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Member Reviews

Ooooo this was a fantastic read with a unique storyline I’d not come across before 😃 really enjoyed it, a good little psychological thriller that was an easy read, scary in places and the perpetrator was pretty twisted (just how I like them)! Great little book that I read in two sessions.
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#Gone #NetGalley
Superb thriller.
I was hooked when i read its premise. It was different from other thrillers available today with an unexpected ending. 
Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read: Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all. Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people. But these people are the dangerous ones. 
Narration of the story is crispy and holds till the last word of the last page. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Black Swan for giving me an advanced copy of this awesome psychological Thriller.
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I stated off enjoying this book, it was slow going but kept me interested. However in the second half of the book the village I live in is mentioned and the village right next to mine. It lost me at that point because of inaccuracies. The inaccuracies were nothing to do with the story really and probably silly but the very fact that they were there took me away from the story. I always feel if an author is going to write about a real place in a work of fiction then it needs to be absolutely spot on. 

From that point on for me the story just fizzled out and I’m lost as to what exactly the game was. The point of it was obvious but what exactly was it? I feel this is a book that could go on into a series to give more of an understanding of things left unexplained and I would be prepared to read more. 

Unfortunately those local inaccuracies spoilt this book for me and so I can only give 4 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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I was instantly attracted Sri this book when I read the synopsis and I have to say that the book did not disappoint. 

I read this so quickly and loved how different and gripping it was. 

I really liked the characters and the plot was well constructed and thought out. 

I did have some suspicions though, as I usually do but the ending and the big reveal wasn’t that obvious. 

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick thriller.
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Loved this book although it was very dark and scary for me. I love Psychological but this was on another level...
I loved the main characters Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson
Loved the way the book kept giving hints to the story and kept me wanting to read more, even when I really needed to sleep.....well written and great end
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I have to say that at the beginning of Gone I was a little confused, and wasn’t entire sure whether I was going to enjoy this as much as I had expected, but once the story picks up, it really sucks you in. Although this wasn’t a fast paced thriller, it didn’t really need to be, as the plot was well developed and engaging, and I rather enjoyed Leona Deakin‘s writing style. However, I did figure out a few of the outcomes, as it got a little predictable towards the end of the story.

The characters were all extremely interesting, and although there wasn’t a great deal of information about them revealed, I feel like that added to the mystery of the story. Dr Bloom and her ex-MI6 colleague, Marcus, were a great combination, and their relationship brought some humour into an otherwise serious storyline. They were entertaining to read, and complemented each other perfectly.

Deakin is something of an expert in the field of Psychology, which made Gone a lot easier to understand, as she managed to explain the medical side of it in a way that was easy for ALL readers to understand, rather than being confused by a load of medical terms. She also managed to pull this off without it sounding patronising towards the readers too.

The social media aspect of the story was very thought-provoking, and has actually made me think a lot more about the way I use social media, and what I share online. I like to think that I am conscious of this already, and that I don’t share more than I should, or more than is safe, but after reading how even something as small as Facebook quizzes can be used, I am definitely going to think a lot more about what I do online. So for that, Leona Deakin, I would like to thank you!

Overall, I did really enjoy this book, despite predicting some aspects of the ending. The storyline was interesting, different, and full of suspense. I would definitely recommend this, especially if you are interested in Psychology.

I give Gone a 4/5 rating.
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Many thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. This is a truly gripping psychosocial thriller with some great characters and it kept my interest to the end. I did find the beginning a little slow and difficult to get into as they introduced all the different characters,  who had received these cards,  but once I got into the flow of story I was well away.
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Psychologist Dr Augusta Bloom and her work partner, ex-secret service man Marcus Jameson, are drawn into a twisted game when people start disappearing. All that is left is an anonymous birthday card. 

Things started off well and I found myself completely engrossed in the story and the characters. I do like a dark and twisty read and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. The author definitely has a writing talent and I was eagerly waiting to see just where this story was going to go. I especially enjoyed the focus on how people complete online personality quizzes without much thought as to what the results are telling those who set them. Unfortunately I found the second half of the book to be predictable and, without giving too much away, it was frankly unbelievable that one of the characters would be so easily manipulated. The writing itself though was enjoyable and for that reason I would be interested in reading a sequel should this become a series. Overall a solid 3.5 stars. 

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Random House UK / Transworld Publishers / Black Swan, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  #Gone #NetGalley

Gripping, twisty and unputdownable -"Gone" is a force of nature of a debut from Leona Deakin.

Wow. What a debut of a novel. At one fell swoop Leona Deakin has confirmed her status as a future luminary of the thriller/mystery genre. I loved every single page of "Gone", and as a consequence Deakin is my new auto-buy author when I am in desperate search of a stylish, high concept thriller. You've read the blurb, so I won't go into the precis of the novel in too much depth. Suffice to say, the concept of the novel is hugely original in the way the author plays with the binary of victim/perpetrator. This is at the core of the plot; whether the protagonists of 'the game' are victims of a psychopathic genius or willing, highly motivated protagonists in the perpetration of their own evil deeds. All will become clear as you read "Gone", but let me just tell you, all is not what it seems. Indeed, it is left to the genius pairing of criminal psychologist, Dr Augusta Bloom and ex MI6 spy Marcus Jameson, to figure out the rationale of 'the game', and the purpose of its growing list of 'players'. Ever present is the spectre of the highly functional, organised psychopath. These highly evolved anomalies of human nature are not necessarily the obvious stuff of nightmares: the Bundy's, the Gacy's, the Dahmer's - but predators that walk almost imperceptibly amongst us. Well, almost... if not for the smile that never quite reaches the eyes and the crocodile tears that are mere stand-ins for real human emotions. These are the ideas at the heart of Leona Deakin's tour de force of a debut. A high-octane, self-propelling, compulsive thriller of high ideas and low humanity. I would say that "Gone" is nothing like I have never read before, but there are shades of Nicci French, Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner, crossed with the substantive observations made by Jon Ronson in "The Psychopath Test" in Leona Deakin's writing. Yes, this novel is THAT GOOD. As I have run out of superlatives for this fantastic book I will stop my meanderings now. On a final note: don't hesitate in getting your hands Leona Deakin's debut novel - Going, going, "Gone".
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I loved this book. The two lead characters were instantly likeable and worked so well together. A story full of twists and an unpredictable ending. I love the intertwining stories. An interesting read
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This was a very good book, very twisty and quite unnerving at times. I loved the way it kept me interested all the way through. I really had no idea how it was going to finish in the end and like most of these types of books it was exciting to read and I finished it quickly.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
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An absolutely brilliant debut....
I felt it was such a well written book and gives you everything you want in a psychological thriller..
It's scary, pure thrilling and has many hair raising moments throughout.
We meet Dr Augusta Bloom and her colleague Marcus Jameson in this first book in a new series.....
I did love the relationship between these two and wondered was Dr Bloom a little in love perhaps with her friend.
Two very likeable characters with so much more to come from them.
Dr Bloom is a psychologist and we are introduced early on in the story to one of her patients Seraphine who has attacked a school caretaker trying to protect herself and her friend.
This thriller begins with people across the country going missing after receiving a birthday card in the post with the words "Happy first birthday".
Once they receive the birthday card, they are asked to play a game and then they disappear out of their lives, their loved ones non the
Marcus Jameson is ex MI6, quite closely guarded and determined to help his friends daughter when she comes to him looking to find her mum who has disappeared.
Augusta & Marcus must work together with the police to try understand what or who is behind this game and the disappearances.
It's a fast paced read, quite a page turner so full of intrigue and mystery.
A cracking start to a series....
Well worth taking the time for this one....
Well done Leona....
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People go missing – all on their birthdays after receiving intriguing birthday cards daring them to play. Psychologist Augusta Bloom and her colleague Marcus Jameson (ex Secret Service) get involve in the case, as at least one person missing is known to them – a family friend’s mother has vanished, following the pattern with the card. The more they investigate, the more complex the case becomes and as they start to dig really deep not only is the case starting to be dangerous to them personally, but they learn much more about the people missing and the results of their investigations are shocking. People that disappeared seem to have left out of their own will, leaving behind families and friends – who does it? Why?

One is sure – I have never (really, never) done a test on Facebook or somewhere else in the internet, how clever am I without knowing that I’m clever, no? I have no idea how it really works, and if it is like in this novel, that when you do such tests other people may benefit from it – but if it really is like this then I am truly in shock. I must be born in the wrong times then.

I wouldn’t say that the book is a slow – burner, however the beginning is somehow difficult and a little confusing, and I wasn’t sure what to feel. But no worries there, guys. Even if I wouldn’t determine the pace of this book as quick, there are many twists and turns and questions that you desperately want to know answers to, so there is really not a moment that feels flat. Yes, some things feel too far – fetched and yes, I rolled my eyes once or twice but nevertheless it is a tense and captivating novel. Despite the confusing start, I was quickly drawn into the story, it has really grown under my skin, with the interesting plot and thought – provoking relevant ideas about how we use social media.
There are also many characters and almost each time I had to consider who it is, to whom they belong and what’s their problem, and it was a bit confusing as well, as till the end, except for the few main characters, I had problems with them and each time the point of view changes, it took me a moment or two to recognize the person.

The main characters felt a bit too one – dimensional for my liking, however they were interesting enough, their background was also very entertaining. Augusta and Marcus worked together brilliantly and they complemented each other, the banter and dynamics between them was natural and genuine. What’s more, they might have been main characters, but also a huge part of focus was directed on the missing people and their stories, and it added tons of meaning to the story – I desperately wanted to know who those people are and why they went missing and what their problem is. I racked my brains at what it is that actually happened with the missing characters but I loved the way Augusta and Marcus were leading us to the end, to the final revelations. I had a feeling that we’re exactly at the same level with them, that we know the same things, we’re not a step behind or ahead of them and I think I guessed who, why and what at the same moment as Augusta. Looking back, there were enough hints and I probably should have guessed a bit earlier, but it only shows that a) my detective skills don’t exist and b) the author writes in a clever, misdirecting way, which is a huge bonus point.

The writing style is chatty and engaging, down to earth and easy to follow and the plot was so imaginative, different and fascinating, and it was really refreshing to read this book, even if it was full of psychology – however, I am personally fascinated with psychology, and secondly, the author is an expert in this area and explains the medical language in an approaching and comprehensible way. Hats off to the author for being able to explain the psychological jargon in such a fascinating way that never feels dry nor patronizing.
“Gone” was a scary, thought – provoking and thrilling rollercoaster ride full of intrigue and suspense and some of the best parts were the psychological insights of the game and the way the author has got into her characters’ heads. It also touched upon social media and reading this book will make you think twice the next time you’ll want to fill something on Facebook. Truly recommended!
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Gone was a fantastic, absorbing and original book from an exciting new author. The thing that I most liked about this book is that the reader gets to look inside the mind of a psychopath which I found very intriguing.

This book gripped me from the start with a really dramatic opening where we are introduced to the fascinating Seraphine. She was definitely a character that interested me as I was never sure if she was telling the truth or not which helped add an unpredictable edge to the story. I enjoyed learning more about her through her sessions with Dr Bloom as I got to learn more about her story and how it fits in with what’s been happening.

Dr Augusta Bloom was my favourite character by far as I was impressed by her determination to try and solve the case, despite not having to as she wasn’t a police officer. She’s obviously a very clever lady and I enjoyed reading about her psychology sessions and seeing how her mind works. Her friendship with her partner Marcus, an ex16 agent, was wonderful to read about, especially their interactions and how they compliment each other.

Overall I thought this was a chilling and fascinating read which I found hard to put down. It’s different from other psychological thrillers that I’ve read which made a nice change. I’m very excited to read more from her and the future and hope this isn’t the last we see of Augusta and Marcus.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Transworld publishers for my copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Gone is a truly twisted, high-octane mystery thriller that starts with a bang and which I raced through in a few hours.

The story is highly original, both in terms of plot and in the set up of Bloom and Jameson’s work, and manages successfully to combine modern methods with motives as old as the hills to produce a terrifyingly plausible narrative.

The book gives you several strands to grasp, but each is distinctly written and moves along at a great pace. The chapters jump back and forth between the different areas which increases the sense of urgency and you always want to know the next thing, the next thing.

Gone is full of great characters, fabulous twists and really, really scary ideas!

Leona Deakin does a great job of keeping all the different balls in the air and each plate spinning at the right speed. I cannot wait to read more about Dr Bloom and am pleased to see book 2, Lost, will be out next year.
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Augusta Bloom is called in to help find a mother who has gone missing. The only clue is a birthday card left behind and a hint at a game. Soon they discover that more people have gone missing after receiving a card. Just what makes these people unique and where have they gone. 

This was an interesting concept and the story delivered. The plot was different and built up well but I did find the ending seemed a little flat. I liked the hint it left at the end but wanted more of a showdown. There are some good twists in this and it wasnt until close to the end that I figured out who was behind it all. I wasnt sure about Augusta but I did warm to Jameson quickly. A good thriller with a brilliant twist
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It has been a while since I read a truly gripping psychological thriller and the words on the cover drew me in. I was expecting something different from this debut and so I was delighted when I was approved for it on NetGalley.

When four strangers go missing on their birthdays, cryptic calling cards are left behind reading ‘Your gift is the game. Dare to play?’. The police aren’t about to waste time hunting down grown adults who appear to have disappeared voluntarily. So it’s up to PI dream team, psychologist Augusta Bloom and ex-MI6 agent Marcus Jameson to track them down and solve the mystery but where -or who- is the real danger?

The opening chapters see Augusta treating a teenage girl called Seraphine, who has mortally injured her school caretaker. Augusta has a very relatable cynicism and I found her incredibly likeable from the beginning. She manages to be both a shrewd career woman and incredibly compassionate, a combination rarely seen in women within crime fiction. I was with her for the entire narrative and was desperately trying to help her figure things out.

I wasn’t so taken with her professional partner Marcus. He had an air of the arrogant bachelor about him that grated on me but I did enjoy him as a sidekick. I couldn’t quite work out whether Augusta had a crush on him or not but their relationship had a certain undercurrent that went slightly deeper than a professional level. They complement each other really well, which is essential in any crime-fighting team.

I really enjoyed the occasional scenes that perfectly described both inner and outer modern life in a busy city. Deakin is clearly a very observant writer and it’s clever how she reflects the fast pace of the city with the incessant busyness of the average human brain. She paints a very vivid picture and completely sucks me into the square with Augusta. I’m right there with a takeaway coffee considering all the evidence while all of this life happens around me.

Seraphine was undoubtedly the creepiest teen character I’ve ever read. I think it was the fact that she was so wickedly clever, ruthless and manipulative for a child that unsettled me so much. Like Augusta, I have an interest in psychopathic minds myself, so I recognised her symptoms almost straightaway but Seraphine still unsettled me deeply. She seemed capable of absolutely anything, which made her -and therefore the plot- thoroughly unpredictable, which kept me hungrily turning the pages.

As the final links were being made, my mind slowly began to wake up to what had really been going on behind the scenes of this dark twisted game. Naturally, I’d been trying to make connections and put the puzzle together myself but I didn’t see the conclusion coming at all, which I really appreciated. 

Gone is a very riveting debut and I’m really excited to see what Leona Deakin does next. Normally with thrillers, I prefer to spend as much time as possible inside the mind of the perpetrator so I’m not typically a fan of police procedural crime but I gobbled this one up in less than two days. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a fast, high-stakes ride to round off your reading year!
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This book was so good. After reading it I really am scared of the power psychopaths have in our society. If even a small part of the things described in the story are true, then this is a really scary scenario. Great debut novel and hopefully there is a lot more to come!
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Let me say from the beginning that I really, really liked this book; the characters and the plot were original and twisted, I am sure that any crime lover would love this book, all of them!
Now, let’s talk a little bit about the plot (without any spoilers, of course); some people are disappearing after receiving a birthday card, seems like a typical thriller, am I right? Now let’s start with the twisted part, let’s say that the ones that had disappeared have a secret life and lied to all their families and friends? Yes, the ones that are missing are not as “innocent” as they seem…
Dr Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson will have to join forces to discover what’s really happening and for how long people had been disappearing… they will have to trust each other in the most visceral way… because this is personal; they will be hurt on their core. The main question is, if they survive after this case, would they prefer to be dead?
Let’s talk a little about the characters, Augusta is a cold woman, all her life is work centered. She has regrets from the past but is always eager to help… but how much is she ready to let her fear go to keep the ones she loves safe?
Marcus had not have an easy life, he is an ex-secret agent, but now his life seems to have a meaning, but when his sister asks for his help all her world will turn upside down within just a few days. Will he be the same after this case?
I’ll admit that there are a few twists on the case, some of them are more surprising than others, but what kept me reading the story was how the story was told and how everything would unfold in the end. There’s an open ending, but I think it is to let the characters breath and prepare the reader for another exceptional case. Because I want to know what happens next, how this case will affect to the main characters and their work, we have to know!
Gone is an exceptional debut novel; intriguing, original and addictive! Ready?
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My thanks to Random House U.K. Transworld Publishers/Black Swan for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Gone’ by Leona Deakin in exchange for an honest review. Its ebook and audiobook editions were published in August with the paperback edition published on 12 December.

As I quickly realised that I was enjoying it very much, I elected to obtain its audiobook edition to enable me to combine listening with reading the eARC.

The leads in this tense thriller are criminal psychologist Dr. Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson, a former member of the Secret Service. Together they run a small consultancy that investigates mysteries.

Marcus asks Augusta for a favour after Lana, a close friend of his sister, goes missing leaving her teenage daughter distraught. The woman has served in the Army and suffers from PTSD. They discover at the house a birthday card that reads: ‘YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY?’

The police aren’t concerned even when it is discovered that three other people have gone missing, leaving behind birthday cards with the same wording. Bloom and Jameson delve into the lives of the missing and uncover something that connects them and they quickly realise that rather than being in danger they are the danger!

This proved to be a highly addictive thriller that kept me guessing and completely glued to my seat. Leona Deakin is herself a psychologist who has worked with the police and she brings that expertise to her character of Dr. Bloom.

Certainly highly recommended and I am so excited to read that this is the first in a series with the second book, ‘Lost’, scheduled for publication in August 2020. I can hardly wait!
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