The Lucky Ones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jun 2017

Member Reviews

A sleepy Shropshire village has found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A series of murders by morphine have taken place, the bodies left in random places, all with a smile on their faces. Detective Imogen Evans realise they have a serial killer at large, but she has never encountered anything like this, even on her old London stomping ground. Nearby Ben Hofland as his own worries. His marriage has broke down, his son is bullied, he can't get work and his mother is battling (and losing) against cancer. But then things start to get better, he finds work, his son starts to settle as the local bullies suddenly have backed off. Ben begins to feel luckier, and happier....but in this story happiness is literally a death sentence.

Let me put it out there right now (I'll whisper in case any of Mr Edwards biggest fans are listening)....I'm not actually the world's biggest Mark Edwards fan. I know, I know but let me explain. I always like the sound of his books, and I enjoy them but often when I'm finished it's a bit of an anticlimax. So going into this I was cautiously optimistic. It sounds good....I know it will be good but can it be great? Oh yes, there's no issues for me with climaxes now! For me this is the best that he has written (that I've read anyway). In this we have characters to love and fear for as well as characters to fear​. It's a genuinely chilling story, the idea of someone that the perfect way to preserve happiness is to draw a full stop. 

If you intend to read this set a day aside - you won't be able to put this down.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of this author. Both his solo work and his collaborations with Louise Voss. So much so that I am always a little scared when I start a new book of his, worried that it won't live up to the very high standard he has reached thus far. Happily this book not only met my expectations, it blew them out of the water. I simply devoured it cover to cover. To say I didn't want to put it down would be an understatement and, when I had to cos of stupid life things like work, chores and sleep, I admit to being rather grumpy for the duration until I could pick it up again and continue.
So, this story revolves around single dad Ben and his son Ollie. Circumstances have dictated that they relocate from vibrant London back to Ben's rural childhood village. Initially struggling, suddenly things start going their way. Ben finds a job, Ollie rids himself of his bullies, the neighbour's dog shuts up its incessant barking. Every aspect of their lives are on the up, but is it just fortune favouring the bold or is there something more sinister at work?
Meanwhile, Detective Imogen Evans is investigating a serial killer. As with most of this kind of investigation, there are things that seem a bit weird. All the victims have dies with a big smile on their faces. But, apart from dying happy, what connects them?
As already mentioned, this book gripped me from the off and held my attention nicely throughout. I connected with all the characters right from the off which really helped my overall enjoyment. I especially loved the relationship between Ben and Ollie. 
As with most of this author's books, this one is pretty dark. Oh, and creepy, very creepy. Also, it's very well plotted which is has to be because it is all a bit interconnected and convoluted and, where maybe a lesser author would lose their way, this is something that Mr Edwards completely excels at. Every time I think I've read his best book, up he pops with something that impresses me more. 
Pacing was darned near perfect too. There were the very welcome quieter moments which allowed me a wee bit of breathing space so I could calm down and refresh myself a bit before the action started up again. There was also a good balance between description and story; enough to complement rather than overshadow the narrative.
All in all, another great addition to an already impressive back catalogue. Can't wait to see what he serves up next time.

My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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I have loved all of Mark Edward's books and this one is no exception. Not your usual serial killer, as the killer makes sure his victims die with a smile on their face. Why and how? You won't want to put this down until you finish it. Thank you Mark and Netgalley for this advanced copy. Another great book. 😀
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The Lucky Ones is another great thriller from Mark Edwards.
DI Imogen Evans is investigating the deaths of three people in the sleepy villages of Shropshire, the victims are appear to be physically unharmed and with a blissful smile on their faces. With no clues or forensic evidence DI Evans and her partner DS Emma Stockwell search for a link between the victims to try and capture the serial killer before he strikes again.
A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky. Someone is watching Ben, and someone wants Ben smiling again !!!
I loved Ben and his caring ways, as well as DI Imogen Evans and could see her character as a series because she has a story or two to tell (same with Ben, I didn’t quite get enough of them)
The Lucky Ones is another well written and twisty book from this great author and kept me gripped throughout.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Mercer for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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It’s not lucky to be happy…….

After the breakdown of his marriage, Ben Hofland moves back to the Shropshire village of his birth with his son Ollie. It soon becomes clear that it will be tough for both father and son to establish themselves in their new community. Ollie is bullied at school and Ben finds it tough finding work locally. Financially therefore, things are tight.

Another newcomer to the area is Detective Inspector Imogen Evans – she of the red hair and Mercedes vintage sports car. Evans has been put in charge of the investigation of murders by the so-called Shropshire Viper and may have put a few noses out of joint by accepting the challenge.

The Viper’s victims all die with a smile on their faces in an apparent state of bliss. The scene is therefore set for a psychological crime thriller with a twist.

The main characters stand up well to scrutiny and are well fleshed out. The author’s writing style is fluid and excellently matched to the pace of the story and the events which unfold. The dialogue is natural and easy to follow. So why only 4 stars? Fundamentally the story had little spark. I empathised with the characters but had no real concern for them. It sounds as if I damn with faint praise when I suggest that the writing was solid and worthy but not outstanding when in fact I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre. Maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part as I didn’t guess the name of the killer. 

So, a very solid, well-deserved 4 stars for a worthwhile read.

mr zorg 

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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I've read all of this author's solo books which have been great and this one is no exception.  

The story follows a serial killer that the police have nicknamed The Viper, whose MO is a strange one, all his victims look like they've died happy, their eyes are open and they have a smile on their face.  It's DI Imogen Evans and her teams job to find out why he's doing this.   

This book is full of surprises and keeps you guessing right till the end.  When the perpetrator is revealed, it's quite a shock, totally unexpected.  I love Mark Edwards style of writing and would love to see a sequel to this one to find out what happens next. 

I would like to thank Thomas & Mercer for approving me to read this and will post my review on Goodreads now and on Amazon on publication day.
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Another excellent novel by Mark Edwards. This one is not as twisty as previous stories, but the turns are still surprising and the character development very accomplished. After a spat of the worst luck imaginable, Ben Holland's life is starting to turn around. His estranged wife seems to realize what a big mistake she made by leaving him, his son's bullies stopped torturing him, he has exciting new work prospects and he may be on his way to being happy. Or is he being manipulated by a serial killer for his own nefarious purposes? Detective Imogen Evans is trying to find out who murdered three people who died smiling. They all seemed to have unexplainable good luck until they were killed. How does Ben fit into all this? There are three different points of view: Ben's and the killer's chapters are written in the first person, while Imogen and the parts relating to the murder inquiry are in the third. This normally confuses me, but in this case I was so engrossed that it didn't bother me at all. The final chapters were so exciting that I couldn't stop reading. A solid read.
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There's one think you can always guarantee with Mark Edward and that's  a taut and suspense filled read. The author certainly knows how to write a thrilling psychological thriller and his latest The Lucky Ones is definitely a worthy addition to this authors work. 

The author writes about scary things happen to ordinary people, the next door neighbour, the happily married couple, or in this case Single dad Ben Hofland forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, but of course nothing is straight forward in The Lucky Ones, with a serial killer who has a unique way of murdering his victims Dead bodies begin to pile up and what follows is an unpredictable and throughly enjoyable read. 

The story is told from three POV Detective Imogen Evan's, Ben and from diary entries of the killer, now sometimes this can make all the difference to a read , when done badly it can make a read seem disjointed and I find my interest tends to wane,  But fortunately Mark Edwards manages to do go between the three seamlessly, each characters POV adds intrigue to the tale and heightens the overwhelming sense of foreboding. The author has created characters that are both engaging and likeable. 

I personally thought The Lucky Ones leaned more to the crime thriller genre but in saying that there were enough psychological elements,  paranoia, tension, red herrings to make this an unsettling but compelling read. Craftily plotted Mark Edwards has a real talent for telling a story and keeping the reader guessing right to the very last moments which make his novels a joy to read. 

This review maybe altered slightly and edited prior to publication on my blog
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The best book I've read this year by far! Mark has such a way with words, he draws you in to the story within the first few lines. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down, every opportunity I got, I was reading it. The Lucky Ones is a fantastic book, I highly recommend it.
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This is a book that you slip into without having to re-adjust your expectations. Easy to read, it flows nicely, leading a merry dance across the hills and vales of Shropshire, dropping gentle hints and clues as it goes, while you try to follow sifting the clues as you go, avoiding the dead bodies littering the more obscure bits of the path.
Lovely dad Ben Hofland has returned to the beautiful countryside of his youth with son Ollie, following the break-up of his marriage due to his wife’s infidelity. Ben’s brain is still seared with the image of catching her in flagrante in the marital home.
Ollie, his son, still hopes that their move is temporary and that his mum and dad will reconcile. In the meantime he is miserable at his new school and piling on the pounds as he eats his way to try and find comfort (hint to Ollie – it doesn’t work – trust me, I know).
D.I. Imogen Evans is in sleepy Shropshire because she’s escaping a bad decision she made whilst at the Met. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, her impulsive tendencies led her to fail to stop a junior officer from doing something very stupid, which resulted in a permanent injury for him and a serious black mark on her career.
Imogen would be hiding in Shropshire if only her bright red hair hadn’t made that impossible.
Meanwhile, Fiona, newly fit after a recent heart transplant, is cycling home through the countryside when she sees a white van blocking the road.  Later she is found dead in the ruined priory, a smile on her face and her eyes open. She is the latest victim of a serial killer known as ‘The Viper’.
As Imogen tries to rescue her career and find the link between the killer and his/her victims, Ben and Ollie’s fortunes start to change for the better. 
In a compelling and fast paced book, riddled with clues real and false, Edwards has created a thriller that pleases and puzzles in equal measure.
There’s a lovely contrast between the quiet rural idyll of Ironbridge and the number of brutally killed bodies found in the book.
Compulsive and addictive, this is a book I flew through with enjoyment and pleasure.
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I would like to thank Thomas & Mercer, NetGalley and Mark Edwards for the ARC (advanced reading copy) of "The Lucky Ones" by Mark Edwards for my honest review.

The genres for this book are General Fiction(Adult), Mystery and Thriller, and Suspense.

The characters are described as complicated and complex. Some of the characters are plain and ordinary flawed people with problems. Some of the characters are quirky and seem to be suspect of doing evil things.

I like the way the author provides a unusual and suspenseful story-line. There is a serial killer or killers who equates happiness with death.  The killer or killers make sure the  victims find happiness in their life, and then these victims are ready to be killed. Most of the victim's that are killed are found smiling. What is the motivation for this murder? Who and why is this happening? How are the victims picked out?

There is constant suspense, action, twists and turns with a surprising ending. I liked that the author resolves the story but leaves the reader with an uncomfortable feeling that this might not be the ending.

I would highly recommend this novel as an intriguing and suspenseful mystery.
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I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas & Mercer for supplying a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book it started out very quickly which got me hooked and turning the pages from page one.

This was a very easy read which I read in just 2 sittings. It was a very complex story peppered with lots of twists   The characters were very likeable and it left me wishing that this was not a standalone and we have more books with Detective Imogen Evans to look forward to.

When I thought I had figured out what was happening I was proved very wrong. Very very clever

I would definitely recommend this book.
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Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book. This is the second Mark Edwards book I've read and really enjoyed it. The storyline grabs you from the first page, easy reading and kept me guessing till the end. Definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author 👍
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Another corker from Mark Edwards! 
Initially confusing with what appears to be several lead characters, this book weaves a compelling tale with many possible avenues to explore.

I loved the lead characters of DI Imogen and Ben plus felt the villains were multi layered and complex which was intriguing.
A brilliant premise and an intriguing tale makes this another Can't Put It Down book from Mark Edwards. 

A well- deserved 5* from me.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  I really liked this author and this was another great book
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4.5 stars

Mark Edwards is truly becoming one of my most favorite mystery/suspense authors. Does it help that every book of his that I have opened has been read with my favorite Goodread's buddy Christine? I say yes, I think it does!! :)

If I'm completely honest, I think that if I had read this latest on my own, the rating would most likely not be as high as it is. While this was by far the most ambitious thrillers Edwards has come up with, it is also the one that stretches that line of believe-ability to a point that was hard to ignore this time around. Reading this with my buddy allowed me to address these eye roll moments and move on, spending more time trying to decipher the many clues (or red herrings) and suspects (or are they?) as well as trying to anticipate what was coming next.

And oh how Edwards had us all over the place with this one! It is this element that Edwards really shines and keeps me coming back for more! Whatever will you come up with next?!

With that, I am going to leave you with a link to my buddy Christine's review. It is by far even more enthusiastic than mine, and well worth the visit to read it. Mark Edwards need to hire her for some PR work! ;) 

ARC provided by NetGalley
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Fiona Redbridge is happy. In fact, she's never been happier. She's having an affair with a much younger man, which has made her feel alive again. Literally, after surviving a heart transplant a while ago. And selling a Roman cup that came into her antique shop for a considerable amount of money was the icing on her very lucky cake.

However, Fiona's amazing luck comes to an abrupt end when she is killed by a stranger in a place that holds significant meaning for her. Fiona isn't the first and, if the killer gets his way, she won't be the last. What is special about his seemingly unconnected victims? Why do they die smiling? And what is the relevance of the locations the killer chooses to leave them?

Will new-cop-on-the-block DI Imogen Evans be able to work it all out in time to stop the killer claiming another victim to add to his list of 'the lucky ones'?

Ben and his son Ollie have moved to Shropshire from London, away from Ben's ex-wife and a messy break-up. Ben grew up in the village and has mixed feelings about being back'; his mum is ill and in a care home, and Ollie is missing his mum and his friends back in London, and is comfort-eating to cope. Then there is Michael Stone, his ex's new partner - an old friend and well-known TV reporter who likes to make it known how far he has come since his beginnings in sleepy Shropshire.

However, Shropshire wakes up when another body is discovered and quickly linked to others which have been attributed to 'The Shropshire Viper', a potential serial killer stalking victims in the county. DI Imogen Evans, instantly recognisable thanks to her flowing red mane of hair, is in charge of the investigation. Another refugee from the Capital, she is becoming frustrated at her lack of progress on the case - a fact which has also not gone unnoticed by her superior officer, who takes great delight in belittling Imogen at every opportunity.

Ben's fortune begins to change when he is randomly offered much-needed freelance work. Ollie appears to be having a change of heart about living in the sticks and when his issue with the noisy neighbours next door is suddenly resolved in an unexpected manner, Ben really starts feeling happy again. And then there's Imogen, who Ben meets after saving a man's life - a man Imogen believes could be tied up in her case. There's clearly chemistry between Ben and the detective inspector, but her investigations lead her to question if Ben is really the good guy he appears to be.

After several other strange occurrences, the hunt for the Viper intensifies as it becomes clear he is about to strike again - and Imogen needs to work out who, where and when.

I've been a fan of Mark Edwards' books for a few years, despite something of a lack of consistency. However, with 'The Lucky Ones', Edwards is back with a bang and I feel this is his best solo effort yet. The story twists and turns and there are plenty of possible characters to choose from as potential killers! I enjoyed how the story is told via Imogen in the third person, and Ben and the mysterious killer in the first person. This gives the reader plenty of insight into the killer's warped psyche and how he or she tries to justify why they do what they do. It also means we get to know and quite like Ben (or not, depending on your viewpoint!), who just wants Ollie to be happy, but would quite like some happiness in his own life too.

There are plenty of interesting characters - some quirky, some creepy, some just downright unpleasant and Edwards really does leave the reader guessing as to who is really involved in the murders, despite the inner thoughts of the killer being revealed throughout the story. The plot is sufficiently complex to hold the reader's interest, yet it is written in a style that is easy to read. The setting of the novel is interesting; it's hard to imagine such grisly murders happening in places like Ironbridge and Much Wenlock, but Edwards just about manages to make it believable.

If you enjoy crime thrillers and police procedurals, I think you'll enjoy 'The Lucky Ones'. I'd like to see more from DI Imogen Evans in the future and I hope Edwards is able to continue her story in future novels.
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Dear Mr. Edwards,

We meet once again, one year later. Every year you put a book out there for my reading buddy and me, daring us to outsmart you. You do realize we are getting to know you, don’t you? That gave us an advantage. We were up for the challenge, ready for anything you could throw us. 

So, I have to admit your prologue is pretty stellar. It is divided into two parts, Ben’s part and a killer’s part. Ooh, double perspectives. Love it, especially when one of them is the baddie. Gives us a better chance to profile this guy, figure out who he is, and why he is the bastard he is. Probably a mistake on your part to give us this break.

Ben is a great guy. If I were into guys, I would wish to have a Ben for myself. Ben is not doing well though. He has an unhappy son Ollie, an estranged wife (foolish woman), and a terminally ill mum. And he has lost his job. You have not been kind to Ben, Mr. Edwards. The baddie seems to have had a crappy start to life, but don’t all the bad guys out there? This baddie is different though, and kudos to you for serving up a very peculiar psychopath. This guy is looking for some personal redemption. He also wants people to be happy and thinks he knows how to make that happen. Oh, and he feels it would be perfect for good, happy people to actually die happy. You are also making us kind of understand him, Mr. Edwards, but really, I kind of resent that. Makes me feel bad about myself, sympathizing with a killer.

Geez, this book is long, but it clips along pretty darn fast. How do you do that? Your shorty chapters help. So do all those bread crumbs, or should I say bread hunks, that you keep dropping. Wow, from nearly the start you were doling out little clues all over the place. In fact two thirds of the way through you were info dumping so fast and furiously, practically in loaves, I wondered what the heck you were saving for the final third of the story. Well, you were just withholding the best for last, weren’t you? I have to say you impressed me with that, Mister. And that plot! Holy moly. It pains me to compliment you too much, I don’t want your head to swell up and explode, but that storyline is as UNIQUE as it gets. Props, Mr. Thriller Writer, MAJOR Props.

Boy, I’m tired though. My buddy and I dissected this story to death. I mean we were working. And thinking and thinking some more. You ruined my week as I was thinking so much I couldn’t think about anything else. It was worth it though. Thanks to my buddy, I kind of guessed the end, sort of, in a way. Well, not really, but I like to think I did better than I did with your last book. OK, fine. I totally didn’t get it, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I deserve credit for that. And. It. Was. So. Much. Fun!!! 

Now I have to call you out on a few things. You are one of those authors who likes that literary license stuff. You know that drives me nuts. I know a thing or two about medicine. I’ve been around that block. And your method of killing just isn’t something you or I could do at home. It just doesn’t work that slick in real life. Just sayin’. I also know a little math. I was a math major before bailing out when third semester calculus lost touch with the real world. You messed up a few family history numbers, saying one thing, then another, but since that didn’t mess up the plot, I’ll give you that. And another outrageous move, giving a DI a job that she would never have in real life—at least you had the courtesy to write into the script that that was something we should never expect to really happen. Kept you from being called out, didn’t it, Mr. E? Offense is the best defense, right? Don’t think I’m forgetting about the medical thing though. That is a biggie! I could dock your stars for that, but I won’t because of two reasons. First, you threw a big modicum of police procedural in this one—my favorite genre. Much more importantly, you totally entertained me in 10-star grand fashion with The Lucky Ones, so five (seems measly) maximal stars it remains!

Oh phooey, what a letdown. I’m done with you for another year, and you pretty much beat me again with this utterly brilliant piece of work. But as I say, I’m getting to know your MO. And I’m going to get you next year. My buddy and me. Yep, we are. So take your best shot. We’ll be waiting.

Christine, your forever fan

I wish to thank Net Galley and Thomas and Mercer for an advanced copy of The Lucky Ones. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and totally mine.
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A woman's body was found in the grounds of a ruined priory. Detective Imogen Evans soon realises she's dealing with a serial killer.

Ben Hofland has moved back to the village he grew up in following the breakdown of his marriage. He has custody of his young son, Ollie. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky. But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Is Bens luck about to run out?

Mark Edwards just get better and better. The plot line is quite clever, fast paced and very well written. The characters are mostly likeable but all of them are believable. There are a few twists to keep yo guessing, and guess I did right to the end of the book. I do recommend this book.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and the author Mark Edwards for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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An excellent crime thriller from Mark Edwards.  I have been a fan of his books after first reading The Magpies and The Lucky Ones is another amazing book from a very talented author.

Full of mystery and suspense and a gritty page-turning plot that will twist and turn you in every direction to uncover the truth.  Detective Imogen Evans leads the investigation in the hunt for the serial killer The Viper,  I do hope to read more about her in the near future.
All of the characters are fabulously drawn, I could imagine them in a TV series as they were so well portrayed.  
The Lucky Ones kept me guessing literally until the end, it's a completely engaging read with wonderful writing, great characters and story line.  Would definitely recommend.

Thank you!
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