Review: The Man She Married by Alison James

the man she marriedHow well do you know your husband?

Since Alice’s fiancé walked out on her, she never thought she’d meet ‘The One’. But all that changes when she meets Dominic. Handsome, charming and kind, Alice can’t believe her luck when he proposes a few months later and moves into her West London home.

Three years on, Alice’s catering business is thriving and she is married to a man she adores. So when she sees that little blue line, it should be the happiest moment of her life: they’re going to have a baby. But then the police knock on her door and Alice’s whole world is turned upside down… Dominic is dead.

Distraught, Alice goes to identify the body. There’s no doubt that it’s her husband. Yet when his estranged brother comes to view the coffin, he insists the man lying there is not Dominic. Alice refuses to believe it at first, but when confronted with irrefutable proof, she finally has to face the truth:

The man she married is not the person he said he was. And if he lied about that, what else was he hiding from her?


I became a fan of Alison James books after reading her Detective Rachel Prince series. I am still waiting for the series to move forward. In the meantime, her psychological thrillers are keeping me quite entertained.

Alice Palmer thought she had met the love of her life when Dominic Gill came into her world. However, she soon found out that Dominic wasn’t really who she thought he was. As a matter of fact, Alice might not have known her husband at all.

I know this sounds like a familiar marriage betrayal trope but I can assure you that the author did add a unique spin to it. The story is narrated in two timelines set in the past and the present. We get to follow Alice’s life after she found out that her husband had deceived her. We are also taken to the past when the couple first met. As always with this kind of timelines, I enjoyed the past narratives the most. I couldn’t wait to unravel the mystery that is Alice’s life and marriage.

The author did a wonderful job crafting the characters. I thought Alice was rather sympathetic. She did come across as quite naïve also but I liked her and could understand her predicament. I mean, how well do we know our spouses? Do we really know everything about them? So as not to post any spoilers, I will not say anything about her husband. Let me just mention that I love that the author decided to make him one of the narrators. The support characters were also well developed.

The Man She Married by Alison James is fast-paced, suspenseful and quite entertaining. There are some sections that require suspension of disbelief. This didn’t impede on my enjoyment of the narrative though. I also thought the writing and structuring of the narrative was quite brilliant. The reveals come early in the story but unspooling the intricate tale made the story suspenseful to the last page. I definitely recommend this one to fans of this genre.

Review: The Friendship Pact by Alison James

Friendship PactI’m Lucy, and I have a secret.
I have a beautiful home, that I’m desperate to escape.
But that’s not my secret.
I tell my friends I’ve never wanted children, when I always have.
But that’s not my secret.
My husband is a celebrated surgeon, who tries to control me.
But that’s not my secret.

Adele knows.
Once upon a time, I knew everything about her and she knew everything about me.
Best friends forever.
But now our secret is beginning to surface.
I can trust her more than anyone. We made a pact.
And she’s never do anything to hurt me. Would she?


I love the Detective Rachel Prince series by Alison James. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she has written a standalone.

Something terrible happened between Adele and Lucy. The event has bound them for life due to a secret that they share. Years later, the women are brought back together with more secrets. Will their pact survive?

This story is narrated in three sections each ending with a twist. Although each twist was unpredictable for me,I wouldn’t describe them as shocking. There were subtly delivered in a way that you don’t seem coming but still, makes sense. Each left me curious to see how future events would unfold.

The suspense in this story had me turning pages in search for answers. I also enjoyed the character development though I didn’t agree with a lot of the characters’ actions. I kept wondering why they didn’t just call the cops in some instances. They explained why but I still didn’t see why not. Not complaining though, illogical actions by characters in thrillers are what make this genre so much fun to read.

My small issue with the story is to do with the time-frame. I don’t know why I felt as if so much was happening. Like a kid could have been born and gone to college within the 251 pages of this book. Another silly observation is the use of the phrase ‘saliva pooling in her/his throat/mouth’. This expression was used thrice in the story.  I think it is because it is an expression that is new to me and it makes me think of hyper-acidity and not fear. Not an issue really but something silly that irked me.

In the end, Friendship Pact by Alison James was an entertaining read that I ended up devouring in one day. I enjoyed the suspense and as usual, I adored Alison’s storytelling.

Review: Perfect Girls by Allison James (Detective Rachel Prince #3)

Perfect GirlsPhoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…

When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…

The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?

As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.

In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?


Detective Rachel Prince is back again in yet another addictive, murder mystery. The case begins with the murder of Phoebe Stiles in the US. Rachel Prince is asked to look into the case because Phoebe is a UK citizen. Soon, another young woman turns up dead. Rachel suspects that there is a connection. However, Phoebe’s case seems to have been solved and Rachel is sent back home because the next victim isn’t English. She is still convinced  that the case is far from solved.

The villain in this story really stood out for me. This person was cold, calculating and had quite a unique MO. It’s the kind of villain whose motives are hard to guess. Why were the victims being selected? Why were the murders so specific and what was up with that crazy signature left at each scene? I can’t say much about this because you need to experience it for yourself to fully appreciate the complexity and appeal of the case. I know that this might sound like an odd way of describing a serial killer but this person was strangely fascinating. I looked forward to their narrative and the crazy, emotionless way they went about their crimes.

I have always enjoyed reading about Rachel. She is an interesting character and I love following her cases. I really wish that we could have seen more of her sidekick, Brickall  in this story. I also didn’t care much about the internal politics of investigating the case and the jurisdiction. At some point, I felt like they actually slowed down the story. However, once Rachel was fully involved, things picked up and the story got more thrilling. I don’t think we have seen Rachel follow leads like this before. Her travel schedule was crazy but that’s the detective she is. She gets answers by all means necessary.

This is yet another great installment to the Detective Rachel Prince series. Although it can be read as a standalone, I think the series is better enjoyed if read in order. The character development from book 1 is part of the appeal. I can’t wait to catch up with Rachel Prince in the next book!

Review: Now She’s Gone (Detective Rachel Prince #2) by Alison James

She's GoneSixteen-year-old Emily had everything to live for. A bright, beautiful teenager with a promising future ahead of her. But in one night her life is cut short. The police say it’s an accident. But her parents think she was murdered.

When Detective Rachel Prince is called in to investigate the shocking death at the height of the Edinburgh festival, her instincts tell her that things are not as they first appear. Something is very wrong.

As the case takes an unexpected turn, Rachel discovers a chilling link with the suspicious death of another international student, who stayed in the same house as Emily two years before.

Just as Rachel finds herself on the hunt for a serial killer, a painful relationship from her own past catches up with her. And Rachel must decide what is more important – catching the killer or keeping her own secrets?


I really enjoyed The Lying Kind which was the first book in the Detective Rachel Prince series. Now’s She Gone turned out to be even better. Rachel is investigating the sudden death of a young woman which had initially been ruled an accident.  Soon, Rachel and her partner, Brickall, discover that this is anything but an open and shut case.

This is a solid crime thriller with a well detailed investigation. I liked the fact that Rachel had to travel extensively in search of answers. The investigation included witness statements, a number of interviews, analysis of postmortem results, stakeouts, informers and an in depth search for clues. I thought it was realistic and liked how systematically the entire investigation was conducted.

I really liked the character development of the lead detective, Rachel Prince. In this story, readers get to see her softer side as details of her personal life are revealed. At the same time, Rachel is a savvy detective with great instincts so it was great to see her working this case. Brickall’s character was also well developed in this story and I loved his working relation with Rachel. Certain things he did made me curious to know how things will progress between them.

Now’s She’s Gone is a wonderful addition in the Detective Rachel Prince series.  If you enjoy cop procedural, this is one series that you should be reading.

Review: The Lying Kind (Detective Rachel Prince #1) by Alison James

The Lying KindSix-year-old Lola Jade Harper is taken from her bedroom. Her mother is distraught. She is convinced her estranged husband, Gavin Harper, has abducted their daughter. Detective Rachel Prince is leading the investigation but is soon out of her depth as she searches for the most high-profile missing child in the country. To uncover the truth about Lola’s disappearance, Rachel must untangle the Harper family’s complicated web of secrets and lies.

As the case progresses, the body of a local woman is found. The death at first seems unrelated, until a trail of social media posts lead Rachel to a chilling discovery.

And then another little girl is taken…

With growing pressure from the public and the appearance of someone from her past she’d rather forget, will Rachel be able to solve the connection between the two missing children and the murder – before it’s too late?


The Lying Kind is the first book in the Detective Rachel Prince series by Alison James. In this story, Rachel is investigating a missing child case. Lola Jade Harper has been missing for six months. Rachel and her partner need to find the little girl despite the fact that a lot of time has already elapsed and most people assume that the child is forever gone.

This wasn’t the usual police procedural with a lot of drama/action and a fast moving pace. The author took time to portray the day to day events during the investigation. This included days when no new information or clues came up in the case. There were paperwork days and other days where the investigators chased false leads. Even stakeouts made it into the narrative. This portrayal was quite different from the usual cop thrillers though it did seem more realistic. I imagine that is the way most investigations in the real world take place.

Rachel is an interesting MC. I can’t say that I really liked her personality but I did admire her work ethic and determination to solve the case. I also liked her loyalty to her partner.  As I have mentioned, this wasn’t a fast-paced, action packed cop thriller, however it was still a good read. If you enjoy classic cop procedural then this series is definitely for you.