The Hidden Place is by Helen Phifer. The little girl peered down the dark alleyway. She knew she wasn’t supposed to take this shortcut and her mother would kill her if she found out, but it was raining and all she wanted was to get home quickly. She stepped forward, not seeing the silent figure following her into the dark passageway…When nine-year-old Charlotte Standish goes missing from her street in the small town of Rydale Falls, it sparks a media frenzy. Detective Morgan Brookes leads a frantic hunt for the girl, but little Charlie seems to have vanished into thin air. Chasing up a lead at Charlie’s school, Morgan is chilled to learn that this isn’t the first time a child has gone missing on this street. Another girl disappeared fifteen years ago, and Morgan is the only one who thinks the cases could be related. But in the moment that she takes her eye off Charlie’s case to investigate the link between the two girls, another child, Macy, goes missing. Then Morgan gets the call she was dreading, Charlie’s lifeless body has been found in a local park, lying in the shadow of a large tree. Morgan has let one girl down, but she refuses to give up on Macy. Determined to find an overlooked clue, she retraces Macy’s last steps. She’s getting close to the truth when her partner, Detective Ben Matthews, is attacked outside Morgan’s home. Is a twisted killer isolating Morgan from her team? And how long does Macy have left to live? Morgan must solve the case before more innocent lives are taken…
The teenage girl in the picture has bright eyes and a smudge of chocolate on her chin. It’s her birthday and she looks self-consciously beautiful in her floral party dress. But nobody has seen this girl’s sweet smile for days. She has vanished without a trace. Enclosed by endless beaches and crashing waves, the sleepy little island of Martha’s Vineyard is a place where everyone knows each other’s name and locals can leave their front doors unlocked at night without worry. But everything changes the day that Samantha Clayton leaves for an afternoon bike ride along the cliff tops, and never comes home. Detective Abby Pearce has the difficult job of interviewing the girl’s grieving mother and silent stepfather. But why can’t they answer simple questions about what Samantha was wearing the day she went missing, or who her friends were? Did her family know her at all? Then a girl’s bright pink shoe is discovered buried on a local beach. What if Samantha is not the first innocent teenager to be taken, but the latest? Another victim is found dead days later, and the terrified residents demand to know what’s happening to their children. But the killer is already planning his next move and more young lives will be taken if Abby doesn’t figure out what secrets this small town is hiding… Her Ocean Grave is by Dana Perry.
Widow's Island is by L.A Larkin. Someone knows your secret. And they’re coming to find you… Stephanie Miller is an average working mom. She isn’t perfect, but when her war hero husband dies and her work as a scientist puts her in news headlines, her past laid bare for all to see, she’s determined to make a new life for herself and teenage daughter, Amy. But she fears it’s only a matter of time before the biggest mistake of her life is revealed. As Stephanie and Amy take refuge on a remote island in Washington, it feels like they’re learning how to live again. But then they come home to graffiti on their garage door, there’s no escaping the hate online, and Stephanie is sure someone is watching from the shadows outside their house. When someone close to Stephanie is murdered in cold blood, she knows her worst fears have come true. Someone knows the truth. And she must become the fighter her husband always knew her to be if she is to protect her daughter, and everything left in the world that she loves.
You thought you’d always be safe there… you were wrong. Carly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets… Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven. Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever. The Forever Home is by Sue Watson.
The party was supposed to be the highlight of the summer. If only I’d known that night would destroy our lives… All the neighbours were laughing, drinking out of plastic glasses and getting along. I almost felt happy. Almost forgot about the terrible argument earlier and the sinister messages I’d been receiving from a strange address all week, threatening to expose the lies behind my perfect life. As we finished with the red and gold fireworks and welcomed everyone back to our house, I believed that everything would be okay. But I didn’t know who I was inviting in. I never could have imagined what would happen here, in our home, after I’d gone up to bed. Everyone saw something different. It’s my daughter’s word against the story the boy from down the road is telling. But how can I find out what really happened that night without everyone finding out the truth about me? The Street Party is by Claire Seeber.
The Burning Girls is by Rita Herron. The girl was beautiful, even in death. Her skin was translucent beneath the sliver of moonlight peeking through the bare branches of the surrounding pines, and her chestnut hair had tumbled around her pale shoulders. Around her, smoke twisted in the air, curling into the inky sky. The remote town of Crooked Creek has barely recovered from its most recent tragedy when wildfires tear through the mountains. Detective Ellie Reeves is grappling with her own heartbreak––she has just discovered she was adopted and that her childhood was a lie. Under the scorching summer sun, Ellie is called to a river where a body has been found. She spots a lone woman’s shoe caught in a nearby tangle of vines, and a pearl necklace scattered by the water’s edge. The remains are surrounded by a circle of stones, which Ellie is certain means something. Was the victim––whoever she was––caught in the fire or is something more sinister at play? The Fourth of July usually means festivals and fireworks, but when another body turns up the town is left in tatters. A young girl with dark hair lies dead, surrounded by stones, smoke drifting in the air. Thanks to an engraved silver necklace, Ellie identifies the body as eighteen-year-old Katie Lee Curtis, and the diary she finds hidden under the teenager’s mattress could get her close to the killer. With two victims in less than twenty-four hours, it’s clear Ellie’s up against a serial killer, and she vows that no more innocent girls will be sacrificed. For her, every day is a battle to come to terms with her past, but when this case becomes personal, will she win?
The Child in the Photo is by Kerry Wilkinson. I stare at the newspaper article about a baby snatched from the back of a car thirty years ago, and wonder why someone would post it through my door. Looking closer, my blood freezes. The little girl in the photo has an unusual scar – just like mine. I’ve never met anyone with one like it. Is this stolen child… me? Trembling with shock, I know I have to confront my mother. My parents got me through a horrific accident, helped me find a job I love teaching art, and even with buying my own house. But was it all built on lies? She tells me the day I was born was the best day of her life, and I’m flooded with guilt for questioning her – but why do I catch her burning papers in the garden the next day? Then I come home to find a woman sitting on my doorstep, covered in bruises and claiming she knows who abducted me. I don’t know if I can trust her – or if I’ll be the next to get hurt. Because all the while, I’ve been hiding my own secret. Does whoever sent the article know what really happened the day of my accident? Desperate for the truth, I break into the house of my supposed kidnapper. Inside, I find a handwritten list of names. A shiver goes down my spine as I realise wasn’t the only child to be stolen. Then I hear a key in the lock, and I know my life is in terrible danger…
Summer flowers, warm sunshine, a maypole dance and… is that another murder? A tricky case is afoot for Lady Swift! Summer, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift, the best amateur sleuth in the country, is delighted to be in charge of the prize-giving at her village summer fair. But the traditional homemade raft race takes a tragic turn when the local undertaker, Solemn Jon, turns up dead amongst the ducks. Jon was the life of any party and loved by the entire village. Surely this was simply an awful accident? But when a spiteful obituary is printed in the local paper, Eleanor realises there may be more to Jon’s death than first thought. Despite handsome Detective Seldon giving her strict instructions not to interfere, Eleanor owes it to Jon’s good name to root out the truth. So with her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog, Eleanor starts digging for clues… When another local dies in a riding accident, the police refuse to believe he was murdered. But a second vindictive death notice convinces Eleanor of foul play. Solemn Jon’s assistant, a bullish banker and a majestic marquess make her suspect list, but it isn’t until she finds a dusty old photograph that she knows the true culprit behind both crimes. Then another obituary appears – her own! Can Eleanor nail the killer before she too turns up dead among the ducks? Murder at the Fair is by Verity Bright.
The Perfect Stepmother is by Karen King. ‘I just want to be your friend.’ She smiled at Lily, her dark brown eyes impossibly sincere. ‘And to be a mother to Emma too, of course.’ Her gaze flickered to Lily’s sister, but only Lily saw her expression momentarily change – from warm and loving to something else. Something Lily didn’t trust… Lily has always had a simple dream: to be happy like her parents were. Content in their sweet suburban home, nothing in life had phased her mother and father, not even when they’d had a ‘surprise’ second child, Emma, nearly twenty years after Lily. But their love story was cut tragically short when – after a devastating battle with cancer – Lily’s mother died. Lily was heartbroken, but also desperately worried about her grieving dad, not to mention five-year-old Emma.So Lily is shocked and concerned when he suddenly decides to remarry, less than a year after her mother’s death. It feels far too soon, and Lily finds herself furious with him – and his new wife, Maria, who can apparently do no wrong. She seems madly in love with Lily’s dad and instantly bonds with Emma. It’s only Lily who can’t trust her. Who won’t trust her. And when Emma goes missing – could Lily be right? What if the greatest danger to them all is the woman now living in their family home
Happily Ever After is by Alison James. At a luxury resort in the Maldives, two newlywed couples are on honeymoon. On the surface, they seem to have it all. But behind the filtered photos and fake smiles is the truth… Tansy isn’t really in love. Daniel is trying to escape the biggest mistake of his life. Nikki’s past is catching up with her. Arne’s heart is about to be broken. They all have secrets. And before the honeymoon is over, their happiness will be shattered. Because one of them is going to die…
One, two, three. She counts the bodies dragged from the burning beach house, smoke rising from their cotton pajamas, and remembers a fourth; red hair, freckles, clinging to his mother’s legs, begging to watch the fireworks a while longer. “Where’s the little boy?” she whispers… In the ashes of the Fox family’s seafront vacation home, Olivia Rockwell can barely hold back her tears as she wonders who in the close-knit town of Fog Harbor could destroy such a warm, loving family. Then she spots a little green toy soldier in the sand and follows a set of small footprints along the beach to an abandoned lifeguard hut. Inside, she finds the youngest Fox child, Thomas. The only survivor. Holding his trembling body close, Olivia promises to keep him safe. She knows the agony of losing family at such a young age. But the second Thomas catches sight of Detective Will Decker’s sliver police badge over her shoulder, the little boy’s scream pierces the night. Could the family have been targeted by someone sworn to protect them? Is anyone safe if the police themselves are the primary suspect Unsure who she can trust, Olivia keeps hold of the tiny horseshoe charm she finds at the scene and follows the trail deep into the web of lies surrounding this seemingly perfect family. But just as a tip-off from a local lighthouse-keeper puts the killer within reach, tragedy strikes: little Thomas is snatched from his bed. Up against a calculating monster who seems to know her every weakness, Olivia must dig deeper than ever before to find this innocent child. But when one twisted killer becomes two, can she stay alive long enough to save him? One Child Alive is by Ellery Kane
Invisible Victim is by Mel Sherratt. ‘Let me out! Please!’ I shouted, banging on the door. How had I got here? What day was it? I couldn’t remember anything. But I knew I had become the fifth woman to be abducted. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I’m filled with dread. Everything looks just like the others described: a small hole in the door, a mattress and a narrow window allowing only a small chink of light. The jewellery given to me by my loving husband has gone and I’m in someone else’s clothes. Just days before, I had interviewed the third victim for the local paper. She couldn’t stop shaking. Her story was the same as those before her: an ordinary woman, locked away for ten days then released with no explanation, and nothing – nothing she could think of – to link her to the others. Throughout the ordeal, her abductor stayed eerily silent. I tell myself I’ll be safe in ten days. But I can’t help thinking of the fourth victim who is still missing. And then I hear the voice coming through the door. You said everything would be fine. But it wasn’t was it?’ It is then that I realise. If I am to make it out alive, I need to revisit a dark secret of my own that I have spent a lifetime trying to forget.