Book review: “Seven Days” by Alex Lake

A great start to my isolation reading!

This is my first read in COVID-19 lockdown – what a start!

I was thrown into a dark, miserable and disturbing world. By reading the blurb, you can see this darkness.

Seven Days by Alex Lake - Book Review

The plot

It’s a simple enough premise yet extremely disturbing – Maggie (who is being held somewhere against her will) has seven days to save her son, Max. Otherwise, on his third birthday, just like her other children, he’ll be separated from Maggie. But why? Where will he go? Who will take him? We, just like Maggie, have NO IDEA.

What to expect

An instant, gripping hook. Mystery, questions, grit, anger, sadness, darkness.

There are so many questions. I had so many theories, but none of them were right.

The story will not disappoint. We may be locked up with Maggie, but we get to see what is going on outside of the basement. The segments in the basement are engaging. It’s a heartbreaking and difficult read at times, seeing the effect Maggie’s disappearance has on her family. Desperation, despair, sadness. I imagine it to be quite a realistic view and experience if you were to lose a loved one in such a way. Never knowing what happened to them, always wondering if they’re still alive. It’s enticing and addictive. You just pray the struggles are worth it when there’s a happy ending… you hope it’s happy.

There’s a shift in the story at one point. Without saying too much, the hunger to finish changes for a different reason. At this point I think some people will think, “well why should I bother carrying on”, but keep at it, it’s worth continuing.

This is a great read. When I wasn’t reading Seven Days it was on my mind. And when I was reading it, I was reading fast, yet not wanting it to end!

I imagine this was a tough story to write, knowing exactly how to tell the story, particularly when working towards the ending and the big reveal. But I think Alex Lake did a good job.

A 4.5 star, rounded up to 5.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

New psychological, paranormal thriller “Familiar” cover reveal

Familiar cover reveal

I started the reveal with a couple of teasers on my social channels. Always looking for a Gif to accompany!

It was great hitting the target of completing the 1st draft, and this then led to the reveal of the Familiar cover – which I’ve been holding back several months now.

But now it’s out there for all to see. Even better, Familiar is available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle!

Here it is:

Familiar by T. J. Blake

I love this cover so much. It’s retro, it’s creepy, and most importantly, it’s perfect for the story.

Blurb

For the living, it’s closure. 
For the departed, it’s the last chance to expose the truth.

For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.

Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.

Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.

In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.

Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?

Pre-order Familiar

The Real Life Setting of DECEPTION

I think this blog will be interesting for those of you who have read DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, and those of you who write. This is all about the establishment of the setting of the novel. Although the novel is fictional, the location itself is very real – with some slight twists.

The DECEPTION woodlands and its surroundings

I put out a post on my Instagram – showing off the locations of where my book DECEPTION is based.

Here are those photos and the post if you missed it:

DECEPTION woodlands - the road leading to Eve's
A view of the road that leads to Eve’s home. The very road where Billy follows her home.
DECEPTION woodlands first scene
The opening scene – Billy watches Eve walking her dog.
DECEPTION woodlands
The lining of trees, one of which Billy climbs up… those who have read my book will know why he does and what happens 🙄😬

Some background…

These woodlands are out the back of my childhood home. I used to love going down there with my friends to play all sorts of games, build bases and simply explore. And because I spent about 70% of my childhood there, I knew the woodlands like no one else.

Why my childhood woodlands?

I did consider creating a fictional woodlands for the story, but it wouldn’t have been the same; I needed an authentic woods to base my novel around.

I needed to know the woodlands like the back of my hand. Otherwise I would have been drawing a layout for the woodlands on a piece of paper and using that as a map to plot out Billy’s moves. But that wouldn’t have worked, and I wouldn’t have been able to go into the details that I manage to go into in the book about the woods.

The woods drive the story and characterisation. They allow the reader to become the protagonist, Billy Allen, and to really understand the mindset of Billy.

For the story to work I needed to know so much about the woodlands:

  • How they smell
  • How they look in different seasons
  • Where the trees are
  • Where there is or isn’t coverage from trees or hedges
  • Where the quieter parts of the woodlands are
  • Where people actually walk their dogs
  • How the woodlands made me feel
  • Where the pathway runs through the woods
  • Where you could realistically hide

That’s why I decided to choose my childhood woodlands – I had literally explored EVERYWHERE.


Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully this gave you some insight into how I wrote DECEPTION and how I decided on the characterisation and setting for my novel.

If you want to see the woodlands in action, then why not check out DECEPTION?

The 5* psychological thriller that won’t let you look at passing dog walkers the same.

“Through the stark and leafless trees, I see her.

I remember the first day I saw her; an instant attraction. I think she’s beautiful. She has such pensive blue eyes; they remind me of a blue sky right before the sun descends. Every time I see her I want to talk to her, I want to get to know her, and I want to be her friend.

She usually completes the lower woodland walk in six minutes and forty-two seconds; she misses the deeper woodlands and goes home, I believe.

I walk down the road at the same speed as her. She reaches the crossroads at the bottom of the road, looks both ways, and then jogs across into the garden of a house. I stop walking and concentrate on which house is hers.

I can’t stare too long but I am intrigued already, I will come back.”

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Reviews for DECEPTION

“This is a beautifully written gem of a psychological thriller, very creepy and atmospheric.”

“Be warned, though; this is an unsettling read at times, especially if you’re reading it in the dark just before going to bed.”

“A psychological thriller that leaves you breathless.”

“If you are looking for an edgy, addictive read, this is it!”

Read DECEPTION on Kindle