Cover Image: Safe House

Safe House

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Member Reviews

‘Safe House’ is the latest book by Jo Jakeman.

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret. Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. This sacrifice cost her everything. And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Jake and i really found it to be an engaging and atmospheric story from the outset.

The story is written in the past and present and is seen from the perspective of two women who have a lot in common. Charlie Miller has arrived in a small village in Cornwall looking forward to starting a new life. She’s a quiet young woman, with not much money and has moved into a house that needs a lot of work but not much money, she finds herself doing odd jobs about the town. Whilst settling into her home, she becomes friends with her neighbours but can’t help but feel that she is being watched. The past tense is seen from the perspective of Steffi Finn, a young woman in prison after providing an alibi for her boyfriend. Even though she knew nothing of actions, she trusted him and couldn’t believe that he would do what he was being accused off and finds herself behind bars and reflecting on the life that she has led and where it all went wrong.

The story flows a fast paced and the different perspectives give an interesting slant to the story as the women are both at a fork in their lives. Whilst Charlie is settling into her new life and putting her past behind her, there’s someone close by who’s watching her and not willing to let her move on. The story includes a narrative of someone watching Charlie and I particularly liked this part as I found myself trying to piece together who they were from what they said and with every new character introduced, I was guessing if they were the suspect.

I liked both characters Charlie and Steffi, they’re interesting women who are hoping to put their lives right, they’re quiet but as the story progresses they become stronger and more self assured.

A cleverly written tale, riddled with drama, suspicious characters and twists throughout, ‘Safe House’ is a compelling story about new beginnings, starting over and will have the reader gripped throughout.

You can buy ‘Safe House’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops
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I did not get a chance to read this book. Befor it was archived very disappointed as I wanted to read this book
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Steffi is in prison for lying about her boyfriend’s whereabouts when a woman is murdered. She eventually leaves prison and becomes Charlie. Charlie turns up in a remote village in Cornwall trying to rebuild her life but someone is out to get her. 

I enjoyed this read and found myself zipping through it quite quickly. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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Told from the perspective of Charlie in the present day, and Steffi in flashback, Safe House is a cautionary tale of coercive control by a manipulative but seemingly charming man. Steffi has just come out of prison and has changed her identity to escape persecution. She has been vilified by the press and received hate mail. She just wants to make a clean break and get on with her life. She heads to Cornwall, but underestimates how difficult it is to hide in a small community. 
Scattered through the narrative are the anonymous thoughts of someone hellbent on trying to locate Charlie. This racks up the tension as we try to figure out their identity and their intentions. In the past she seemed gullible, naïve and trusting, but has wised up since her spell behind bars. We could see what Steffi could not – just how creepy and controlling Lee was. 
The story is well written with dark humour to offset the feeling of foreboding. Cornwall is beautifully described, the people she meets in the village are well rounded and believable, especially Aubrey. It is interesting that, although she goes there intending to keep to herself, she can’t curb her instinct to help others, and this is what saves her. 
There is an unexpected twist near the end that really took me by surprise. The dramatic ending in the middle of the storm will have you on the edge of your seat; I just had to keep reading to find out what happened. I had not read her previous novel but will now definitely add Sticks and Stones to my list. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The pacing was good even if I had a bit of trouble getting into it during the beginning. The setting of the village where Steffi/Charlie settled and the uneasiness she felt every moment was perfectly written. I liked the unpredictability of the twists as the author kept my mind working to find out who Steffi/Charlie’s stalker was and why was he/she(/they) were trying to kill her.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a slow-burn thriller with a captivating female lead. This story literally gives a terrifying meaning to the phrase “Love is blind.”

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review and for including me in the blog tour!
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I would firstly like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Enjoyable enough but didn't keep my full attention the whole way through. A little predictable in places but overall, a decent read. 
Unfortunately I did prefer this author's first novel.
Still looking forward to this authors next!
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This is not your normal thriller – this is a thriller with a domestic drama feel to it and it really keeps you hooked throughout. Charlie’s flashbacks and memories of the past played strongly on domestic themes and the reader was made to feel really conflicted about Charlie herself. It was clever writing at times, making the reader question how they felt about Charlie.

The plot is fast-paced and tricky to predict – with lots of new characters being introduced and the finger of suspicion being pointed at all of them, there are times when it’s hard to guess who is behind the mysterious things that keep happening to Charlie. All the characters bring something to the story, there’s not one person who seems to be involved for the sake of it. Each person helps deflect suspicion, leaving the reader confused and curious right until the last minute.

I thought the ending was built up perfectly, with a nice storm to go alongside the suspense and emotions that Charlie was feeling. It was one of those chapters you just have to finish, and left the reader feeling satisfied by the end. The whole way through Charlie’s character and choices was described brilliantly, making the reader feel a connection with her right until the end and I loved the parts that delved into her past. It made the ending mean even more and overall everything tied in together nicely.

This is the perfect book to blend the genres of thriller and domestic drama together, with great characters and a plot full of suspense. I was hooked throughout and would recommend this to anyone.
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This book was very interesting with the different angles and perspectives coming together. There was good suspense and relationships appeared that i never guessed were coming!
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I am taking a break from all the festive feels and delving into something deeper, darker and gripping. Safe House is a bloody brilliant thriller that had me gripped from the very first page. We meet Steffi who has just been released from prison and has bought a run down cottage in Cornwall - she is changing her name and it is a chance to start again. She spent all her time learning how to DIY so she can no longer rely on anyone.

However someone is after her, they believe justice hasn't been served, they believe that not only did she provide a false alibi, she knew what was going on. Steffi (now Charlie) just wants to keep herself to herself, but when she starts notice a few people recognising her and sensing people around her - is she really that clumsy?

Fitting into the community is an important part of her new life, but is that wise? Honestly - this was so good, it was full of twists and turns and shocks. I adored it - getting to know Charlie and spending time discovering what she was really like. Not all is as it seems and as a reader you spend time peeling apart the characters to discover their true nature.

100% Reccomend this read.
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The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it's a name she's only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.
Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn't a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed.
And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she's really paid the price for what she did….

What a rollercoaster of a ride I was on reading this one.
Well written plot and story line that kept me hooked throughout.
Wonderful well written characters that I found believeable.
The suspense with the twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved it.
I recommend this highly.

Thank you to Harvill Secker and NetGalley for a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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★★★ 3.5 stars

I've not read Jo Jakeman before so I wasn't sure what to expect from SAFE HOUSE. I wasn't disappointed but I wasn't wowed either. I think the story had great potential to be better, though it was still reasonably enjoyable.

It's the first day of Charlie Miller's life. That is, as Charlie Miller. For that isn't her real name...just her new one. She used to be Steffi Finn and she has just been released from prison after serving a 10 month sentence for perverting the course of justice when she gave her boyfriend a false alibi for the night a woman was murdered. Undertaking various courses in prison to both keep her busy and enable her to put those new skills to good use, she kept her head down and awaited her release to put it all behind her. And now that time had come.

Leaving "Steffi" behind, Charlie made her way down to a sleepy Cornish village where her solicitor friend had bought a dilapidated cottage on her behalf. The cottage was in such disrepair, those skills she acquired at Her Majesty's pleasure would be put to good use. Charlie was happy to keep to herself but then wouldn't that draw attention to her if she failed to mingle with the community? So when two women walking their dogs came upon her one morning, despite being wary Charlie was grateful for the opportunity to make new friends. She even made an impression on her curmudgeonly neighbour, Aubrey, whose gruffness was just a front.

But someone is watching Charlie. Someone knows who she really is. And they mean to harm her. Or do they?

You see, having her whole life scrutinised by the public where the truth didn't really matter gave credence to Charlie's paranoia. The public just wanted justice for the murders of two women, one of which Steffi/Charlie could have prevented had she been truthful from the beginning. Charlie knows this. She understands this. She has long blamed herself for the death of the second woman she could have prevented. But could she really? Was she really responsible for her boyfriend's actions? Lee Fisher was a killer; she wasn't responsible for that. But Lee made her think she was.

Steffi Finn was a naive young woman who, desperate for love and affection, had fallen head over heels for Lee Fisher. They had only been together a short time before he moved into her house, and it wasn't long until she was completely under his spell. You see, Lee was manipulative charmer. He had a way of making you feel that you were responsible for his actions...after all, he was only reacting to something YOU had done. Hu used coercive control to make subtle demands on Steffi to which she happily complied, knowing that he loved her, and because she loved him.

At Lee's request, Steffi had given up drinking alcohol and yet she came home from a colleague's leaving do, wreaking of wine and stumbling over her own feet. Lee was livid. They'd argued, he stormed out and she went to bed. That night Katy Foster disappeared and when the police came calling, Steffi had said Lee was home all night, assuming he'd slept in the spare room.

And here lies the point in question: upon hearing a woman has provided an alibi for her boyfriend for the time he was in fact murdering women - what would you think? That she was foolish, stupid, naive? Or maybe she knew? The public are fed tidbits by the media who have their own slant on a story, because the fact that she couldn't be oblivious to what he was doing is ludicrous! I mean, how could she not know? But that is what the public are always lead to believe...whether it was true or not. However, it is completely possible to live with someone and share your life with them and be completely unaware of a secret life they may be harbouring. How else do you think some men keep two families for years without detection? Or affairs are kept from partners? And the secret lives as killers some people in real life have maintained until caught out? Everyone has secrets, even from each other. Steffi was just naive and I didn't for one minute believe she was aware of Lee's activities. To say it was hard not to blame her is absurd. People are just too quick to taint others as guilty merely by association. How could she not see?? Simple....he was good at hiding it. Men like that are chameleons.

So now Charlie finds herself living in fear and paranoia in the quaint yet remote little Cornish village of Penderrion with the sinister feeling of being watched. A creak in the floorboards. A broken safety catch on a ladder. A shadow in the window. Nothing can possibly be a coincidence anymore as suspicion clouds her every interaction. What if someone knows who she really is? And what will happen when the rest of the village finds out? Is she in danger?

SAFE HOUSE is told in dual timelines that slowly reveal Steffi and Lee's backstory from Steffi's perspective and newspaper articles. There is also the POV from a Ben Jarvis, whose role is exposed in the climatic throes of the penultimate finale, as well as an unknown narrative. Each of these chronicle the transformation from Steffi to Charlie with some very tense moments, and the story surrounding her.

An interesting premise and somewhat thought-provoking, SAFE HOUSE was a fairly enjoyable read. Its slow build promised a final reveal that would crash and devour all other possibilities in one fell swoop, leaving the truth battered and bruised and laying bare by the end. It worked well enough but didn't completely satisfy. I don't know why...I just felt there was more to be said.

However, SAFE HOUSE is a twisty thriller filled with suspense that will have you questioning everything.

I would like to thank #JoJakeman, #NetGalley and #RandomHouseUK and #VintagePublishing for an ARC of #SafeHouse in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely adored the protagonist of this book, Steffie Finn/Charlie Miller. This book was excellently paced with a gripping story that kept me hooked from the beginning. 

Jakeman weaves between Steffie, Charlie, and the stalkers story, giving me different sides and parts to the story. Thats my favourite thing in a good thriller. What’s more, is that this book has a great atmosphere which meant i couldnt stop reading. A definite recommendation.
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Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. This book was very interesting with the different angles and perspectives coming together. There was good suspense and relationships appeared that i never guessed were coming!
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Steffi has accidentally covered for her boyfriend, Lee, for two murders. Convicted and having served her time in prison, she is now out and attempting to rebuild her life with a new name and in a new location. However, secrets can't stay hidden for long and she is convinced someone is out to get her. I found the character of Steffi/Charlie frustrating at times when she was covering for Lee however you see why she did it. I then struggled with whether or not she should have been convicted - on one hand she did provide a false alibi but on the other hand she was being gaslit. I found this quite a quick read despite it covering the topics it has. It isn't done in a heavy handed way and Steffi/Charlie is painted well. I'd recommend this book and will be looking out for others by this author.
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This was a slow burn suspense. Having read the previous book by this author, I was eager to get my hooks into this one.

Steffi had given false alibi for boyfriend and was realesed after being in jail for 10 months. She decided to move to Cornwall with a new identity, but felt someone stalking her. Was it real or just paranoia? 

This was quite a mind bender of a read with the writing making the atmosphere take on a claustrophobic feel. The plot twists occured later down the pages. Overall a fun read.
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I really enjoyed this thriller, which was a nice who dunnit. 
It was difficult to guess as the writer was really good at twists and turns. It was well paced, really entertaining.  

Recommended if you're looking for a good thriller. 
Thanks a lot to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy.
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A really good thriller which kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me guessing the whole way through.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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**3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon**

I received a free eARC of Safe House but that has in no way influenced my review.

Charlie Miller is a woman with a lot to hide. What’s the best thing to do when you’ve made a number of terrible mistakes and want to forget your past? When you walk down the street of the town which you’ve lived your entire life in and people spit at you? You obviously up sticks and move to a different part of the country! Charlie Miller moves her meagre belongings to Penderrion in Cornwall and starts afresh. But Charlie Miller is a brand new creation. A new identity to help ex-convict Steffi Finn fit in. Steffi has just been released from HMP Hillstone for providing a false alibi for her partner, Lee Fisher. But that’s in the past. No one knows who Charlie really is. Or do they….?

I enjoyed this slow-burn psychological suspense novel. I found Charlie, despite her faults, easy to like and the setting, the beautiful and dramatic Cornish coastline, played as much a part in the story as the characters themselves. With Jakeman’s vivid descriptions I could picture myself stood on the cliffs overlooking the turbulent waves.

There’s a wonderful sense of impending danger and unease throughout the novel which comes from three angles. The lawyer husband of Jenn who seems to recognise Charlie on first sight, the unknown narrator who appears a handful of times throughout the novel and from Ben Jarvis who seems hellbent on trying to track Charlie down. For what purpose the reader is left wondering.

Would I recommend this book? If you like a lighter, edging on women’s fiction thriller, then yes – this is a book for you. Charlie’s neighbours were great characters and I enjoyed the community spirit they embodied – particularly Aubrey who was my favourite character in the book (and had very little community spirit about him but he was fond of Charlie and I think we all know or have known an Aubrey). An entertaining read to while away an Autumnal afternoon.

I chose and read and review an eARC of Safe House. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
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I bleeping loved this book!

Not the most verbose of reviews, I realise, but for me, this story is unputdownable. 

As Charlie’s story is revealed via past and present (or, present and past), I found myself walking a tightrope of tension as I held my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

They say there are three sides to every story: his, hers and the truth. But which version of the truth is to be believed? Is the truth even the truth?

There are many types of abuse. Psychological is one of the worst. Before you know it, your thoughts are no longer your own.

Even when we set out with the best of intentions, can we atone for sins of the past when the outcomes were so egregious? 

Ugh, I really should know better *palms face*. I started this book with judgment already in place, but quickly realised I needed to take a step back and reassess the facts. Perception is everything, isn’t it?
Setting is key, and the author really brought Cornwall alive with her vivid descriptions which lent itself to the overall feel of the book. I was freezing the entire time I read, even though the heating was on full blast *shrugs*.

Safe House is everything I love (and hate in equal measure – coz I’m twisted like that *snorts*) in a great thriller. *rubs chest* I think my heartbeat has just about returned to normal.

Right, enough of my wafflings, I’m off to make a cuppa to calm my nerves.
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Steffi Finn is in prison, serving 10 months for giving a false alibi for her boyfriend, Lee. The relationship had been one sided and very coercive, but she loved Lee….but he had then killed another woman…

On her release, she moves to Cornwall, takes a new identity, Charlie Miller, and settles into life in a small community.

However, she starts to feel she is being watched, is this paranoia? Or is someone really watching, someone who knows her real identity?

This is quite a gentle psychological thriller, but it has a sense of foreboding, a darkness to it that really makes this so gripping. The clever plot, the twists and surprises make this a thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Harvill Secker and NetGalley for a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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