Karen Moore is passionate about all things noir – crime, mystery, thrillers – and writes in that genre.
She has been writing all her life, mostly for work purposes, and is now delighted to be able to spend more time developing her own creative work.
Her debut novel, Torn, is a dark tale of intrigue and betrayal set in Sicily and North Wales. Release is the sequel, although it is written as a standalone novel for people who may not have read Torn.
Karen worked as a tour guide across Europe, North America and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. She has lived in France and Italy, and is now based in Cheshire, England. Her cat, Lexi, often appears in her social media feeds.
When Hanna’s estranged mafioso husband, Luciano, is released early from a Sicilian prison, she fears he will come after her and her young daughter, Eva.
The revelation leaves her with a dilemma. Invited to Sicily to attend her best friend’s wedding, can she really take the risk?
But even staying at home in North Wales may not be safe. Something strange is going on at her old cottage in the hills. As the lines between Sicily and North Wales blur, Hanna uncovers a criminal operation that leads her to fear for Eva’s life all over again.
Will Hanna ever be able to release herself from Luciano’s grip? Or will her discovery lead her into even deeper danger?
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“Released? But… but… how’s that possible?” Hanna sank into the nearest chair.
The day suddenly darkened, the sun disappearing behind a cloud. A chill spread through her
body, as if the blood flowing through her veins was turning to ice.
“Sergio heard about it from one of his sources. That’s all we know at the moment. We don’t
have any more details.”
Hanna felt dizzy, her head pounding as she tried to take in the devastating news.
“I just don’t believe it. Christ, he’s only served, what, not even a couple of years of a fourteen-
year sentence. What could have happened to quash that? Surely it must be a mistake?”
“Probably some technicality drummed up by his lawyer. It all seems to have been done on the quiet. Sergio’s doing some digging as his newspaper’s interested, but he’s not hopeful. No one
seems to know anything much. Even Sergio’s dad – and he’s in the police – has only just heard.” “Are you sure he’s been released for good? It’s not a temporary reprieve of some sort?”
“The informant reckons it’s permanent.”
Hanna felt goosebumps prick on her arms. “This has come as a hell of a shock. I wasn’t
expecting him to get out for years, even if he didn’t serve his full term. I thought Eva and I were safe, but now, who knows? And great timing, too, what with your wedding coming up…”
“Hope it won’t change your mind about coming over,” said Ceri hesitantly.
“No, no, it’ll be fine. Once I get my head around it.”
“Well, see how you feel. I wouldn’t want anything else to happen. You and Eva have both
been through enough already.”
“If you hear there’s any possible threat…”
“I’ll let you know straight away if there’s any further news. Try not to worry too much. I’ll
call again in a day or so, or sooner if there’s anything urgent. Take care, and give our love to Rhys and Eva.”
“Will do. Love to Sergio too. Speak soon. Ciao.”
Hanna ended the call, her mind in a whirl. How could Luciano have been set free with all the overwhelming evidence against him? God knows what lengths his family lawyer and associates had gone to in order to secure his release. Probably pulled strings in high places, called in a favour or two, or brought pressure – or even blackmail – to bear on those with influence. She was aware of Rhys hovering close by, his face drawn into a deep frown, his gaze an unspoken question.
“It had to happen one day,” he said gently, leaning down and wrapping his arms around her.
“Yes, but I never imagined it would be so soon.” She rested her head briefly on his shoulder, then suddenly pushed him away, hunching over as she struggled for air, on the verge of a panic attack.
“Are you OK?” asked Rhys in concern, bending over her as she wheezed and tried to catch her breath.
“I’ll be f…f…fine. Just give me a minute…”
“Try to take deep breaths.”
She followed his advice. As she gradually calmed down, her breathing returned to normal. “Feeling better?”
“Try not to worry. It’ll be fine, you’ll see. After all, you’ve not heard from Luciano or his family one way or another since he went inside,” Rhys pointed out reasonably. “There’s nothing to say that things will change now, or that you’ve any reason to fear…”
She looked at him, a flicker of anger in her eyes. “But his father and brother were also sentenced, remember? Pretty difficult for any of them to act from inside prison. Now Luciano’s free, he could well try to get Eva back. I always thought it was strange that he gave her up so easily.”
“But didn’t he agree to leave you alone as long as you didn’t grass on him to the authorities?”
“Yes, but he doesn’t play things by the rules. And the fact he was arrested so soon after Eva’s release might have made him suspect that I had something to do with it. He might come after me wanting revenge.”
“Really? Isn’t that pretty unlikely now, in the circumstances?”
Hanna sighed. “Rhys, anything is possible with Luciano.” As she said the words, she realised yet again how little she had known of Luciano’s true character during their time together. So many sides, so many personalities: exciting lover, caring family man, and at the same time a heartless and hard-nosed criminal, married to his family’s business interests.
Rhys took hold of both her hands, fixing her with his steady gaze. “You and Eva have a new life here, far away from Sicily, with me to protect you. You should both be safe enough now.”
“Yes, you’re right,” said Hanna with a faint smile, more to appease him than out of any real conviction. After all, she remembered only too well that it was here in North Wales that Eva had been kidnapped by one of Luciano’s rivals, trying to muscle in on her husband’s lucrative illegal business interests back in Sicily.
If it had happened once, it could happen again.
REVIEW OF RELEASE
In Release author Kare Moore has Created a brilliant, foreboding mystery where nothing is as it seems and that will keep you guessing until the very end. Right from the beginning the novel develops nicely into a great physiological suspense that utilises the back story and characters of previous novel Torn, In Release the storyline moves forward but it is a great Standalone novel and you don’t have to read in order. There is also the main character Hanna and you can’t help but immediately fall in love with her quirky, strong, courageous, protective and vulnerable personality, you really want her and her daughter Eva to be able to escape in North Wales from her husband and his family and his shady business. The storyline of Release is compelling, the characters are fully rounded and are brought to life throughout that story in a way that makes them feel like so life like but more than that, Karen writes in a way with such compassion and love for her characters and there back story. Release is a very interesting book in that it plays on the traditional suspense novel in that it concentrates on showing the emotions and relationships of the characters in this novel, along with utilising the backdrops of North Wales and of the Isle of Sicily that provide a great backdrop to the book that help move the storyline forward. Throughout the novel you will you will feel the anger, confusion, hope and determination of the characters themselves, Overall this was a very entertaining and highly thoughtful novel that kept me wanting to turn the next page. I would recommend this to those who enjoy a more emotional/psychological thriller novel. If you have not yet read Torn and Release i recommend that you do now, I look forward to reading the next book for Karen Moore, as she is a author to watch out for.
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