15 Feb 2022


 One of several bloggers who over 7 days will be participating in this Blog Tour {the full schedule for which can be found at the bottom of the post}. Today {the 5th day of the Tour) its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on ...


Genre ... Psychological thriller

Publication Date ... 17th July 2021

Standalone Novel

Estimated Page Count ... 352

Potential Trigger Warning ... Mental illness

Order Link ... https://amzn.to/3hDz8EJ

A forest of secrets. Two bodies are found buried in a Highland forest, a place that haunts the dreams of Kate Sharp. Her mother, Ellen, died when Kate was a child. Does the forest hold the secret to her death? 

A secret journal. Kate discovers her mother’s journal, and the tale of a tragic unravelling begins to unfold. Ellen’s story is one of fear and hope, love and loss, set against the imposing background of Craig Dunain, a psychiatric hospital where she should have been safe.  

Unravelling the truth. Someone else from Ellen’s past is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them. Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?  

Beautifully written, cleverly plotted, and meticulously researched, Unravelling is a captivating tale of family secrets.  ... Synopsis

The sway of the noose was mesmerising against the shimmering light that danced between the branches. ... First Sentence, Prologue

Craig Dunain was a place of fear and sadness. High ceilings, massive windows, dusty, faded furniture, the smell of antiseptic and boiled cabbage. Long echoing corridors, with doors and alcoves to hide so many dangers. The demon told Ellen there was a threat around every corner. A machete-wielding patient, a syringe-wielding nurse, a scalpel-wielding doctor. That she didn't encounter these threats meant nothing. Next time ... ... Memorable Moment, Pg 168

My Thoughts ... A twisted, tragic tale of murder, of mental illness, of betrayals, of families and the lies within set in three distinct parts. 

The first of which sets out the story of Kate as she comes to unravel the mystery that is her mother, Ellen, who, having died when Kate was but a child, Kate knows next to nothing of ... until she chances across an old journal; an old journal that belongs to Ellen.

The second in which we become privy to Ellen's world as spirals into mental illness and the night that changed her life ... forever. 

And finally, we have the third thread which sees the coming together of these two stories in which everything is laid bare.

A well written psychological thriller, the synchronicity with which the two threads of the story came together to form part three, beautifully done. The mental health aspect, whilst the author does not shy away from the realities of life within some of these 'old' asylums sensitively dealt with.

The scenes set in the old Craig Dunain asylum, eerily atmospheric, the sense of foreboding ... {shivers} I actually felt the hairs on my arms prickle - and that's without the discovery of the skeletal remains in the woods, remains that may or may not be connected with the asylum.

The characters, whether they be major or supporting, whether they be Kate, the tragic Ellen, Kate's Polish co-worker whose misuse of English phrases did make me giggle at times or the shadowy figure who, convinced Kate has something that is rightfully his, is determined to get it back ... no matter what it takes, each and everyone of the characters brought something to the story.

Essentially I enjoyed unravelling though as it turned out, for me personally, some aspects of the story line meant that it was a little too close for comfort for me to really enjoy it ... something that rightfully or wrongfully reflects in my rating of it.

About Helen Forbes ... Crime fiction was not what lawyer, Helen Forbes, expected to write.  As a single parent and mature law student, she used her limited spare time to write contemporary and historical fiction.  It was a chance remark at a writing club that led her to develop a short story into her debut crime novel, In the Shadow of the Hill, featuring DS Joe Galbraith. The novel is set in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and it was described in one newspaper review as having ‘more twists and turns than the road to the isles, making it impossible to put down.’  The novel and characters proved popular with readers, leading to the publication of a second book in the DS Joe Galbraith series. Madness Lies is set in Inverness and North Uist.
Helen has now taken to crime with a passion, and has written two psychological thrillers. Unravelling is set in Inverness, against the background of a former psychiatric hospital. Deception, to be published in January 2022, is set in Edinburgh, and tackles the themes of domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking. Helen has also completed a further thriller set in Edinburgh, which she hopes to publish in 2022. Queen of Grime’s main character is a crime and trauma scene cleaner with a big secret. It is gritty and dark, but also funny and uplifting. Helen hopes to expand Queen of Grime into a series.

Follow Helen Forbes ... ~ Website ~ FaceBook ~ Twitter ~


Kelly said...

This sounds like a good psychological thriller, though it might be a bit grim and chilling in places. It's been awhile since I've ready anything along these lines.

nightwingsraven said...

This sounds in many ways like
a truly compelling story. I
will definitely keep it in mind.
And thank you for your excellent

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like quite a story! Based on your review, it sounds like a good read.

DMS said...

This sounds like a powerful read and intense too. I enjoyed your review and it made me very curious about this book. Thanks for sharing. :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Great review! This sounds really good. I love psychological thrillers. Nice to know all the threads come together well.

Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

Literary Feline said...

Sometimes books that take on these issues can be difficult to read, can't they? I really like the sound of this and will have to add it to my wish list. Thank you for your great review, Felicity.

Nas said...

I like thrillers. And this one has all the ingredients for a gritty, engrossing read. Congratulations to the author on the release!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I've read a few books where the premise has been a bit too close to home for comfort, so I know how difficult it is to detach yourself from things enough to be totally objective about the premise and writing. You have done an amazing job with such a thoughtful review!

Helen is a new to me author and I see that her other two books form the basis of a series, so as this is a stand alone story I shall probably read it first, just to get a handle on her writing style, although like yourself, I might find the mental health issues a little difficult to cope with.

I can resist a good psychological thriller :)