Today it is my great pleasure to be kicking off the blog tour for The Roommates, the brand new psychological thriller from Rachel Sargeant which is released in ebook today. Happy publication day Rachel. My thanks to the author for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and to publisher, Harper Collins, for providing an advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
THEY LIVE IN YOUR HOUSEAvailable from: Amazon | Waterstones | Kobo | Googleplay | Apple Books
University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.
YOU SHARE EVERYTHING
A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…
BUT DO YOU TRUST THEM?
When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…
Gosh this is a twisted and tangled story that brought about nightmare flashbacks of the early days of University. thankfully mine weren’t quite as traumatic or tense as they are for Imo in this new novel from Rachel Sargeant, but still … I remember the fear of trying to fit in. To break the ice with a whole bunch of strangers when I was 100% introvert and felt I had nothing of interest to say. If you’ve ever experienced a first day at a new school or college, in a new job, just moving to a new town, then you will know what I mean and know exactly the feeling that author Rachel Sargeant has captured in this book.
Only … she’s kicked it up a notch, because Imogen, or Imo as she prefers to be known, isn’t your average nervy newbie, nor is she necessarily your typical introvert. There is something about Imo, something from her past which is slowly revealed to the audience, that gives her a genuine reason to be fearful of strangers and new situations, and a genuine reason to feel a sense of both deja vu and panic when one of her new roommates, Amber, suddenly disappears. And so the real story begins.
I love the way in which the author has drawn her characters – four very different girls from four very different walks of life – all looking to start again and be someone new. Imo is a girl who hides her real self behind a wall of grunge and a lack of self care. Amber is the girl who wants to be the life and soul of the group, seemingly inventing impossible situations to make herself someone she is not. Phoenix is an engineering student whose past is very different from the girls she now lives with, and who is afraid to admit to who she really is.And finally there is Tegan, a rich kid determined to strike out on her own and away from her family’s influence. All very different, all likely to clash in a variety of ways but all drawn together when one of their own vanishes. The all feel believable, all like someone I have met or someone I know, and the fears they carry into their new lives are al; recognisable.
Now the story is laced with intrigue, and with all of the characters holding back a part of themselves, it is hard to know quite who to trust. Then there is their solitary male roommate, Riku, a man of very few – i.e. no – words. He moves about in the background, very serious, very secretive, and with a sideline in who knows what that sees all manner of strange parcels arriving at their door. Then there is the stranger who keeps appearing in Imo’s peripheral vision. But is he real, and does he really pose a threat, or is it all something cooked up by her fragile and possibly paranoid mind?
The story is told from multiple perspectives with all of the girls getting change to have their voice heard, including Amber which means as readers we have an inkling of what happened but not why and not who is responsible. From the very first chapter you do know more of Amber than shegives away to her new friends, and it is a very tense, emotional girl that we see here, a stark contrast to the effervescent girl who arrives at the college. So all along we know there is far more to her story than meets the eye, but as to how this fits into the bigger picture … well you need to read to find out.
The sense of place, amongst the old buildings of a college campus and the madness of Freshers Week, is all captured perfectly and it really did bring back memories of my early days at University. It’s not all bad and I think for most people who have experienced those early days of branching out on your own for the first time, you will find something in the character’s stories that you can recognise.
All in all this was a gripping thriller in which I was hooked form very early on. I can’t say I particularly liked any of the characters in the early part of the story as they did not make it easy, but I grew to really care about them and I was intrigued by the mystery the author had created. There is tension a plenty, especially as the trail to finding Amber grows warmer, and the resolution is as emotional as it is action laden. Fans of Rachel Sargeant will love it.
About the Author
Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. She is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Her second novel with HarperCollins, The Good Teacher, is a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams. Her new psychological thriller, The Roommates, takes place during a university freshers’ week. She also wrote Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, a novel featuring Great War nurses on a hospital ship. This is loosely based on the 1915 diary of her husband’s grandmother, a nurse at Gallipoli.
Rachel has a degree in German and Librarianship from Aberystwyth University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. Her hobbies are swimming, visiting country houses and coffee shops, and going to the theatre to watch quality amateur productions.
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