Review: ‘The Suspects’, by Katherine Johnson


Shallow Grave meets The Secret History in this quirky psychological thriller

Bristol, 1988. Five young graduates on the threshold of their careers buy a house together in order to get a foot on the property ladder before prices spiral out of their reach. But it soon becomes the house share from hell.

After their New Year’s Eve party, they discover a body – and it’s clear they’ll be the first suspects. As each of them has a good reason from their past not to trust the police, they come up with a solution – one which forces them into a life of secrets and lies. But can they trust each other? 

“The hugely talented Katharine Johnson has, again delivered a tense thriller! This is a compelling novel – up there with Erin Kelly and Sophie Hannah.”

Val Penny, author of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.

“Gripping and frighteningly realistic. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end.”

Jo Fenton, author of The Brotherhood.

My Review

Thanks to Katherine for a copy of this book and to Rachel for organising the blog tour.

Five young journalists, Emily, Stuart, Jez, Zanthe and Imogen decide to buy a house together in Bristol in 1988. Soon they discover it’s a really bad idea to live with people you don’t know much about, as the interest rates soar and they struggle to pay the bills. And then they find a dead body.

The book opens at Zanthe’s funeral, and two pages in, with the characters already developing before me, I thought ‘This is going to be good!’ The young people, with Emily as unreliable narrator, bury their friend and then the action moves back in time, to the beginning. My thoughts continued thus, as I read on: Each of the character’s has a past with the police that they want to hide, and Stuart’s behaviour is weird, but his paranoia is going to get them into trouble. He’s really unstable, is he the killer? Maybe it was the conveniently absent Imogen? Or the mysterious Zanthe, who has no family, never has any money for the bills but spends recklessly on luxury items, and who we learn at her funeral isn’t called Zanthe at all?

And I shall stop there before I completely spoil it for you.

The story was compelling, writing enjoyable and characters complex.

Read on to learn more about the author and for a chance to win copies of her books.

About the author:

Katharine Johnson was born in Bristol and now lives in Berkshire. She’s worked as a journalist on lots of magazines and has written a history book about Windsor. When not writing you’ll usually find her with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other, restoring a house in Italy, walking her spaniel or playing netball (although not usually at the same time.) @crookedcatbooks

Giveaway to Win copies of The Suspects and The Silence (Open International)

1st Prize – signed paperback of The Suspects

2nd Prize audiobook of The Silence – any region

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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