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Thursday, April 19, 2018

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: Her Greatest Mistake by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

Her Greatest Mistake
by Sarah Simpson

Hi everyone! I'm today's stop on the BLOG TOUR for Her Greatest Mistake!

Come check out this book, the author, my review and read an excerpt.

Publisher:  Aria Fiction / Head of Zeus
Publish Date: April 1, 2018
Kindle Edition
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Do we ever know what goes on behind closed doors?

Eve and Gregg were the perfect couple, with the perfect marriage...which has become the perfect lie. Gone is the charming, attentive Gregg - instead Eve wakes up each morning beside a manipulative and sinister man who controls his wife’s every move.

So Eve flees her immaculate marital home to keep herself, and young son Jack safe. Yet no matter how careful she has been, she knows Gregg will be relentless in his pursuit of his missing family. And that one day, when she's least expecting it, he will find them...

What was Eve’s greatest mistake?

Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive…?


Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has worked in a neuro-psychology department at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. When she first graduated she formed a mental health consultancy and worked as a psychologist within the family court system of Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. Three years ago she moved to Cornwall with her husband and three children, and runs her own practice in Truro. Her Greatest Mistake is her first novel, and she is currently working on the second.

Follow the author: TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Continue below the extract to see the author's "BEST OF CRIME...."

My Review:

I have a thing for domestic thrillers and imperfect marriages where the husband (in this case) is a psychopath.  It's interesting what the heart can do, isn't it?  Eve, who is educated as a counselor and feels like she should've known better, gets wooed and brought into a relationship/marriage with Gregg.. who she aptly states uses people as tools. 

The pacing of this one was a bit slow in the middle.  The beginning hooks you right into the story and then it becomes a little bit stagnant.  With a lot of back and forth throughout the timeline, it can be confusing at times.  Once I became used to this, it seemed to flow better and gives you a feel for how slow of a process it was for Gregg to come and show his true colors... or maybe for Eve to see what she couldn't before when she was blinded by his initial magnetism and her love for him.

If you like domestic thrillers, then this will be a good read for you.  The last 20% picks up the pace and I think the ending will be divisive among readers but you should give it a shot and decide for yourself 😉.


Chapter One

One week after my story…

I open an eye at a time, my head being heavy, stuffed with cotton wool. Bleached, dense fluff smothers any intelligence, any rationale and all of my problem-solving capabilities. I’ve been here before, so many times, this feeling of being unique but not in a good way. These special feelings, mingling with my past confining me to loneliness. We’ve needed to become friends, get used to each other, a sad but expedient relationship. Maybe we can never be separated; our way of being is all too entwined. Even so, an extra convincing tiredness joins us today and I can’t be bothered to fight it. I’m bone-weary from all the belligerence, game-playing and secrecy. Dog-tired of being isolated by the never-ending lies and imprudent perceptions. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

But then, from the outside in, it isn’t this way.

I drag myself up and float across the wooden floors with a need to be close to something, finding myself in Jack’s empty room. Apparently lured to the mobile sitting on his window sill, sneering without a conscience. I pick it up. I still don’t know for sure who was in my home the other day; the day they left something dangling in the air. I’ve kind of accepted this, what a peculiar response. Or is it? I understand it should be, but it doesn’t change the fact; it now feels ordinary. This is in part what has muted me; my world was and is my normal, but to others, if they knew of it, it would be weird and twisted. Being a prisoner of this world for so long, I’m quite the institutionalised. Perhaps I can never live a normal life; for normal now appears alien. Whatever normal is. So, I play at life as I’m unable to live it.

I gently place Jack’s deadly mobile on his chest of drawers and peel back the undisturbed duvet protecting his bed. I climb in, and curl up, wrapping the duvet tightly around me, inhaling his vulnerable scent. If someone was in our home, could this mean there is more to come? That we’ve come full circle? Is someone now looking for the new truth? Or is this still about the same old lies, same old unanswered questions? Or is it just me and it’s all just cotton wool? Isn’t it strange when everything you think you know evaporates? When truths have been held hostage by seeping lies. Then, the moment you realise, it’s never been about what you know, but what you don’t know. The world you perceive isn’t really the world itself, but simply your story of the world, in a twinkling of fragile time.

I let my eyelids fall heavy. Some time ago, people used to refer to us as a broken home. Why? They got it so wrong. It was broken before, not afterwards. When we lived in a broken marriage; broken vows, a relationship drip-fed by abuse. But our home after we’d escaped wasn’t broken. It was new, fragile, other-worldly even as we trod uncertain steps, but not broken.

You were broken, you always were. I was a fool not to notice the fine stitching at first, holding your independent components together. It was too late by the time I did. Part human, part robot, that’s you. Smooth-talking hunter. I feel no comfort in believing I’m not alone with my story. Someone else out there gets cotton wool too, sees the truth as I do. Where context is everything. Hindsight is futile.
I squeeze my eyelids tightly to push away the glimpses of that night, suffocated by vulnerability, the acrid stench of burning rubber. I’m holding my breath again. Sometimes, I’m too afraid to breathe; at times I’ve wished I’d stop. I can still feel my hands sweating, sliding on cold leather. I have solitary moments when I ache to scream, to be heard, but my words jar and still – a chalky dryness strangles me. The tang of bile repulses me. It’s been a while but I can still taste the sourness of fear. I think I always will. I think we both will. Our past being the backbone of all we know.

Sedentary remains, rotting flesh hidden under floorboards but too pungent to ignore.

I watched you that night, how calm you were. Your uncertainty forcing your foot harder to the pedal proffered you some mislaid control, didn’t it? I mean, knowing the effect it was having on me. Your steady upturned lips, fighting back your laughter. Inwardly flying high. Though it was never just about that night, more about the lives you stole. It didn’t happen overnight, but by stealth. Day by day. Year on year.

I tug at the duvet to cover my asphyxiated mind. It wasn’t meant to be this way; I’d intended we’d be free by now. But at the very last minute you stole that too, didn’t you? Now, I fear it’s all too late; for me it is anyway.

Three years ago, I thought I could finally change things. I was wrong.


... authors
For me, my love of books and the wonderful journey into the depths of my imagination began with Enid Blyton. A few years on, I immersed myself into the stories of Agatha Christie. I loved not only the mystery, the ‘who dunnit,’ but the use of often flamboyant, fragrant characters to steal the show. Glamorous settings, elegant characters adorned in period attire leading the way.

... films/movies
Difficult to name one. I love emotional films, those that leave me with a feeling for some time after. But a film I still talk about is Silence of the Lambs. There is something so chilling about seeing Anthony Hopkins in that infamous face mask, yet I still quite like something about him. For a feel good film, maybe – Love Actually.

... TV dramas
There have been a few just lately that have kept me salivating for next episode. But, for the overall feeling, I loved - Broken by Jimmy McGovern with Sean Bean. I thought this was something special. It incorporated everything about life, sad, funny, dark and light with some wonderful acting too. I cried, I laughed, I sat on the edge of my seat.

... fictional killers
It has to be Hannibal Lecter. How can anyone capable of such atrocities still manage to keep me searching for what I like about him? He captures that psychopathic trait, of killing for good reason without conscience, without responsibility so brilliantly. Chilling, yet eloquently charming.

... fictional detectives
It has to be Sherlock Holmes. Again such a complex character, rude, egotistical, incredibly sharp and witty all in one spoken sentence.

... murder weapons (can be as bizarre as you like)
Roald Dahl, A lamb to the Slaughter. Where the wife kills her husband with a leg of lamb which she later feeds to appreciative, investigating detectives. Clever woman!
… death scene (horrific/bizarre/amusing/surprising)
Probably one of the worst death scenes for me is when Hannibal Lecter removes the face from his guard to use as his own disguise. Before suspending him from the ceiling. It’s fair to say, that one stayed with me for quite a while.

... blogs/websites (for book research/writing/crime research – not book review blogs)
I was laughing to myself the other day, wondering what anyone would think if they took a saunter through my browser history… how best to kill yourself quickly? How does it feel to drown? Which emoji’s will help me find a weed dealer? I also search back through old newspaper articles, across the world. And of course, behavioural psychology research papers.

... writing tips
I am not a planner. I have tried to be but it doesn’t work for me. It only prevents my mind from ticking over. I also make lots of notes that I never return to or refer to. I use them only to sew a seed, then I let the story tell me how and where it wants to go. So – do whatever works best for you, we all work differently and like many things in life, there is no right way to write.

... writing snacks
Peanut butter, anyhow, anyway, on toast, on a sandwich on crisp breads. I’m mainly a savoury person but if I’m feeling the need for sugar – Jelly Babies, all day.

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