On today’s #ReadABookoutureADay feature blog, I look back at two of Bookouture’s more recent, high action , hard hitting thrillers; ‘The Killing Game’ by J.S. Carol and ‘The Taken’ by Casey Kelleher.
The Official Book Blurb
You don’t know him. But he knows everything about you.
JJ Johnson has built herself up from nothing. She’s everyone’s favourite publicist because she knows everyone and she knows how to keep a secret. There’s no problem she can’t fix, no crisis she can’t handle. Until now.
When lunch with a top client turns into a fight for her life against a terrifying stranger, she quickly learns this is one situation she can’t talk her way out of.
This twisted individual knows everything about each of the diners, including her. He is armed, he is dangerous, and he wants to play a game.
And soon, it becomes clear that he wants something more than money.
As the body count rises, can JJ find a way to save the lives of those left around her? If she can’t, how far will she go to save herself?
Oh my life. This was one of those real heart in your mouth, can’t quite believe what you’re reading kind of books. From the very beginning you knew that it was going to be laced with lies and secrets. The very nature of JJ’s job requires her to be discreet and to cover up the sins of some of Hollywood’s elite. But I wasn’t quite expecting this.
From the moment the gun man takes the restaurant patrons and staff hostage, the tension and the ultimate sense of urgency do not abate. All of the action takes place over a matter of hours, roughly the time it will take you to read this book as I guarantee once you start you will want to keep reading for as long as possible. Because much like watching a movie, you are left with the feeling that to look away for a moment, to even blink, will mean missing something, some vital clue as to why the man has targeted this restaurant on this day.
The protagonists are not unlikable but are harder to identify with. After all, who among us really has the money and power of the Hollywood elite that are gathered there on that fateful day. However, no one deserves what happens to them, and the uncompromisingly brutal, almost arbitrary actions of the gun man will shock you. Like slack jawed shock, but by golly will you want to read on. There are so many twists that just when you think you understand what is happening, you come to realise that you really don’t.
About the Author
James Carol is the #1 bestselling author of Broken Dolls, the first in a series of thrillers featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews. To date the Winter books have been translated into eleven languages and sold more than a third of a million copies.
He also writes standalone thrillers under the pseudonym JS Carol. The first of these is The Killing Game, which is published by Bookouture in October 2016.
James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.
The Official Book Blurb
When you’ve lost everything, you’ll do anything to survive.
Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.
Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life – and her baby’s.
When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?
‘The Taken’ was a really interesting and compelling novel which took a look at the darker side of humanity. From abduction and enforced marriage and, ultimately, rape, to the refugee crisis and human trafficking, it takes on many major issues of the day, but never in an overly gratuitous way. Of course this is fiction, but the images conjured up by Kelleher’s descriptions of the migrant camp at Calais, the pain that the young Lena goes through at the hands of her husband, and the absolute sense of loss felt by Saskia after her father dies is right on the money.
Colin, the guy from the cemetary, takes the idea of creepy to a whole new level. There is something horribly sinister and just plain wrong about him from the start, and the way in which the author gradually builds the sense of unease is really well done. At the heart of the story you have two young women who are fighting against all odds to survive their lot, and this is a glimmer of hope and positivity in an otherwise tough tale. I really felt for Lena, willed for her to come good and while I didn’t feel the same level of empathy for Saskia, I still wanted her to get her break.
About the Author
Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.
Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her Husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.