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Tarnished [Kindle Edition]

Julia Crouch
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
Kindle Price: £4.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

Peg always felt a little blurred, a little lacking in definition. Her mother died when she was six, her father simply disappeared, and she was brought up by her grandparents and her obese, bedridden aunt. But, despite all this, she never developed the habit of asking questions.
At least, not until she met Loz, her straight-talking, psychotherapeutically literate girlfriend, who urges her to confront her demons.
But as the skeletons come tumbling out of the family closet and the full horror of the past begins to reveal itself, Peg starts to wonder whether her youthful lack of curiosity might not have been a good thing. A very good thing indeed...

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Product Description


You'd be crazy not to read this book. Julia Crouch is an absolutely brilliant writer, sharp and compassionate and with a great gift for characterisation and comedy... The plot twists and turns until, as in the best whodunnits, almost everyone seems a possible suspect. A dramatic finale follows. Julia Crouch's low-key, intelligent, determinedly unprurient style is a welcome relief in a genre where the opposite dominates (Daily Mail)

This slow-burning psychological thriller is truly chilling and races to a creepy conclusion that's so genuinely scary you won't want to read it alone in the house (Sunday Mirror)

Skilfully written and cleverly structured (Crouch is a meticulous plotter)Tarnished is a memorably disquieting story that twists brilliantly from its humdrum, kitchen-sink opening to a chilling, destructive ending (Telegraph)

Twisty, unsettling but unforgettable (Cosmopolitan)

Tarnished, the third and undoubtedly best thriller so far from the pen of Julia Crouch, is a masterclass in menace, a slow-burning, psychological story of love, guilt and obsession which takes us into the deepest, darkest corners of the human mind....Crouch's chiller-thrillers are always so perfectly executed... terrifying, white-knuckle dramas unfold through beautifully honed and descriptive language, and without losing their excellent grip on time and place (Lancashire Evening Post)

Tarnished starts off as heart-wrenching, moves quickly to intriguing and very soon after that becomes downright terrifying. You will not want to miss this book (Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner )

Julia Crouch's latest, a wonderfully vibrant and witty psychological thriller, achieved the rare feat of making me laugh, and cry, and care about her characters; it kept me on tenterhooks to the very end (Penny Hancock, author of Tideline)

Book Description

An utterly gripping psychological drama for reading groups, in the vein of Sophie Hannah.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1852 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009P3N1WW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,144 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Julia Crouch grew up in Cambridge and studied Drama at Bristol University. She spent ten years working as a theatre director and playwright, then, after a spell of teaching, she somehow became a successful graphic and website designer, a career she followed for another decade while raising her three children. An MA in sequential illustration reawoke her love of narrative and a couple of Open University creative writing courses brought it to the fore.

Cuckoo, her first novel, emerged as a very rough draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. A year's editing got it ready for submission to an agent and within a couple of months she had a book deal with Headline and had given up the day job.

Every Vow You Break, her second novel, was published in March 2012, and Tarnished, her third, came out in 2013. She is also published in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil and China.

She works in a shed at the bottom of the Brighton house she shares with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, their three children, two cats called Keith and Sandra, and about twelve guitars. She is a self-confessed geek and fights a daily battle to resist tinkering with the code on her website, which can be found at

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a Thriller! 26 Jun. 2013
By Al
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had already read Cuckoo by Julia Crouch and had enjoyed that book so when I saw this new book by her I was keen to read it. It was an interesting story and I liked the character of Peg, although unfortunately a description of her was not in the very first part of the book so I had an image of her that was completely different from snippets that came out about her later on in the book. I got drawn into the story quite easily. It was an easy book to read and I did enjoy it but would not describe it as a thriller. The ending did have a couple of surprises but I thought overall it was a little too predictable and therefore a little disappointing.

I didn't find the setting of the story, the bungalow in which Peg had grown up, particularly chilling or creepy but a bit sad and melancholy and I felt sorry for her with her dilemma of living her own life with her partner Loz or looking after her Nan who had brought her up and her disabled Aunt Jean.

All in all I would say this was a good read but not as good as Cuckoo. I also found a few typing errors which I found a bit annoying and one error actually referred to the main character's brother when she was an only child and it should have said her uncle!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished 14 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Peg is a library assistant, living in London with her partner Loz who is a chef in a wholefood restaurant. Every week she visits Tankerton near Whitstable to visit her Nan, who now suffers from Alzheimers, in her bungalow, where her obese Auntie Jean lives in the extension and hasn't moved from her bed for ten years. Peg was brought up by her Nan and grandfather after her mother died of cancer when she was six: she has few memories of her early life, and yearns to know what happened to her father. So she starts to dig - armed with a notebook and voice recorder - and soon finds herself wishing she'd never started.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked Peg's gentle character - not the wimp others have called her - and I thought her relationship with the more feisty Loz was particularly well drawn. And as for Auntie Jean - with her Guinness, nightly fish and chip supper and malevolent cat - well, she is a real monster in more ways than one. The plotting - with its slow reveal - is taut and gripping, and I found the ending a real surprise. The writing is excellent, with its touches of humour shot through with horror. Highly recommended to fans of Sophie Hannah and Elizabeth Haynes, or anyone who enjoys a well written psychological thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow 3 Nov. 2014
By Rossi
The prologue of this book certainly grabbed my attention and intrigue but unfortunately this was followed by the slow and trundling account of Peg in her search to find her mysterious father who left when she was a child. The storyline is so long winded and Peg's family are cringe worthy and stereotypically written in order to play up to the reader in their expected fashion - the scenes in Spain especially apply here. Despite having this book for over a month, I hardly had the urge to pick it up and continue reading after getting a quarter of the way through. A disappointment - The Long Fall is so much better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highy enjoyable mystery. 11 Oct. 2013
By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peg always felt a little blurred, a little lacking in definition. Her mother died when she was six, her father simply disappeared, and she was brought up by her grandparents and her obese, bedridden aunt. But, despite all this, she never developed the habit of asking questions.....

But perhaps she should have done...or not! Anyway I muchly enjoyed this novel, a total indulgence, one I found hard to put down and after I had finished I felt a little like I had run a marathon...

Why? Well mostly down to the characters. I didnt like hardly ANY of them. Isnt that terrific? Yes it is because they are so well written. I'm not entirely convinced that Ms Crouch WANTS people to like them. In fact the only one I loved was the one that peripherally I was probably supposed to be suspicious of. No. Not saying. But anyway, we have Peg, with her never ending passive stance, tempered by Loz who knows it all and never shuts up. Then you have Grandma "Doll", frail but full of her own importance and Auntie Jean who can't get out of bed due to her MASSIVE bulk and can talk around a subject and leave your head spinning like no other...throw them all together with the mystery of what exactly happened to Peg's father, and why she has no memory of her early years and you have a corker of a story.

Information is drip fed to you in short little bits and bobs as we watch Peg slowly but surely start to realise that everything is not as clear cut as it appears...everyone is hiding secrets and no-one wants to tell the truth..the blame game is played to perfection and you are never sure if what you are hearing can be relied upon.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished 16 Jun. 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Peg is in her twenties and has very little memory of her childhood. She knows that her mother died when she was only a young child and that her father disappeared soon afterwards. She was brought up by her beloved nan and granddad, the gentle and kind Dolly and Frank together with aunty Jean - her father's parents and sister.

Peg has never been a confident person. Although she felt loved by her grandparents and Jean, her schooldays were miserable and friendless and she has always believed everything she has been told without question. However, she now realises that she is starting to remember snippets of her childhood - is her memory playing tricks on her or is she really remembering?

There are some very unlikeable characters in Peg's life. Her father seemed to be a shady character - a nightclub owner who appeared to be involved in some unlawful activities. Her aunty Jean is a vile character, she is manipulative and despite being bedridden for many years due to her obesity, she still insists on continuing to eat her own bodyweight in food and smoking her cigarettes in between puffing on her oxygen mask. I didn't really warm to Peg either at first - I thought she was too meek and too easily manipulated by other people, especially her feisty girlfriend Loz and her aunty Jean.

This was a slow burner of a story and whilst not an edge of your seat thriller, it starts very slowly with the tension building throughout the book, with sinister twists and turns until the conclusion - which I never saw coming. Peg, with Loz's help, tries to put together her fragments of memory and find out the truth concerning her family never imagining the danger heading her way.

This was an excellent read and I would certainly recommend it.
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