Book Review: “Secrets and Lies” by Lynda Renham

New home, new village, old secrets… and a haunting spirit?

Flora and Adam McIntosh move to the country. It’s a setting they’re not used to, but they absolutely love it, or at least Adam does. Flora isn’t so keen. She’s torn. She can admire the home’s charming quaintness, but she can’t shake off the feeling of a presence in the home.

The proud villagers are welcoming, but they’re also suffocating. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Everyone’s doors are open, literally, even if you don’t want them to be.

I did enjoy this book. The premise was great. Wherever Flora was, she wasn’t safe. Nowhere was safe for her. This added a lot of mystery and fear of what was going to happen next. The mix of overfamiliar villagers, secrets, Flora’s inquisitiveness, and a haunting spirit made this story addictive.

There were however a few things about the narrative I didn’t enjoy. Reflection and thoughts. Flora has many of them during the story. They were mostly following the line of questioning of: Is it this? Is it that? Could this happen? Or could this? Maybe this person did this. Maybe that person did that. It was a little much. Let the reader think about these questions, not Flora. Or not Flora as regularly as she does throughout the book.

There was also a twist which I DID NOT see coming. But as I reflect (not as much as Flora) on it, I feel the author cheated a little bit here and there to make this twist impossible to guess, which kind of ruins the fun. A character can’t react a certain way to something and then later in the book it’s revealed that same character already knew about it. Unless I’m misunderstanding the scenes, I would say that’s cheat storytelling. I can’t say too much more without giving away this twist (it’s not the big twist). Hopefully those of you who have read it know what I mean.

Overall, a fair 3 star rating. 4 star for the premise itself, brought down by my little doubts. 

Secrets and Lies by Lynda Renham

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DECEPTION is Reduced, ENDURANCE and THE AUTHOR are free on Amazon!

T. J. Blake’s thriller novels, Deception, Endurance and The Author will be available as a promotion on Amazon for eBook and Kindle format.

Apologies for my lack of activity recently here on my T. J. Blake #Author blog, but life has been really hectic!

Free eBooks on Amazon – just to say sorry!

To say sorry for my abandonment, my books ENDURANCE and THE AUTHOR will be free to download from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for eBook and Kindle Friday – Sunday.

DECEPTION is reduced – limited time only!

Along with my books being free, my psychological thriller, DECEPTION, will be available for 99p/99cents on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

My New Content Writing Business in Surrey is keeping me busy
If you saw my previous blog post about my new writing business, TJ Creative, you will know that this is one of the main reasons for me being a little neglectful recently.

Along with my business, I also secured a new full time job, which is keeping me very busy!

Free and reduced books by T. J. Blake

Back to the point, please take advantage of my books being free and reduced, it's quite rare for my books to be on a promotion.

They will be free and reduced Friday to Sunday!

Head over to Amazon now and grab your e-copies of my books!

Books by T. J. Blake and what’s to come 

My writing journey began with my debut release, Endurance (2013), a gory dystopian horror-thriller novel.


After my fast paced debut came my suspenseful mystery thriller, The Author (2014), which was closely followed by the second gory book of The Endurance Series, Endurance: Apocalypse (2014).


I then took a year gap whilst I finished my last year at university. But as soon as I fnished, I was back and I decided to release a tense dark fantasy short story, Alive (2016).

After Alive, I released my latest novel, Deception: A Love of Lies (2016) – this book has received wonderful reviews from readers across the globe!


I’m always working on new book ideas, my latest includes a brand new horror!

My next book to be released is the last instalment of The Endurance Series – which is currently due for release later this year.

To find out more about my books and what’s to come, take a look at Books by T. J. Blake.

Get ‘Deception: A Love of Lies’ from Waterstones or WHSmith

This may be old news to some of you because I posted this on my social media, but my latest psychological thriller,  Deception: A Love of Lies, is available to purchase from Waterstones and WHSmith. 

It’s a great achievement, mostly because my previous books did not make it onto WHSmith, but Deception has! 

It’s currently out of stock on WHSmith, but it’s available elsewhere in paperback and eBook. 

Deception T. J. Blake WHSmith
It’s great that it’s listed on WHSmith, and I am trying to speak to the distributor to see if we can get a description added into the book’s product page, as well as get it stocked in stores.

I’ll also admit, it’s quite pricey in WHSmith. However, on Waterstones, it’s available for a cool £7.50. 

Deception T. J. Blake Waterstones
Deception: A Love of Lies – worth the read? 

If you’re wondering whether Deception is worth reading, then you should see the incredible ratings it’s received on Goodreads from readers across the world. 

I love this book – it’s easily my favourite out of my books, and it’s all because of the main character, Billy. I know I’m slightly biased, but I’m confident that if you enjoy a psychological thriller with intricate characters and detailed characterisation, then you’ll enjoy Deception!

Deception A Love of Lies Goodreads
Grab a copy of Deception today by heading over to Waterstones, Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and see what others are saying about Deception on Goodreads

Be careful when looking at reviews, there’s potential for spoilers! 

Deception: A Love of Lies Reviewed!

Sorry it’s been a while again folks, I’ve had quite a busy New Year so far with life and work – but I’m very happy to see Deception continuing to entertain people.

When people read Deception, one key element particularly stands out to them: Characterisation. It’s a theme in this book that is the key to Deception‘s appeal. With an intriguing main character (Billy Allen) and a beautiful, peaceful setting of Lavingsham, this unique story allows us to become part of Billy’s life. 

The paragraph below taken from my reader’s review sums up the book, and will ultimately tell you if my psychological thriller is a book for you. 

It is a compelling read, drawing you into Billy’s house. T. J. Blake knows how to keep you glued to the story, in dire need of finding out who/what Billy really is. Billy and Eve are quite complex, despite the mixed emotions I had about them. The story comprises authentic characters, interesting turns, and has a good flow.

Read the full review nowhttps://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/deception-a-love-of-lies-by-t-j-blake/

Deception Psychological Thriller T. J. Blake

My dark fantasy short story ‘Alive’ free for the last day! 

My dark fantasy short story ‘Alive’ is currently available to download from Amazon.com & UK for free, but for only today – which means you can start reading it within seconds! 

Is it worth the read? Of course! ‘Alive’ has just recently received a 5 star review! 


Download ‘Alive’ now – https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01GZ86SU6/

Deception: A Love of Lies – What are readers saying about it?

For many of us finding a new book to read is tough, but most importantly, finding a book that we can honestly enjoy and become a part of is the biggest challenge. I’m not saying that my latest novel Deception: A Love of Lies is the perfect book for you – I don’t know you and I don’t know your preferred genre of book. But I do know that if you’re someone who appreciates a psychological thriller which has a great deal of mystery, intricate character & setting, and a suspenseful approach to story telling, then Deception is for you. Don’t just take my word for it, my readers have each read and enjoyed my book, but most importantly, they’ve understood it.

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Check out these quotes below from authentic reviews from readers who have read Deception – these reviews can be found on Amazon and Goodreads.

“The New Gone Girl.”

“I don’t often read an entire novel in one sitting, but this one kept me turning pages until 2 a.m. The story begins with an excruciatingly detailed description of walking in the words. Extremely, minutely, detailed and I thought, ok, get on with the story already!
Then I realized: this was a most central facet of the main character, Bill. It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization. And it’s done brilliantly because Bill’s attention to detailed observation is who he is, how he has let it take over how he views his life”

“One thing that makes Deception such an interesting read is that the reader’s perception of who the “bad guy” is keeps shifting throughout the story. T.J. Blake does an amazing job depicting the full range of emotions that these characters feel, especially obsession, rage, passion, contempt and confusion. The book is aptly named Deception because it is full of manipulation, unclear motives and people not being what they appear. Read and be enveloped into a world that is wonderful but warped, and be taken along a journey full of exciting twists and turns!”

“T. J. Blake’s “Deception” makes you ask yourself how well you know the person you love. It is a memorable read, with dynamic characters, a unique plot, and numerous twists and turns that will keep you guessing. It is truly a book like no other, and will compel you to keep reading.”

“Raw. Emotional. Edgy. Suspenseful. Powerful. Addictive.”

“You have not experienced betrayal, suspense, or a truly compelling mystery until you’ve read ‘Deception’. ‘Deception’ will have you looking over your shoulders and wondering if there is anything your loved one is hiding from you…”

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Start reading Deception: A Love of Lies now on eBook and Kindle!

‘It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization.’ – Another 5 star review for Deception

You’re probably asking yourself the question, ‘what exactly can I expect from Deception?’ Well, I can tell you that it’s not your typical thriller novel. I would describe it as an intricately detailed psychological thriller, which will have you following clues and trying to piece the story together; along with trying to understand the behaviour and past of the main character, Billy Allen. 

The latest 5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads, posted by justafarmer4, has given an appreciative nod to the extremely detailed story telling and rare characterisation technique of Deception

This one will keep you wondering from the very beginning.

I don’t often read an entire novel in one sitting, but this one kept me turning pages until 2 a.m.

The story begins with an excruciatingly detailed description of walking in the woods. Extremely, minutely, detailed and I thought, ok, get on with the story already!

Then I realized: this was a most central facet of the main character, Billy. It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization. And it’s done brilliantly because Bill’s attention to detailed observation is who he is, how he has let it take over how he views his life, and it is how it ultimately fails him, thus leading to this twisted tragedy.

His “peeping tom” episodes concerned me tremendously, and initially put me off feeling any sympathy whatsoever for Bill, but they were also an important part of the characterization and understanding the hows and whys of his mental state.

His social skills are so depressed that he has difficulty interacting with other people. Fortunately for him, this dreadful inadequacy doesn’t extend to canines. He carries on lengthy discussions with his own dog, who adores him, and he gets on well with other dogs. And the other dogs like him as well, so that was a major point in his favor for me. After all, anyone who really knows dogs understand that dogs are almost infallible when it comes to which humans are trustworthy. Almost always…

Bill isn’t the only “peeping tom”. Other characters made me feel like a ping pong ball as my sympathy for each swung back and forth while they did their own peeking and sneaking around; well, except for one particularly nasty piece of work who enjoyed terrifying everyone else…no sympathy for him, at all, ever. (Boo! Hiss! Hide yer children and dogs from this bully!)

I’ll wrap this up by returning to the topic of excruciating details. The novel is jam-packed with them, which lends extremely well to the constant misdirection. All of the clues are there, hidden in plain sight. Such a cliché for me to say, but it is indeed very close to “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

This has been one of the more difficult reviews for me to write because I’ve tried to avoid including anything remotely resembling a spoiler. Trust me. Any one of the characters could ultimately be revealed as “the one”. I encourage the reader to take up the book and enjoy the ride or, in this case, the walk through the woods.”

This reader has a great reading of Deception,and fully embraced the book for what it stands for. 

Get your copy of Deception either as paperback or on Kindle/eBook now. 

‘Do you really know the person you love?’ Deception will certainly make you wonder!  

Deception is certainly getting a reaction from my readers, and I am specifically happy with the fact that the book is unpredictable and suspenseful for all readers so far. With a focus on human behaviour, Deception: A Love of Lies will draw you into the dismal yet intriguing life of Billy Allen and his Springer Spaniel, Ella, and their unusual habits.

I appreciate this review, the reviewer is rightly questioning my motives in terms of the ending, but I think it’s the perfect ending for this story and any to follow. I won’t be saying anymore on the matter though, you’ll have to read my book to make your own decision on the end!


Start reading Deception tonight by downloading it onto your Kindle or reading device from Amazon or Smashwords

Deception Exclusively Free on Story Cartel

Deception: A Love of Lies is exclusively ‘free’ to download on Story Cartel – https://www.storycartel.com/books/deception-a-love-of-lies

You may have heard of the website Story Cartel – it allows readers to download free books online, and authors to receive honest reviews from those readers. With this ideal combination, I am utilising the service of Story Cartel. This means that for just three weeks, my new psychological thriller Deception: A Love of Lies will be free to download, in return for an honest review – this is all I ask.

You can find out more about Deception and Story Cartel by continuing to Deception‘s Story Cartel page.

If the link above does not work, use this one here to download Deception – https://www.storycartel.com/books/deception-a-love-of-lies

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