other. But something happened to them during that season which both traumatized them and ended their friendship.
But all that is about to change. A body has been discovered, dead for many years near their New Hampshire homes and Daniela’s father is being questioned as a possible suspect.
So when Cadie, now an entomologist forest researcher looking into the correlation of certain beetles and imminent forest fires receives a phone call from Daniela whom she has not seen since that summer, imploring her to come home because what they know is about to be become common knowledge, Cadie goes back because she knows both their worlds will explode if their involvement ever comes out.
But what Daniela is unaware of is that Cadie knows much more than she had ever shared. She knows everything and has bared the brunt of that understanding her whole life trying to protect her best friend. Or so she thought. Within the secrets and promises they had shared with each other are some no one can ever knew.
Now Cadie must make the toughest decision of her life. She must either tell the truth of what she knows or betray her best friend who she feels she is befriending again. And now Daniela has a young daughter that Cadie must consider as well.
This is not just a murder mystery. Within the novel there are threads which are resonating in our lives today. The novel delves into climate control and what that could possibly mean for our forests. It touches on collegiate schools not wanting to rock the boat by going all in when it comes to the problem for fear of losing funding. And that is not all. The book also probes the issues of the rights of immigrants, some who are illegal but have been here for decades.
Waiting for the Night Song seemingly has it all. From a fast paced mystery thriller to compelling thought provoking issues tackled beautifully, this is a story which forces the reader to think outside the box.
Thank you #NetGalley #ForgeBooks #WaitingfortheNightSong #JulieCarrickDalton for the advanced copy.