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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Nurse

Narrator: Rose Robinson

ISBN: 9781804154847

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 07/21/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Pre-order the brilliant new psychological thriller from bestselling author, Valerie Keogh!

‘Keogh is the queen of compelling narratives and twisty plots’ Jenny O'Brien

'A wonderful book, I can’t rate this one highly enough. If only there were ten stars, it’s that good. Valerie Keogh is a master storyteller, and this is a masterful performance.' Bestselling author Anita Waller

Do No Harm…

Bullied, overlooked, and under-appreciated, Lissa McColl learns at an early age to do very bad things.

As a nurse, she is respected and valued for the first time in her life. But Lissa hates her job and the selfish, rude, and inconsiderate people she has to deal with.

But being underestimated in this job had its advantages. Lissa can get close to people, find out their secrets… sometimes with deadly results...

Buy the Book

My Review

Valerie Keogh returns following The Librarian with her best yet, THE NURSE —a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with fun, wicked unexpected, clever twists leaving you glued to the pages in this gripping psychological thriller.

Your head will be spinning. Who is the cat, and who is the mouse?

The opening line hooks you: "I was ten when I made the decision to kill Jemma."

Meet Lissa McColl. She was not a beautiful child and was constantly bullied at school. She had no friends, her mom was too fragile to cause conflict, and her dad, a sales rep for a medical company, was gone most of the time. (later, we learn of his other life).

Finally, she had enough and devised a plan to eliminate her worst enemy and nemesis, Jemma. She will never forget those eyes staring back at her. They would haunt her forever. Of course, it was ruled an accident. (one down). No one bothered her at school again.

She continued to feel neglected, confused, sad, and lonely and tried to convince herself her parents loved her.

Then another tragedy occurred when she turned sixteen. Her dad, Mark, died in his company car. When the police came to tell them he had passed, Jemma's mom went into shock and never spoke again. She was never the same after the news and remained in a withdrawn catatonic state. Lissa could not take care of her full-time because she had to work to pay the bills so a full-time 24-hour care facility was the only option.

Lissa was alone after discovering her father was a bigamist and had not provided for them. She now had to put her mom in a pricey skilled nursing facility and tend to the arrangements on her own with the help of her mom's attorney.

She then decides she must get rid of the other wife, Olivia, to sell her house for funds to take care of her mom. She never kills unless necessary and needs the funds for her mom's care. Once again, things go off flawlessly.

She has left university, still caring for her mom, and has barely enough money to eat or pay her bills. She is a nurse and not particularly fond of the job. She had to sell her family home and now needs a place to live. She can afford little, eats barely anything, is skinny, and buys clothes at a thrift store.

She decides to work for an agency to set her own hours. She finds an ad posted for a studio cottage (converted garage) behind a larger cottage. She loves it but thinks the owner, Theo is quite strange. He stares at her constantly.

Through the agency, she meets another nurse, Carol. Carol invites her to coffee, and they become somewhat friends. But there is something off about Carol. She can never figure out what she wants with her. Very strange.

She continues to take the bus to her different nursing jobs because she cannot afford a car or to dine out. The attorney thinks she put her mom in a state hospital, but Lissa would not hear of it. Plus, she has to ensure she gives them money to have her mom's hair done, cosmetics, etc. She prays one day her mom will be normal and knows she has been a good daughter and longs to hear the words. She needs validation and acceptance.

Then one day, Carol asks her to come and help her out at a wealthy home of a dying man that has remarried, Mr and Mrs. Wallace. Lissa snoops and finds some shocking information.

She is undecided on how to use this information to blackmail someone to get more money since her mom's care has increased. She returns later to the mansion without Carol's knowledge and sees another nurse who is not so caring and slack on the job. This same nurse, Jolene, shockingly winds up at her mother's care center. She does not want her to take care of her mom and devises a plan to keep her away from her mom. That works!

Also, her landlord Theo is acting strange.

Now back to the blackmail plan. However, someone winds up dead, and the tables are turned. There is another criminal out there, and this is where the tension and suspense is nerve-wracking. Who is the predator and prey? Has Lissa met her match?

When nothing or no one is as they appear. HOLY MOLEY!

There are so many twists and turns in the second half, and the book takes a different direction than I expected, which was a good thing and took the book to five stars. I loved Theo and my favorite character— Please do not kill him.

Lissa was an interesting character. You feel sorry for her, but her mind goes from good to evil, impulsive and delusional in the blink of an eye. Funny, she thinks serial killers are sadistic and reads all the books, but she never really thinks she is a criminal.

I would love to see a sequel. These characters are too good to end!

The drug cart scene was so funny. It reminded me of Frannie Green, a retired nurse in a senior apartment (drug cart) in Rebecca Keller's You Should Have Known (so good), and the neighbor/landlord, Theo, reminded me of Catherine Ryan Hyde's So Long Chester Wheeler.

I know the author was a former nurse, so sure this was fun to write. This is for you if you like twisty entertaining thrillers with jaw-dropping surprises. I enjoy Valerie's books and have read quite a few, but this was my favorite.

Thanks to #BoldwoodBooks and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 21, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

About the Author

Valerie Keogh lives in Wiltshire with her husband and a huge black cat, Fatty Arbuckle. She grew up reading Agatha Christie and initially wrote crime novels - she now writes psychological thrillers.

The Little Lies was shortlisted for the Crime Fiction Lovers Award 2021

Valerie has a BA in English and an MA in American Literature.

She is currently published with Boldwood Books.

Order of publication:

Deadly Sleep (2016)

Twisted Power (2016)

Bitter Business (2017)

Wicked Secret (2018)

Secrets Between Us (2018)

The Housewife 2019

The Dublin Murder Mysteries (2020)

The Three Women (2020)

The Perfect Life (2020)

The Little Lies (2020)

The Deadly Truth (2021)

The Lies He Told (2021)

The Couple in the Photograph (2021)

A Taste of Deceit (2022)

The Lodger (2022)

The Widow (2022)

The Trophy Wife (2023)

The Nurse (2023)

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