Book Review: The Split by Sharon Bolton

Set to be released in paperback on 29th October, The Split by Sharon Bolton follows Felicity Lloyd who has desperately signed up for an extended research trip working on the remote island of South Georgia. It was her only way to escape. But now Freddie Lloyd is coming for her. He has just got out of prison for murder and is on his way to where Felicity is hiding. And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her. No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

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Documentary Review: The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

Directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis, The Social Dilemma aired on Netflix in September 2020 and explores the rise of social media. Focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, the documentary looks at the damage it has caused to society, how its design is meant to nurture addiction, its use in politics, its effect on mental health, and its role in spreading conspiracy theories.

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Book Review: The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #4) by James Dashner

“If she tried to speak, it would all come out: Her pain, her fear. Her anger. Her tears. And then her efforts to be strong for the boy would have been for nought. So she kept it in, a dam against a raging river.”

The Kill Order is the fourth instalment in James Dashner‘s The Maze Runner series. Set before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built and before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease. The story follows Mark and Trina who were there when it happened. And they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness, and they’re determined to find it.

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Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

“In life you have to learn to count the good days. You have to tuck them in your pocket and carry them around with you. So I’m putting today in my pocket and I’m off to bed.”

Written by the well-known TV presenter Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club follows four unlikely friends – Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron – who meet once a week in their retirement village to discuss unsolved crimes. Together, they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. But while they may be pushing eighty, they’ve still got a few tricks up their sleeves. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, The Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can this unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

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TV Review: The Haunting Of Bly Manor (Netflix)

The follow-up series to The Haunting of Hill House (although not connected) and created by Mike Flanagan for Netflix, The Haunting Of Bly Manor is loosely based on Henry James‘s work, particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.

The story tells of Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young governess who is hired by a man (Henry Thomas) to look after his niece and nephew – Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) – at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she meets chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), and housekeeper Mrs Grose (T’Nia Miller). But she soon begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises.

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Book Review: The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes

“When I think about that morning, it is beat by beat, like a heart – my own hear, my daughter’s, at the time so enmeshed it seemed she was part of me: my body, my tissue, my bones. She is part of me. She will always be part of me.”

Set to be released on 23rd October, The Housewarming by S.E. Lynesa follows a grieving mother, Ava, who is struggling to accept that her daughter is missing. She only left her in the pushchair for five minutes. The buckle was fastened, and she was sure it was safe. But when she came downstairs, the door was open and Abi was gone. A year later, her neighbours throw a housewarming party, showing off the results of their renovation. Ava doesn’t want to go. She can’t bear to look down that end of the road, to see the place where Abi vanished, and she doesn’t want to spend time with people who don’t share her grief. But is she finally about to find out the truth about the day she has relived a thousand times? Ava thought she knew every last detail of that day. She’s about to find out she was wrong…

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Book Review: The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

“For a long time, I did not move from the dark, wood-panelled hall. I wanted company, and I had none, lights and warmth and a strong drink inside me, I needed reassurance. But, more than anything else, I needed an explanation. It is remarkable how powerful a force simple curiosity can be. I had never realized that before now. In spite of my intense fear and sense of shock, I was consumed with the desire to find out exactly who it was that I had seen.”

Originally released in 1983 and written by Susan Hill, The Woman In Black follows Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor living in London who is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers at her estate. Travelling to Eel Marsh House, Arthur sees a woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. But despite the chilling events he begins to experience since arriving at Eel Marsh House, he resolves to spend the night and fulfil his professional duty. But the night contains the greatest horror for Kipps, as he soon discovers the reasons behind the hauntings.

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Book Review: Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich

Released earlier this year, Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich follows police captain Linda Turner, who is haunted by the murders of two small children, buried in their tattered Disney pyjamas with their pastor father in the flower garden behind a church parsonage in Lincoln, Nebraska. Meanwhile, as Linda becomes obsessed with solving the harrowing case, televangelist Ray Williams is about to lose his show, when one of his regular attendees approaches him with an idea that will help him save it. Despite his initial misgivings, Ray agrees to give it a try. He can’t deny his attraction to this woman, and besides, she’d assured him that God gave her the instructions in a dream. While Reverend Williams is swept up in his newfound success and plans for his wedding, Linda can only hope that she will catch the Hansens’ cunning killer before more bodies surface.

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Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“I guess we’re almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you’re not one hundred percent sure the other person isn’t framing you for murder.”

Published in 2017, One Of Us Is Lying is written by Karen M. McManus and follows five students at Bayview High walk into detention: Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule; Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess; Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing; Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher; and Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of the classroom.

Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investi­gators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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TV Review: 9-1-1 (Sky Witness) – Season Three

The third season of Sky Witness’s 9-1-1, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear and follows the lives of Los Angeles first responders: police officers – Athena (Angela Bassett) – paramedics – Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) – firefighters – Bobby (Peter Krause), Buck (Oliver Stark), and Eddie Diaz (Ryan Guzman) – and dispatchers – Maddie Kendall (Jennifer Love Hewitt). The latest season picks up 5 months after the events of the last season as a massive tsunami hits the Santa Monica Pier.

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Book Review: Every Missing Thing by Martyn Ford

“The truth is a kind of prey – a creature that has to be pursued and dragged into the light. But I think of it more as a predator. I think, given time, the truth will take up the hunt itself. All we have to do is wait – because, Daniel, sooner or later, it will come and find you.”

Set to be released next month, Every Missing Thing by Martyn Ford follows one family, two missing children, and a lifetime of secrets. Eight years ago, ten-year-old Ethan Clarke’s disappearance gripped the nation. Just as his parents are starting to come to terms with it, their world is ripped apart once more when their daughter, Robin, disappears in almost identical circumstances. Now, doubts about their innocence are setting in.

Detective Sam Maguire has unfinished business with the Clarkes. He is convinced that discovering what happened to Ethan holds the key to finding Robin. But what if the Clarkes know more than they’re letting on? With the world watching eagerly, the clock is ticking for Sam as he embarks on an investigation that forces him to confront his own demons. To uncover the truth, he must follow a trail of devastating deception.

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TV Review: Criminal: UK (Netflix) – Season Two

The second series of Netflix’s police procedural anthology series created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith aired in September 2020. Set within the confines of a police interrogation room, the series follows a group of London investigators – Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), Detective Inspector Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby), Detective Constable Hugo Duffy (Mark Stanley), Detective Constable Vanessa Warren (Rochenda Sandall), and Detective Constable Kyle Petit (Shubham Saraf) – who engage in intense games of psychological cat-and-mouse with their suspects to find the answers that they need to solve their cases.

The latest series sees the team question Julia Bryce (Sophie Okonedo) when a routine interview with a convicted killer’s wife takes a provocative turn, arrogant businessman Alex (Kit Harington) who is accused of rape by a woman who works for him, Danielle Dunne (Sharon Horgan) who is the head of an online group that unmasks sexual predators, and Sandeep Singh (Kunal Nayyar), a shrewd convicted killer wanting to cut a deal.

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TV Review: Criminal: UK (Netflix) – Season One

A police procedural anthology series created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith, the first series of Criminal: UK aired on Netflix in 2019. Set within the confines of a police interrogation room, the series follows a group of London investigators – Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), Detective Inspector Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby), Detective Constable Hugo Duffy (Mark Stanley), Detective Constable Vanessa Warren (Rochenda Sandall), and Detective Constable Kyle Petit (Shubham Saraf) – who engage in intense games of psychological cat-and-mouse with their suspects to find the answers that they need to solve their cases.

This first series sees them question Dr. Edgar Fallon (David Tennant) who is suspected of sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter, Stacey Doyle (Hayley Atwell) who is accused of poisoning her sister’s partner, and Jamal ‘Jay’ Muthassin (Youssef Kerkour) who must help the police locate an abandoned trailer full of immigrants.

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Book Review: Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie

“They conceive a certain theory, and everything has to fit into that theory. If one little fact will not fit it, they throw it aside. But it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.”

First published in 1937, Agatha Christie‘s most exotic murder mystery, Death On The Nile, sees the acclaimed Hercule Poirot set to board the steamer Karnak to tour along the Nile while on holiday in Cairo when he must investigate the murder of a young, rich and beautiful socialite, Linnet Ridgeway. She had everything – until she lost her life. Nothing is ever quite what it seems in this exotic setting, as Poirot must find out the truth by questioning those aboard, including Linnet’s husband Simon; her best friend Jacqueline de Bellefort; her maid Louise Bourget; her trustee Andrew Pennington; romance novelist Salome Otterbourne and her daughter Rosalie; Tim Allerton and his mother; American socialite Marie Van Schuyler, her cousin Cornelia Robson and her nurse Miss Bowers; outspoken communist Mr Ferguson; Italian archaeologist Guido Richetti; solicitor Jim Fanthorp; and Austrian physician Dr Bessner.

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TV Review: Appropriate Adult (ITV) – Miniseries

Originally aired on ITV in 2011, Appropriate Adult is a two-part miniseries that focuses on the way in which the Gloucester serial killers Fred (Dominic West) and Rosemary West (Monica Dolan) were brought to justice in 1994. During his time under police investigation, Fred was granted an appropriate adult, which role was given to housewife Janet Leach (Emily Watson). When she first attends a police interview with Fred, he confesses to killing his daughter. He then privately tells Janet that there were more victims, but appropriate adults cannot share conversations. Janet is given the opportunity to leave the case due to its distressing nature, but she resolves to continue in hopes of finding Fred and Rose’s other victims.

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Book Review: I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp

“Even now, after a bad day, I can lie awake and relive those memories and it’s all as vivid as ever: the colour and the joy, the anticipation, the love that brings tears to my eyes… But a blessing? Imagine the moments that broke your heart and crushed you flat. A loss, a humiliation, a betrayal. Imagine every slight, every rejection, every disappointment, all kept polished for safekeeping in a little chest inside you.”

Set to be released on 1st October, I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp follows Nicola, a woman with a peculiar gift: she can remember everything. Only a handful of people in the world have a truly perfect memory, and Nicola is one of them. But her condition proves to be more of a curse than a blessing, especially now that a body has been found on the estate she grew up in. Nicola remembers the night that the man went missing with perfect clarity, but she never discovered the truth of what happened. Now, she must use her ability to save the man she loved from being wrongly convicted of the crime.

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You Should Be Reading: Rebecca

Written by Daphne du Maurier and published in 1938, Rebecca is a classic English novel that follows the narration of an unnamed protagonist who, whilst working as the companion to a rich American woman vacationing in Monte Carlo, meets a wealthy widowed Englishman named Maxim de Winter. When he suddenly proposes her hand in marriage, she agrees to accompany him to his mansion, the beautiful West Country estate Manderley, but soon finds that the memory of his first wife, Rebecca, still maintains a grip on her husband and the servants, especially on the housekeeper Mrs Danvers. Haunted by her memory, a mystery that lives on even after Rebecca’s death begins to unravel.

Set to be released next month, the film adaptation is directed by Ben Wheatley and will star Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs de Winter, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs Danvers.

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Book Review: Watch Her Vanish (Rockwell and Decker #1) by Ellery Kane

The first book in the Rockwell and Decker series and written by Ellery A. Kane, Watch Her Vanish follows Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell who is forced home to Fog Harbor, California, to look after her little sister. Struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe, things take a turn for the worst when a scream leads her to the body of a missing local teacher, and all evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening patient, who is safely locked up behind bars.

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TV Review: Des (ITV) – Miniseries

Aired in September 2020, ITV’s Des is a three-part miniseries that tells the true story of Dennis Nilsen (David Tennant), the Scottish serial killer who was arrested in 1983. When Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) is called to the leafy North London address, he discovers the drains clogged with rotting flesh and bones. As he waits for Nilsen to return from work, he expects the culprit to deny accountability. But when Nilsen freely admits that it’s not just one or two bodies but “15 or 16”, the police must work quickly to try to secure a conviction and identify the victims, as biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins) begins a game of chess with `Des’ in an attempt to understand his motives.

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