Cover Image: Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds

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Member Reviews

A difficult read, found it hard to get into but then suddenly you’re gripped by what is a very intriguing storyline. A most unusual novel, well worth reading and I’m glad I persevered to the very end.
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I loved this very much! The characters, the actions and even the plot itself! Very inspiring for my own book too!
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A very enjoyable book.  A little bit dark, mysterious and rather twisted, but enjoyable read nonetheless.
Betsy ( as she prefers to be called) endures a traumatic night on the roads, which then leads to a dreamlike sequence of events leading her to an idyllic life with a new partner.  There are some great sounding places in the book, the Dingle being my favourite, what a magical place that sounds!
However like all dream-like situations this one has a sticky part to be endured.
Very well written and a very good read.
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The word 'intense' doesn't even begin to describe this book. It starts with Lizzy and her stepdaughter in a very frightening situation, and from there the story of how they come to be in the woods together folds back to where Lizzy was not even a year ago. Not happy, but safe nevertheless. Caught in a relationship with someone who is absolutely not respecting her, and mainly needs her to be a cook, a cleaner and a babysitter for his young daughter Anya. Luckily Anya and Lizzy get along fine, sometimes too fine according to her boyfriend. All her life Lizzy felt a little different, and now she's diagnosed with BPD, she knows why. Determent to find someone to help her, she makes an appointment with a clinic but on the way, she gets lost. Lost in the country, but also very much lost in her own mind.
Although I have no idea how it is to live with (someone who has) BPD, the way David Mark writes about it, I felt very sorry for Lizzy in the first place. It's not easy for her family and friends but I wouldn't want to be so utterly destroyed when getting a little lost on the way to an appointment as Lizzy is.
She's rescued, and a whole new life begins. Although... there are forces at work that are set upon destroying this new life. And Lizzy has to fight even harder to maintain what she has now.

An excellent, excellent story that shows us that people who are suffering from a mental disease are not crazy or stupid, just different. Lizzy is a great personality. There are some other characters in the book who show that being very rich or from privileged background, won't say you are a good person with the well-being of people and animals in mind.

As much as I like the McAvoy series, I'm very happy I got send a digital review copy of this standalone novel. Thanks to Netgalley and Severn House.
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I believe this is my first book by David Mark. It won’t be my last. I was very intrigued by the blurb and was sucked into this book. It definitely kept me engaged throughout. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from this author.
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There's a dark core that runs through all of David Mark's writing, whether it's a by-product of community history in the landscapes of the north of England (Still Waters, Cold Bones), or the more modern areas of criminal activity found in his DS McAvoy series (Scorched Earth), in his standalone horror writing (A Rush of Blood) or historical fiction (The Zealot's Bones). It's not surprising then that even when he turns his hand to romantic melodrama in the style of Daphne du Maurier, that he somehow still manages to bring a dark edge to the story.

The familiar strengths of David Mark's writing are evident in Suspicious Minds from the get-go. The first is how he reliably establishes a tense dangerous situation, often involving a sympathetic character who is in a lot of trouble. We don't yet know much about Liz in the first few pages of the prologue, but it's hard to imagine that she has done anything bad enough to deserve being taken into the woods with the 9 year old daughter of her partner to be executed by a man who seems to be unmoved by their desperate pleas. Which brings us to another of the author's strengths; his ability to depict real people without ever falling back on standard stereotypes, unique individuals, some too sympathetic to be in the situation that Liz and Anya are to find themselves in eight months later.

On the other hand, as we go back eight months and get to know her, the chances are that Liz (or Betsy as she later chooses to call herself) was always going to end up in trouble of one sort or another. Without getting bogged down in clinical technicalities, Mark takes the time to describe Liz's struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder and the difficulties this causes in her family life. It doesn't help that she seems to be living with a man who exploits her low self-esteem and her doomed-to-fail efforts to get help for this mental disorder. It's just a question of how bad it is going to be and knowing David Mark (and having already gained some indication from the prologue), it has the potential to be very grim and serious indeed.

There is always as much to enjoy in his characters as there is in the dark violent drama that usually unfolds, so you can make the most of Mark going almost full romantic drama for a large part of the novel, albeit with characters like Liz that are just a little more edgy than usual. Edgy maybe, but wonderfully human, people you can recognise and relate to, laugh at and sympathise with. Even if it takes a while to gain any indication of how the plot is going to take a turn for the worse, the writing and characters are strong enough that you almost regret that it's going to inevitably head off in in a darker, nastier direction.

Almost but not quite. Much as it's wonderful to see a talented writer like Mark stretch himself successfully in this direction, you get the feeling that the crime drama this time is rather perfunctory, secondary to his love of writing about characters that are undoubtedly close to home. If it weren't for the prologue, tactfully put there upfront, you would have little indication that the story would be heading in a thriller direction for a good third of the book. There are hints dropped about a surly and nasty lord of the manor and suggestions that he may have played a hand in some "accidents" in the otherwise near idyllic farmland, but none of it is as original or surprising as the shocks that Mark usually drops in.

Although the story takes some conventional Hitchcockian or Du Maurien twists in the romantic melodrama vein with characters straying a little towards caricature, Mark successfully manages to give the plotting a more substantial, modern and more realistic edge by the fact that the darkness this time comes very much from within. And it's not just the darkness of the condition that Liz struggles with - even if that does seem to make her a magnet for trouble - but all of the characters have struggles with inner demons to one extent or another. The darkness comes from somewhere real, and when it comes together with the darkness in the world outside, it can only mean trouble on a scale that you only get from David Mark.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
David Mark has done it again, I absolutely love this author.
Liz Zahavi had Borderline Personality Disorder and is in a shaky relationship with Jay, desperate for his love, but he constantly belittles her.  The only good thing in the relationship is his little daughter, who loves her.
On a trip to her psychiatrist she gets hopefully lost, ends up in a car accident and rested by a farmer.   She ends up leaving home and staying with the farmer, Jude.  She falls deeply in love, but her mind keeps playing trips.  Is he as good as he seems to be or is he secretly a violent murderer?
This is such an intense read!  It was disturbing, lyrical and impossible to put down.  Liz is not that likeable in the beginning because of her thought processes, but the further I got into the story, the more I admired her.  The constant threat the couple gets from some of the villagers is frightening, but Jude refuses to give in to them and Liz becomes a strong, feisty woman despite all odds.I
Another great standalone from Mr. Mark; he's become one of those authors I wait for with bated breath...more please!
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