Close To Home

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Talking About Close To Home (DI Adam Fawley #1) by Cara Hunter with Chrissi Reads

Published April 7, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW.

Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, CLOSE TO HOME is a pulse-pounding race against time and a penetrating examination of what happens to a community when a shocking crime is committed by one of its own.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: Did you have any preconceptions about this book before you started it?

BETH: I really try not to have preconceptions about any book before I read it but I think it’s human nature, you do make a snap judgement depending on how the book looks and what you’ve heard about it. Luckily, I had heard only good things and if anything, the preconceptions were basically high expectations based on the number of positive reviews I’ve read and the fact it was picked for the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club list this year. Always a good sign! However, we do know there have been books that have been chosen that we haven’t particularly loved – would this be one of them? No chance. I adored this book and believe it’s the start of a hugely promising crime series that I’m now desperate to follow.

BETH: Our lead detective, DI Adam Fawley is reported in this novel as also experiencing tragedy in his life. Were you as eager as me to know his back story?

CHRISSI: So very desperate. I loved how it was teased throughout. That sounds like I mean that I was happy he experienced tragedy, not at all, I just loved the way the details were drip fed to us. Anticipation. I really wanted to know what had happened to DI Adam Fawley. I was intrigued throughout and wanted to know what had happened to him. I grew to love him as a character and felt like I could feel his pain through the pages of the book. He’s not real, Chrissi, he’s not real!

CHRISSI: What does this novel say about children and the world they’re growing up in now?

BETH: Interesting and very tough question! And I’m going to try and do this without spoilers….One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was the use of different media to tell the story. For example, we have Twitter feeds, news articles, interview transcripts etc. and not only did this give an alternative look at the story from a number of points of view, it broke up the narrative in a really fun-to-read way. However, I think it illustrated perfectly how powerful and dangerous social media can be in distorting views, inciting hatred, giving false information and potentially endangering lives. We already know from the very start of the novel that Daisy has disappeared with someone “close to home,” and it makes you wonder if you can really trust anyone – a terrifying thought.

BETH: Who do you think is a better parent to Daisy, Barry or Sharon?

CHRISSI: Well this is an evil question, Beth! They both have their flaws. Definitely. I have to say that I doubted them all the way through at different points in the story. Cara Hunter is awesome at keeping you guessing, I have to say. If I had to choose it would be Barry. I think. Argh! I don’t know. I don’t like this question, Beth. I don’t know if I’m picking Barry because I intensely disliked Sharon!

CHRISSI: Cara Hunter sets her novel in Oxford, a place that’s been portrayed many times in crime fiction. What do you think of her version of the city?

BETH: I’ve visited Oxford a couple of times now (once with you fairly recently!) and I loved Cara’s version of this beloved and well-known city. I enjoyed that we got to hear about a few staples of the city, like the spires but it generally felt much more focused on an ordinary street with very ordinary people living there but where an extraordinary and very traumatic thing has occurred. I liked how the author focused on the community around the Mason family, what they saw, how they connected with the Masons and how they reacted to the event.

BETH: Without spoilers, did you see this ending coming and what did you think of it?

CHRISSI: That ending! Oh my goodness. I don’t want to spoil it at all, so I’m going to be very careful around discussing it. It deserves to be read without knowing what’s going to happen. If you manage to get it without spoilers (like I did!) then your mouth might drop open…a bit like mine did. I definitely didn’t see it coming. As I mentioned before, Cara Hunter totally kept me guessing. The ending that happened never, ever crossed my mind. Mind blown.

CHRISSI: How does this book compare to others in the (heavily) populated genre?

BETH: It’s up there with the best in my opinion. As I mentioned, I loved the way in which Cara Hunter styled this novel and used a vast array of other media to tell this tale. It felt unique, different and was a clever little break from a cliffhanger in the narrative that just made you want to read as fast as you could to get back to the main crux of the novel and find out what happened next! These parts were ever so important however as they brought vital information into the case of Daisy Mason that you wouldn’t want to miss by glossing over these sections. There was not only a stellar plot (and THAT ending) but I absolutely adored all the characters, even those you love to hate. They were frank, authentic, fully formed and I felt just as interested in them as I did in what happened to Daisy. Can’t say enough good things, it was brilliant.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes, yes I would. I have automatically downloaded the next book in the series on NetGalley, which I’m super excited about. I tend to find crime fiction a bit overpopulated and a little bit samey, but I’m happy to say that I found Cara Hunter’s book to be incredibly unique and well worth reading. It kept me captivated throughout. I’m excited to see where this series goes.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Without a doubt!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

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CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

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Close To Home by Cara Hunter was the twenty-seventh book on my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

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Special Guest Post from Lisa Jackson, author of Close To Home

Published April 21, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone! Today I bring you a guest post from author Lisa Jackson whose incredible thriller I read a little while ago – to see my post please click HERE. As part of the blog tour, one lucky blogger would get the chance to display a guest post from Lisa written especially for the occasion. So that lucky blogger was me (hooray!), please see Lisa’s fabulous post below.

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“When my editor first suggested I write a book about a house with a past, I thought he was nuts. He was interested in telling a story about what had happened to an old house during its lifetime.
Huh. I chewed on that. Intriguing, but how was I going to make the house a character in the book? How was I going to bring the past to the present and make the stories those old walls had hidden be a part of a modern tale?
It took a while and I dragged at least one foot as the story started shaping up. How about a murder that had happened centuries before? How could I solve it today and make it interesting?
In my mind’s eye, I saw Sarah, a woman with a couple of kids who was “coming home” to a huge dilapidated house, a manor of sorts that held its own secrets along with some of hers. Her return to the once-grand family home would be a bit of a catharsis for her, a way to exorcize her demons while dealing with two headstrong and very different daughters.
Okay, so the premise was: Fix the house, fix her family. Sounded good.
But the problem was, again, “How?”
Enter the ghost.
What?
Me write about a ghost? Seriously? No way!
Though I’d written stories that had delved into the past and long-forgotten relationships, I’d never tackled a spirit from beyond. That said, the more I thought about the ghost, the more real she became. (I know–crazy, right? Now I’m not talking about an actual ghost, but a fictitious one that had become real to me, the writer . . .) Let’s just say it was a struggle.
Funny thing about that, though. As I wrote the book? The ghost became one of my favorite characters with a story all her own. And the house? It took on its own personality, being as it was haunted and all. I loved writing about these two unique characters, but I needed a way for them to be a part of the story through a living being, a conduit from past to present, so Gracie, Sarah’s younger daughter became that link. Gracie was already a kid who didn’t fit into the mold of a normal child–no round peg was she– so I made her a little odder by being able to see the ghost, which, of course flipped out her mother. The older daughter, Jade was already rebelling and giving her mother fits. Why not the younger one as well?
And so the plot line, with most of the characters firmly in place was born.
Even the hero had his own back story related to the past.
All I needed was a fabulous house, right? I already knew I was setting the book on the shores of the Columbia River and its deep gorge that separates the two western states of Washington and Oregon. I thought about a gorgeous old hotel that sits high on the cliffs then actually booked a room for the weekend. After a private tour of roped off areas, I patterned the upper stories of the house in the book to the hotel, using its upper floor, cupola and vast view of the river as the setting for the first murder. It’s absolutely lovely as you can see by this link: http://www.columbiagorgehotel.com/, so I changed the facade and then had it deteriorating from decades of neglect. You know, to creep it up.
Now that I had the idea for the house, I could finally sit down and actually write the book which became CLOSE TO HOME. I loved writing the story and maybe, just maybe, I might tackle another ghost some time in the future. Who knows?”

Many thanks again to Lisa, all the team at Hodder & Stoughton and Becca Mundy who made this possible. So why not check out CLOSE TO HOME, available now!

Blog Tour – Close To Home by Lisa Jackson

Published April 7, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Sarah McAdams needs a fresh start. So she’s come home to the shores of Oregon’s wild

Columbia river, to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up. Her daughters, Jade and Gracie, aren’t impressed by the rundown property, and as soon as they pull up the isolated drive, Sarah too is beset by uneasy memories – of her cold, distant mother, of the half-sister who vanished without a trace, and of a long-ago night when Sarah was found outside, feverish and delirious.

Ever since the original mistress of the house plunged to her death almost a century ago, there have been rumours that the place is haunted. As a girl, Sarah sensed a presence there, and soon Gracie claims to see a lady in white running up the stairs. Still, Sarah has little time to dwell on ghost stories, between overseeing construction and dealing with the return of a man from her past.

But there’s a new, more urgent menace in the small town. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing and her rebellious daughters are prime targets. Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels her veneer cracking and the house’s walls closing in on her again.

Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And as the secrets of her past begin to unravel, the dream Sarah expected to find in her hometown quickly turns into every mother’s worst nightmare.

What did I think?:

Before this novel, I was not familiar with any of Lisa Jackson’s previous work but when I was offered the chance to read, review and be part of a blog tour by the publishers Mulholland Books, on the strength of the synopsis I jumped at the chance. In my late adolescence I devoured books like these, the entire crime/thriller genre actually formed part of my staple “book” diet and I read little else before I expanded my horizons slightly. The book starts with a bang, introducing some of the previous inhabitants of a Victorian mansion known by the locals as Blue Peacock Manor. Our narrator for the time being is Angelique who is being chased through the house by a crazed man with an axe, while she desperately tries to find a way to keep her children safe who are present in the house at this time and hiding. It is certainly one of the creepiest prologues to a novel I have ever read and I gleefully anticipated the ride the author was about to take me on.

Fast forward several hundred years into the present time and we meet our main character Sarah McAdams who is returning to her childhood home (the previously mentioned Blue Peacock Manor) to try and escape a difficult situation she found herself in with her boss Ethan, to give her daughters Jade and Gracie a new start and to lay rest a couple of ghosts of her own. Unfortunately, the house does not bring back happy memories for Sarah and she is aware that something terrible had happened to her as a child there, although her mind seems to have blocked the event out. Now her youngest daughter Gracie is seeing the spirit of a woman, presumed to be her ancestor whose untimely death at the hands of a psychopathic murderer is still shrouded in mystery of what exactly happened on that fateful night. Despite her mother’s reluctance, Gracie is determined to solve the puzzle of Angelique’s death as she believes that this will allow her spirit to move on.

As if this wasn’t enough for Sarah to deal with, teenage girls in the town are disappearing without a trace and Sarah is terrified for both of her children but especially for her teenager Jade who is finding it difficult to fit in at her new school and bitterly resents her mother for putting them through this upheaval. There is definitely a lot going on in this novel with a number of different strands that come together almost seamlessly in a dramatic finale. I’m also glad that I didn’t figure out who the perp was (although I thought I did!) and I love the excitement of being proved wrong in these cases. Sarah was incredibly likeable as a character but more memorable for me were the characters of sweet and strong Gracie, your stereotypical sulky teenager Jade and, probably my favourite – Rosario who was fiesty and independent. This novel has something for everyone in my opinion, a slice of the paranormal mixed with some good old fashioned dark family secrets and criminals I was just itching to analyse. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good  white-knuckle thriller and I’m eager to discover some more of Lisa Jackson’s work.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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More about the author….

LISA JACKSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy-five novels, including Ready to Die, Afraid to Die, You Don’t Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice and Shiver. She has over twenty million copies of her books in print in nineteen languages. She lives with her family and a rambunctious pug in the Pacific Northwest. Readers can visit her website at http://www.lisajackson.com, become her friend on Facebook, and check out her blog at http://lisajacksonauthor.blogspot.com.

For publicity enquiries and interview requests please contact Rebecca Mundy on 020 7873 6179 or rebecca.mundy@hodder.co.uk

Close To Home is available to buy from all good retailers NOW!