Tuesday 10 March 2015

Review & Guest Post ~ You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes.

Title: You Belong To Me.
Author: Samantha Hayes.
Publisher: Cornerstone.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: March 12, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

The compelling new psychological suspense novel featuring DI Lorraine Fisher, from the author of Until You’re Mine and Before You Die. Perfect for fans of S J Watson and Sophie Hannah.

Fleeing the terrors of her former life, Isabel has left England, and at last is beginning to feel safe.

Then a letter shatters her world, and she returns home determined not to let fear rule her life any more.

But she's unable to shake off the feeling that someone who knows her better than she knows herself may be following her.

Watching. Waiting.

Ready to step back into her life and take control all over again.

A Day In The Life…

by Samantha Hayes

6.45a.m. The alarm goes off, though I don’t get up until about 7am. Once my daughter’s lunch is made and the flurry of searching for lost homework and games kit is over, she goes off to school and the house is quiet.

8.30 a.m. If I’m feeling virtuous, then a run is on the cards. There’s nothing like jogging a few miles on a nice day to get the creative thoughts flowing. It’s a great way to solve plot problems.

9.30 a.m. The long commute to work up two flights of stairs begins – complete with coffee and cats. Every author knows certain rituals must be observed before actual writing can take place. This usually means catching up on Facebook, tweeting, or a quick flick through Amazon or Goodreads to see if there are any new reviews.

If it’s a writing day and I’m on the first draft of a novel, I like to get at least two thousand words done to feel satisfied. At this stage, I’m not overly fussy about getting it perfect. I’d rather achieve my word count, knowing that the story is moving forward, than agonize over one paragraph and barely make progress. The polishing will come later.

11.00 a.m. Cup of tea time! And very often a snack – maybe some fruit or nuts. Then back to the writing. Sometimes my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts and my day’s quota will flow out by lunchtime (that’s where voice recognition software is excellent). The first draft of You Belong To Me flowed really quickly, but then I spent quite a few months re-writing and editing. Other days it may well take me until late in the afternoon to reach my word target.

If I have a book due for publication in the near future, I may get a media request from my publicist that needs responding to promptly, so I will have to switch from fiction-writing mode into pitch-writing mode and whip up a few paragraphs for a magazine or newspaper about something topical.

12.30.p.m. My editor sends through a new cover design and the ‘blurb’, asking for my thoughts. I love it! It’s great to see a book taking shape, and getting cover copy really makes it seem real. I spend a while gazing at it, before replying with a couple of minor suggestions. It’s really good for an author to be involved, and while the designs are left to the experts, I appreciate the chance to offer input.

1.00 p.m. Lunchtime. I try to keep it healthy, and don’t touch gluten or dairy due to allergies, so it’s usually a salad or soup.

1.30 p.m. It’s back to the writing, though I kick off with some police research, emailing a contact when I can’t find out exactly what I need to know. Thankfully, she replies straightaway with some useful answers.

I’m a few hundred words into a new chapter when my agent calls about an overseas deal. He goes through the contract with me, explaining the performance bonuses, and advising me that the editor is keen and marketing is very much behind the book. It’s exciting—a new territory—and so I happily accept the offer.

3.15 p.m. Being able to switch focus is important and, while I was on the phone, an email from my copyeditor came in with a long list of points to go through for the book I delivered a couple of months ago. I scan through the notes to get an idea of the work involved. I have a week to get it back to him, so I’ll factor in a little each day. Meantime, I still have five hundred words to write before I finish.

5.00 p.m. I hit my target and spend a little while making rough notes about tomorrow’s ideas. Then I take some time to update my accounts and fill out an overseas taxation form. A quick catch up on social media, and I see a blogger has posted a glowing review of You Belong To Me.

5.45 p.m. I leave the office with a smile on my face and head out to the shops to grab something for dinner.

6.30 p.m. Cooking is my way of relaxing, and tonight a Thai curry is on the menu, made from fresh ingredients. I catch up with my daughter and her day, then maybe phone my dad for a chat, or watch a movie.

10.30 p.m. I’m not much of a night owl, so it’s bed and a book for me. Chances are I’ll fall asleep with a book on my chest – but I’m usually inspired to get back to writing mine the next morning!


You Belong To Me was all kinds of messed up – so much so, I couldn’t help but love it. Samantha Hayes has written the best kind of psychological thriller for me, one that is unpredictable and full of twists, one which doesn’t just leave the characters with messed up minds but the reader too. There were many occasions when I had to put the book down to take in what I’d just read and the impact that would have on the main outcome, which I’d been cluelessly trying to second-guess throughout the entire book. I loved every little detail. It was tense, gripping and a brilliant read.

From the start, we meet Isabel, who’s escaped to India to feel safe. Not that she’s stopped looking over her shoulder, waiting for the manipulation to start again. The tension in her every single chapter had me looking over my shoulder. She’s on edge, a lot, and as we learn more about the reasons why, I was hooked. Then the narrative switches to DI Lorraine Fisher, who’s facing her own mental battles, her mental state suffering thanks to a pretty heavy case at work. We hear from another character occasionally too, and all I can say is that it is screwed up, in the best sense. It did take me a bit of time to get used to the changing in the characters but that soon got forgotten, as the story stepped up and threw twist after twist after twist. I loved that nothing was easy to predict.

The writing is brave and intelligent and You Belong To Me is so suspenseful, it’s addictive. The plot seems to be building up nicely, easily, and then there’s a twist that comes out of nowhere and sucks you in so it’s impossible to stop reading, not that I ever wanted to. The plot was creepy, sinister, chilling, thought-provoking and I really could go on. It was just so bloody good and now I’ve finished, it’s back to reality but I don’t really want to be there because in a twisted kind of way, I didn’t want this book to end – I didn’t want it to stop with its twists and I didn’t want it to stop creeping me out. I loved how unnerving it was.

This review is a little vague because I’ve found it impossible to find something I can draw upon which won’t be, in some form, a spoiler. Just buy it, read it and devour it with all its twists and turns and that pacing, the way the author controls it so that this book consumes you and you realise you’re not getting any sleep until you’ve reached the final page, and even then You Belong To Me was all I could think about. A screwed up, wonderful psychological thriller.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. You're not blogging to yourself! I will buy this book having read the above review...

  2. If I read this genre I would read it with this recommendation.

  3. Fab review is already on my wishlist and you have moved it up nearer the top after reading this, thanks Sophie as always 😘


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