Waterstone’s Synopsis:

Cass Bainbridge is being stalked. New job, new home, new life. Cass has moved to Brighton to start over as a lecturer at the university. But she’s already acquired some unwanted baggage. Someone’s watching her & they’ve even taken photos. She’s being followed, too. And then there are the anonymous and threatening emails she’s receiving. With an unknown assailant attacking students on campus, Cass fears for her life. Is she to be the next random victim? Or is there a more sinister reason she’s been targeted?

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I really enjoyed it. Throughout the book you learn about Cass and Beth, a needy student looking for comfort in Cass. Beth seems to be everywhere, but with life changing and getting out of control she offers a distraction for Cass. But there is something sinister going on; and Alec the difficult student seems to be making Cass’ life even more difficult.

I would categorise this as a psychological thriller. There was suspense, twists and revelations. I enjoyed the book right from the beginning and was hooked right up until the ending. I was quite surprised with the outcome – I had jumped to a different outcome altogether. The twist at the end and the revelation made the book very good.

I liked Cass. I felt empathy for her and got freaked out when she did. Gardner wrote great characters. Some bugged me, some weirded me out, but all of them provoked a reaction. She also wrote a good story. I felt tense when I was suppose to and found myself guessing the ending.

This was not a hard read, it didn’t take me long to get through it, and I really enjoyed it. I decided to read this for my dissertation and I am pleased with that decision. If you are into thrillers and mysteries, this book is for you.


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no time for goodbye

Synopsis from Amazon:

On the morning she will never forget, suburban teenager Cynthia Archer awakes with a nasty hangover and a feeling she is going to have an even nastier confrontation with her mom and dad. But when she leaves her bedroom, she discovers the house is empty, with no sign of her parents or younger brother Todd. In the blink of an eye, without any explanation, her family has simply disappeared. Twenty-five years later Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her in such a cruel way? Now married with a daughter of her own, Cynthia fears that her new family will be taken from her just as her first one was. And so she agrees to take part in a TV documentary revisiting the case, in the hope that somebody somewhere will remember something – or even that her father, mother or brother might finally reach out to her… Then a letter arrives which makes no sense and yet chills Cynthia to the core. And soon she begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…

Meet Cynthia – she is teenager out with her older boyfriend getting drunk in his car. Her Dad finds her, pulls her out of the car and drags her home. After a row she hits the sack to sleep off the alcohol. The following morning she wakes to a silent house. At first she finds plausible reasons for everyone being out, but once at school quickly discovers they are indeed missing.

Twenty-five years later she still doesn’t know what has happened to her family. And with a family of her own, it is starting to threaten her comfortable home. Still wanting answers, she is shocked when a letter arrives. Her past and what happened on that night is about to catch up with her, and it won’t be pretty….

What an exciting book. I couldn’t put it down. There were many twists and turns, and outcomes I did not see coming. Barclay leads you down one path, and suddenly flips it over and reveals your suspicions and guesses to be wrong. I was gripped by this adventure. So much happens, a lot of which you won’t predict. Barclay manipulates what you think, then corrects your wrong views. Just excellent. His characters were great – I especially liked the thugs who grabbed Cynthia’s husband off the street and then sat listening to the Carpenters. Quite funny! This is just a really good book.

My one complaint is the swearing. There is a lot of it. I managed to ignore most of it, but there is too much, and that is what stops me giving this book the highest rating. Overall, this is a must-read thriller, and I highly recommend it.


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an ice cold grave

Synopsis from Amazon:

Harper Connelly was struck by lightning as a teenager, and now she can find the dead. In her third case, Harper and Tolliver, her stepbrother, are hired to find a missing grandson. But the truth is far worse than a single dead child, for numerous teenage boys, all unlikely runaways, have disappeared from Doraville, North Carolina. Harper soon finds the eight bodies, buried in the half-frozen ground, but then, still reeling from coming into contact with her first serial killer, she is attacked and injured. Now she and Tolliver have no choice but to stay in Doraville while she recovers, and as she reluctantly becomes part of the investigation, she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of the town: knowledge that makes her the most likely person to be next to end up in an ice-cold grave.

This is the third book in Harris’ Harper Connelly series, and of course, is as good as the other two – both of which I gave top-ratings too.

In this installment, Harper is in South Carolina. The grandmother of a missing teenage boy has contacted them to see if she can find his body. Not only does Harper find the body of one boy, she finds the bodies of eight. In this small town, a serial killer is at large. At once the place is swarming with police and the media. However, having had his dirty secret revealed by Harper, she is his next victim, and he lands her in hospital. Yet that is not the end of his man nor the investigation…

Well, this is by far the most creepy, what with it being a serial killer, who did horrific things to the boys before their deaths. Along with the suspense is an engaging and exciting book. Harris does not whip out of writing about the horrors of rape and torture – and although that is very sinister, it adds to the book. As ever, she continues story lines from the other two books – such as Tolliver’s and Harper’s changing relationship and their missing sister Cameron.

I love this series and am so looking forward to the next one, which is out later this year (2009). Harris is gripping and exciting. I love the way she writes and her characters. I enjoy reading about Harper, the realism in her physical pain and the way she becomes emotionally involved with the cases and the people. I highly recommend this book and the entire series.


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