Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Mild #Thriller PERFECTLY NORMAL by Douglas Renwick

Perfectly Normal by [J D Renwick]Perfectly Normal is a mild thriller and explores the harrowing subject of what happens to a child offender in the UK who is below the age of criminal responsibility.

At the age of almost seven, Angel lives a normal life with her family, until an incident occurs that remains unexplained to the reader. A year later, we see her wake up in a room which she calls a cabin. As the story evolves, it becomes clear that Angel is in a secure children’s care home.

Now an older teenager, Angel writes a diary about her childhood years.  However, she is frustrated that she doesn’t know what happened in the missing year; we learn about her life in snippets, dotting back and forth between past and present. The care facility gives Angel opportunities for education, and she has access to the internet so that she can learn about the outside world. When she turns eighteen, she is released into sheltered accommodation – the good news is that she can now apply for access to the police reports surrounding the incident which changed her life forever. She hopes that reading them will help her remember what happened and allow her to move forward.

I would describe this as a medium-paced story; I thought that events might have taken a creepy, sinister turn, especially with the suggestion of the supernatural. However, it did not develop in a way suggested by the tension of the earlier part.  I felt that opportunities to make this an intriguing page-turner were missed; had the story been written from the POV of Angel as an unreliable narrator, I think it would have worked much better.  Instead, the author focuses on the regulations surrounding underage offenders.  As for the ending, I found it too inconclusive, and rather disappointing.  Of course this sort of thing is always subjective, and it may work for other readers.

On a side note, the author provides an in-depth addendum at the back for readers who might have further interest in the child offender regulations.

Book description

Angel’s a perfectly normal young adult – except she’s spent the last eleven years in secure accommodation, locked up under the Children Act because it appeared she was ‘likely to injure’ herself or others. It was not a miscarriage of justice; there was no justice at all. There was no trial, no barrister to argue her case, no jury to decide on her guilt. And she has no memory of what she allegedly did, high up on a dark and windy headland in East Sussex, back in 2007. She’s determined to discover what happened and why, and where her true destiny lies.


Perfectly Normal by [J D Renwick]

#ThrowbackThursday Rosie’s #Bookreview of mild #thriller THE INTRUDER by P.S. Hogan

37791949The Intruder by P.S. Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Intruder is a mild thriller where the focus is on an ordinary man rather than the popular police investigations that currently flood this genre.

William Heming is an estate agent, a quiet, diligent man, who worked his way up from a holiday job to business owner. He knows his town well, having helped buy and sell a house on almost every street. He silently supports the community, giving generous donations to both youth and play groups. He’s an advocate for good social behaviour, treats his employees well and often goes the extra mile for clients.

Heming is a very private man, but has an inquisitive nature and an obsessive need to snoop into other people’s lives. He is a silent watcher, a stalker and a man who holds a key to every house he’s sold. He regularly returns to these houses to soak up the atmosphere and, most chillingly, of all, rifle through the current owner’s possessions.

This is an intriguing novel. Heming is both compelling and repulsive, an unlikeable character, but one whose full story I wanted to know. Hogan drip-feeds Heming’s background along with his present life; one moment I was close to empathy for Heming, the next I shivered in discomfort. This tug-of-war kept my interest as the tale turned sinister and made me wonder just where Heming was heading to next.

Ideal for those who want something different from the thriller genre and are happy to have a rest from many of the high octane fast paced books they might have been recently reading.

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Book description

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in – quietly, carefully – to see who lives there now, what they’re like, what they’ve been doing.

But what will happen when he gets caught?

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Mild #thriller My #Bookreview of Girl Without A Voice by @ChrisBridge313

Girl Without a VoiceGirl Without a Voice by Chris Bridge

4.5 stars

Girl Without A Voice is a suspense thriller set in Yorkshire. It opens with a past scene: a family picnic with a traumatic event that caused nine year old Leah to stop talking.

In present time Leah is now thirty-four, and hasn’t spoken since that day, twenty-five years ago. Her father has just died and the family gather for his funeral. Years of silence have made Leah almost invisible, particularly to her three siblings who ignore her, and are not reprimanded for this by their grieving mother, Izzy. After a long illness her father’s death was expected, but everyone was shocked when Izzy revealed she had another son.

Izzy becomes excited about the possibility of reuniting with her long-lost son and asks his forgiveness for giving him away. However, she’s being furtive and this behaviour makes Leah extra worried. Her observational skills have developed in place of her ability to speak, and when the family finally meet Patrick he concerns and shocks her; Leah suspects that she and her mother are both in danger.

I jumped at the chance to read this book because I know how well this author can write, having read Back Behind Enemy Lines a few years ago. This book didn’t disappoint. It is written in several significant parts. Leah’s story and the effect on her life of her disability are scripted very well; I was appalled at how her siblings treated her. In part two we learn more about Patrick and a religious cult which brought him up. The author does an excellent job building the layers of suspense and tension, it was obvious just how much research had gone into making the plot and characters really believable.

I would describe this as a mild thriller, for those who enjoy character-led plot lines. I was very interested to learn about Leah’s elective mutism, and whilst the religious cult aspects left me pretty uncomfortable the storyline had me abandoning other duties just to finish reading. I highly recommend this book.

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Book description



Childhood trauma robs Leah of the power of speech and forces her to be a watcher on the margins of society. But when her mother goes in search of the child she gave up for adoption, Leah is tempted out of the shadows. At first Patrick is everything she could hope for from a half-brother, but is he too good to be true? Leah makes a shocking discovery that leaves her with a moral dilemma and the need to take on not only her half-brother but the ruthless cult he belongs to.

About the author

Chris Bridge was born in Hull, England in 1947. He studied English and Philosophy at Nottingham University and became a teacher after graduating. He eventually became Headteacher of Huntington School, York, and finished his school career as a National Leader of Education. He has been a regular contributor to poetry magazines and his poems have featured in the winning lists of Hippocrates and Stanza poetry competitions. Back Behind Enemy Lines is his first novel. He lives in North Yorkshire.

Chris Bridge

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