The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BookReview #BlogTour

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers today. Many thanks to the author, Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The opening chapter of The Dark Place briefly introduces the reader to Issy as she returns home following her first year at university. We learn very little about her here, other than she is the mother of a young son, Noah who is cared for by her parents and she seems to struggle to know how to relate to him. The moment when her life comes to a sudden and violent end is a shocking …

Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray @rogerbray22 #BookReview #BlogBlitz


When there’s more than secrets buried, where do you start digging?
When Brooke Adams is found battered, bleeding, and barely conscious, the police are at a loss as to who her attacker is or why she was targeted.
Then, PI Rod Morgan turns up convinced that Brooke’s attack is the latest in a string of unsolved disappearances dating back twenty-five years.
The police, however, aren’t convinced, so Brooke and Rod must investigate the cases themselves.
As secrets from the past start unravelling, will they find Brooke’s attacker before he strikes again, or is that one secret that will stay buried forever?

I'm delighted to be taking part in the publication day blog blitz for Blood Ribbon today, many thanks to Roger Bray and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my advance ecopy of the novel.
I've been looking forward to reading Blood Ribbon since I read the description when I took part in the cover reveal in July. The book has a chilling opening chapter as an unknown man buries the body of a woman he has strangled. The act itself is horrendous but it soon becomes disturbingly evident that she is far from the first woman he has buried. The story then leaves the killer for a while however, as the reader is introduced to Brooke Adams and later, Scoot Mease. Brooke had a difficult start in life, spending her childhood in institutions and foster homes before she ran away at sixteen and ended up in Salem. Unlike many runaways who end up falling through the gaps, she was fortunate to meet Nico, a kindly convenience store owner who gave her a home and a job. In the years that have followed she has grown in confidence and though newly single, has good friends and is studying psychology at the local college. Meanwhile, Scoot Mease has cancer and emphysema; believing he is nearing the end of his life, he reminisces about his childhood summers in Lincoln City where he and his group of friends enjoyed carefree days in the sun until they came to a sudden end when he was sixteen.
Though we already know from the description that Brooke will become the victim of a brutal assault, it's still a shock when it happens. I'd already grown to like this tenacious young women which meant I was even more invested in seeing her response to the attack, particularly after she discovers that she is probably not the first woman to have been targeted. She is visited by Rod Morgan, a retired detective who previously worked in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Oregon State Police who tells her that he is convinced she is the sole survivor of what he believes to be the work of a serial killer responsible for the deaths of scores of other women. That sort of news would leave most of us terrified, but Brooke wants to study criminal psychology and she is made of sterner stuff, so suggests her unique perspective could prove invaluable.
Blood Ribbon's narrative switches between Brooke's investigation and the twisted mind of the killer, whose identity is revealed to the reader prior to the characters in the book. Although Brooke's endeavours to find out the identity of her attacker is fascinating, I also really enjoyed seeing the impact of her decisions on her friends and loved ones. Liv supports her and agrees to help but her other close friend, Deon and Nico - who has become her father figure and clearly cares deeply for her  - are understandably concerned that she is putting herself in what could be terrible danger. Their worries seem to be justified and there are scenes in the novel which feature an ominous sense of foreboding leading to an unsettling feeling of being reluctantly one step ahead of Brooke
The pacing is excellent throughout, the earlier chapters giving an insight into both the mindset of the killer and an understanding of what drives Brooke to continue investigating even as it becomes ever more perilous for her as the tension gradually picks up towards the end. The blending of the contemporary storyline with the glimpses into a terrible event in the past is beautifully crafted too. I was really impressed by Blood Ribbon; it's a dark, gripping thriller, with surprising twists and turns, engaging and diverse characters and an often touching focus on relationships and what makes a family, It's the first book I've read by Roger Bray but it certainly won't be the last.

I'd like to wish a very happy Publication Day to Roger; Blood Ribbon can be purchased here.


About the Author
I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.
Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.
Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.
So here we are, two books published and another on track.
Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.
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Comments

  1. Thank you Karen for this wonderful review, I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

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