Cover Image: The Ex

The Ex

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Member Reviews

First, I want to thank Diane Saxon, Boldwood Books, NetGalley, and Rachel’s Random Resources for this book so I may bring you this review.

WOW!! Just WOW!! Never will I ever forget how obsessive and insanely crazy The Ex was in Diane Saxon’s latest novel!  She was so sick, twisted and oh so demented! Nothing would stop her from seeking revenge! This is one read you must put on your TBR must read pile! It is just that amazing of a read! 

A warning and heads up there are graphic, violent and traumatic  scenes in this book. This may trigger some readers. 

Diane showed us very early on Emily’s true colors when it came to her ex Zac! Man oh man was she obsessed with him and how badly she was jilted. It got so bad that it was sickening to hear! 

Missing person cases storylines is one of my favorites! However, none have ever pulled on my heartstrings more than the disappearance of baby Joshua! The investigation of what could have happened to him really touched some buttons for me. Diane’s passion for this one storyline came out in her beautiful writing. 

Reading this book I kept thinking this was something that I would watch on the Lifetime Channel! It had all the elements of the perfect movie!

I found it very interesting in Diane’s acknowledgements that Sami Epstein’s son’s name was mentioned as the main character. Sami paid a considerable amount to The Hope House charity and won that opportunity. Happy 18th Birthday Zac! What a great Birthday present this is!
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Emily has loved Zak for many years.  They used to work together and then she moved into his apartment.  Not long after, he quit his job and made her move out due to her obsession with him.  Now, Zak is married to Imelda and they are the parents of 11-month-old, Joshua.  In addition, Imelda is pregnant again.  Zak is busy fixing up his family’s old Victorian home and they are a happy family.  Ah, but Emily has gone off her medication and is determined to get Zak back no matter what it takes.

DS Jenna Morgan lives with her sister, Fliss, who is a teacher.  They also have a Dalmation named Domino.  Fliss’s boyfriend is Jenna’s work partner, DC Mason Ellis.  Jenna has a new boyfriend Chief Crown Prosecutor Adrian Hall.  Both Hall and Ellis spend a lot of time at Jenna and Fliss’s home.

One morning, Emily visits Zak’s home when he is upstairs sanding floors.  Imelda answers the door with Joshua in her arms.  Emily aks to see Zak but Imelda tells her he is busy.  That’s when she realizes who Emily is and asks her to leave.  Instead, Emily punches her and bashes her head repeatedly on the floor, leaving her for dead.  

When Jenna and Mason get a call to what is thought to be a domestic disturbance, they are shocked at what they find.  Zak is in shock and it isn’t known if Imelda is even alive.  That’s when they realize that Joshua is missing too.  Thus begins a rush against time to find out who beat Imelda and took Joshua. Jenna and her team work long, hard hours in the middle of a heat wave that has devastated everyone making their work even harder.  Will they find Joshua in time and the person who harmed Imelda?

This is a very good edge-of-the-seat detective story that describes in detail some very horrible events.  It shows what the mind of a seriously disturbed person can make them do.  The book is very well done and I admire the author for her talent.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I truly enjoyed this book. It is a rare occasion that the characters can drag you so much into a story and convince you of things and then totally twist your brain so you just do not see what is coming. This book does a lot more than tat too, as it makes you think about difficult issues in society such as mental illness, physical and mental abuse and the attachment that the police have to deal with their victims. The book is set in a very hot summer in the UK and even reading this in Spring, you can feel the heat and humidity coming off the words and so adding an extra dimension.

This is the fourth book in the DS Jenna Morgan series. It would be great to read all of the series in order but you could still jump right in to this one as the author does give you an idea of what has gone on previously.

A big thank you to the author for this book as it is evident she has put a lot of hard work and research into this book that is clearly shown in her writing.

If you love psychological thrillers with great police procedural work you are going to really appreciate this book.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Boldwood Books and Diane Saxon for providing me with an advanced review copy of this book in electronic format in return for an unbiased, honest review

#TheEx #NetGalley
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The Ex is the fourth instalment in the DS Jenna Morgan series, set in and around the village of Ironbridge, Shropshire. Zac Cheetham-Epstein formerly worked at the accounting firm where his ex-girlfriend Emily Shenton is still employed. It's clear to many of her colleagues that she is far from over Zak. They hooked up several times but Zak began to distance himself from her when she became increasingly needy, jealous and possessive over him. While attending the company summer ball, drunken Chris Wittington had made a toast: ’Here’s to Zak Cheetham-Epstein and his new wife, Imelda.’ Emily then flees to the women’s loo accompanied by a bottle of rosé to drown her sorrows as she had no idea her ”soulmate” had gotten hitched. She still drives past his three-storey Victorian home with the balcony overlooking stunning views of the River Severn multiple times in the hope she would catch a glimpse of him and would even sit outside just watching the house for hours at a time. In the two years since they parted, Zak has not only gotten married but has a son, 11-month-old Joshua, and Imelda is now pregnant with their second child. On a scorching hot Sunday morning the Cheetham-Epstein’s receive a knock at the door. Zak is preoccupied with DIY upstairs so Imelda answers it. She is swiftly attacked in a frenetic stabbing and then left for dead. Somehow Emily manages to abduct toddler Josh without Zak ever noticing. She is long gone before he discovers his wife’s body and calls the police.

Enter DS Morgan who believes she is attending a domestic disturbance but gets a lot more than she bargained for when she shows up at the address. Imelda is lying unconscious in the hallway with serious head injuries and the front door is left wide open. She also has bruising to the face and a cut on her cheek. It's not until Jenna interviews the husband about the situation that he realises, much to his horror, that his young son is missing from where he was previously napping. What are the possible motives behind Emily attacking Imelda and kidnapping Joshua, and will it be possible for Imelda, her unborn baby, Zak and Joshua to all be brought back together again? This is a riveting and compulsive procedural that has a really original take on the reason why the crimes were committed; I don't want to spoil it for anyone but Saxon handles the issue of mental illness with aplomb, and I loved that not only was this an enthralling read but it was emotional too and had added depth to it when compared to other books in the genre. Emily is an unlikeable character but it's a testament to Saxon’s skill at crafting complex, multilayered personalities that I felt sympathy towards her situation as it can't be easy living with such a condition. There are plenty of twists, many of them I expected to see coming but it was a pleasant surprise that most of them came completely out of the blue, and the rapid-fire narrative gives more than enough drama and heart thumpingly tense moments to keep you reading through until dawn. Highly recommended.
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A fabulous fourth outing for this detective who works so hard at solving crime!

On one of the hottest days of the year, DS Jenna Morgan gets called out to a house where the husband has found his wife with head injuries. While questioning the husband, Zak, Jenna discovers that they have an eleven-month old son who can't be found. With the sun high in the sky, time is of the essence and the search is given high priority. Is it all accidental, or is there something more sinister going on?

Even reading this in February, in Scotland, the heat of the day was palpable. Discovering what has gone on takes time-consuming, basic police work and the story is absolutely mesmerising; I really had no idea where it was going but it gave my brain a fine workout trying to get my ducks in a row! With a solid cast of characters - all well-developed and entirely believable - there is a perfect mix of personal and professional; just enough home details to make them human whilst working flat out on their case. Of course, I have to mention the adorable dog, always a bonus for me! There are some pivotal moments in the investigation which passed me by but popped into my head once I knew what had occurred. A gripping read, and a terrific addition to this cracking series! A full five stars from me, and worth each and every one along with my recommendation.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley and to Rachel Gilbey for my spot on this tour; this is - as always - my honest original and unbiased review.
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I have enjoyed the other books in this series and was looking forward to this one too.

Well written with lots going on.
I really like Jenna and her team, the characters are interesting and all work well together.
I’m looking forward to the next book :)
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This was my first introduction to books by Diane Saxon and follows DS Jenna Morgan - I shall certainly go back and read the others.
It is very cleverly written with a big twist. The storyline made me keep reading.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Thanks to NetGalley & Boldwood Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Still cannot decide how I feel completely about this book. I did not realize it was part of a series until after reading. I think I would have liked it better if I read the previous books for character development. I enjoyed the plot but I think the book had a lot of extra fluff that I was not interested in as I did not feel a connection to any character. I will mention I did love the twists in the book. I was not expecting the twists and turns as well as how the ending played out
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I enjoyed this suspenseful story.  This is a well written story that is full of action and obession.  What happens when an ex becomes obessed and determine to get back what is no longer hers?  The characters bring the story to life with their drama and crime solving skills.  This author's attention to details made the story feel realistic.  I had no issues connecting with the characters.  This is a fast paced story that kept me turning pages to the end.  I highly recommend this book.
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I was not aware that this was a part of a series involving DS Morgan however I found this to be just as good as a stand-alone.  There were parts where previous cases were mentioned that piqued my interest and as this is my favourite genre - my tbr list just grew! 
Zak’s wife was attacked, left for dead and their 11 month old son was kidnapped - DS Morgan comes on the scene to try to find out what happened - was it domestic abuse or something more sinister?  Although we find out from the beginning who the culprit is and the reasoning behind her actions it’s interesting to see how the police come to their conclusions.
I did figure out the twist quite early into the book - just a couple chapters in however I still found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling read.
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I’d like to thank Boldwood Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Ex’ by Diane Saxon in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

On an exceptionally hot Summer’s day Zac Cheetham-Epstein finds his pregnant wife Imelda lying unconscious in the hallway with severe head injuries and the front door wide open.  It’s only when DS Jenna Morgan arrives at the house that Zac realises their eleven-month-old son Joshua is missing.  This will turn out to be the weirdest situation the team have every experienced. 

‘The Ex’ is another thrilling episode in the Detective Jenna Morgan series and is every bit as exciting as those previously.  From the beginning I’ve been gripped with the drama, tension and twists and turns and haven’t been able to stop reading, and on reaching the conclusion it’s shocking yet fits well with the story.  I like the character of Jenna who, with her hardworking team of DC Mason Ellis and DC Ryan Downey, is dedicated to discovering the truth and finding the person responsible for the crime yet still has time for a private life outside the police station.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this thriller and can definitely recommend it.
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Jenna is dealing with the events of the previous book and the author has written her struggle well. 

The plot was gripping and kept pace well. We are introduced to Emily Shenton in the first chapter and we soon come to see that she isn't quite right. She is still obsessed with her ex who is now married with a toddler and another baby on the way. When the new wife is found unconscious with a serious head injury, everyone is worried for both her and the baby and the team try to work out exactly what happened - originally believing it to be an accident before thinking it may be a domestic accident. 

When it is revealed the toddler is now missing and a neighbour has CCTV showing a hooded figure leaving with the toddler, it soon becomes clear that this was not an accident or a domestic incident but rather infiltration from the outside. The chase is on as they race to find Joshua, the toddler, before anything can happen to him and to find out exactly who is responsible for all of the events.

The plot involves a mental health storyline which is written and handled very well. It is clear the author has done her research and has been very tentative when writing the story, getting it spot on.

Will DS Jenna Morgan find the toddler in time and will they work out who is behind it all? You bet they'll try!
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Oh my, did I love this book! Loved it!!
This is a genius plot: though we know from the start who the felon is, how she perpetrates the crime, when and why, it doesn't matter, because what really matters is the way we've brought through a journey into Emily's mind, the scary ex.
And SCARY she is! The part of the book narrated from Emily or her sister's point of view where absolutely gripping, I couldn't stop reading! And though I could guess some twists, I was hooked anyway. 
I loved the fact that the story is not about police investigation, but it's mostly a psychological thriller. 
I wasn't aware of the fact that the book is part of a series, and that explains my sensation that there were too many characters that I didn't find fundamental to the plot, but who probably were in the previous books and I guess readers of the series might enjoy to reconnect with them. Anyway it is a great book even as a stand alone, but now I definitely want to go back to reading the previous ones!
Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I didn't know this book was part of a series when I signed up for it but, admittedly, it doesn't matter because it works well as a standalone with just enough backstory from previous books to suffice. But what I really like about this book is that the procedural part is not the forefront of the story but rather is secondary to the main focus, which is the disappearance of a child and the woman who took her. THAT is what makes THE EX addictive reading.

The story begins with Emily at a work function when she overhears a conversation regarding her ex, the love of her life, Zak had remarried. She then locks herself in a toilet cubicle with a bottle of rose wine ruminating over where it all went wrong. Zak. She hadn't seen him in so long. She used to sit outside his house for hours at a time, watching, waiting to catch a glimpse of him. But she hadn't done that in so long now. But a moment of clarity, Emily knows what she will do. She will go and see Zak. As soon as he sees her he'll realise his terrible mistake and they can be together again.

Zak Cheetham-Epstein (a bit of a mouthful) used to work at the accountants where Emily is still employed. The two had hooked up and had some fun together but then Emily started to get a little clingy. She moved into his flat and started questioning where he had been and who with. She accused him of seeing other women and became volatile. Zak was only having some fun but for Emily, he was her true love, her soulmate. So when he ended things with her and left the company, Emily is devastated. But Zak never saw her again and in the two years since has met and married Imelda who has given him a son, Joshua, and is pregnant with her their second child. They live in a beautiful Victorian house overlooking the gorge in Ironbridge that has been in his family for three generations and were in the process of renovating it.

When there is a knock at the door one Sunday morning, Zak is upstairs sanding a door ready to repaint while Imelda answers it with a smile in place. No one expects things to go so horribly wrong...not Zak, not Imelda and not Emily.

Despite being on her day off, DS Jenna Morgan is called to the home of a reported domestic incident. When she arrives, she finds pregnant Imelda Cheetham-Epstein unconscious with serious head injuries. Her husband Zak stands nearby in shock, an obvious suspect despite reporting that his wife had fallen. The gash on her cheek and bruising to her face suggested something far more sinister as the team attempted to preserve what they could of the scene after the paramedics left with Imelda. It's not until she questions Zak further that Jenna discovers the couple have an 11 month old child that was apparently sleeping. Jenna and her team find it unlikely a child could have slept through the noise created by police and paramedics treating Imelda, but checks the rest of the house anyway. No child. So where was baby Joshua? Had Zak done something to the child and he and Imelda were arguing about it when he struck her and she fell?

Jenna and her team, DCs Morris King and Ryan Downey, search the bushland surrounding the house and into the gorge to no avail. They are about to call it a day when a woman approaches Jenna, a frantic expression on her face. She has been out all day and has only just returned to hear the news but feels she may have some information that will help. It seems her son insisted she have CCTV installed and on her camera was a figure carrying what appeared to be a child. The image was so blurry they weren't able to tell if it was male or female...but they very definitely were carrying a child. So who was this person? Did they attack Imelda? And why did they take baby Joshua?

Fern awakes to the sound of a baby crying believing it to be another dream, her subconscious torturing her with her desire for a child. But as she wakes properly she realises the cries are real. Tentatively, she pushes open the nursery door...the nursery her sister Emily decorated and that she has never entered. In the cot was a toddler screaming their little heart out. Fern rushes forward and picks up the screaming child and attempts to soothe it with a lullaby she makes up as she croons. Slowly, the child quietens and Fern wonders what on earth has Emily done? Then when Emily appears in the doorway she informs her that she wanted a child and now she has one. This child is her gift to Fern. There is only one problem...this child is a boy but Emily insists she is a girl and she is called Angel. To ensure the child's safety, Fern must think and treat the child as a girl.

While investigating Joshua's disappearance, Jenna is reminded of the time when her sister Fliss was kidnapped previously and their beloved dog Domino injured. It also brings back memories of when her partner was killed right in front of her eyes, the trauma of it haunting her for a long time after. Although these incidents took place in previous books, we are not left in the dark as the author gives us enough information to keep us informed without us being confused, making this one easily read as a standalone.

THE EX is a compelling mix of crime and psychological thriller that keeps us engaged from start to finish. And what better way than to give readers a psycho ex? And there is also something not quite right about sisters Emily and Fern...

I love all the characters in this book, even the ones you love to hate! Jenna and her team are not weighed down by rank and hierarchy pissing contests, but rather have a camaraderie that reflects on their ability to get the job done and to do it well. The support of her family and loved ones are also a refreshing touch, without the bid for attention between partner and job. It certainly makes a refreshing change.

And then there is Emily. How well she was portrayed. As much as as love to hate her, her depiction was memorable to say the least. I also felt a little sorry for her although I was also a tad scared of her and what she might do. It is clear she was unstable but what exactly the problem was is not made clear until the end. And the final twist was a spectacular turn of events I began to put together myself. But wow!

An addictive read from the beginning, THE EX was so much better than I anticipated it to be and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved meeting Jenna, Fliss, Morris, Ryan, Adrian and even the DI who was surprisingly personable, as is so usually not the case in crime fiction. A refreshing change which made the procedural aspects a pleasure to read. Although I really loved that that was only a part of the story with readers being privy to Emily and her twisted mind. Although we know what happens from the start, we still don't really know what is happening. It is a very clever ploy to lull readers into a false sense of security thinking we know what's going to happen...when we do and we don't.

Cleverly written with plenty of twists throughout, THE EX is ramps up the thriller aspect a notch with a real sense of fear and helplessness in the midst of a wild and emotional thrill-ride. The issues surrounding mental illness were sensitively navigated and in a way that the reader feels empathy for the guilty party. Diane Saxon is a new author for me but I will be hunting out her previous books in this series and add them to my never-ending TBR pile.

Absolutely addictive read that I could not devour quick enough, I have no hesitation recommending THE EX to fans of police procedurals with a difference as well domestic and psychological thriller fans. A solid 5 star read.

I would like to thank #DianeSaxon, #RachelsRandomResources, #Netgalley and #BoldwoodBooks for an ARC of #TheEx in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

DS Jenna Morgan is still recovering from the emotional fallout that happened in the previous books in the series.  I haven't read the previous books, but I was able to catch up pretty quickly.  She is called to the scene of a gruesome crime where a pregnant woman has been bludgeoned and an 11-month old boy has gone missing.

Emily is a woman who is struggling.  She's struggling professionally, she's struggling personally.  When she finds out that her ex-boyfriend has moved on, she visits him at home, and loses control.  Now Emily must grapple with the consequences of her actions and Jenna races against time to find the missing boy.
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This is the fourth book to feature Detective Jenna Morgan and the series just keeps improving. The main character, Emily, is seriously scary! I like the excellent characterisation and the clever plotting, not to mention the dog Domino, the Ironbridge setting and the humour throughout. Although the topic was dark, it was written in a sensitive manner and there were plenty twists throughout to keep the reader guessing. It was a quick and easy read which I enjoyed. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.
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A word of warning: this is the fourth book in a series, something I wasn't aware of until I came to write my review. That said, it clearly worked well as a stand alone novel as I didn't feel like I had missed huge chunks of the story.  DS Jenna Morgan has a pretty traumatic history in her police career that much is evident but I didn't feel that the previous incidents totally overwhelmed this story as sometimes can happen. She's a good strong character who has learned how to cope with her demons.

The location of the story in the Black Country made a nice change as we don't seem to have many writers setting their books around Ironbridge and the intense heatwave was an excellent pressure cooker environment to add to the time constraints needed to find a missing one year old child.  Little Joshua has disappeared during the violent attack on his mother but the detectives are suspicious of dad Zak as he claims not to have heard anything despite being in the property at the time.

The book is cleverly written as the reader knows exactly who has carried out the attack and to an extent why but the finer details run far deeper than events suggest.  It took me a good while to get even close to the facts but I did get a gut feeling part way through the story so the 'reveal' wasn't as big a shock as it could have been.

There are a couple of truly shocking and disturbing scenes in the book but you can't really put any trigger warnings on it without giving away the whole story which I felt was well written and tackled some very real issues. Some of the more peripheral characters felt particularly realistic.

I would like to go back and revisit the earlier books in the series to get better background on the detectives side of things to see how their characters have developed from the start.
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I absolutely loved this book! It’s a story of a woman, Emily, who attacks her ex boyfriend, Zac, pregnant wife and takes their almost 1 year old child. Police quickly arrive and realize the child is missing in addition to the injured woman.

Most of the book is focused on Emily and her sister Fern. Emily beings the baby to Fern’s house. Fern is afraid for the child and does not think he is safe with Emily. As the story goes deeper we find out more about Emily and Fern and their relationship.

The is the second book by the author featuring the same detective, which I didn’t realize until after I finished the book. There were hints when flashbacks but I don’t feel I missed anything by reading this book without reading the first.

I liked how each chapter started with a date and time. I also liked how the story was told from the view of the detective, Emily, and Fern. Stories told from different POV really help me get into the story.
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I will give this book the benefit of the doubt in that had I read the others before it in the series that it would have been more enjoyable. Unfortunately I hadn’t read the prequels and it did seem as though  things weren’t probably not explained as well as they might. Just a little predictable but it did hold tension because of the missing boy.
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What a crazy ride! Diane threw some great twist and turns out there that took me by surprise, which I love. This was a good read!
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