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The Girl in the Van by Helen Matthews

I have enjoyed the books by Helen Matthews that I have read and was delighted when I learned that she had published a new book, The Girl in the Van.

The Blurb

A tormented mother. An abandoned girl. A deadly game of survival.

What happened to Ellie?

Traumatised by events, Ellie’s mother, Laura, can’t bear to stay in the Welsh seaside town where she lives with her partner, Gareth. She escapes to London, breaking all ties with him, and refusing to tell anyone her new address.

After two years of living alone and working in a mundane job, Laura buys an old campervan and joins a singles holiday. Here, she meets Miriana, a teenage girl who bears a chilling resemblance to Ellie. As Laura uncovers Miriana’s story, she’s shocked by the parallels to her own life.

But stories can be dangerous, and someone out there will stop at nothing to prevent the truth about Ellie from coming out…

The Review

When I began to read The Girl in the Van I was not sure that I would enjoy the book. It tells the story of a woman, Laura, who goes on a camping holiday. She is trying to get her life back on track after the disappearance of her daughter, Ellie, the breakdown of her relationship and leaving a job she loves.

However, the vacation does not do the trick and she leaves early only to find a girl, who looks like her daughter, in the back of her van. She finds the girl shortly after she leaves the campsite and agrees to drive her to London, but how could the two sets of circumstances be connected?

The author weaves her magic. The girl closely resembles Ellie and Laura becomes attached to her. Their lives become intertwined and eventually the story reaches its unexpected but satisfactory conclusion.

I will not reveal any spoilers here. Suffice to say that I very much enjoyed The Girl in the Van and highly recommend it to those who enjoy sophisticated psychological mysteries.

The Author

Welcome to my Amazon author page. I write page-turning psychological suspense and suspense thrillers and I'm fascinated by the darker side of human nature and how a life can change in an instant. Look out for my new novel 'The Girl in the Van' to be published on 17 March by Darkstroke Books and available for pre-order now. It's a chilling page-turner that touches on serious and complex themes including individual grief and vulnerability, as well as societal responsibilities towards the disadvantaged and dispossessed. According to an advance reader "It manages to be both thought-provoking and thrilling - no mean feat."

My previous novel 'Facade' was published by Darkstroke and is a twisty tale of tragedy, guilt and revenge in a family where 'silence echoes louder than truth'.

Why not try 'Lies Behind the Ruin' published in April 2019 by Hashtag Press? It's domestic noir and contemporary suspense about a family whose problems at home in the UK threaten to overwhelm them so they try to outrun them by moving to a 'ruin' in France. But secrets and lies from the past pursue them because, after all, how can you build a new life on toxic foundations?

My debut novel 'After Leaving the Village' was published in October 2017. It won first prize in the opening pages category at Winchester Writers' Festival. It's a gritty contemporary suspense thriller so won't suit all tastes but it's been hailed by reviewers as 'very much a novel of our times' and 'powerful' of the reasons 'why it has been endorsed by anti-slavery charity, Unseen.'

I'm now an ambassador for the charity and available to give talks at festivals, author events and to local groups about the themes in my novel.

I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a review.

My short story and travel writing collection Brief Encounters is available as an eBook and includes many prize winning and short-listed stories. Take a look at my website over on where you'll also find my contact details and can tell me what you loved - or hated - about my novel.

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