Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“He glanced at the clock beside the bed. 10:01pm. It was always 10:01pm.”
Well, I’m quite frankly lost for words. What an unbelievable mix of complex characters, twists, lies, fraud and just utter mayhem! This book is definitely one for those who like something more dark and heavy to get their head around, and I am so happy to be opening this blog tour! Make sure you give this book and author the love they deserve and check out all these other amazing book blogger reviews over the coming week!
How long can the past remain buried?
A simple message in a local newspaper. A set of highly sensitive documents left in the back of a London black cab. Both events collide to cause Isabel Faraday’s life to be turned upside down. Growing up believing her parents died in a car crash when she was five, Isabel learns the shocking truth; a truth that places her own life in danger by simply being a Faraday. Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh of the Metropolitan Police races against time to save her, and at the same time unravels long forgotten secrets involving MI5, MI6, the KGB and NASA. Secrets that have lain dormant for twenty years. Secrets worth killing for. With kidnap, murder and suicides stretching across four continents, just what is the Phoenix Project?
I instantly loved the way this book was written! Not only was the style and tone of the book exactly what I love to read, but I also appreciated the almost ‘diary-like’ entries – knowing just when and where in time we were, flitting backwards and forwards to different countries. I liked just how mysterious the book started and just how each character was introduced to the reader, forcing you to ask questions. Isabel was a brilliant character and it was so easy to become immersed in her story. She finds a message in her local newspaper, signs that Miles, her ex partner, has returned, begging her to see him, but she also feels on edge after a strange experience at her shop. Just what is going on? And just what is happening behind the scenes that she doesn’t know about? Even though the story focuses on a range of characters straight away, it felt so involving but easy to keep track of at the same time. It definitely succeeded in drawing me in!
The news that a guy called Boris Kreshniov is alive seems to spark concern with the police force, and he quickly became someone I felt I needed to keep an eye on throughout the book. Would Isabel’s experiences have anything to do with this guy? I loved how the author keeps feeding us bits of information slowly, helping us to build up the bigger picture in our minds. Andre was also a character I enjoyed following, and there was a lot of secrecy around him at first which I loved. All the characters seem to have a very important part to play, but just how they all linked up was something we had yet to learn. I was sensing that danger was imminent and that Isabel needed to watch her step. Why was she being targeted, and was there anyone that could keep her safe? Things started to happen that didn’t sit right with me, and already, I was desperate for answers. I’d never read through pages so fast before!
I was so deeply impressed by how the author had managed to keep on top of so many characters’ stories and link them all together seamlessly! One minute we see Isabel enter mysterious Flat 4a, then we’re in Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh’s room as he wakes hearing voices. The story continues this way for some time, and I was completely mesmerised! The suspense I felt combined with my intense curiosity for what we were about to experience left me in awe, and the author’s description and vocabulary simply added to this. The story quickly turned very chilling, and with Isabel’s life on the line, I felt the story would stay this way for a long time to come. I was desperate to know how Jack and Isabel’s paths cross and just if he’d be able to save her before it was too late, and I felt that there was a secret we were yet to uncover that would explain everything. A great opening, and one that really sets the scene for what’s to come.
“If he’s alive today, then he didn’t die in 1987 and he’s been laughing at us for the best part of two decades. You find him this time, and you don’t let him get away.”
As much as I loved following Isabel and Jack’s stories, I always liked going back to the Metropolitan Police HQ. Being in the police force has always been one of those out of reach dreams for me, and I loved the detective feel that this book brought to us. There was always something going on, and it was SO difficult to take a break from this book – even when we’d not even got to the really good stuff! With Isabel now more aware of the situation she’s in and the reader given the information they need to make some crucial connections between certain characters, the race against time really was on. Learning more about Kreshniov and The Phoenix Project was so gripping, and took a direction I never expected! Why were Isabel’s parents so significant in all this? And just why was Isabel’s life on the line? The beginning of this story was absolutely incredible and and I couldn’t wait to learn more about how Jack became involved!
I enjoyed the subtle sci-fi elements in the book so much! This was very unexpected – the information we learn about a secret sibling, where he was born and who Isabel’s parents really were just made the story even more addictive. Were they really dead? Was Mac telling her the truth? The author makes each page more captivating than the last and makes us question so much with her clever storytelling. I loved how we see snippets of the past from some characters, helping us to build up a solid backstory and simply cementing my love for this book even more. The more we read, the more I could really feel for Isabel and this weird situation she finds herself in. The author’s description was incredibly powerful and easily transported me into this world. The adventure was getting more and more exciting as time passed, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much more excitement one book could hold! I really was loving everything about it so far.
Jack gets landed with Isabel’s missing person case and Isabel finds out more than she ever imagined about The Phoenix Project, with a little help from Andre. Isabel and Mac’s journey wasn’t the easiest, but if Isabel was to find out more about her parents, even see them again, then she had to follow orders. I liked just how Mac earned Isabel’s trust, and even though the way he got her attention was a little creepy, I began to like him much more as time went on. He seemed genuine at this point and I believed that he’d do all he could to ensure Isabel was reunited with her parents. But was he really trustworthy? Their journey isn’t all plain sailing – they run into danger which really turned up the heat, and I loved just how the book changed unexpectedly as time went on. The pace was fantastic and in many points, the danger even had my heart racing! We see brutal murder, thrilling chases and risky decisions, but without all this and more, the book wouldn’t be as amazing as it is.
With Kreshniov closing in, Mac, Andre and Isabel need to watch their backs more than ever and make sure they are always one step ahead. I feared that if they were sloppy with their approach, they’d meet the same sticky end as other characters we’ve learned about along the way (as they’d very nearly done so on the odd occasion!) Not only was this part of the story horrifying in parts, it was also very necessary for the reader understand the severity of what was going on, and just how one false move could mean the end of their lives. I loved hearing about Jack’s progress with the case and as we learn of some shocking information about two particular characters we’d grown to trust, all my theories went out the window. It just goes to show that you should always be careful with who you trust, as I definitely fell for it! The author ends each chapter in such a unique way – the cliff hangers are very good and really succeeded in encouraging me to read each chapter straight after the previous!
“Survival in space was to become a reality – no longer just a fantasy. No longer something you read about in a science fiction magazine.”
I loved how the author threw so many curveballs in the middle of the book, making it impossible to predict the outcome for Isabel. Trusting the right people became very difficult for her, as well as me! So many secrets are revealed that made my jaw drop, and the surprises just kept on coming! With characters withholding information, not being who they say they are and the danger spiraling out of control, my head was everywhere, but at the same time, the story wasn’t difficult to keep track of. I found this to be a challenging reading experience, but I loved it, and wouldn’t have wanted the author to have done anything different. Readers who love something intense and involving, this is for you! Jack has an even bigger case on his hands – could he be the only person to untangle this web of lies and deceit in order to save an innocent woman and bring the right people down? It’s a tricky problem to solve, but with how Jack has handled things in a number of scenes already, I felt he was the best person for the case!
The story gets much darker as things progress, and I secretly loved the gory murder and the shocking scenes we’re hit with. We eventually lose characters we know and have read about for a while, and even though this was saddening, it gave the book such a horrifying edge to it which I couldn’t get enough of. The pace quickly picked up as Isabel is back to fearing for her life, and I wasn’t even sure she’d get out of all this alive at this rate. It was really interesting to think back to the Isabel we meet at the start of the book compared to this Isabel now – her mind has been filled with so much pain and suffering, and there wasn’t any sign of this going away any time soon. All she had to do was to hope and pray that she’d somehow run into safety and that someone would take care of her kidnappers once and for all. I loved how the author had developed this character and just how the reader is taken on this journey with her. There’s nothing quite like it!
The alternative perspectives worked particularly well towards the ending of the book, when everything comes together in such a clever, memorable way. We learn of a big secret about why those “protecting” Isabel are soon found dead, and I found this such a gripping route to take. Unexplainable suicides and intense police investigations are just some of the amazing scenes you can expect to experience, and we really see different sides to some characters that we don’t expect at the start. I loved the interrogation scenes so much, and it was here where were learn of some very crucial and shocking information about many deaths. It amazed me just how all of this story fitted together at the end, and the author continued to surprise me again and again. There was no way I could predict the outcome for the characters here, so I was particularly excited for the ending.
Money seems to be a big factor for some characters and this, as well as a ton of other important elements are explored so deeply in the final few chapters. We finally begin to learn some crucial information about the reasoning behind The Phoenix Project and just how important Isabel was to the whole operation. I liked how we revisited some important information from the start of the story which I’d almost forgotten about, particularly the brief case left in the cab containing very important information, and I just loved how everything was coming together. The author keeps you guessing right to the very end, and the final few chapters were just as impressive as the first! Consistency has been spot on and I honestly don’t know how the author has managed it in such a lengthy novel!
“What I’m about to tell you, Detective Inspector, has already led to the deaths of too many people. It has to stop. It must stop. Now.”
The ending was extraordinary and almost made me do an embarrassing squeal of delight in places! Jack uncovers more shocking discoveries about a range of characters, finding out certain people were linked more closely than he thought. This definitely changed things and was completely unexpected to me! Miles also gave me the biggest shock of all, so get ready for your jaw to drop exactly like mine did! I felt so emotional as things drew to a close and after joining these characters on their journey for so long, and it paved the way for book two perfectly. What would Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh experience next? Excited was an understatement! Such a brilliant read, another five stars without a doubt!
I’ve tried my hardest to condense my review of this book to not give too much away, but I wanted to write about it so much more. A nail-biting and enthralling novel that will keep you gripped without a doubt! This is quite a heavy book, but it succeeded in drawing me in and keeping me hooked until those very final words. The author is an exceptional writer who has deeply explored the plot of this book and created a masterpiece that will keep readers thinking for a long time to come. With twists around every corner that leave you questioning who you can trust, I’ve found this book to be very clever in every aspect, and I’m already desperate for more!
A huge thank you to the author, Michelle Kidd, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of the book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Phoenix Project on Amazon now, available on Kindle and in paperback. Make sure you’re following the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.