The girl in the photo was laughing, her head thrown back, her lips painted a bright red. Jessie could feel the simple joy reflected in that moment. And as she looked closer, she saw the same gold cross and chain that had adorned the first victim’s neck. When a young woman falls to her death from a parking garage, the Boston police department rule it as a suicide. But when Jessie Novak examines the scene, she isn’t so sure… The girl’s delicate hands are bruised and her fingernails torn: evidence of a struggle. Did someone push her from the roof? Then a second young woman is found dead, this time at the foot of her dorm building, her hands injured in the same way as the first victim’s with a gold cross and chain clutched in her fist. Jessie is convinced there is a connection and that a twisted killer is on the loose. Just as Jessie thinks she is closing in on the culprit, her worst fears are realized: a third girl is found dead. The gap between murders is closing: the killer is getting more confident. He will never stop until he is caught. But little does Jessie know that, while she works to pick up the trail of her suspect, he is already on hers. She is the only one who can stop this monster before he kills again—but to save the next innocent life, is she prepared to risk her own? Her Mother's Cry is by Roberta Gately.
The Second Marriage is by Jess Ryder. ‘They’re lying,’ my little stepson whispers, his blue eyes shining with tears as I tuck him into bed for the first time. ‘They think I’ve forgotten, but I remember everything. I know my mummy is still alive.’ My best friend warned me that it was too soon to marry Edward, a widower with an adorable but troubled little boy. She said we were moving too fast. But all I could see was a kind, loving man, struggling with grief, who needed my help. Yet as storm clouds gather above our small wedding ceremony, my hopes and dreams fall apart. None of my husband’s family turn up to support us. Instead of a honeymoon, we have a quiet night in. My wedding bouquet is placed on his first wife’s grave. And then my new stepson tells me he’s sure his mother is still alive. What does Noah remember and why is his father trying to make him forget? Have I been completely wrong about my husband? What happened to the woman who came before me, and how far will he go to stop me finding out the truth?
Recognition hits me as I look at the woman lying in the long grass. It’s my sister. Her hot-pink nails are chipped and caked with dirt, her blue eyes are cold and vacant. I desperately shake her, even though I know. She’s gone. Fresh out of the Military Police, Georgia Fell has returned to her Michigan island hometown a decade after she ran away. Late to meet her younger sister at a bar on the isolated tip of the isle, she arrives to her worst nightmare: Rachel dead, purple bruises around her slim, beautiful neck.When the police rule out murder, Georgia knows it can’t be true. Reluctantly, she must turn to the person she’s been avoiding since she came home. Georgia can’t forgive single dad Lincoln McNamara for his betrayal the night she left, but he has an in with the dangerous crew operating out of the roadhouse where Rachel was killed. The question is, can she trust him? But before she can convince Lincoln to help her, another local girl goes missing. How deep into the darkness of island life must Georgia go to find out the truth? And with an innocent girl’s life on the line, does she even have a choice? The Dark Water Girls is by Maegan Beaumont.
You think you know the people next door… What if they know you better? I always dreamed of moving back home to Ridgeview Pines, with its white fences and sloping lawns. I wish it had happened under different circumstances, but now I’m here I feel safe and ready for a fresh start with my little family. The first thing I do every morning is pick up my phone and check The Neighbour List—our local message board. Maybe the people next door know a little too much about where their neighbours are and what they’re doing, but it’s safer that way, isn’t it? And my husband—he wouldn’t dare sneak behind my back with so many eyes watching. Just when I’m beginning to relax, a woman I’ve known since I was small is found dead on the white tiles of her bathroom floor. I watch messages of condolence flood my screen. No one else suspects a thing. But I know that among all these friendly people, watching out for one another, someone knows more than they’re sharing. And I wonder—how far back do they remember, and who’s next? We Live Next Door is by Laura Wolfe.
Missing Daughter is by Kiersten Modglin. When I wake up with the sun in my eyes the morning after my daughter’s birthday party, I know something is very wrong. I go straight to her room but feel a surge of panic when I see an empty bed. Downstairs everything is totally quiet, and the front door is locked. Why didn’t I hear her scream? Who took our little girl? My husband says I’ve been struggling since Skylar was born and that sometimes I forget things. But I remember every moment of my daughter’s party—including him locking the door after our family and friends left. Yes, we both had a drink and I slept heavily but I know I would have heard my child cry. A good mother always does. My therapist says I need to stand up for myself. She wants me to confront my husband about the woman I heard him talking to the other night when he thought I was asleep. And about the child’s toy that I found that does not belong to Skylar. Is he hiding something? But as the hours race by I soon realize I was totally wrong about everything that happened that night. I thought I’d put my past behind me long ago but I was wrong. All I know is this: I’ll do whatever it takes to save my child. Will you believe me?
The Safe Place is by L A Larkin. Her heart pounds at the sound of footsteps outside her cabin in the woods. The snap of a twig tells her someone is close by. As she treads lightly towards the back door, she says a silent prayer—don’t let him find me… Ever since Jessie Lewis reported her boyfriend, fire chief and local hero, for beating her, she’s been an outcast from the small town of Eagle Falls. And when someone sets fire to a house in the woods, killing the entire Troyer family, the locals turn on her again, taking her very public argument with Paul Troyer as proof that she lit the match. Devastated that anyone could think her capable of murder, Jessie turns to Ruth. New in town, and an ex-FBI agent, Ruth could be the exact person Jessie needs to smoke out the murderer. But can she trust her with her life? Days later, another house linked to Jessie is set ablaze. Combing the ashes for answers, she catches sight of an inscription she hasn’t seen since her childhood—since she lost someone very close to her. Is the killer is coming for her next? As local wildfires take hold of the town and everyone is evacuated, Jessie knows she must put herself in unthinkable danger to catch the killer. And when she does, will she have the strength to take them down first?
25 years ago he took a girl. Today he takes another. One August afternoon, eight-year-old Grace Lennard skips into the garden of the childcare centre she attends and vanishes into thin air. Hours before, Steven Harte walks into Halesowen police station and confesses to having information that will lead Detective Kim Stone to Melody Jones – the little girl who was taken from a playground exactly twenty-five years ago. But something about his confession is off and Kim dismisses his claims. Arriving at the scene of Grace’s disappearance, Kim finds a chilling piece of evidence: the heart bracelet belonging to Melody. Now Kim must play Steven’s twisted game if she is to find Grace alive. But they’re going to play by Kim’s rules. With only twenty-four hours to make every second of Steven’s interrogation count, and scan his behaviour for hidden clues, Kim and her team soon link Steven to the abduction of several vulnerable girls – two were kept for a year and then released, unharmed – but where are Melody and the others? Then small bones are discovered in the grounds of a local park, and Kim fears the worst. Kim may be close to convicting a killer, but there’s another who wants revenge against her – Dr Alex Thorne – the evil woman Kim did her best to keep behind bars. Alex is about to reveal a shocking secret to Kim that will hit her where it hurts the most. And if Kim lets Alex mess with her head, she might not be able to save Grace and find the other missing girls in time. Stolen Ones is by Angela Marsons.
My husband was not a monster. No matter what they say… The day my husband, Michael, stepped in front of a lorry after being questioned by the police, my world fell apart. He was devoted to me and our six-year-old daughter. But they’d connected him to the disappearance of a young mother from our tiny village. Now I stand at Michael’s funeral, clutching my little girl’s hand, with tears in my eyes as I insist to all our friends that he died an innocent man. Yet the questions have started, and nothing I say will stop them digging for the truth. But none of them can read the secrets in my heart, or know about the phone I found hidden in his toolbox… I’m determined that my daughter will not remember her father as a monster. I will erase any hint of wrongdoing in this house whatever the cost. Because to keep my daughter safe, the last thing I need is for people to start looking at me… The Widow is by K L Slater.
The New Family is by Victoria Jenkins. Can you really trust the family next door? Brooke is delighted when Oliver decides to rent her old family home with his three-year-old son Finley. Finally someone to bring happiness to the rundown house across the street. They seem like the perfect tenants, but Brooke is a little unnerved when they move in with just a single bag between them. Where are their belongings? When Brooke asks Oliver about his past, he quickly changes the subject. Her best friend tells her to leave it, after all Brooke has been through enough trauma in her life. But Brooke can’t shake off the feeling that something isn’t right. Why aren’t her new tenants’ names listed anywhere online? Then Brooke arrives home to find orange flames dancing in the upstairs windows. As her whole life goes up in smoke, she is convinced it wasn’t an accident. And when she finds Finley drawing a picture of an angry burning house with terror in his eyes, her blood runs cold. What is Finley so frightened of? And why does Oliver snatch the drawing away the moment he sees it? Brooke is convinced Finley is in serious danger, but given her past, she’s not sure anyone will believe her. Is Brooke ready to face up to her own demons to save the little boy? And when the truth is finally revealed, who is really the one in danger?
You can never truly know what goes on behind closed doors… My darling son, Sam, is marrying his childhood sweetheart and I couldn’t be prouder of the man he’s grown into. Walking out on his abusive father all those years ago was the best thing I ever did. And today he stands, tall and handsome, saying ‘I do’ to my dream daughter-in-law. If I hadn’t pushed them together all those years ago, he might never have found a girl as perfect as Lauren. It’s true what they say, mother always knows best. But weeks later, Lauren is dead and police cars fill the driveway of their idyllic countryside home. As they question Sam, I sense he’s hiding something. Why won’t he look me in the eye? And who does he rush off to meet as soon as the police are gone? Desperate, I do what every good mother would do: I let myself into Sam and Lauren’s bedroom. What I see, I will never be able to forget. My son’s beautiful new wife was hiding a dangerous secret. Can I clear my son’s name? And could my life be in danger now too? The New Wife is by Sue Watson.
Hurrying along the dark, snow-covered path, she knows she’s not alone when she hears the light tread of someone behind her. Panic rising in her chest, she picks up the pace. But she doesn’t even have a chance to scream before everything goes black. When a beautiful young woman is reported missing from her hotel room on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane are devastated to discover her pale, lifeless body trapped beneath a frozen lake nearby. It’s Jenna who finds the single pearl earring buried in the frosted grass that gives them their first lead. Just as Jenna has the remaining hotel guests safely back in their rooms, the killer strikes again, and another victim is found in one of the hotel’s lakeside cabins. Next to his bloodied body is a second pearl earring. What does it mean, and why is the killer leaving them for Jenna to find?Interviewing witnesses, Jenna discovers that both victims were seen arguing with other residents hours before their deaths. Could the murderer be out for revenge, and how many more bodies will follow before they are truly satisfied? As a blizzard cuts the hotel off from Black Rock Falls, Jenna and her team are trapped with the killer. Then she receives a terrifying call from a teenage girl who thinks the murderer was in her room as she slept. Can Jenna save her from becoming the next victim? And how many more innocent lives will be taken before the snow thaws? Fallen Angel is by D K Hood.
Death on a Winter's Day is by Verity Bright. Christmas at the castle with holly, handmade gifts, snowflakes and… is that a body under the tree? Someone call Lady Swift! Winter, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift, amateur sleuth and reluctant lady of the manor, has been invited to spend Christmas in Scotland, at the beautiful castle of her dear friends Baron and Baroness Ashley. Even her favourite companion, master of mischief Gladstone the bulldog, is coming along to share a slice of turkey. As snow begins to fall outside, the rather mismatched group are cozy by the roaring fire, sharing a tipple over a plate of Mrs Trotman’s famous mince pies. But after what was supposed to be a fun party game, Mr Eugene Randall is found dead at the feast. A somewhat unpopular business associate of the Baron’s from across the pond, it seems Mr Randall has certainly upset somebody. Was it what he said about Scottish whisky? The killer must be in the castle… and when the Baron is arrested, Baroness Ashley begs Eleanor to investigate. Determined not to let her friend down, Eleanor sets about questioning the remaining partygoers. All too swiftly, someone else is found dead, having apparently fallen from a high balcony. As if one murder wasn’t enough to put a twist in the tinsel! Eleanor knows she’s skating on thin ice now. And when she discovers a hidden document that points the finger of suspicion at the unlikeliest of suspects, she realises there’s more to the story. Can Eleanor catch the killer before it’s time for Christmas dinner?
“You get us what we want. Or your wife dies. And we will make it hurt.” Jerome Prentice is a good guy. Loyal to a fault, he always stays on the right side of the law. But everything changes the night he is awoken by the sound of masked kidnappers entering his home. Holding him at gunpoint, they drag his beloved wife Alicia out of the house with a promise to kill her if he goes to the police. Their demand: betray the company he’s worked for his entire adult life. They think he’ll do anything to save his wife. But they don’t know that they’re messing with the wrong man. Because Jerome might be a good guy. But betrayal doesn’t come easily to him. And he’s not a man who will go down without a fight. What’s more, he will hunt the people who’ve taken Alicia to the ends of the earth. And if they’ve hurt even one hair on her head, he’s going to make them pay… The Hostage is by John Ryder.
From behind the curtains, Sarah spotted the man coming out of the house, followed by the woman. It would be strange seeing people in the property. She wondered how much it would change their lives. For now, she would bide her time and hopefully get to know them better. She needed to gain their trust. When I met Richard, I fell for him instantly. He was able to give me everything I had always wanted, the dream house, security and above all, love like I’d never known. We lived a quiet life in the middle of nowhere; we didn’t need anyone else. So, when the empty house next door is sold, I am wary. Will our neighbours invade the perfect life Richard has built for us? As soon as I meet Juliette and Danny, I am reassured. Overwhelmed by grief after the death of their young daughter, they have moved in search of a quiet life and a chance to start again. Over dinner one evening, we hit it off instantly and I know they are just the neighbours we need. All is well until Juliette spots a young girl in our garden. Richard convinces her that she is seeing things, that it’s the grief taking over. But Juliette won’t let it go. She is sure she saw a child. She believes that Richard is threatening her. She starts to think that I’m not safe. I need to convince Juliette that she’s imagining it. I need to keep Richard happy. If I am to protect everything I have built for myself, she must never find out the truth. That my perfect life is built on the deadliest lie. The Life She Wants is by Mel Sherratt.
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