ARC Book Review: The Hidden Keys by André Alexis

I received an ARC of The Hidden Keys in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so of course, I have to thank Serpent’s Tail for giving me the chance to win and read this book :)

Also apologies for bad image quality of the book :(

This book was a strange one… but strange in a good way. I mean, you’ve got a talented thief, a wealthy and old heroin addict, an albino thug with an interesting and uncomfortable nickname, an eccentric architect who turns dead animals into mantlepiece objects, and a really confusing puzzle involving different artefacts and a deceased father.

I don’t know. I suppose it’s valuable. But this isn’t about money or wealth or anything like that. It’s about finding what my father hid. If I had time with the other mementos, I know I could figure this whole thing out. I was always good at treasure hunts.

The story starts when Tancred Palmieri meets up with ageing drug addict Willow Azarian in a bar. She reveals to Tancred about her deceased billionaire father, Robert Azarian, and how he left each of his five children an artefact – a Japanese screen, a painting that plays music, an aquavit bottle, a framed poem, and a model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Although these have sentimental values to each child, Willow is convinced that each artefact is also a clue that will lead her to the location of her late father’s fortune, so she convinces Tancred to steal these items for her, so they can solve the puzzle.

However, the other children believe that this was just a way of distracting her from her drug addiction, and there is no such thing as a puzzle or fortune, and with growing competition from others, can Tancred and Willow discover the truth before it’s too late?


I will admit, this isn’t necessarily a book genre I would read. But I actually enjoyed The Hidden Keys, which, to be honest, surprised me a little. I guess it was the combination of a) trying to work out the puzzle for twenty minutes or until I got a headache, and b) the interesting characters in this book, that really made me want to read on until the end.

Eh, might have to try out more puzzle books in the near future then. :)

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl. Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies, they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, someone else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look at what you made me do.”

Like Southern Rail, I’m only a couple years late on this train journey, but here I am now!


The Girl on the Train story starts with Rachael Watson, an alcoholic who takes the same 8.04 train from Ashbury to Euston Station every morning, and the 17.56 evening train back, to convince her roommate Cathy that she is still working, although she was fired three months ago.

And every day, on her train journey, she always stops at Witney, outside of her favourite house – 15 Blenheim Road, a few houses from her old house, where she looks in and sees her perfect, imaginary couple “Jess and Jason” on the balcony.

Everything was going fine, until one day, Rachael sees “Jess” kissing another guy on the balcony, and everything changes for Rachael. Then, the next day, Megan Hipwell (or “Jess”) goes missing, and noone knows where she went.

But Rachael, heavily drunk, was there the night Megan disappeared, and she could sure that she remembered something, but she had another one of her blackouts.

What really happened that night in Witney?


Seriously, this was one hell of a train ride! It took me a while to get through it (as I lost all motivation to read), but once I got back into it, I just couldn’t put it down.

I can see why it’s compared to Gone Girl – literally, none of the characters in this book are likeable, which normally I wouldn’t like in a story, but The Girl on the Train is an exception. Everyone has their own little secrets, their own little lies, and even though you couldn’t give a shit about if they all got hit by the 8.04 train, it made it even more exciting to read about their troubled pasts.

This was a great psychological thriller, and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t work out what was real, what was fiction, and more importantly, who did it, until the last fifty pages or so. Which is disappointing, as I worked out the last two thrillers I read… so there goes my flawless run :D

But I can understand why people don’t like this book – after all, if you loved Gone Girl, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to love The Girl on the Train… if not, more. But if you couldn’t physically stand to read Gone Girl, then I’d probably advise giving this a miss.

My rating? 5/5

My Only Addiction

Some people have different ways to cope.
They’ll find that one thing,
Which will give them a glimmer of hope.

And now,
I’ve found my own way to battle through the tears,
To get rid of my negative thoughts and my fears.
And when I’m feeling low and suicidal,
I stop myself going on a downhill spiral.
By reading… books.

You see, I’m not like everyone else,
Instead of drinking or drugs,
I turn to my bookshelf.
I’m not doing lines of cocaine but reading lines of fiction,
Because buying books is my only addiction.

Some People Deserve To Die – Part 2

Just a continuation from a story I wrote previously on this blog – you can find the first part here:

(Again, just like to reiterate I’m not a bad person :D )


“Right, let’s see who we have here… David Johnson… 42… Oh you have a wife? What’s her name… Louise? Wow, she’s so pretty.”

“F…fuck you” David spluttered.

“Did I say you could interrupt me? HUH?” It was a rhetorical question, you stupid fuck!” I said, kicking him as hard as I could in the ribs. “Don’t you EVER interrupt me again!”

“Anyway, where was I… Oh, you have two kids as well? Twins? Let’s see. Posted on Facebook two weeks ago. ‘Happy 13th birthday to my beautiful girls, Anna and Lilly.’ You disgusting fuck” Another kick to his naked chest. “Imagine the horror on their face WHEN THEY REALISE THAT THEY’RE YOUR FUCKING TYPE!” Another kick – this time, in between the legs. “Isn’t that what you go for these days? Thirteen year olds? PEOPLE LIKE YOU DISGUST ME.”

“Please… please… no more…” David winced.

“Sorry… what was that? I couldn’t quite hear you.


Honestly, people like him are so pathetic. Weak. Cowards. Imagine the pain that these people have caused in their life to young people, left them screaming for help to anyone that can listen, as they’re being sexually abused. Being so mentally scarred of their ordeal that they cannot carry on with their lives anymore. Some have even killed themselves because of it. And now this person in in their position, feeling hopeless. Now he can feel what they’ve gone through.

“Shh… hear that?” Silence. “Nothing. Not a sound.” Even more silence. “I guess they didn’t hear you buddy. I guess your luck’s run out.”

“Wait… what are you going to do with m-?” David couldn’t finish his sentence. I think he knew what was coming, after I powered up the chainsaw.


DCI Tompkins arrived at the local woods, where the body of the middle aged man had been discovered earlier this morning. Already, he noticed the crime scene had been outlined by blue police tape and a white tent. Annoyingly, the local and national press were there too, ready to take pictures and ask questions.

“Couldn’t they just leave us alone so we can actually do our job properly.” Tompkins asked, signalling to the eager photographers, as he showed his badge to the officer on scene.

“You know what it’s like nowadays – they’ll do anything for views these days” DS Lewis said. DCI Tompkins nodded.

“Right. What do we have here then?” he asked, getting straight to the point as always.

“Well…” DS Lewis glanced at his notepad. “We have the body of David Johnson, aged 42, in the police tent. Was discovered in the early hours of this morning by a local runner.”

“Has he been interviewed yet?”

“We had a brief conversation. Obviously still in shock from discovering the body, but he didn’t see anything suspicious while he was running.”

“Didn’t think so.” Tompkins muttered under his breath. “Have the family been contacted yet?”

“No, not yet. We were going to wait until you came here.”

“Thanks for that.” he said, irritated. “Can I see the body?”

“Yes, what remains of him” Lewis stated. DCI Tompkins raised an eyebrow, as they entered the police tent.

“Jesus Christ.” Tompkins exclaimed, as he studied the corpse in more detail.

“As you can see Chief, it’s not just the usual murder that we’re used to” the forensic scientist stepped forward. “We believe that he has been dead for about five hours, an hour before he was discovered. As you can see, his genitals has also been removed by a sharp object, what appears to be caused by a chainsaw. Also, the large bruising on his chest suggests that he was tortured whilst he was alive.”

“His motive is pretty clear then” Tompinks added, indicating towards the writing carved on his chest.


“Exactly. It clearly shows that he has some vendetta towards him. The killer also left him a list of people on a piece of paper. It’s currently being analysed back at the lab for fingerprints.”

“What did it say?”

“It had a list of ten people, all girls, ranging from ages 13 to 17. We suspect that they are all victims of sexual abuse by our friend here”

“How would he know all of this information in the first place?” DS Lewis asked.

“We don’t know. It’s too early to say. Our killer could be anyone – a police officer, a social worker, a nurse or doctor, a counsellor. For all we know, he could be imagining all of this in his head, and the victims are a figment of his imagination”

“So we have nothing to work with?”

“I didn’t say that.” Tompkins snapped. “We have to follow police protocol. We’ll talk to the family of David Johnson first, and then we’ll work our way through the list.”

“And what if they don’t exist?”

DCI Tompkins held his hands up. “Then we really do have nothing to work on.”


Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

This was supposed to be out last week, but I’ve been really ill over the past few days as I’ve been getting used to my antidepressants, so sorry about that. :(

Anyway, the review of Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste


Tim Johnson is walking with his daughter Molly through Liverpool, in order to keep her away from his psychotic partner, when he is suddenly attacked. To his horror, after waking from unconsciousness, Molly is gone. However, the police think he’s lying and made this story up, as there is nothing suggesting that he ever had a child. Then, when the blood of a Polish woman is found at his former home, Tim Johnson is arrested for the murder, although Tim protests his innocence and wants the truth about his missing daughter.

A year later, Sam Byrne is guaranteed to become a Tory MP for Liverpool, which would make him the first in a generation. However, when he unexpectedly disappears, DI Murphy and DS Rossi are sent to investigate, where they discover a shocking side to the popular MP, and uncover a serious revenge killing spree that will keep you reading late at night.


Honestly, I couldn’t put down this book. I don’t know where to start because I don’t want to ruin the plot, but it had everything – lies, twists and turns, revenge-killing, cliques… even a little bit of political humour and subtle references to a former Prime Minister and his ‘pig antics.’

One thing in particular that I also loved about this book is how the city of Liverpool is portrayed by Veste, especially regarding the city itself, and people’s opinion and prejudices towards politics. I mean, I’m not a Liverpudlian myself, but I can already tell from this book that there’s more chance of Everton winning the league than a Tory MP being elected in Liverpool. In all seriousness, it’s clear that Veste knows the city well, and this is evident in his writing. He’s made this story more authentic.

Then She Was Gone is the fourth installment in the DS Murphy and DI Rossi series, and although I didn’t read the preceding books beforehand, I didn’t need to. This was a perfect standalone novel and a great introduction for me into Scouse Noir.

I can’t wait to read more Scouse Noir in the future!

Overall rating: 5/5


A Personal Victory Of Mine :)

I might sound like one of those teen diary blogs for this post, but please bear with me for this. What just happened today was honestly amazing.

So a couple of months ago, I was going through some of my old messages on Google Hangouts, where you can chat to whoever you want on there who has a Google+ account (and yes, I still use Google+). And when I was around fourteen, I used to have a lot of conversations with people around the world. Seriously, I would spend more time on there talking to them than my actual friends. However, I stopped after a while because… I just stopped using it.

So just because I was bored one day, I thought I’d go through some of my old messages again. For shits and gigs.

After going through hundreds of ‘Hi’ comments, I eventually came across these old conversations that I had with a girl called Anna, from Maine. I remember when we used to talk to each other practically every single day for a couple of years, and we always used to flirt with each other.

So I hadn’t replied to her in about two/three years, so I thought I would reply with something like ‘hey’ or ‘do you still remember me? :)’ because I just wanted to see if she would ever reply.

Also, with my social anxiety, I thought this would be a great challenge for me, to try and get back in contact with my friend after all of this time. I was really worried at first, as I didn’t think she would ever remember me, or want to talk to me anymore. But after thirty minutes of debating with myself, I sent the message. What’s the worst that could happen?

I will admit, I had completely forgotten about the message after a week. To be honest, it’s been years since we talked and I had honestly thought that she had moved on.

Until today.

I honestly couldn’t believe it – she ACTUALLY replied to me! I was so shocked! I don’t know how she came across the fact that I had messaged her two months ago, but it was a great feeling.

Like, you have to imagine that this was the first time that I had properly spoken to her since about three or four years ago. At that time, I would have been around fourteen, and she would have been twelve or thirteen? It was crazy.

And even after all of this time, it feels like I only spoke to her only a few weeks ago. It was a surreal feeling to experience.

Literally, it couldn’t have gone any better. We started talking about college (or high school in the States), University, what we wanted to do in the future. We even started talking about books, and reminiscing about some of the messages we used to send each other.o

I suppose that this was a personal victory of mine, too. My last couple of months hasn’t been too great, to be honest. My anxiety has got WAY worse, I’ve thought about suicide to the point where it’s become normal, and now I’m still feeling the side effects of my antidepressants. But with this, I can actually feel proud of myself for overcoming my anxiety this one time, and I feel great at the moment because of it :D

And it just goes to show that if I can talk to someone across the globe for the first time in years, why can’t I talk to my friends who I haven’t spoken to in a couple of days? Just something to think about.

WIP? – “Some People Deserve To Die”

Alright, please don’t take this title seriously. I’m not a psychopath XD

Basically, I was reading this book called Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste (good book, would recommend), and whilst reading, I had this idea of a story – a vigilante in a local town, who would kill people that have done terrible crimes. Hence the title “Some People Deserve To Die”

And I know it’s probably been done before, and is quite ironic, but I just thought I’d write a little bit and see where it goes. And I might take this further in the future, who knows?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Now, I know it’s not going to be perfect and it’s quite short, but I’d love to hear some feedback on this, if possible, in ways that I can improve my writing a little :)


Imagine sitting on a bench at your local park. Or on the high street. Just observing everyone who walks past. Single mums, students, businessmen, et cetera. What do you notice? They’re just normal people, right? Carrying on with their busy, normal lives?

But how do we know they are normal?

The simple answer is we don’t. We just assume everyone is normal. A middle-aged man jogging at a leisurely pace? A group of teens playing house music through a speaker? They’re all equally normal.

But the truth is, “innocent-looking people” are roaming around the street, with their attractive looks and fancy haircuts, with stories so fucked up it would send chills down your spine. Rape. Murder. Terrorism. Yet you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at them if they walked past you. Because they’re normal.

I mean, do you ever wonder how many times you shook hands with a murderer in your lifetime? How many times have you looked a paedophile in the eye in the past month? Do you really know the true side to the friends you talk to every day?

Oh by the way, that middle-aged man I mentioned earlier? He sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old girl. And the group of teenagers? They brutally murdered a homeless guy in a dark alleyway. Poor man had no chance. Stabbed 13 times in the chest and torso.

You have to realise now that this world is fucking scary. And it’s got to a point where we can’t trust anyone anymore. Your friends, your family… even that little old lady who sits next to you on the bus every day, Are they who they say they are?

But that’s where I step in. I find these people, with their dirty secrets and shocking lies, and expose them for who they really are. I hunt them down and make them pay for the crimes they’ve committed. I want the whole world to realise the pain and suffering innocent people have had to suffer, because of these fuckers.

And yes, when I’m eventually caught, I’ll become one of these people. “Murderer.” “Psycho.” “Mentally insane.” “Messed up in the head.” The media will have a field day with the headlines.

But the truth always comes out.
And soon enough, people will start to realise.
That some people deserve to die.

Honestly, I’m not that bad :D