*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Sophie attends a well-being retreat hoping to find herself, instead she finds a dead body.
Coming to the Scottish Highlands, she hopes to escape life and get in touch with her inner self. She wants to free herself from the anxieties that have gripped her for years.
She is around women with other ideas. As she gets to know the strange bunch staying at Glenloch Hall, fights and arguments become the norm.
She should never have entered that fateful property.
She was looking for peace but found death.
The Sinister Gathering is the third in the Sophie Brown series, but you don’t need to have read the first two books to enjoy this one – they all stand alone and the author fills in the small bits of necessary information throughout the plot.
This book is more of a murder mystery than the previous two, which had focused more on Sophie’s issues with domestic abuse and substance addiction respectively.
Here we have a classic mystery set up of an isolated country house retreat, a group of disparate women, all with their own problems and secrets, and our plucky sleuth nosing around and listening in to ferret out the truth behind the general bad vibes she is getting.
In this case our heroine still obviously has demons of her own to battle as well. Whilst she is standing firm on her previous growth she still makes exceptionally bad decisions (running alone in the deep dark woods, attacking virtual strangers over some childish behaviour, spontaneously taking off to follow people with no backup). Her current relationship is also better than her previous, but still not particularly healthy: both of them seem to be terribly insecure and blow hot and cold with each other as a result of their own flawed thought processes.
I really liked the setup here with the purported wellbeing centre actually being a simmering pot of tension and dislike just about ready to boil over with the application of a certain prickly redhead! The plot moves between the various secrets and Sophie’s inner struggle to relate to others in a healthy way; keeping a nice balance between the two.
If you enjoy a bit of mystery, mixed with some personal development and a flawed-but-feisty heroine then this series is a good blend of easy reading and hidden darkness.
Her breathing is shallow. Mud smears her face. Her hair is matted. Her energy levels are low. The torrential conditions have depleted her spirit. She stops to catch her breath. Her limbs are exhausted. Resigned to her fate, she closes her eyes.
Panic consumes her. Her stomach tightens as she prays. Is it time for me to meet my Maker? An arm pushes forward. She stops dead. Her head droops backwards. She screams. Her body freezes, numbness taking over as shadows loom overhead. She doesn’t need to look up. A wave of nausea attacks her as she glances around. A sharp silver blade flashes before her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she screams.
– Diane Ezzard, The Sinister Gathering
The Sinister Gathering is available on Amazon right now.
Don’t forget that to check out the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below) for more great reviews and content! Also, please do check out my reviews of the previous Sophie Brown books, I Know Your Every Move and Sick As Our Secrets.