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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Photo

Narrator: Tamsin Kennard

ISBN: 9781835254271

Publisher: Bookouture Audio

Publication Date: 07/11/2024

Format: Audiobook & e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars (ALC) (ARC)

I thought he was dead. Until I saw him staring back at me…

Ten years have passed since my beloved sister was murdered, leaving behind her sweet five-year-old daughter, Lily.

I’m trying my best to care for Lily and salvage what’s left of our shattered family. I promised to keep her safe after all she’s been through, and after a lot of challenges, I hope she might be starting to lead a normal life again.

But then I see a face in a photo I took just yesterday that turns my blood to ice.

I tell myself it can’t be him, but I know in my gut it is. The man my sister married. The man who killed her. The man I thought was dead…

A totally unputdownable psychological thriller filled with jaw-dropping twists. Fans of Freida McFadden, Claire McGowan and Lisa Jewell will be utterly gripped!

My Review

A.J. McDine's seventh psychological thriller, THE PHOTO, is a twisty, sensational, mind-blowing page-turning whodunit—a mesmerizing tale of marriage, secrets, obsession, and murder.

A wedding photographer shockingly sees in the background of a photo her missing (presumed dead) brother-in-law, who was the prime suspect in her sister's and nephew's murder ten years earlier— in this twisty suspense domestic thriller, which will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned with a jaw-dropping twist you do not see coming!

She thought he was dead.

Until she saw him staring back at her…

Photos do not lie.


Ten years have passed since Jason Carello fled. Ten years since the bloodied bodies of Lara Beckett's sister, Isabelle, and her twin nephews, Jack and Milo, were discovered murdered in their beachside home near seaside Tidehaven.

Within hours of their murders, police named Jason (Carello Killer) as their prime suspect, but despite one of the largest manhunts in the force's history, he was never caught. He simply disappeared after stabbing her sister and two little boys to death.

Ten years ago, Lara was a press press photographer at the time of the crime. She was with the police at her sister's million-dollar home house, and a terrible scene waited inside. Nothing could prepare her for the three bodies removed from the house. She knew she could never cover brutal stories like this again after this tragedy.

Jason, the husband, father, and classic car dealer, was presumed dead after a widespread manhunt. The case has puzzled both police and amateur detectives for years.

Lara never wanted to be a wedding photographer as a vocation, but at the time, it paid the bills. While photographing a wedding, she initially thinks it is a random man on a balcony who's slipped into her photo uninvited, but she realizes there is something familiar about this man—the man she thought was dead.

A man everyone thought was a loving husband and father who butchered his own family. The news stories all say he killed himself after slaughtering his family after a framed photo of the family was found near the cliffs. Despite a search of the shoreline, his remains were never found.

No one could make sense of this brutal crime. Lily gave them a reason to live.

Lara's niece, Lily (15), was the only one who survived. She was five and was in critical condition at the time. She was the only witness to the murders and has no memory of the night.

The police were wrong. Lara has proof. Jason is alive, and he is in Tidehaven, and she has the evidence to prove it. Why is he showing up now on the 10th anniversary of their deaths?

Lily has also been recording videos of herself and posting them on TikTok. Does she remember things she had suppressed? Is she drawing out the killer, her dad? The sole survivor of the Carello Killings talks for the first time. To all the crime victims out there, she says she is a victim searching for the truth.

Lara worries that she unwittingly led Jason to her mum and Lily's front door. She contacts DCI Frampton, which took over after Phil Glover retired. But did Jason see her? Is he coming for them next?

Is she in danger? As well as Lily and Lara's mum? And then the message, "Quit while you still have a choice."

My thoughts...

Twisty, addictive, and bingeable!

WOW, that ending!?! THE PHOTO had me on the edge the entire book! The author cleverly keeps you in suspense and you will not see the gasp-worthy jaw-dropping twist coming! This suspense-thriller will fully engage readers and leave them guessing until the end.

Often, happy couples in tightly knit neighborhoods can sometimes turn unexpectedly terrifyingly deadly! The twists, turns, and unpredictable ending make THE PHOTO irresistible!

A plot-driven, dark, suspenseful thriller with delicious twists and compelling characters. It's smart and chilling, and nothing is as it seems. I liked Lily's POV and her true crime videos/podcast, which added to the intrigue. Just when you think it is over, the secret last POV blindsides you. Spine-chilling!

This was my first book by the author, and I was highly impressed. I love her writing style, and I cannot wait to read her backlist. I look forward to her next book! I also enjoyed her author's note and the inspiration behind the book.


I devoured the audiobook narrated by the talented Tamsin Kennard, and her performance was outstanding! I loved her British accent and was fully engaged, hanging on her every word. It was totally spellbinding. After listening, I purchased The Baby audiobook (I missed it when it came out) and cannot wait to listen— again, by the same talented narrator.


I highly recommend THE PHOTO to thriller fans and those who enjoy authors: Miranda Rijks, Emily Shiner, K.L. Slater, Wendy Walker, Michele Campbell, and Freida McFadden.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for a digital advanced reading copy and advanced listening copy for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: July 11, 2024

About the Author

A J McDine was a journalist and police press officer until she realised writing fiction was much more fun.

She lives in Kent in the UK with her husband, fellow thriller writer A J Wills, their two sons and three rescue cats.

The author of six dark, domestic thrillers, she loves to keep her readers guessing till the very last page. Her debut thriller, When She Finds You, was followed by Should Have Known Better, No One I Knew, The Promise You Made and The Invite. Her sixth thriller, The Baby, reached the Amazon top 20 in the UK and the Amazon top 100 in the US.

Click the 'follow' button to hear about A J's new releases. You can also find her at:

Facebook: A J McDine - thriller author

Instagram: @ajmcdineauthor







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