Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Alex Craigie and her Latest #Book Release – Means to Deceive

Welcome to my September Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring, friend and author Trish Power who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Her recent release, Means to Deceive, a psychological thriller, which I’ve read and reviewed, is her latest release.

About Alex:

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.


Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.


When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.


Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.


Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Blurb:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

My 5 Star Review for Means to Deceive:

Top review from Canada

DGKaye

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping til the end

Reviewed in Canada on April 16, 2022

Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.

Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.

Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing married principal and spreads gossip.

Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?

Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.

Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.

A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.

If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.

Let’s Welcome Alex and get to know a little more about her.

Welcome

Hi, Debby!
I’ll begin by thanking you from the heart for for this great opportunity to share something about myself and my writing with all of your followers.

D.G. – I’m thrilled to have you over Trish. ❤

Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?


I suspect my whole life is a bit quirky!


There are several practical things I do to try and keep the words coming. For instance, I have a small pile of paper on my desk that has only been used on one side. I fold each sheet in half, blank side outermost, and when a new idea comes to me when the flow is going well, I grab one of these pieces of paper, scribble the idea down and then forget about it to stop it intruding. When I’ve written myself to a standstill, I come back to peruse the idea and decide what to do with it.


In a similar vein, some of my best ideas come to me in the night. Sadly, come the morning I’d remember I’d had a wonderful line or brilliant way to tie-in a new section but had forgotten the details! Turning on the light to write them down certainly meant that I remembered them, but didn’t make for a great night’s sleep for me or my husband… Now, I have a similar stack of used paper on my bedside table with a pencil resting on top of it. When an idea surfaces, I write it down in the dark. Quite often, I’ll have several different things occur to me and I have to try to recall how far down the page I’d reached with the last comment. It doesn’t always work and it’s well nigh impossible to untangle two or more lines of writing scrawled on top of each other.


The ‘half asleep writing’ frequently extricates me from a tricky dilemma I’ve written myself into. My other method is to go into the garden and do some weeding. There’s plenty of weeding to be done and so I never run out of material! There’s something about mindlessly pulling stuff out of the ground that sets the subconscious free to untangle things.

D.G. – Lol Trish, I had to laugh because I use a similar method. When I’m writing and following thought and think of something else I want to add, I add it in the margin – don’t forget, I write longhand. As for night thoughts and not wanting to disturb, you could open your Kindle and use the backlight to shine upon your paper without disturbing hubby. That may work better. Tip: I keep my Kindle on low light at night so it doesn’t keep me wide awake when reading late at night.

Do you find your writing is geared towards a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?


Frequently, my writing is driven by a need to share experiences that concern me. That does sound self-indulgent and “worthy”, but it’s what was behind many of the short stories for magazines that I wrote when the children were tiny. I wrote about peer pressure, domestic abuse, inequalities – that sort of thing. There were others that I wrote simply for fun and they were well-received, too, but those were a pleasure to write and there wasn’t that driving need to pen them.

My first novel, Someone Close to Home, was written because I’d been visiting family and friends in the generation above me in a variety of care homes and what I saw was so upsetting I found myself crying at one point, not in sorrow but in rage. This book crossed so many genre boundaries it was a nightmare to categorise. I decided that my next book would sit nicely withing a recognized niche. It was a romantic suspense/psychological thriller about a young woman damaged by guilt from the past who found herself in increasing danger from someone in the community. Means to Deceive was started when the first book was being sorted for publication. But…
… it was the end of 2015 and the situation in our health service was bothering me. Our NHS has been a gold standard model throughout the world, but parts of it were being hived off to private companies and the core of it wasn’t being maintained. So, I stopped the second book and went off on another social grouse! This was Acts of Convenience, but it had to be shelved for several years because my mother developed two different forms of dementia that made writing impossible. When I did get back to it, I ended up with another published book that didn’t sit nicely in a category. So I dug out Means to Deceive again.

D.G. – No doubts our connection is kindred spirits. We are both people bothered by social injustice. Although I say it out loud in nonfiction, you work those issues beautifully into your fiction.

Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?


Well, after that last answer, I’m sure you can guess my response!


Someone Close to Home was written in the first person because I wanted readers to be able to identify with the situation where you leave your home and all the possessions you’ve acquired over your lifetime and end up in one cramped room totally dependent on the goodness of others. Most of the staff I came across on my visits were absolutely brilliant, but all it takes is someone who treats you like a commodity – or worse – to turn it into a nightmare. I’ve had so many people write to me about their shared experiences that I know this situation isn’t restricted to the UK. I wrote about residents who were unable to feed themselves, having their food left on the tray in front of them only for it to be removed untouched by someone (tutting) later. That resonated far too often with people. The concerns I’d classify as abuse were also horribly familiar to others.


Acts of Convenience takes the central character Cassie from 2017 to 2055. She’s a nurse and she and the family are at the sharp end of the consequences of expedient legislation made by successive governments. It reflects my concerns about cutting funding for the treatment of the elderly and chronically sick, working conditions, the exploitation of our information and privacy by unscrupulous companies, the manipulation of media, our exposure to foreign hacking – loads of things that concern me! Because Cassie eventually joins a group to expose the corruption she’s witnessing, the book begins as social description and ends as a thriller. I was so unsure of it as a format, I haven’t tried to market it but I’ve had some terrific responses from people and may decide to do so some promotion in the future.


In similar vein, I realized that my romantic suspense/psychological thriller, Means to Deceive, was becoming hijacked by my concerns about social media and so I made a conscious decision to nip that in the bud and stay within the traditional genre. Instead, I’ve transferred my concerns about the abuse of social media into a novella called The Bubble Reputation which I’m polishing at the moment to get it ready for publication.

D.G. – I am looking forward to eventually reading your two other books, which currently are resting on my reader. As you pointed out the content, and had previously warned me of the content, and due to the too much I myself have witnessed with my husband’s frequent hospital visits, I’m not yet ready to read such content. But I am looking forward to your new, upcoming book!

What’s your favourite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?


My mode of writing has evolved through the years. When I was six, I wrote with a stubby pencil in an exercise book. The pencil was replaced with one of those “new-fangled” biros when I was a bit older.


The short stories for magazines were hand written in a big notebook and then transferred to my portable typewriter to send for publication. Typing then was considerably tougher than it is today! For a start, you had to properly jab the keys to get the letters to hit the paper. There was also the dismay when you reached the last line of a page and made a mistake. I never feltI could send a copy with the offending error blotted out in that bright “Bay Watch teeth white” corrector, and so I’d roll another page in place and take it from the top again.


We bought a secondhand electric typewriter in an auction and it was so touch sensitive, I’d written a whole line of “T”s before I managed to add the “h” and “e” of the first word. It was so easy to use but it didn’t remove the irritation of making mistakes. Writing by hand was less frustrating.


Then we come to computers. Oh my! To be able to correct errors was a delight in itself, but it’s also blessedly easy to move things around, change vocabulary, check for overused words and insert new material that improves a section.


When mapping out a novel, I always start with a pen and paper because it’s easier to
brainstorm that way, but for the actual text it has to be my trusty laptop.


(Here I must add a caveat: when saving my precious work at the end of the day, I add the current date to the title. This prevents me uploading an older version or, worse, overwriting one. Learn from my bitter experience!)

D.G. – So nice to learn that you too write longhand, even to start. As you know, I’m a dinosaur who writes her books, reviews and blogs in longhand first. Lol. And thanks for your last tip, adding the date. Don’t get me started how many times I found myself creating new copies with edits. Oye! ❤

How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?


Overwhelming doesn’t come close!


I’m from that generation that was castigated for “blowing their own trumpet”. I find it really hard to sell from that point of view alone.


I’m only on Facebook. (I tried to get to grips with Twitter but reading the guides to it were like wading through molasses in concrete boots.) Everyone who knows me also knows what an eejit I am when it comes to Facebook. I feel anxious every time I have dealings with the site (daily) because I don’t know if I’m following etiquette correctly or posting where I should. I could do with someone to go through it with me in short sentences composed of simple one-syllable words. An example of my stupidity is that I haven’t had any notifications for at least four days. I wondered if everyone was on holiday (!). When I dug deeper today, I discovered hundreds of posts, some of which were important. I’ve been on the help site but, despite thinking I’m fairly competent in the English language, I still don’t understand what’s going on – or what on earth a push post is.


It’s also a source of shame to me that I don’t have my own blog where I can post other people’s reviews. I don’t know how you do it and still find the time to exist. Our three children and seven grandchildren all live within a few miles of us and can drop in any time (still socially distanced) in our garden. They fill my days with delight. I also have several health issues that mean that when things are bad I need to slope off to bed. These are my excuses, but I know that others who manage blogs have families, full-time jobs and other commitments.


My admiration and unbounded gratitude go to people like you, Debby, who give me the
oxygen of publicity in a form that I can handle. Well, to be honest, I’m not handling it -you are! It must take considerable time and trouble to organize this promotion for me and I can’t stress how much I appreciate it, particularly as I know you have your own writing projects on the go.


Sally Cronin is also a tireless promoter of authors which must cut considerably into her own writing time. Diana Wallace Peach is yet another terrific writer who goes out of her way to review and boost those of us without big publishing companies behind us. There’s really too many supportive people to list here but I have to give another shout-out to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore who give me a nudge when there’s a review about me on Facebook that I’ve missed, and who post those same reviews for me. I really do need that Facebook lesson!

D.G. – First, don’t beat yourself up about ‘fakebook’ (as I prefer to call it, lol). They are forever changing their set up. Most of us don’t get our notifications until days or weeks later. They have taken away all the easy ways for us authors to navigate our pages. I, along with several author friends have discussed this and have given up posting on our author pages, or our author pages, period. We are a supportive community, and I so appreciate the sharing and help from others when I too need it. I will second what you said about Sally. As for me, I’ve been a multi-tasker all my life and spent a lot of time learning the tediousness (Is that a word?) of social media. But trust me, I, along with others, have certainly had our share of technical blog issues. I am grateful to have Colleen Chesebro as a Sister/Friend who always comes to my rescue when things get out of control. It does take a village sometimes. I love promoting other authors and giving back, so it’s worth the work for me. ❤

It was a pleasure having you here today Trish. I do hope readers will check out your addictive books.

Excerpt from Means to Deceive

The blisters have burst and some of them are seeping blood. I’d been so desperate to
obliterate the obscene writing that I’d worked through the pain but now the sensation is
making itself known and I suck my lower lip between my teeth and clamp down on it.


Ben speaks quietly. ‘I didn’t appreciate the extent of the damage. This must hurt like the
devil.’


I shake my head and release my lip. ‘It’s just a few blisters.’


‘Well, let’s get some antiseptic onto them and then see about covering them up. I’ll try to
be as gentle as I can.’


He opens an antiseptic wipe and dabs my damaged palm. For someone with such large
hands he has a remarkably light touch.


‘I’m afraid some of this is down to me.’ He continues dabbing at my palm which is now on
fire. ‘That shower will have softened the skin allowing things to get this bad.’


I shake my head. I’m trying to keep the pain hidden and don’t trust my voice. He picks up the cream and applies a coating that quickly brings the fire down to a smoulder and then he fixes a clean white dressing in place.


‘Right. Time to do the other one.’


He takes my left hand and studies it. Mine is pale and tiny in comparison with his.


‘These don’t look so bad. They’re still raw but they’re not bleeding.’ He starts to dab at them. ‘I think you’ll get away with some plasters on these.’

I say nothing, watching as his hands continue to work methodically and efficiently. There’s something soothing, almost mesmerising, about the process and it comes as a surprise when he announces, ‘There. I think that’ll do.’


‘Thanks. You were right. It was quicker and easier this way.’ I don’t know what else to say and that familiar gaucheness overcomes me. ‘You’ve obviously done this sort of thing before.’


‘I’ve a younger sister who was always getting herself into scrapes.’ His mouth tightens into a straight line and he busies himself putting things back into the green tin.


The kitchen door opens and Claire bustles through.
‘Right. Well, that’s me finished, Gwen.’ She notices the two of us sitting together and
adds, ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise you had your young man here.’


‘He’s not!’


‘I’m not.’


Our response is instant and she simply nods and carries on as normal. ‘Well, your grandmother’s comfy. She wouldn’t have a shower but she’s had a good wash, eaten most of her breakfast and she’s watching TV now.’ She heads for the door and turns to add, ‘Don’t forget she has an appointment with Dr Kumari at 4.30 this afternoon.’


A groan escapes me. ‘Thanks, Claire. It’d gone completely out of my mind.’


‘It ain’t surprising, my dear, after all the …er…’ The words drift off and I appreciate her tact but squirm at the knowledge that she’s aware of what’s happened. ‘Well, I’ll leave you to it then.’ She takes another couple of steps and then stops again. ‘Will you be able to get her there? Without your car, I mean?’


I can feel heat flame my face. ‘Yes. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.’


‘There we are then. I’ll see you again on Tuesday. Bye’


Ben hands me the tin and I cross to the dresser and replace it in its drawer. I stand with my back to him, giving myself time to recover from this latest blow. How am I going to get her to the surgery without my car? Can I afford two taxis?


I turn back to Ben. ‘Many thanks for all your help. If there’s anything I can do to repay you, please let me know.’


It’s a dismissal and he knows it. He clicks his fingers at Atticus who chooses to obey him and crosses to his side. But he’s hesitating.


‘What will you do without your car this afternoon?’


‘I’ll get a taxi.’ I’ve made my voice light and assured. ‘It’s not a problem.’


‘Good.’


He heads towards the door, Atticus lolloping faithfully at his heels, but he pauses and then comes back. ‘Look, I need to book myself in with a medical centre and I may as well do that today as I have to be in town this afternoon anyway.’


‘No. It’s all right. We’ll manage.’


He runs a hand around the back of his neck. ‘Are you always this obstinate?’


I’m stuck for an answer. Part of me is bristling at the accusation while the rest of me is shouting that his help in this would be a godsend.


‘Gwen, I’m going into town later. It would be no bother at all to give you and your grandmother a lift to the centre. It’s up to you.’


I swallow my pride, audibly. ‘Thank you. It would be a great help.’


He gives a nod of his head. ‘Right. If I come round at about ten past four will that give you long enough?’


‘That would be perfect.’


‘And I’ll come in to the centre on my way back from dropping off some plans at the office,
sign up and drop you back home again.’

I open my mouth to protest, notice the humorous challenge in his eyes, and meekly thank him.

x

Alex’s upcoming book:

Coming soon! – The Bubble Reputation!
An unscrupulous editor does a hatchet job on Emmie Hobson, based on weasel words such as ‘our sources say’, ‘an insider confides’ ‘friends disclose’, etc. Social media picks up the baton runs with it, unleashing hateful rhetoric that threatens Emmie and all that she holds dear…

D.G. – Looking forward to reading it Trish!

x

Find Alex on Social Sites:

Facebook

Amazon author page U.S

Amazon author page U.K.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – The Unravelling – A Domestic Noir #Thriller by Thorne Moore

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing The Unravelling by Thorne Moore. I’ve had this book on my Kindle for some time now, always remembering I wanted to push it up for reading. This book is a well written tale about a woman with a damaged memory because of an incident that happened in her childhood. It’s a slow build up to what occurred, which kept me reading because I needed to find out what happened to Karen Rothwell that made her become so emotionally damaged from her childhood experience?

Blurb:

When they were ten everybody wanted to be Serena’s friend, to find themselves one of the inner circle. But doing so meant proving your worth, and doing that often had consequences it’s not nice to think about – not even thirty-five years later.

Karen Rothwell is randomly reminded of an incident in her childhood which just as suddenly becomes an obsession. It takes her on a journey into a land of secrets and lies; it means finding that gang of girls from Marsh Green Junior School and most importantly of all finding Serena Whinn.

Praise for Thorne Moore’s novels

A true page turner
ww.gwales.com

The most chilling part of Thorne Moore’s skill is the way that she represents evil
Helen Tozer, sideline jelly

My 5 Star Review:

A psychologically, gripping tale taking us into the mind of the protagonist, Karen Rothwell. Karen now, 45 years old suffers from crippling memories of a haunting past – a dark event that happened among her circle of friends as a child – that began with a Ouija board. Only now, as her memories begin to surface, she is determined to seek out whatever has become of her old good friend, Serena Whinn since they were ten years old. Karen can’t remember what happened back at Marsh Green all those years ago because she spent the rest of her life blocking it out, but the pain of needing to know what has caused her own mental illness has surfaced and she must now find out what really happened that fateful day when her friend Janice disappeared. This story is the unravelling, delving back into memories that have long been blocked out.

Karen decides to self investigate some of the characters from her past circle of friends- without letting anyone know what she’s up to. She begins by visiting her childhood town and Marsh Green, looking for anyone who remembered Serena Whinn. She begins her journey of visiting that circle of friends – first visiting Ruth Smellie, who no doubt had taken the ‘S’ out of her name. Ruth got pregnant while at school and was forced to get married. Karen soon found out Ruth was still miserable in her unhappy life, but managed to get a clue from her about someone else’s whereabouts in their circle she could approach to learn about Serena’s whereabouts – Barbara Fullerton.

Karen looked up Barb, who was now a lawyer and set out to make a legal appointment with her at Barb’s office so Karen could get more clues about Serena. It was there Karen discovered Serena is indeed alive and well, and discovers some other horrible things Barb reminded of Karen’s childhood once she approached her. This led to seeking out Denise and Angela – two other girls who were part of that girl tribe at the time. But what Karen learned from those two odd women only scared her more and threw her off her original thoughts she had begun to piece together. Karen knew she had to find Serena – she was the key to what really happened that fateful day to Karen’s odd friend Janice Dexter and herself.

Next came Serena. Karen tracked the sweet, innocent Serena down – the girl that everyone envied. And there Karen uncovered a whole new understanding about what actually happened that day that Janice went missing, and this jogging of memory for Karen, curdled her blood. It all came spilling back to Karen. She remembered everything. And the revenge ensues once Karen uncovers all the evil that has been lied about and surpressed for decades.

This book was a slow build up giving us insight into Karen’s character and state of mind, and once her journey of discovery begins, a difficult book to put down as we follow Karen’s mind and investigative journey into seeking out what really happened all those years ago, who were the good, and who the insideous evil doers really were. Truly a riveting read. I look forward to reading more by this author.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Where There’s Doubt – A #Psychological #Mystery/Romance by Terry Tyler

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Terry Tyler’s addictive psychological thriller – Where There’s Doubt. This book has been getting a lot of attention around our reading circles, and once I began reading it, I found out why. The protagonist Kate invites into her cozy world of happy seaside living in a small town in Norfolk, England, until her world turns crazy after meeting a new boyfriend on the internet – who turns out to be a sociopathic narcissist whose roots of deceit run deep.

Blurb:

‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’

Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.

She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.

Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.

Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.

My 5 Star Review:

Tyler takes us on a psychological ride into the dark side of internet dating. Sweet Kate thinks she’s met her perfect match through meeting Nico while playing chess on ‘Lifeshare’ a social media site. Kate owns a successful cafe by surfside in a Shipden, Norfolk, village  and had recently broke up with a cheating boyfriend, Jackson. Nico was a collector of woman, who used the guise of being a vanity publisher for Indie books because it gave him a boatload of excuses to be unavailable to the many women he seemed to be in relationships with. Think ‘Tinder Swindler’ when envisioning Nico. The story pulls us in because yet again, another internet scammer on the prowl for women seems to be a topic of interest these days.

The author brings in richly crafted characters to drive the story, and gives us a peek into Nico’s psyche to let us in on what makes this conman tick. We get to know the ‘other’ women he’s ensnared with his wiley charms, knowing how to play each one – Polly the low self-esteemed girl who dreams of a fairytale life, Heather, the young grieving widow, Minerva, the lonely, older more secure widow, and the pretty, carefree and fun Kate. And of course we can’t leave out ‘Em’ Nico’s ‘apparent’ ‘real’ girlfriend who assists him to ensnare these other women by doing all the social media profiling for him to make sure his tracks are covered, leading us to think he is doing all this cyber stalking and dating to extort money for ‘them’ both. He cleverly uses Em as his default decoy when with these women, telling them she’s his sister.

Polly is busily planning her wedding with Nico, unaware that his intentions are to get her to spend some of her lottery winnings on a house he wants to buy – for himself. Heather is a young widow living in isolation in the home she shared with the love of her life who has passed on. Wealthy Minerva is smart and realizes handsome Nico is fun to be with, though realizing two decades younger than her, that one day this relationship will probably end, but surely, investing in his publishing business could be a lucrative business adventure. Kate is his favorite he spends most time with, and he’s snagged her heart and trust and goes to deceitful ends to take her to the house he’s pining after, lying to Kate by telling her the house was left to him and his sister in his aunt’s will, adding, the problem is that the house was left to two other cousins and he’d love to buy them out, giving Kate the idea she should buy in so they can live there together. What could go wrong? Plenty!

As the plots thicken and Nico gets sloppy covering his tracks, things begin to happen. Heather begins to feel Nico is pushing a little to hard for her to sell her house to buy into ‘the Grove’ house he supposedly wants to buy his ‘cousins’ out of, and she decides to do some internet surfing and discovers that Nico is a conman. And this is where part two of the book opens up a whole new insidious plot with characters we never would have suspected are part of Nico’s evil ploy.

As the story unfolds, little pieces of his lies are slipping through the cracks and Nico finds himself having to come up with quick coverups. And when the shyte hits the fan, a whole lot of evil is unveiled to us. Don’t even think I’ve given away any spoilers here because the fun begins in this book once Nico is exposed.

Lots of twists and a great conman caper, which sadly, is not so uncommon in today’s world. And a book that was literally hard to put down!

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a mystery that kept me turning the pages all the way till the end – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie. Craigie is a masterful storyteller who leaves plenty of red herrings in this tale, keeping us guessing right until the end.

Blurb:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

My 5 Star Review:

Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.

Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.

Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing principal and spreads gossip.

Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?

Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.

Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.

A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.

If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Charlotte – #Shortstory by S.R. Mallery

My Sunday Book Review is for S.R. Mallery’s, Charlotte. This is a cleverly written short story that doesn’t feel like a short story because even in the limited pages, the story is well crafted, will keep our curiosity revved until the very end when we find out who ‘Him’ is.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

Sometimes things are not as they seem…
In 1793, all the twenty-four-year-old Charlotte desires is to travel the long distance to Paris and visit Him. Despite La Guillotine operating day and night, in spite of her family’s warnings about her being too independent, she has a true mission and will not be deterred. In the end, will everything work out? Will meeting him give her the fulfillment she so craves?

 

She only knows that when she finally does face him to execute her plan, she will take care to look her most beautiful. For, by doing that, she will assuredly draw him in––and forever change her life. She cannot wait.

 

Originally entitled, “Him,” in the short story collection, TALES TO COUNT ON, this is an alternative route to a famous event during the French Revolution.

 

 

My 5 Star Review

 

This is a short story that packs a punch. Mallery paints a story taking place during the French Revolution. Charlotte Corday is on a mission to leave her comfortable country home to visit a mysterious ‘someone’ in Paris, at a time when Paris was known as the City of Blood and the guillotine was working overtime. We are taken through her journey of her traveling to Paris, and the stops she made along the way to ensure her safe passage. In a time where one must be aware of surroundings during the time of bloodshed, simply because one had wealth or nobility, Charlotte dressed in her finery, set out to seek the man, only referred to as ‘Him’ throughout the story.

 

We learn she must look her finest and takes great pains to make sure she does in preparation to finally see ‘Him’, she will be the desire of his wantings when she arrives. She thinks.

 

This author is known for her short stories that are deliciously descript and for a mere 8 pages she sets the tone for this quick-paced historical fiction tale that is guaranteed to drop a few jaws by the time we reach the end.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

Sunday Movie Review: The Undoing #miniseries – #Whodunit

Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review again. The Undoing is a mini series on HBO, an intense psychological thriller. For those of you who enjoy a good suspense whodunit, this series is for you.

 

My 5 Star Review:

I love a good character study movie. And with a cast of Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland, what’s not to love? Except, when you are used to seeing certain stars in movies who are mostly typecast play someone out of their character realm. But in this series, it demonstrates a great example of what going against the grain is like with Grant’s personified movie image. Grant in this psychological suspenseful role plays an unlikely and unusual character. We get a glimpse of a darker side of Grant in this suspenseful family saga whodunit with Grant as one of the suspected murderers because of who the murder victim was.

So what’s the action? Grant and Kidman are a well-off – ‘seemingly’ happy couple. Grant is an oncologist and Kidman plays a psychologist. They lead busy lives and seem to have a great relationship. But does something sinister lurk in Grant’s head?

A young struggling artist comes into Kidman’s circle on the ‘mom’ board at her son’s preppy school, wanting to join the school board of a private school where she hopes to assimilate her young son into the preppy school and become part of the ‘mom board’. She ‘somewhat’ befriends Nicole and shows up in unpredictable places. Then suddenly the girl is murdered. The show progresses searching for and suspecting some unsuspecting characters – including Nicole and then Hugh. How could we possibly suspect a doctor of oncology who dedicates his life to saving people?

As Grant becomes the main targeted suspect, I, as the audience couldn’t buy it. But not until the last episode (of six), did my suspicion begin to grow. And not til the very end do we get a big surprise in this well written series with great characters and subject matter that will keep you guessing til the last minute.

End-game: there are so many clever possible theories and suspects thwarting guilt, who dunit? A cleverly woven tale to keep you guessing as you may begin to suspect each suspect as guilt continues shifting and had me changing my mind about whodunit. Is Hugh guilty? Was it his son? Was it the dead woman’s husband? The last court episode was like a tennis match of shifting blame. Who’s on your side? Who can you trust?

Grace (Kidman) taking the stand and the twisted last turn of interrogation was the final straw which determined the killer’s fate. Perfect name – Undoing of so much, of a child’s innocence, of a marriage, of trust, and undoing the facade behind people, exposing the farce.

 

 

“Grace Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. She’s a successful therapist, has a devoted husband and young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. Overnight a chasm opens in her life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.”

The above quote taken from below link to another few trailer scenes at IMDB

https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2746007833?playlistId=tt8134470

 

***

This miniseries was based on a book originally titled – You Should Have Known. I presume once the series became a hit the cover was changed. I’ve read a few comments of almost 3000 4 star reviews, and I think my review is with the majority of 4 and 5 stars. Of course with that many reviews an author is going to take some 2 stars and most of what I read didn’t grasp the psychology of the story. At over 400 pages it became a 6 hour miniseries.

 

 

Blurb:

Read the “rollickingly good literary thriller” and New York Times Bestseller — and watch the most talked about TV series of 2020, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant.

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended.

Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

 

Has anyone here seen this series or read the book? What did you think?

 

©DGKaye2021

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