Wednesday 13 September 2017

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter @LibbyCPT @AvonBooksUK #99RedBalloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…
This is a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist that will take your breath away.

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter was published in paperback by Avon Books on 24 August 2017 and is the author's debut novel.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part in this blog tour.

I'd heard lots of things about 99 Red Balloons and met the author at a book event way back in January, her enthusiasm for her story was infectious and I've been really keen to read it ever since.

It's a brave author, and publisher, who writes and publishes yet another psychological thriller at the moment. I've heard whisperings about how people are tired of them, and want something else. I have to disagree; if an author has a great story to tell, and can write it well, then I say, bring it on.

99 Red Balloons certainly deserved to be published; it's excellently written with a tight, tense plot and some amazing characterisation. I was hooked from the opening paragraph and at times was turning the pages like a woman possessed!

I was convinced that I'd worked it out by page twenty, I even told my friend, who was also reading it, that I'd done that. I was proved completely wrong! This author is a master at surprise and twisty turns and I like that. I want to be out-witted, I don't want predictable or unexpected and Elisabeth Carpenter delivered gasp creating moments, time after time.

99 Red Balloons is the story of two missing girls. One now and one many years ago, seemingly unrelated, but similar in the way that they disappeared and as the story progresses, the reader gets an inkling that there is far more to the present day case than first imagined.

The author's strength lies in her creation of wonderfully realistic characters whose emotions and feelings are expertly portrayed. The effect on a family when a child disappears is convincingly portrayed and each character is vital to the plot. There's no padding or superfluous bit players here, each conversation and each scene makes up a piece of this intricate and tightly woven puzzle.

99 Red Balloons is an impressive debut. The writing is assured and intense. I'm really excited by this author's work and can't wait to read more from her. Highly recommended.

Elisabeth Carpenter lives in Preston with her family. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2008. 

Elisabeth was awarded a Northern Writers’ New Fiction award, and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 and 2016) and the MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015). She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area, including the novel she is writing at the moment. She currently works as a book keeper.

Follow her on Twitter @LibbyCPT 

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