As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Myriad
Editions, 6 October 2016. ISBN: 978-1-908434-96-8 (PB)
A few pages into this
psychological chiller, the carefully judged style and structure were making me
think, uh oh, literary aspirations. And though I’d never subscribe to the
theory that genre fiction and high quality writing are mutually exclusive
(perish the thought!), I think I’d prefer that quality to be worn lightly
rather than blazoned on every other page. I needn’t have worried; my concerns
soon melted away as it became clear that Elizabeth Haynes’s priority here, as
in her earlier novels, was quite simply creating a gripping story, which both
style and structure were there to serve – which they did, and very effectively.
When a female character lives alone
in a remote moorland farmhouse, you kind of know from the outset that there’s
trouble ahead. And when an old friend – male, of course – turns up on Facebook
out of the blue, looking for somewhere to live and being distinctly cagey about
what he’s been doing for the past couple of decades, it clearly isn’t going to
end well. Especially when there’s edgy history between them, and neither is
being exactly open and honest with the other. But if this sounds like the kind
of cliché that turns up over and over in psychological thrillers, don’t be
taken in. Elizabeth Haynes has thrown enough unlikely twists into the mix to
keep you on the edge of your seat right to the end.
Sarah is forty-something, widowed
and broke; her husband Jim’s sudden death opened up a Pandora’s box of debts
and secrets, and new aspects of the fallout are still ambushing her more than
three years later when Aiden, once Jim’s best friend, arrives to rent the
cottage she owns. The rent eases her financial problems, but his presence opens
up a whole other can of worms. What does Sarah’s close friend Sophie know about
him, but isn’t telling? What is the nature of Aiden’s business, about which he
is so mysterious? And what will they do about the burning sexual attraction
which has dogged them since student days and still smoulders?
And then there’s Will, the friend
of Sarah’s estranged son Louis, who keeps turning up unannounced; he too has
secrets, it would seem.
In Never Alone, Elizabeth Haynes shows herself to be a mistress of
suspense as well as a writer of considerable class. She lays down a priceless
thread of misdirection right at the start, and goes on tantalizing the reader
almost to the end. And she’s a dab hand at the slow-build, nerve-jangling
climax, which here spans over a hundred pages, with no loss of tension.
Most people’s lives don’t lend
themselves to reading a book at a single sitting, but with this one you’ll want
to. I almost did.
Elizabeth Haynes is
a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 thanks to
the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and the
encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent,
with her husband and son.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer
ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories,
reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to
the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have
launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of
rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime