#BlogBlitz #BookReview - The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.

Unbeknown to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems. 

Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played? 

One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

I'm very pleased to be one of the bloggers featuring The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne as part of the blog blitz today. Many thanks to  the publishers, author and Sarah Hardy for inviting me and for my advance copy.
The Puppet Master is mostly told through the dual perspectives of Billie and Adam, with occasional diary entries written from the point of view of the evil Puppet Master. The book opens with Billie in the coffee shop of a book store. She is clearly a painfully shy, socially awkward person who is flustered to be joined by a stranger. She believes people are dangerous yet she can't help but be drawn to this handsome, kind and witty man. Until he calls her beautiful... In the following chapter we discover the stranger to be Adam, a columnist on a local newspaper who is eager to progress to more hardcore journalism. However, contrary to the charming mask he presents to Billie, inside he is seething with anger. He has recognised her as a woman who has destroyed lives and decides he can both further his journalistic career and force her to face repercussions for her wrongdoings by gaining her trust enough to expose her story.
The first part of the book sees a relationship develop between the two. However, there's always a constant doubt behind their actions; why does Adam believe Billie was responsible for tearing a family apart, and why has Billie become so scared and consequently withdrawn from life? The mysterious diary entries from somebody who is also watching Billie only serve to complicate matters still further. She seems so damaged by her past that it's impossible not to warm to her, and to enjoy seeing her gradually learn to open up to Adam. Just why do Adam and the diarist want her to suffer? Adam's feelings are confused by the gentle, kind woman he finds himself increasingly attracted to, compared to what he thinks he knows. These are two people with deep, dark secrets and with two seemingly unreliable narrators, just what is the truth? This first part is structured as a rather charming romance as the couple develop feelings for one another and slowly allow the barriers they have built up to fall. However, there is a sinister undertone to their relationship as we know something terrible must have occurred in their past to make Billie so frightened and Adam so angry.
The second part of the book takes up back to their childhoods and we finally learn exactly what happened. These are difficult, heartrending chapters to read as both Billie and Adam are horribly let down by the adults in their lives. I don't want to give too much away here suffice to say that reading what happened to Billie in particular is very difficult as the full horror of what occurred is gradually and sadly inevitably revealed. Although not totally unexpected, reading these chapters is still shocking and sets the scene for the explosive final part of the novel as we return to the present day.
With the terrible truth finally revealed, the Puppet Master - who is one of the most chilling and evil characters I've come across for a while - tries to exact his malevolent revenge. The story really picks up pace here as the domestic noir feel of the middle part of the book becomes a gripping psychological thriller. This is a cleverly constructed story that takes its readers on a dark and absorbing journey that evokes a whole range of emotions. The Puppet Master is an engrossing and believable debut that movingly tackles serious subjects and I look forward to reading more from Abigail Osborne in the future.

The Puppet Master is published by Bloodhound Books and can be purchased here. Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog blitz, details are below.

About the Author
Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. 'The Puppet Master' is Abigail's debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.