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 …

Do No Harm by L.V. Hay #BookReview #BlogTour


Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong… Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives… Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

I'm thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Do No Harm by L.V. Hay today, many thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.
Do No Harm opens with the wedding of Lily and Sebastian and it's obvious that the two are very much in love but it's also clear that Lily still bears the scars of her previous marriage to Maxwell. He arrives at their wedding reception, ostensibly to collect their son, Denny but Lily realises he intends to continue playing the mind games which characterised their relationship. It would seem that he's not yet ready to let Lily go and though this should be the happiest day of her life, she will soon discover just how far somebody is prepared to go in order to destroy their wedded bliss.
I so wanted Lily and Sebastian's marriage to thrive whatever was thrown at them but could immediately tell that they were in for a rocky time. Lily is a fierce mama bear when it comes to protecting Denny, her own mother died while she was still a child leaving her with a strong need for friendship and love. She has a close bond with her friend, Triss and the two are more like sisters than friends but she struggles a little to connect with Sebastian's mother, Fran who though outwardly supportive has her doubts about the marriage following their whirlwind courtship. Sebastian is headteacher at the school both Lily and Triss work in as teachers but though he has risen swiftly through the ranks, he seems to be a somewhat passive character who is torn between the needs of his wife and his mother and finds himself experiencing pangs of jealousy after Maxwell gleefully reminds him of his past with Lily. In contrast, Maxwell is thoroughly unpleasant and it could have been hard to understand what Lily ever saw in him so it's a testament to the writing that I was able to picture the other side of him before his lies and controlling nature soured their marriage.
When Lily and Sebastian return from their honeymoon they soon suspect that the disruptive issues which are cropping up in their lives are a result of spiteful interference but at first each event can be passed off as unfortunate or a mistake. Gradually though, it becomes impossible to ignore the sustained pressure and their relationship inevitably starts to fracture. Sebastian risks losing his job after succumbing to his anger when Maxwell goads him and as Fran's needs take precedence over the time he has for Lily, the couple's long term future looks far from assured.
There's a delicious sense of dread that builds steadily during Do No Harm. This is such wonderfully assured domestic noir which allows the tension to creep up slowly; at first things just seem a bit off kilter then I found myself shaking my head at Lily and Sebastian's naivety and despaired at their poor communication before it became horribly clear that they are little more than puppets controlled by somebody who will stop at nothing in their bid to destroy the pair. As the plot becomes ever darker and more twisted I didn't know who I could trust - without giving too much away, things are not all they seem and the breathtaking conclusion is shocking and just perfect - though perhaps not if you like happy endings...
Do No Harm grabbed my attention from the first page and didn't let go until the very end. Lucy V. Hay's accomplished writing manages to ensure that the characters actions still seem credible even when the most outrageous secrets are revealed and the result is a first-rate thriller which is sinister, complex and a joy to read. Highly recommended.

Do No Harm is published by Orenda Books, purchasing links can be found here. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

Twitter - @LucyVHayAuthor
Twitter - @Bang2write
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Comments

  1. Huge thanks for the Blog Tour support Karen x

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