The Present

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Member Reviews

Excellent book.  Brilliant story and I loved the main characters.  I would highly recommend this book.
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I found the concept of the book exciting and was really looking forward to reading it.  

Unfortunately I struggled to connect with the voice of the narrator.  I felt like I was being told rather than shown and what I was being told got too repetitive sometimes.  I had to force myself to finish it. 

It's good but I think it could be better with editing.
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I started this book with a bit of apprehension. I loved the cover, but the whole Santa storyline sounded a bit cheesy for me. However, as I read on, I got more into the book and wanted to find out who Santa was. I realised whilst reading a passage where Anna was scared, just how powerful the writing is. I felt every emotion along with Anna, and felt uncomfortable, on edge and breathless- just like Anna would. The descriptions in the book were great, you could really imagine the places that Anna went, and felt almost like you were watching it unfold over her shoulder. 
I did manage to guess who Santa was, but that was after questioning the several other people who it could have been and then firmly sticking to my choice. I really enjoyed this book, and even if I had purchased it, I would be very pleased with the 99p kindle price. 
I haven’t described the story here as there are several reviews that already do that, so I hope you see my review more on the writing of the author. It really is a great book. I will definitely be recommending to friends and family.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and the author for the chance to review..

I read this book in one sitting - I just could not put this down.  Was gripped from the first chapter.  This was very dark and gruesome in parts.  Not a book I would recommend to someone who is easily upset.
Twists and turns in the book keep you guessing as to the killers identity.  Sometimes the story could be a bit unrealistic but the fact that this was a great escapism read made up for that.
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The Present opens with a really nice (and by nice, I mean bloody) perspective from our killer, unfortunately named 'Santa killer'; the killer's name was somewhat disarming and probably contributed to why I didn't feel the appropriate chill while reading this. He is alternatively referred the as the 'Christmas killer' at random points throughout the book and I think this name was better. The story itself was good, but it was definitely missing that special something that makes a good story truly chilling. There was a good twist at the end but I feel like there was a lack of build up (or perhaps the writing style) took  the shock factor away from the 'reveal'. The 12 days of Christmas countdown to the victims death was a clever idea and I liked Anna because she wasn't your typical 'jump in ass first' type of journalist as many books depict. The final thing that stopped this book going higher than 3*  was the random scored out text that appeared a couple of times towards the end of the book. Why? Anyway, overall not a bad book and it's fun that there's a matching romance novel for people who are into that sort of thing.
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Oh my god what a book this book is so amazing I couldn't put it down.

This book is full of twists and turns that you never see coming.

I don't want to give too much of the story away because the ending is so good you will never see is coming. 
Journalist Anna Vaughan has been following a serial killer who has been killing for the past few years. The police have yet to catch him and Anna wants to solve the case.

At first the police are not happy working with Anna but she ends up working closely with DI Jim Townsend a brilliant story that you do not see coming.

Do they solve the murders? Do they survive this book? This will have you gripped right from the start.

If I could give it more than 5 stars I would.
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This book was okay, I thought it was a bit far fetched at times and although the twist at the end was quite good I felt it lacked something overall.
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A Christmas thriller about the search for Santa - but this is not the jovial man in red so beloved by children everywhere, this is a serial killer who strikes every Christmas and leaves clues which relate to the song Twelve Days of Christmas.  Annie is a journalist who has been drawn into the investigation and who finds herself in terrible danger as she battles to solve the clues before the twelve days run out...
This sounded like a very interesting story, but I'm afraid that I didn't really enjoy it.  There was a lack of subtlety in the plot.  On the whole, in crime fiction it is better to have tiny hints which you only see were clues when you look back, not to be told every few pages what you ought to be thinking.  Also the idea of the "game" that the killer was playing didn't really hold up for me and I found the whole thing hard to believe.  Having said that, the premise was good and I did want to know how it ended.
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A VERY dark take on a Christmas novel...... Fast paced and twisted this is a cleverly written book but unfortunately it just isn't for me.
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It's not all romance and happy couples at this time of year, sometimes we need a bit of extra thriller bite to add to our Christmas reading list and what better way than with a thriller based around the popular twelve days of Christmas song.

I was really looking forward to this novel as from the blurb I liked the idea of the killer using the song and the 'santa killer' persona to frighten his victims. I can't imagine what it would have been like to receive one of this santa's gifts in the run up to the holiday season! 

From the first chapter or so of the novel I was a little unsure of this one, but once I got into the story the flow of the novel picked up well and it definitely kept up the pace throughout. I found some of the details of the santa killers crimes really had me gritting my teeth, very well written and they had me on the edge of my seat at stages. If you're a sensitive soul, brace yourself for a little bit of gruesome detail, but t's fully within the context of the story. 

I was a bit worried when halfway through the novel I thought the author might have slipped me too much of a clue to the killer's identity and spent  the next few chapters trying to figure out if I was right. Thankfully for my enjoyment of the story I was wrong, and I like the cleverly veiled trick of the writing that made me almost think I had it figured out. I have to say the twist in the story that provides us with the identity of the true Santa Killer was one I didn't see coming, and I think it's reveal was interesting. 


Whilst it didn't spoil my enjoyment of this novel, I didn't enjoy the ending. It somehow felt a little rushed, and there was also something about the killer that didn't quite hit the nail on the head for the crime thriller fan in me. All the same, I don't think I will hear the twelve days of Christmas song in quite the same way again, and if you are looking for a book to add some creepy to your Christmas then take a chance and open The Present. 

3.5 stars.

Thank you to Harper Collins Uk & NetGalley for providing me this copy for an honest review.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins Uk for a review copy of The Present, a serial killer novel set in London featuring journalist Anna Vaughan.

The Santa killer has been operating for 12 years without being caught. Every two years in December he kills a husband and abducts the wife who is held captive until Christmas Day when she is killed. This year he has abducted Sharon Steiner and journalist Anna Vaughan, fresh from her success in finding missing child Josh Underwood, is determined to find her. Unfortunately "Santa" finds her first and involves her in his game by sending her gruesome messages.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Present which is a high octane, violent but addictive read. It is cleverly plotted with the killer several steps ahead of both Anna and the police and well paced as she gradually makes sense of the grisly clues. It is a hard novel to put down as there seems to be something new on each page to keep your interest going. I must admit that my inkling of the perpetrator solidified as the novel went on but it didn't spoil my enjoyment as I wasn't sure and kept living every moment with Anna. Is it realistic? Definitely not but it's great escapism well done.

Anna is the woman we'd all like to be - smart, loyal and brave to the point of foolhardiness. She is a great protagonist with her need to do the right thing and find Sharon alive. She's ideal for this kind of novel.

The only thing I feel let the novel down is the ending, not the action but the PC need to understand the killer and his motivations and then make excuses for his behaviour. What a load of tosh. Most forensic psychologists make the point that most people with his background do not become serial killers and those that do are bad, no excuses. This aside The Present is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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I thought that this book, The Present by DS Devlin, was an excellent read. At first I was a bit reluctant as to how a journalist would be able to investigate a murder, and thought it may be a duff book. But I pleased I did not let my preconceived idea put me off and continued with the book as it was brilliant.
Like most good police/ crime thrillers it has a number of twists and turns and takes the reader in a lot of different ways.
It is quite gory in places so may not be for those of a delicate disposition (but I have read a lot worse!)
Due to the nature of the twelve days of Christmas connection it is a perfect read for this time of year, but could equally be read outside of the season.
The only downside is you will be hearing the song like an earworm by the end of the book!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a really chilling read about a journalist being called in to help the police investigation into the Santa killer- who has been killing a couple every year. The killer sends a horrific gift wrapped present to her home and  she begins to wonder how much danger she is in and who she should fear.
The book keeps you on the edge of the seat hoping to keep her safe whilst solving the mystery. 
I will be really keen to read more by this author and don't think I will ever listen to 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' in the same way ever again!
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I'm not one for true crime and gory details and so those aspects of this book did not appeal to me, but it is written in such a homely way that it actually didn't seem as if those things were too real. This enabled me to just carry on reading and enjoy the whodunnit aspect of the novel.

It's only taken me a couple of readings to get through, as once I was hooked and I was so sure of who the "Santa" killer was I had to know I was right! At some point I did think no one would write a plot this obvious and so changed my mind, changed it back again and finally I had no idea!

Just to make it clear this is not someone murdering Santas', but someone using the Christmas song of 12 days of Christmas as clues to taunt the police each year, before eventually murdering a victim. As it takes place during Christmas he is dubbed the "Santa" killer.

You do need to suspend some disbelief that Anna the journalist would put herself in so much danger and be prepared to meet the "Santa" killer one on one. She does come out of it as one gutsy lady despite being petrified, and I was swept along with her descriptive exploits.

If this sounds like your sort of thing and you are not looking for the next big crime writer then it's a good read.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book for review.
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A clever, psychological thriller with Anna an investigative journalist and 'Santa', the serial killer. 

This story shows 'The 12 Days of Christmas' in a dark light, and it's twisty plot keeps you guessing, right until the end.

If you prefer your festive reading with more darkness than light, then this is worth reading

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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This book is tentatively based on the 12 Days of Christmas and involves Anna a journalist who gets involved in searching for the serial killer who kills a victim each Christmas whilst sending clues to the Police. Before he kills her
The beginning is quick paced and sets a good introduction to the story,it then is quite clever in lulling you into a false sense of security as to who the killer is,however pretty quickly I realised this red herring and guessed who the real killer was,this did not spoil the rest of the book though,in some ways it enhanced it
Anna was a good character and Milles was very likeabke
Be Warned......It is gruesome in its detail of the killers actions!!!!
An enjoyabke read,full of action and no wasted chapters on irrelevance to the atory
If you are looking for a story leading up to Christmas to scare you and draw you in this book is for you
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Holy moly this one is a rollercoaster!

The Present starts with an undeniably scary prologue, but at first I wasn't sure about the setup - everything felt a bit unrealistic and I thought it would be 'just an ok read'. However, once I got more into the story I was totally hooked! 

The story is completely gripping and utterly terrifying. Many of the scenes are so tense that I could barely breathe and I was rigid with fear and there are some stomach-churningly gruesome descriptions. The Twelve Days of Christmas song was used in a very creepy way and I'll never be able to hear it again without thinking about this book (although I've never really liked it since I had to be a maid-a-milking in a school show once when I wanted to be a lady-dancing...)

The shocking climax was absolutely riveting and the ending makes sense, although I still had a couple of questions I wanted answering after I'd finished. I'd be very happy (albeit petrified) to read more from Anna and DS Devlin.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for the ARC of The Present. 4.5/5 stars.
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Enjoyable. Well written crime book. I had no idea. Gruesome but necesssry.
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This murder mystery is loosely based on the 12 Days of Christmas.
Anna Vaughan is an investigative journalist, who becomes involved in the case of the Santa killer, who attacks just before every Christmas, and has managed to avoid being caught so far.
She is drawn in when a mysterious parcel with gory contents appears on her doorstep, and is helped by her colleague, Miles, who had had a breakdown following a traumatic investigation.
The book kept me guessing until the very end, with lots of red herrings, and clues relating to the song, along the way.
In the end though, I was disappointed, the motivation of the killer was too cleverly explained, and he didn’t ring true. Also, the “Twelve Days” were rather forced, as if the had been grafted onto another story.

Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for the opportunity to read this book.
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