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Tarnished [Paperback]

Julia Crouch
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
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Book Description

14 Mar 2013

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 details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (14 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755378040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755378043
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 www.juliacrouch.co.uk.

Product Description

Review

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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

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

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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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished 16 Jun 2013
By EssexReader VINE VOICE
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought Cuckoo, the debut from Julia Crouch was a great read, although I wasn't as impressed with her second book Every Vow You Break, so I had reservations before reading this book. I'm really glad I gave it a go; an intriguing story backed up by skilful writing meant that this was an enjoyable read.

Peg has no childhood memories of being brought up by her lovely grandmother, Dolly in the same house as her obese aunt Jean. When Dolly starts suffering from dementia Peg decides to track down her father but maybe she should have left the past where it was? Peg is in a relationship with a much stronger partner, Loz who is pushing her to find out what it was that the family are reluctant to reveal to Peg. Events soon take a very dark turn as the two women dig into the past.

Julia Crouch manages to raise the tension in this book with the aid of Peg's slowly returning , memories, the descriptions of the house where Dolly has hoarded stuff and Jean's obesity are so well described it made my skin crawl. The reader may need to suspend a certain level of belief, particularly towards the end but it is no less thrilling for that. A book to become absorbed in and to be repulsed by in equal measures, I can't wait for the next one.
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Different and good!
Different kind of a book which ended completely opposite to what I expected which was clever. Not fast moving in fact sometimes bit frustrating you just want the story to progress... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished
Have read and really enjoyed all Julie Crouch's books and this was the best so far , great plot, great charector's look forward to her next book
Published 1 month ago by diane buist
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished
Peg works as a library assistant and lives a quiet life with her partner, Loz who is a chef working in a vegetarian restaurant. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Damaskcat
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Julia Crouch's excellent first novel Cuckoo, I was very pleased to receive this book from the Amazon Vine programme. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nikki
4.0 out of 5 stars Domestic Creepiness
Peg is trying to remember her childhood, and find out about her family history, encouraged by her girlfriend, Loz. Read more
Published 3 months ago by elkiedee
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but ruined by some truly hideous characters! ***Spoilers...
I think the characters of Loz and Auntie Jeanie are the worst characters that I have read abount in a long while. Read more
Published 4 months ago by DaisyDaisy
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good
I did not like the characters at all, I did not enjoy anything about this story. No more to say.
Published 5 months ago by Susan Haynes
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment
I enjoyed Cuckoo and had high hopes of Tarnished. Unfortunately I really didn't like it. The two main characters have clunky names for a start. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Raven's Wing
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good but not outstanding. I found it was getting nowhere until towards the end, and what a surprise was in store. Read more
Published 6 months ago by DeeDee
4.0 out of 5 stars Well structured and a great read but a bizarre ending
There are some deeply hidden family secrets in this story and Peg is trying to uncover them without upsetting anyone along the way. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Janie U
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