Thursday 7 March 2019

On My Life by Angela Clarke @TheAngelaClarke BLOG TOUR @MulhollandUK #OnMyLife

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.
Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.
And the police think she did it...
Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who'd hurt her if they knew what she's accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:
Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

On My Life by Angela Clarke is published by Mulholland Books. The ebook is out today; 7 March 2019, followed by the paperback on 11 July 2019.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part in this Blog Tour

I've been a fan of Angela Clarke's writing since she published the first in her Social Media Murders Trilogy; Watch Me, in December 2015.

I was both excited and intrigued to learn that she'd written On My Life, a standalone novel with no trace of the characters from her series.

'I'm innocent. I didn't do it." Probably the sentences spoken most often within the criminal justice system. I've worked within the system; with young offenders and with men serving life sentences for some of the most horrific crimes and I heard these words every day of my working life.

Opening with just a few short sentences, titled 'The Start', this novel will blow your socks off. From that terrifying and startling beginning, through the cleverly structured story told in the 'then' and 'now', you will be kept guessing throughout.

Jenna had it all. She'd worked her way up from her tough council-estate childhood, with a drug addict mother who had numerous boyfriends.  Jenna met Robert through her work in PR and within months they were living together and planning their wedding. Robert's family couldn't have been further away from Jenna's. Living in the grounds of a country estate, with all the glamour and trappings that go alongside it. 

So, why is Jenna being bundled from a court room, with a crazed mob shouting and trying to grab her? Why is she being bundled into a prison van that stinks of vomit, with hand cuffs biting into her flesh?

Jenna is accused of the murder of her teenage stepdaughter Emily. Jenna was discovered, covered in Emily's blood, cradling her body, with an expensive kitchen knife laying nearby. Robert is nowhere to be found and to cap it all, images of child pornography have been found on Jenna's computer.

Angela Clarke's depiction of a women's prison is terrifyingly real. From the first impression of the grey, dour building and the stern staff with no compassion; to the indignities of using the toilet in front of some you've just met, and the constant fear of violence from fellow inmates. This is a dark and very uncomfortable read.

Jenna not only has to deal with prison life, she's also determined to prove that she is innocent. She adores Robert and Emily. Why on earth would she kill her stepdaughter, and how did those awful images get on her PC? She's convinced that she's been framed, but who by, and why?

The author's clever use of the 'then' and 'now' allows the reader to learn more about Jenna and her life, and as Jenna looks back and reflects, the reader can pick up clues that life maybe wasn't quite as perfect as it appeared for her. 

This is a startling and very realistic depiction of life behind bars. The fear and potential violence is overshadowed at times though as the author creates some very amazing and supportive relationships, especially that between Jenna and her cell mate Kelly.

With red herrings and plenty of twists and a final reveal that made me shout WHOA!, On My Life is thrilling and fast paced. Totally addictive, shocking and completely convincing. I loved it.

Angela Clarke is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Social Media Murders series. 
Her debut Follow Me was named Amazon's Rising Star Debut of the Month, longlisted for the CWA's Dagger in the Library, and shortlisted for the Good Reader Page Turner Award. 
Angela has appeared on CBS Reality's Written In Blood, on stage for BBC Edinburgh Fringe and on BBC News 24's Ouch comedy special Tales From the Misunderstood, at Noirwich, Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and the Guardian), at City University, at HM Prisons, and she hosts BBC 3 Counties Tales From Your Life, and the Womens' Radio Station Three Books show. 
She won the Young Stationers' Prize 2015 for achievement and promise in writing. 
A sufferer of EDS III, Angela is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into publishing. 
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Author Page on Facebook

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