Cover Image: Inside Out

Inside Out

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Chris McGeorge is definitely known for his locked room mysteries. Having only ready his debut “Guess Who”, I was really excited to be accepted to read his third book “Inside Out”. 

The premise of the story is intriguing and exciting from the start. You certainly can’t get more locked in than a prison, and with a futuristic prison like ‘North Fern’, once you’re in you don’t come out. 

Our narrator and main character ‘Cara Lockhart’ has been imprisoned for a double homicide that she’s adamant she didn’t commit. To make matters worse, her cell mate ends up dead next to her and she’s the only suspect on the list. Why she’s there and whether she committed the crimes are big factors in the story. 

“Inside Out” is written in three parts. The first sets up the scene and characters, the second gives the background and history as to why Cara is imprisoned and the third and final part is the moment it heads towards a dramatic denouement. 

For me, the second part of the story dropped in pace considerably and spoilt my overall rating of this book. That being said, the ending and the way everything was pulled together was very clever and had me hooked right up until the last sentence.

I really do enjoy Chris McGeorge’s writing style and I must go and read his second book before he comes out with his fourth.

Thank you to NetGalley, Chris McGeorge and Orion for the opportunity to read this title.
Was this review helpful?
The twists and turns in this book were plentiful, just when I thought I knew what was going on BAM you were hit with another twist. 

Told over both past and present timelines, I found it somewhat confusing at times but over all it was a thrilling and interesting read. Not wanting to give anything away I’ll just say that this is a really interesting and gripping story, and I recommend you read it.
Was this review helpful?
The twists and turns in this book kept it difficult to read in portions as were were required to do. It was a fast read, that kept you guessing until the end. Twisted minds, enjoyed this book, would recommend.
Was this review helpful?
‘Inside Out’ is the latest book by Chris McGeorge.

Cara Lockhart has just commenced a life sentence in HMP North Fern – the newest maximum security women’s prison in the country. She was convicted of a crime she is adamant she didn’t commit. One morning she wakes up to find her cellmate murdered – shot in the head with a gun that is missing. The door was locked all night, which makes Cara the only suspect. Cara needs to clear her name, unravelling an impossible case, with an investigation governed by a prison timetable. But as Cara starts to learn more about North Fern and the predicament she is in, she finds connections between the past and present that she never could have imagined. Indeed it seems that her conviction and her current situation might be linked in very strange ways.

I spent today reading ‘Inside Out’ and I have to admit it’s one of the best crime thrillers that I’ve read in a while, with so many twists weaved throughout that I was unable to put it down.

The story is primarily about Cara who’s just been moved to a new prison facility called North Fern. It’s a new concept prison with out actual access to the outdoors with screens projecting fake sunshine and the outside. But Cara and her cellmate Barnard are convinced that there’s something sinister at work at North Fern and when Barnard is found dead, all fingers point to Cara, even though she is innocent. Cara is trying to prove her innocence as well as stay away from the other inmates who hate her for her alleged crime.

Cara is an interesting character, she’s quiet and keeps to herself. She’s known as ‘The Butcher’ for brutally killing 2 children, even though she’s always denied it. Other inmates turn on her or fear her for her crimes.

I loved this story, it’s so chillingly written with creepy characters and horrible scenes of mental torture and hallucinations that made for unsettling reading. Every Saturday, the inmates were made watch the same film for movie night called ‘Rain on Elmore Street’ and the distress was evident on each page of how this ordeal made them feel.

The story is seen from the perspective of other characters and this really pulls the story together in the end and has led Cara to the situation that she’s in.

A fantastic thriller with unreliable characters and narratives that really pulled the reader in. ‘Inside Out’ is a complex and cleverly crafted book that is a real page turner and was impossible to put down until I reached the final page.

You can pre-order ‘Inside Out’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 29th October.
Was this review helpful?
Inside Out is a locked room mystery.  Cara, the butcher, is serving a life sentence in jail when she is moved to a new facility. She is trying to adapt to her new surroundings while dealing with her reputation.  The new facility is no ordinary jail.  There is no outside time, there are screens showing landscapes that masquerade as windows and other odd things.  

I was taken for a ride at the beginning of the book.  I was very interested in the jail, Cara and the other characters.  And the author did a good job of building interest in Cara’s background, the jail and a murder that happens during the book.  But as the book concludes, I was a little unsatisfied with the ending.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first book by the author. A new author is always an unfamiliar territory and I always feel a certain anxiety, particularly with psychological thrillers , about whether it might step over a line I cannot cope with. At moments I did feel this was heading that way but it didn’t. I think it will be a real marmite one, perfect for book clubs. Set in a woman’s prison with a difference. Cara ‘the butcher’ is sent to North Fen, a prison supposedly trialling some radical new methods. Cara protests her innocence but seems condemned to a life of prison brutality and cruelty. Then her cell mate is shot dead. No gun is found and the cell was locked. Cara is determined to prove her innocence and find out what is going on. This is a compelling read, fast paced, edgy and unputdownable! You occupy a harsh, cruel world for much of the book and it does feel that everything is stacked against Cara. The marmite bit comes with the ending, the reveal/ the motivation. This really didn’t work for me, I felt it just couldn’t happen like that but I’m sure others will find it satisfying!
Was this review helpful?
Firstly a big thank you to the publishers for my copy to review on netgalley . This is a author thats been on my radar for a while .

This is a fantastic crime thriller that i raced through. Its cleverly written and plotted from start to finish.

Unpredictable and exciting, this goes in directions you least expect.

Its slick and sharp with a fresh original voice. Highly recommend.

Published 29th October and ill definitely be reading his other books.
Was this review helpful?
Inside Out Chris McGeorge 
This book is split into 3 sections,  when I finished section one and moved onto part two of the book I did feel a little confused, part 3 did change direction again but the book does come together well by the end. 
I was kept guessing right to the end, I had so many theories as I read and that kept me turning the pages, over all I did enjoy the story.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved Chris McGeorge book Guess who and was hoping that this would live up to the expectations of I had of Guess who. 

However, unfortunately for me this wasn't as good as I hoped. However saying this I did enjoy this book the concept was really good, the writing was very good. I liked the idea of the prison and not really knowing where you are going and you cant remember committing your crime......
Was this review helpful?
A twisted and deliciously dark tale of crime, mystery and retribution.

Accused of a crime she is adamant she didn't commit, Cara is sent to a new prison with an innovative design, a place with no windows, no contact with the outside world and certainly no way out.

A s she attempts to adjust to get new life, Cars learns to accept the strange new world, at least,until her climate is murdered, and Cara becomes suspect number one. Now, with only a few days to prove her innocence before being transferred to a new unit, Cara needs to uncover the mysteries that are being concealed.

But everything's not as it seems...
Was this review helpful?
I love books set in prison environment, so that and the "locked door mystery" was what sold this book to me.
HMP North Fern is the newest maximum prison for women in England. Due to the coded electronic cuffs your every move is registered and it's impossible to go anywhere without getting noticed. How is it then, that Cara's cell mat being shot to death in the middle of the night and the only suspect - Cara - is lying motionless on her bed.
I liked the story with the dark and twisted turns. Good read, interesting and entertaining.
Was this review helpful?
Chris McGeorge writes the type of novels that I love to read and even though all of his books are completely different, he gives the locked-in mystery trope always a baffling new spin. In the first novel the objective was to literally get out of a room, in the second novel there was a tunnel where everyone went in but only one person came out and everyone else went missing, and now I had the pleasure of reading about an impossible murder in prison…  

This is not a typical prison though, North Fern is one-of-a-kind. The author gives the prison a cool sci-fi vibe with the implementation of electronic cuffs and the replacement of real windows by led screens that only project images of blue skies. They don’t allow visitors in this prison either and if you thought that was horrible, how about having to watch the same fifties movie every single week on movie night for years? Presence mandatory, of course.

This is the place Cara Lockhart is sent to and when her cellmate is murdered, all eyes are on her. I knew she was a convicted murderer  – they call her The Butcher – but I believed her. It’s impossible not to sympathise with Cara, she’s easy to like, even identify with, and a clever woman who’s not fooled easily at all. We are not told from the start but intermittent with Cara’s own ‘investigation’ of what is going on the author releases little pieces of the background story that earned her that terrible nickname. 

Who, how and why are the million dollar questions and anyone who can solve this puzzle without help shall have my everlasting admiration. I was certainly convinced that someone wanted to set her up but it wasn’t only interested to know who could do this when their cell was locked but, even more interesting was finding out why. Well the truth was a real kicker. I could think of only a few persons capable but I especially enjoyed the shock factor of learning the reasons why all this had happened.  

I might not have been the biggest fan of the psychological warfare of the same old movie that Cara had to watch in isolation and the author might have taken it a bit too far there but the plot construction itself was rather genius and it all falls into the right place at the right time.

Inside Out was an exciting read that had me rooting for Cara from the start. It was deviously twisted and I’ve never seen revenge take this kind of proportions. I can’t wait to read his next novel 😃.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for the arc of this book by Chris McGeorge,

4 star read for me- a good quick read read within 24 hours, a hooking, gripping and page turning book had me wanting more, recommend to all.
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Was this review helpful?
I was gifted my copy for the blog tour for which i am late and can only apologise.  This was a brilliant thrilling and tense read that just got darker and darker as the narrative went on. Cara has just started her life sentence in a new prison, something about the place makes it unique - a different concept. We soon start to learn about Caras history, her nickname The Butcher soon gets explained and we soon realise she is adament it was a crime she didnt commit.

When she is dragged from her cell bed in the middle of the night because her cell mate and friend has been shot, she is adament she has been set up once more. However, it wasn't physically possible anyone else could of done it - the room was never opened and closed, and the camera cut out for only 3 seconds. So, Cara decides she must make her own investigation and solve the mystery in front of her but what she soon begins to discover is North Fern is not like a normal prison however normal it seems and things run alot deeper here.

This was honestly so gripping, i put it down to sleep and then decided sleep could wait because i needed answers and i needed them now, it was just so engaging. Like i mentioned it got darker as the narrative went on and the twists and turns were so unexpected. I found myself invested in Cara not only her in past but her present too - why was this happening? I feel like the author made it in a way that it was unclear what was actually happening and it was not an easy one to guess.

Its the first book i have read by the author and i can say i really was a fan of the writing style and pacing, it was fast enough that your were invested but not too fast that you lost track. I also words were written for a purpose and not just to fill space, everything was necessary even if you didnt realise it at the time. 

A great tense and thrilling read.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first Chris M George novel I've read. I was really excited by the premise of the book and a locked door mystery. This book did not disappoint. Well worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
Inside Out is Chris McGeorge’s third thriller and once again his speciality for crafting Agatha Christie-esque locked room mystery thrillers comes to the fore, with this being his best yet. Cara Lockhart is sentenced to life imprisonment at a new maximum security facility known as Fern Hall, for a crime she is adamant she did not commit and has maintained her innocence about from the very beginning. Not to mention, after settling in, she feels there is something incredibly strange about the prison with its use of futuristic technology, ban on visitors and extremely limited contact with the outside world. Windows don't exist and in their place are electronic screens which are used to show a movie one evening per week, but the strange thing is they play the same movie every week without fail. Soon musings like these are far from her mind as one morning she awakens to a nightmare. Her cellmate has been murdered and with no-one having been in or out due to the state of the art security system, Cara is once again about to be blamed for a brutal killing she apparently didn't commit.

What hits you initially about this thriller is that it's very original; by fusing advanced technology and science fiction elements with prison life and a seemingly impossible murder, McGeorge has crafted a thoroughly unpredictable, twisty and exciting read; It kept me in a state of suspense the whole time, and I loved how the author always had me feeling off-balance with no idea what was going on inside this incredibly odd prison system. Due to that, it was one of the most enjoyable thrillers I've read recently, but I suspect it'll be quite a Marmite read — one you'll either love or hate. It's well written, quick-paced and as twist after twist and reveal and reveal hits, you are left shocked and in awe of McGeorge’s imagination. Fern Hall is very much the centre of the story, even more so than central character Cara, in all its bizarre glory. This is an addictive, unique and captivating locked room mystery with plenty of intrigue and a whole lot of tension and drama. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
When Cara-Jane Lockhart, a 23-year-old prisoner serving a life sentence, is transferred from New Hall prison in Wakefield to North Fern in Buckinghamshire, she’s rather surprised to find herself at a new, futuristic prison that has its own rules and regulations.

At North Fern, prisoners wear Cuffs, which are like ID cards with a built-in tracker and allow them access to some areas and restrict where they can go. If the prisoners stray somewhere they shouldn’t, they get an electric shock. The prison guards also wear Cuffs.

The prison has impressive, state-of-the-art facilities and, rather than actual windows, there are multiple screens on the ceiling that show images of the sky. There are no clocks or any indication of time passing. Rather than time outside, the women have periods of illumination where the natural light system is turned on. The exercise yard is actually indoors and like a sports hall with mats and equipment, a wooden floor and gym equipment. It all feels like a bizarre social experiment.

The women aren’t allowed to have visitors, due to the seriousness of their crimes, but they can receive letters and small parcels from their families and friends. Movie night on Saturdays is compulsory and a rather repetitive event.

Cara was nicknamed ‘The Butcher’ at New Hall and her reputation has followed her to North Fern. She’s very wary of the other women and has a few run ins but soon makes friends with her cellmate, Stephanie Barnard, and the two women get into a routine and support each other.

When she wakes up one morning to find her cellmate dead, with a bullet hole in her forehead, Cara is horrified and protests her innocence. It seems futile with the overwhelming evidence against her – the pair were in a locked cell together and, despite a 12-second blank period in the camera feed, the systems prove that no one else had any access to the room.

As Cara is marched into an isolation cell, she’s left alone with her thoughts and decides that she needs to be strong and work out exactly what’s going on. There’s something really off about the prison but she has to remain calm and not give up, and work out the whys and hows of the situation and find the murder weapon if she has any hope of proving her innocence.

At first, there seems to be no reason why Cara has been set up but, as we learn more about past events, everything becomes clearer and there were some good twists and turns and a few aha moments!

I’m a big fan of books set in prisons and this was certainly a bit different and even more claustrophobic than your average establishment. Cara seemed the ultimate unreliable narrator – I was never sure if she was imagining things, lying or telling the truth. I wanted to like her but the crime she was convicted of was horrific and she seemed strangely detached from reality at times.

Overall, I really enjoyed Inside Out – it was entertaining, cleverly plotted and had a gripping storyline. Once I’d got into the story, I was frantically turning the pages to see how the main protagonist was going to get out of her impossible predicament. There were some interesting characters and I was never really sure who could be trusted. I had to suspend belief at times but that was all part of the charm!
Was this review helpful?
Fast becoming the modern master of the locked room mystery, this is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle, locked inside a box that has had the key thrown away. And then chucked in the sea.

Starting with a 'there is no way that could have happened' murder, Cara's story flashes back and forth throughout the book but at the very beginning, the reader is left with little doubt that she has been accused of a horrific crime. Her nickname, 'The Butcher', is eventually explained, but the reader is 100% with cara as she is taken from the prison environment which she has just about become accustomed to and thrust into an entirely new one.

She doesn't know whee she is. There are no windows and no clocks. All the women prisoners are given an iteinery but have no clue whether the times that such activities as 'Illumination' are actually held at the time they are told. The 'windows' in their cells are like tv screensavers with artificial daylight being pumped into their cells. There isn't even an exercise yard. No visiting, no contact with the outside world except for a weekly letter. The women are shown the same movie over and over and over again.

It reads like a modern hellscape, but at the same time, these are apparently the country's worst offenders. So shouldn't a punishment fit the crime?

And this is where the reader becomes fully engaged into what Chris is trying to say, in context, do those who commit crimes and step outside of the clearly defined rules of society, have the right to say what is and is not, a fair punishment? Or is that for others to decide? How much of the narrative around personal and collective responsibility is driven by the media and perceptions of who, or what a criminal is? And what about those who are actually wrongly convicted?

As Cara begins to fight back against the brutal regime of North Fern, she is working from an internal and external perspective, trying to release her mind and her body from a system which has consistently failed her.

Thoughtful, engaging and a real puzzle to work through, this novel also has cross over mentions to Chris' other books, 'Guess Who?' and 'Now You See Me' which really thrilled me! Go grab 'Inside Out' in ebook format, I guarentee it will be a few hours well spent!
Was this review helpful?
This one is a good read but it’s a bit different. 
Carla is in prison for something she strongly denies doing and life isn’t great for her. Her cellmate is then found shot dead in their shared cell, and as the door was locked all night, all eyes are on Cara. 
The prison has some strange rules so things don’t go smoothly.
For a lot of the book I couldn’t see where the story was going, whether that was intentional due to the bizarreness of it or just story telling, I’m not sure. Parts of the plot are a bit mind boggling at times so you do need to suspend belief a bit along the way.
Overall a good read. 
Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
3.5*

I’ve only read one other book by Chris McGeorge, 'Now You See Me' – I do love a story with that ‘locked in’ vibe – and you can’t get much more locked in than a prison!

When Cara Lockhart arrives at HMP North Fen, Buckinghamshire, she has already acquired the nickname of ‘The Butcher’.  It will be a while before we find out why. However it is clear that the other women prisoners despise her, which is rather ironic seeing as none of them are angels.

North Fen is a new prison and rather futuristic in design. Both prisoners and guards wear electronic cuffs to move through the prison’s areas and cells – but if a prisoner goes anywhere off limits they get an electric shock.  There are no windows, but instead digital screens show pictures of outside views of blue sky and fluffy white clouds.  It’s definitely designed with security – and secrecy in mind it would seem. No visitors are allowed.

Cara is placed in a cell with Stephanie Barnard. They get along ok and Cara thinks she has a friend. However when Stephanie is found dead in their cell, killed by a shot to the head, Cara is the obvious suspect. Their cell was locked, no one else can get into it without setting off alarms so Cara must have done it – even though the gun cannot be found.

If Cara thought that her nightmare began on being sentenced to life imprisonment for murders that she maintains she didn’t commit, her life is about to get a lot worse. There is something very wrong about New Fen – including the very sinister Governor but with no contact with the outside world, who can Cara turn to for help and how can she prove that she wasn’t a killer.

This was a complex and twisty tale that kept me wondering what on earth was going on.  With the story told from Cara’s third person perspective, it was hard to always trust her version of events; there were times when I had no idea whether things were actually happening or were just in her imagination.

As the story moves on, the backstory is revealed so that we find out why Cara is imprisoned and all the reasons behind it. There were very few characters that I actually cared about, Cara being one of them, and I was keen for her to prove her innocence as I felt she had been unjustly accused on all counts, however being locked up on her own and not knowing who she could trust, I really couldn’t see how she would do it. Kudos to the author for devising a plotline as to how this difficulty could be managed.

There were dips in pace, with the middle being a bit slower but then towards the end the pace picks up as it heads towards a dramatic denouement. The plot may have seemed a bit crazy at times, and you may have to suspend belief at some of the strands but nevertheless it was very entertaining and intriguing with plenty to keep me glued to my Kindle until the end.
Was this review helpful?