The Ties That Bind
The Ties That Bind is the fourth novel from Erin Kelly, the author of The Poison Tree and The Burning Air. Gripping, twisty and compelling, it confirms her as a mistress of psychological suspense.Could a soul, once sold, truly be redeemed?Luke is a true crime writer in search of a story. When he flees to Brighton after an explosive break-up, the perfect subject lands in his lap: reformed gangster Joss Grand. Now in his eighties, Grand once ruled the Brighton underworld with his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye - until Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea. Though Grand's alibi seems cast-iron, Luke is sure there's more to the story than meets the eye, and he convinces the criminal-turned-philanthropist to be interviewed for a book about his life.Luke is drawn deeper into the mystery of Jacky Nye's murder. Was Grand there that night? Is he really as reformed a character as he claims? And who was the girl in the red coat seen fleeing the murder scene? Soon Luke realises that in stirring up secrets from the past, he may have placed himself in terrible danger.

The Ties That Bind Details

TitleThe Ties That Bind
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 8th, 2014
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery, Crime, Fiction

The Ties That Bind Review

  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    Erin Kelly is so great at what she does: her books never let me down. Whenever I pick up a new novel from this author - and I always get my hands on them as soon as possible - I know I'm going to get an absorbing and exciting story that I can really lose myself in. Those cliched adverts (usually for Galaxy or something) where someone curls up in the corner of an improbably cosy cafe with a huge mug of hot chocolate and a good book with a smug smile on their face? They're reading an Erin Kelly bo Erin Kelly is so great at what she does: her books never let me down. Whenever I pick up a new novel from this author - and I always get my hands on them as soon as possible - I know I'm going to get an absorbing and exciting story that I can really lose myself in. Those cliched adverts (usually for Galaxy or something) where someone curls up in the corner of an improbably cosy cafe with a huge mug of hot chocolate and a good book with a smug smile on their face? They're reading an Erin Kelly book.The Ties That Bind marks a slight change of direction for the author: where her last book The Burning Air was very domestic and all about family, this novel goes back to basics and focuses on a single character who drifts through the story largely alone. Luke Considine is a journalist and true crime writer who works in an art gallery to make ends meet. It's at an auction when he meets the gorgeous but fucked-up Jem; the two quickly begin a relationship, and while Jem lavishes money and expensive gifts on Luke, he is also possessive and volatile. When things go bad between them, Luke flees to Brighton to stay with a friend - whose boss happens to be 60s gangster turned property magnate and philanthropist, Joss Grand. Grand's life story is the lead Luke has been looking for, and he becomes determined to pursue the truth behind Grand's dramatic transformation and the mysterious death of his chief henchman, Jacky Nye, in 1968. But the more Luke finds out about Grand, the more danger he puts himself in; and meanwhile, a heartbroken and dangerously lovesick Jem is still trying to hunt him down.The book begins uniquely too, with an attention-grabbing scene from the climax of the story - with Luke waking up in a cellar, tied up using a method of torture he recognises as having been invented by Grand. This is followed by some emails between Luke and his agent, and an extract from Luke's book about Grand, which serves as an introduction to this character and his background. Only then does the story proper actually begin, and it's as readable and compelling as you would expect from Kelly. As far as the settings were concerned, I really liked the fact that the story began in Leeds, but Brighton was particularly well evoked. Luke is a likeable character who is easy to root for, and the adventure he has while investigating Grand's past is colourful, fast-paced and continually enthralling. It's almost old-fashioned in the way it unfolds, and I mean that in a really good way: Luke finds a clue, he chases it up and finds some eccentric character with secrets galore, each of whom fills in a different gap in what he knows until a murky picture starts to emerge - it's all gloriously enjoyable. Is there anything wrong with it? Nothing much: the worst criticism I can think of is that some of the supporting characters are... not caricatures exactly (they're too well-rounded for that), but let's just say it's very difficult to imagine them actually existing outside the pages of a novel like this. I also felt the ending was too soft on Jem after his earlier behaviour. The story lacks a stupendous twist like the one The Burning Air had, but that isn't really a criticism, it's just hard not to make the comparison.It's interesting to look back on my reviews of Kelly's earlier work and see how my opinion of her writing has evolved. When I read her debut The Poison Tree, I hoped that the author would pursue literary fiction rather than psychological thrillers. But she's kept on writing the latter, and with that she has become one of my favourite (if not actually my very favourite) writers of contemporary crime fiction. I was so wrong to think this type of writing wouldn't allow Kelly to develop her literary talent - her books just get better and better.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Release date UK: 8th May 2014Thank you kindly to Hodder and all involved for the advance reading copy.Could a soul, once sold, truly be redeemed?Luke is a true crime writer in search of a story. When he flees to Brighton after an explosive break-up, the perfect subject lands in his lap: reformed gangster Joss Grand. Now in his eighties, Grand once ruled the Brighton underworld with his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye – until Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea Release date UK: 8th May 2014Thank you kindly to Hodder and all involved for the advance reading copy.Could a soul, once sold, truly be redeemed?Luke is a true crime writer in search of a story. When he flees to Brighton after an explosive break-up, the perfect subject lands in his lap: reformed gangster Joss Grand. Now in his eighties, Grand once ruled the Brighton underworld with his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye – until Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea. Though Grand’s alibi seems cast-iron, Luke is sure there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and he convinces the criminal-turned-philanthropist to be interviewed for a book about his life.Yes I know its early to start talking about this one but when it dropped through my letterbox what did you expect exactly? That I would wait until nearer publication day? Pfft. You don’t know me very well…I mean for a start its Erin Kelly, add to that its me and my chronic impatience. So just to start this review (babble?) off lets take a “previously on” type look at things.My favourite book of its year was “The Poison Tree” a book that haunted my soul long after reading, had one of my (still) most loved characters, Bohemian free spirit Biba and is also in my top 5 “Most Satisfying Endings Ever” list. Most. Satisfying. Ending.Ever. Then she followed that up with “The Sick Rose” (Also known as The Dark Rose) this time making me loathe some characters so deeply that I wanted to spit at them – in a good way of course, I was compelled to read the entire thing, and whilst it is not my favourite of hers it got me on the same emotional level. Then came “The Burning Air” which I have spoken about frequently, is in my hall of fame, and gave me that jaw dropping, throw the book on the floor, immediately re-read several chapters moment that doesnt happen to me often.Each one has a high standard of writing, brilliant psychological insight, all giving an addictive reading experience but something a little different each time. This author doesnt stagnate having found a formula that works, she pushes the boundaries and tries out new things, whilst still, well, having found a formula that works!So we come to “The Ties That Bind” . Here we meet True Crime Writer Luke who has found himself entangled in an obsessive controlling relationship – to escape from those bonds he flees to Brighton and stumbles upon a crime story that could make his career. But at what cost?Its interesting really when I try and analyse the reading experience – it is again a different kind of read in a lot of ways from each of the others, compelling as ever, magical storytelling with a fascinating ebb and flow of twists and turns – but the ambience of it, as always, lies just below the surface. You just sense there is danger coming from somewhere for Luke but you are not sure where.Its because the characterisation is top notch. Absolutely. Joss Grand, a character I fell madly in love with, is intelligent and scary,with an extremely intriguing edge to his personality. Luke himself is driven yet naive in a lot of ways. Ex Boyfriend Jem is stunningly well drawn – compulsive yet strangely sympathetic. Those three on their own could hold an entire novel but it doesnt stop there. As Luke tracks down witnesses, gets help from unexpected quarters, follows the trail towards the guilt or innocence of Joss Grand in the murder of his friend, you will barely be able to look away. This one is not about the result…its about the journey. And what an amazing journey it was.The sense of an era is captured here beautifully, alongside an updated and colourful look at Brighton in the present day, I’d live there in an instant – add to that a resourceful, imaginative and creative story with some truly truly fascinating characters and this one comes HIGHLY recommended from me.The whole thing had me turning pages late into the night, I turned away from it for a while yesterday, I did NOT want to finish it, at the same time, I needed to KNOW…so this morning in a glorious hour of locking the world out I sadly came to the end…and now the long wait begins again for another offering from an author who is right up there solidly now in my top ten of must read novelists.Read it. Live it. Love it.
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  • Alex Cantone
    January 1, 1970
    "Blood chased mud down the plughole."Luke Considine was born in Leeds and raised in cosmopolitan Sydney, and returned to his homeland to edit a gay newspaper. But his desire is to write true crime, emulating his idol Truman Capote. This surprises even his own family who accept that he's gay but are bemused that he wants to be a writer.When the chance to pen the story of local crim Len Earnshaw falls through, Luke escapes a claustrophobic relationship with Jem and moves to Brighton where his frie "Blood chased mud down the plughole."Luke Considine was born in Leeds and raised in cosmopolitan Sydney, and returned to his homeland to edit a gay newspaper. But his desire is to write true crime, emulating his idol Truman Capote. This surprises even his own family who accept that he's gay but are bemused that he wants to be a writer.When the chance to pen the story of local crim Len Earnshaw falls through, Luke escapes a claustrophobic relationship with Jem and moves to Brighton where his friend Charlene gains him temporary accommodation at a grace and favour cottage, owned by property magnate Josh Grand. The ailing octogenarian is a philanthropist whose past hides a dark secret and Luke convinces him to write his memories. His is not the first to attempt a book on the subject, and mystery surrounds the fate of an earlier author, Jasper Patten. In a series of interviews Grand reveals his childhood in post-war Britain, where thieving stuff was a natural extension of rationing. He and his childhood friend, Jacky Nye, grow up to establish a racketeering and money-laundering ring, and both serve time in jail. The Brighton skyline is changing, first through bombing and later with large scale clearing of slum tenements for building projects, and there is a fall out between the two men as to the direction their business enterprises are taking. Nye is murdered in 1968 on West Pier and though a suspect, Grand is never convicted. As Grand's story unfolds, Luke tries to separate fact from fiction, believing the old man is rewriting history to cast himself in a more favourable light. He befriends archivist Sandy, and is drawn ever deeper into events beyond his control. But when his former lover, the tormented Jem tracks him down, Luke finds himself in real fear for his life.Erin Kelly carefully depicts each character, and binds them within descriptive prose that had me spellbound. "The English Channel churned pewter and the rain darkened the cream, brown and grey pebbles to a uniform slate."The book raises some uncomfortable issues: petty crims serving time for their masters to allow their families outside "protection". Domestic abuse among Gay and Lesbian couples, and the undercurrent of violence of people living on the edge. As the plot twists and turns, the investigative journalist is forced to question his own motives and loyalties to friends."In Cold Blood could no longer be the model. It was Capote's separation from the subject that was the work's genius, the way the author's presence was all in the subtext. Luke could claim no such detachment. He was part of the story now, a catalyst within it and there at the grisly denouement."Highly recommended.
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  • Cleo Bannister
    January 1, 1970
    There is nothing more enthralling for me than reading about a writer researching a story, especially when the story being planned is about a murder!Luke a journalist who blotted his copybook, is convinced his big break can happen if he can emulate the great true-crime book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. He's recovering from the disappointment of a lost opportunity when he moves to Brighton following a messy break-up with his partner and finds the perfect subject to research; gangster turned phi There is nothing more enthralling for me than reading about a writer researching a story, especially when the story being planned is about a murder!Luke a journalist who blotted his copybook, is convinced his big break can happen if he can emulate the great true-crime book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. He's recovering from the disappointment of a lost opportunity when he moves to Brighton following a messy break-up with his partner and finds the perfect subject to research; gangster turned philanthropist, Joss Stone whose partner in crime, Jacky Nye was murdered in 1968. Luke is convinced he has found the perfect story and sets about his research, throwing caution to the wind when he is repeatedly advised to find a different subject.This is a fast-paced book with numerous twists and turns as Luke tries to find those who know the answers to the long ago mystery, including the young woman in the red dress who was seen fleeing the scene. In this book, you don't only get a fantastic plot but also vivid descriptions and a theme of redemption running throughout. This changes The Ties That Bind from a straight mystery to something more complex, a book that made me think about the atonement of sins, both large and small.Erin Kelly is one of my favourite writers with her last book The Burning Air being one of my favourite reads of 2014. The change in subject in this book just serves to underline that this is an author who writes distinctly different books with characters that walk off the pages and into your imagination, so clearly that you miss them when the book is finished. In The Ties That Bind there is an abundance of different characters, Joss Stone is a puzzle, why did he turn his back on the gangster lifestyle? Why is Jem, Luke's previous partner so controlling, and why, despite despising his behaviour, did I feel a vested interested in his well-being? You'll have to read the book to find out?I am extremely grateful that the publishers Hodder & Stoughton provided me with a copy of this book to review.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this book!!I'm always drawn to books set in Brighton, with a bit of a dark twist to them. This one is worth reading for its characters, in particular Joss and Luke, and their relationship. I also enjoyed its slant on the historical gangster side of Brighton.In the story, we have Luke, a crime writer/researcher who leaves Leeds because of an obsessive claustrophobic relationship with Jem. He heads to Brighton and soon becomes enthralled i Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this book!!I'm always drawn to books set in Brighton, with a bit of a dark twist to them. This one is worth reading for its characters, in particular Joss and Luke, and their relationship. I also enjoyed its slant on the historical gangster side of Brighton.In the story, we have Luke, a crime writer/researcher who leaves Leeds because of an obsessive claustrophobic relationship with Jem. He heads to Brighton and soon becomes enthralled in the story of Brighton bad boy Joss Grand. Grand apparently has gone from being a gangster to a philanthropic landlord. Luke becomes slightly obsessed with finding out the truth about a gangland murder that took place in the 1960s, involving Grand.With lovely accurate descriptions of Brighton past and present, you get a real sense of place. I became quite fascinated with Luke and how he was burying himself in the past of a colourful and quite scary side of Brighton. A fantastic well paced read.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    The first book that I've read of Ms Kelly's and won't be the last.The story is one of a crime writer called Luke who is fascinated with gangland crime, especially during the sixties. After a tempestuous relationship that ends badly with his boyfriend, Jem, Luke decides to leave Leeds and move down to Brighton to make a fresh start and escape Jem's possessive ways. What results is Luke stumbling into an old case involving property tycoon and philanthropist, Joss Grand. An old time gangland boss w The first book that I've read of Ms Kelly's and won't be the last.The story is one of a crime writer called Luke who is fascinated with gangland crime, especially during the sixties. After a tempestuous relationship that ends badly with his boyfriend, Jem, Luke decides to leave Leeds and move down to Brighton to make a fresh start and escape Jem's possessive ways. What results is Luke stumbling into an old case involving property tycoon and philanthropist, Joss Grand. An old time gangland boss who alongside his sidekick Jacky Nye ruled the underworld of Brighton back in the late sixties. However, Nye dies and Luke is convinced that somehow Grand, who is now an old man, was involved so sets out to prove his theories.The premise of the story is good, the subject matter is interesting and with references to known crimes, an era I find interesting. However, this book was a strange one for me. At times I found the book utterly captivating with it's vivid descriptive and enthralling storytelling where I really felt engaged. Yet other times it would veer into boredom and I would start skipping pages just to move the story along. It really felt like a rollercoaster with huge ups and downs. Ms Kelly tells a story well, there's no doubt. It was well researched, characters all coming to life easily and I felt I really got a sense of placement with Brighton. I guess at times it just felt a little overdone with unnecessary passages that didn't really add much to the overall story. On the whole I enjoyed it, Luke was a great character and I even, surprisingly, had a soft spot for Jem, the possessive boyfriend who clearly needed a little help!! As much as I would have liked a different ending to their story, it finished with the only sensible one!Overall a good story, with great characters and great storytelling. It just wasn't all there for me, not quite anyway. Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy.
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  • Melanie O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    I have been reading Erin Kelly books from the start, in fact she has always been one of my favourite ever authors. Unfortunately this book just didn’t reach the expectations I had. I couldn’t seem to connect with the characters who appeared to me one dimensional. It was OK but didn’t blow me away this time... but I will still look forward to reading her books !
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  • Book Addict Shaun
    January 1, 1970
    I was really intrigued by the sound of this book and couldn't wait to read it. As a self-confessed true crime addict, it sounded right up my street. I knew it wouldn't be a straightforward tale however, given that Erin Kelly writes psychological suspense, which ordinarily I love but the suspense in The Ties That Bind was absent, with characters that lacked depth meaning that I struggled to like, or care about most of them. It's such a shame as the book had such a brilliant opening. The opening s I was really intrigued by the sound of this book and couldn't wait to read it. As a self-confessed true crime addict, it sounded right up my street. I knew it wouldn't be a straightforward tale however, given that Erin Kelly writes psychological suspense, which ordinarily I love but the suspense in The Ties That Bind was absent, with characters that lacked depth meaning that I struggled to like, or care about most of them. It's such a shame as the book had such a brilliant opening. The opening sees Luke tied up somewhere after being kidnapped. Tidbits are fed to the reader, allowing us to guess how he ended up there but the picture at this point is still very much a blur. Taking us back in time by a week, setting the scene further, I was utterly compelled to read on. Then, we go back in time by a year, to a time when a move to Brighton wasn't even on Luke's radar. Luke meets and falls for Jem, a man who very soon develops an obsession with Luke, which is what makes Luke then flee to Brighton. The obsession story in the beginning was very rushed, unoriginal and not all that believable. Luke is such a boring character I failed to see why a man like Jem would become so enamoured by him. Whilst it was refreshing to read a book with gay characters, Jem's ending in this story felt cliched and silly and I just couldn't take it seriously. When Luke arrives in Brighton, a story falls into his lap, one that could be the big break he has always been looking for. Joss Grand and his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye once ruled Brighton, before Nye was found dead washed up by the West Pier in 1968. With the murder remaining unsolved, and with a number of clues pointing towards Grand as the murderer, Luke must somehow convince Grand to let him write a book about him, which he hopes in turn will provoke a confession from Grand, thus catapulting Luke to true crime writing stardom. Luke faces adversity from everywhere he looks, and despite being warned off he becomes almost obsessed himself with uncovering the truth. Growing up fascinated with the Kray twins, their legend still lives on, with people never forgetting just how dangerous they were, or the crimes they committed. What I have noticed in recent years, as certain other crime legends pass away, with huge East End funerals is that they become almost revered, and that's the impression we get when we first meet Joss Grand as his philanthropic ways and image as he has gotten older has almost made some people forget just how bad he used to be and I have to say he was one of the saving graces in this novel and one of the characters I actually liked. Whilst there's plenty of twists in the book, and a lot of developments I didn't see coming, I still failed to engage with the book which disappointed me. Brighton I felt was the perfect setting for this book, a city full of history and culture it has long been a fascination for many people. In fact one of the book club questions at the end of the book asks the reader whether they could picture the book being set anywhere else, I couldn't and felt that the location was definitely one of the book's good points. As well as the setting, Erin is a wonderful writer, it has been a while since I have read a book as well written as this one. This isn't a book I'm going to shout about from the rooftops, but this is only my personal opinion, and you only have to look at the reviews to see that others have loved it. Having read and enjoyed Erin Kelly's Broadchurch novelisation I wouldn't be against reading another of her books.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Brighton still rocks...Aspiring true crime writer Luke Considine is looking for the perfect case to form the basis of his first book. When he is cheated out of the story he has been working on and at the same time has a bad relationship break-up, he moves to Brighton on a whim, and there he comes across the perfect subject – Joss Grand, onetime gangster, now philanthropist and local legend. And to make his story even more interesting, the long-ago murder of Joss’s partner in crime remains unsolv Brighton still rocks...Aspiring true crime writer Luke Considine is looking for the perfect case to form the basis of his first book. When he is cheated out of the story he has been working on and at the same time has a bad relationship break-up, he moves to Brighton on a whim, and there he comes across the perfect subject – Joss Grand, onetime gangster, now philanthropist and local legend. And to make his story even more interesting, the long-ago murder of Joss’s partner in crime remains unsolved. But though Joss may be old now, he still has an aura of danger and those who know him warn Luke to steer clear…As Luke investigates, he stirs up old memories and soon finds his life in danger. Will he be able to get to the truth before it’s too late? And is the danger coming from more than one direction – if so, whom can he trust? The plot has all the elements of the standard thriller, but the quality of the characterisation and the strong sense of place lift it well above average.Luke is a likeable and credible lead, and the breakdown of his relationship with his lover Jem is portrayed very believably. I found it refreshing that Kelly managed to include a gay relationship without allowing ‘the gay lifestyle’ to become the main focus of the book, as tends to happen all too often. Instead, as Jem becomes ever more out of control and threatening, Kelly concentrates on the psychology of him as a man, rather than as a gay man. And Luke stays realistic all the way through – he doesn’t suddenly turn into an all-action superhero in the last few chapters.The character of Joss is nicely ambiguous. Although he undoubtedly did some very bad things when he was a young man, he has lived a seemingly respectable life for many years, using his wealth to fund many projects around Brighton, so that he is now seen as a pillar of the community. But that wealth, though earned via legitimate enterprises, grew out of the dirty money that Joss made running protection rackets in the ’60s. So the question is one of redemption – can decades of good works wipe out the crimes of the past? That’s assuming that Joss is clean now – or could his legitimate businesses be hiding something darker? Old and ill though he is, there’s no doubt that Joss still enjoys knowing that people fear him…The descriptions of Brighton, both present day and in the sense Kelly gives us of the past, are convincing. We see the touristy seaside town with its gaudy lights and seafront entertainments, but we get to see a darker underbelly too; especially in the Brighton of the ’50s and ’60s – Kelly directly alludes to Greene’s Brighton Rock, and the feeling of simmering violence amongst the Brighton gangsters is set well into the context of the time of the Kray twins’ rule in London’s East End.All round, I found this an enjoyable and very well written thriller – good plot, strong descriptive writing and great characterisation. Highly recommended.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Val Penny
    January 1, 1970
    I met Erin Kelly for the first time last summer when I attended The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School at which she led an excellent course. I enjoyed the summer school and you can read my review about it at bookreviewstoday.info/2015/11/15/swan.... Erin Kelly is a very impressive tutor. I like her style and her approach to writing, which she shares openhandedly. It was at The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School I bought The Ties That Bind. The Conference takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Ha I met Erin Kelly for the first time last summer when I attended The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School at which she led an excellent course. I enjoyed the summer school and you can read my review about it at bookreviewstoday.info/2015/11/15/swan.... Erin Kelly is a very impressive tutor. I like her style and her approach to writing, which she shares openhandedly. It was at The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School I bought The Ties That Bind. The Conference takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Hayes Hall in Derbyshire England. There is a review at hotelandrestaurantreviews.com/2015/11.... The Ties That Bind was the first book by Erin Kelly that I had read, but it was an excellent read and will not be the last.The Ties That Bind is a psychological thriller set in Brighton. The book begins withan exciting scene from the climax of the story with the principal character, Luke waking up bound fast in a cellar. Luke Considine is a journalist and true crime writer who works in an art gallery to make ends meet. He meets Jem at an auction and the two quickly begin a relationship. While Jem lavishes money and expensive gifts on Luke, he is also possessive and volatile. Ineviatably, things go bad between them, Luke flees to Brighton to stay with a friend. She is working as a real estate agent and her boss just happens to be 60s gangster turned property magnate and philanthropist, Joss Grand.Grand’s life story is the lead Luke has been looking for, and he becomes determined to pursue the truth behind Grand’s dramatic transformation and the mysterious death of his chief henchman, Jacky Nye, in 1968. Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea. Though Grand’s alibi seems cast-iron, Luke is sure there is more to the story than meets the eye. He manages to convince Grand to be interviewed for a book about his life. However, the more Luke finds out about Grand, the more danger he puts himself in; and meanwhile, a heartbroken and dangerously lovesick Jem is still trying to hunt Luke down.Luke is a likeable character who is easy to root for throughout the book. When Luke finds a clue, he chases it up and finds some eccentric characters with secrets galore, each of whom fills in a different gap in what he knows. A murky picture starts to emerge.Luke is drawn deeper into the mystery of Jacky Nye’s murder. He investigates whether Grand there that night and if he really as reformed a character as he claims. He also looks into s the girl in the red coat was, who was seen fleeing the murder scene. Luke realises too late that in stirring up secrets from the past, he may have placed himself in terrible danger.If you enjoy psychological thrillers, I highly recommend The Ties That Bind by Erin Kelly. While a few of the minor characters are not as deftly drawn as the main protagonists, that is a very minor criticism of a very good novel.Valerie Penny
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  • Jacqueline
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a fan of Erin Kelly for some time. Her first novel The Poison Tree is among my favourite books, and I have read her two others which I also enjoyed. This book however was no where near as good. It started off with such promise, but eventually fell flat.Luke, a twenty-something struggling writer begins a relationship with a wealthy gentleman who slowly tries to take over his life. Controlling, over-bearing Jem eventually drives Luke away into a lonely corner of Brighton, where he meets I've been a fan of Erin Kelly for some time. Her first novel The Poison Tree is among my favourite books, and I have read her two others which I also enjoyed. This book however was no where near as good. It started off with such promise, but eventually fell flat.Luke, a twenty-something struggling writer begins a relationship with a wealthy gentleman who slowly tries to take over his life. Controlling, over-bearing Jem eventually drives Luke away into a lonely corner of Brighton, where he meets Joss Grand, a former gangster turned philanthropist. Whilst searching for answers into Grands past, Luke soon realizes he may be in serious danger. If it's not the mob boss and his enormous driver raising his blood pressure, its the insistent calls and texts from his ex-boyfriend who just can't take no for an answer. This wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't very good. There wasn't enough excitement in Luke's investigation of Grand. I like a bit of true crime history but Grand's seemed pretty tame. The added suspense of Jem's harassment of Luke, even his meltdown and assault, where only tiny snippets in what seemed like a very long story. Erin Kelly's novels have been great in the past - I won't give up on her entirely.
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  • Evie Pey
    January 1, 1970
    No stars as didn't finish it.I just couldn't get into it at all.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I've read books by Erin Kelly before, but it's been a long time. The Poison Tree was excellent - a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2011, I found it totally gripping, a really well written dual time narrative, with eccentric but convincing characters and a genuinely shocking ending. Then came The Sick Rose - equally excellent story telling, well developed and fascinating characters, great tying together of different time frames, and a real sense of suspense throughout. Then came the flood of othe I've read books by Erin Kelly before, but it's been a long time. The Poison Tree was excellent - a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2011, I found it totally gripping, a really well written dual time narrative, with eccentric but convincing characters and a genuinely shocking ending. Then came The Sick Rose - equally excellent story telling, well developed and fascinating characters, great tying together of different time frames, and a real sense of suspense throughout. Then came the flood of other thriller writers, and Erin Kelly vanished from my radar for a while - although I've obviously been aware of her involvement in the novel version of series one of Broadchurch, and the "shorts" accompanying the current series. But I decided to rediscover her writing through The Ties That Bind, which will be published in paperback by Hodder on 29th January. This is a very different book from the ones I'd read before, and I'll admit to being ever so slightly put off when I realised its focus was Brighton gangland in the 60s. But I needn't have worried - this was a wonderful old fashioned thriller with a very modern twist, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.The focus of the story is actually Luke Considine, living in Leeds, a writer of true crime who has recently been thwarted - for a whole range of reasons - in finding a suitable subject. While working in a bar at an art gallery to make ends meet, he meets new partner Jem (Jeremy), who has just purchased a very expensive painting and enjoys a very different lifestyle which he's happy to share with Luke. Their affair is very well drawn, with their initial pleasure at being together soon becoming claustrophobic and obsessional. Luke flees to Brighton, where he comes across the story of Joss Grand and the murder of Jacky Nye, and we follow his story as he builds up his research, manages to get the elusive Grand to tell his story, but always has one eye over his shoulder in case Jem comes in pursuit.The characters are excellent, including Luke himself - he's eminently likeable, and has a good clear "voice" throughout, and we share his enthusiasm and excitement as he assembles his research for his planned book. Sandy, with her private archive and secret past, is a wonderful creation who absolutely fascinates: Joss Grand is also beautifully drawn as he reveals his murky past. Even the minor characters are excellent - I loved Luke's next door neighbours with the wife obsessed with the detail of reproducing vintage clothing. The story twists and turns as Luke tries to identify the girl in the red coat who witnessed the murder, the tension building wonderfully - in relation to Joss Grand's story and Luke's past - to a really explosive ending.A really enjoyable read, and one I'd really recommend to anyone who enjoys a really good story well told, an edge-of-your-seat thriller and the very best of writing. I loved it.
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  • Jill's Book Cafe
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read anything by Erin Kelly before, but was aware that her books are well received by those in the know. When I got the chance to read this via NetGalley (in return for an honest review) I was delighted. When I looked at the subject matter, I will admit I was not so delighted as on the face of it, it would not have been my choice of reading - 60's gangland is not my genre. However I was drawn in from the beginning and I loved it.Luke has "escaped" to Brighton to stay with a friend, I have never read anything by Erin Kelly before, but was aware that her books are well received by those in the know. When I got the chance to read this via NetGalley (in return for an honest review) I was delighted. When I looked at the subject matter, I will admit I was not so delighted as on the face of it, it would not have been my choice of reading - 60's gangland is not my genre. However I was drawn in from the beginning and I loved it.Luke has "escaped" to Brighton to stay with a friend, to avoid an obsessive partner, who refuses to accept that their affair is over. The friend, who works for a letting agency, puts him up short term in a recently empty property that does not appear on the books. Thus starts a mystery that Luke is determined to get to the bottom of, especially when he discovers that the property and the company is owned by Joss Grand. Grand ruled the Brighton gangland in the 60's, along with his lifelong friend Jacky Nye, whose subsequent murder at the height of their reign was never solved. The Joss Grand of the present day however, seems far removed from the Joss Grand of the past, but is he all he appears, and what was the truth of Jacky's murder. Luke seizes the chance to investigate in the hope of resurrecting his journalistic career with a Truman Capote style book about Grand.While on the face of it, Grand agrees to the idea of the book, it is clear he wants it written on his terms and not on Luke's, who is still trying to uncover the truth about Grand's past for himself. Luke's search uncovers truths that he might wish he'd kept hidden and not just for the sake of Grand's reputation, but for his own safety.The book was fast paced and very well written, with an eye for detail relating to Brighton of the past as well as the present. Once I'd started it, I just wanted to get it finished to find out the truth. As with all good thrillers, there was a twist and I didn't see coming, or at least not from the direction it came.I would thoroughly recommend this book and now can't wait to read the titles I've missed.
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  • Linda Boa
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic book, thoroughly enjoyed it, as I expected - it is an Erin Kelly after all! I'm not sure if I've read The Burning Air, but I think I might have. The rest, apart from the Broadchurch book, which I have but haven't read, have all been fantastic - even though it's only three books! I think it seems like more as her standard of writing is so high, plus her storylines so original, yet it's impossible to guess the ending in advance. I think if her as being in the same "mental grouping" as Be Fantastic book, thoroughly enjoyed it, as I expected - it is an Erin Kelly after all! I'm not sure if I've read The Burning Air, but I think I might have. The rest, apart from the Broadchurch book, which I have but haven't read, have all been fantastic - even though it's only three books! I think it seems like more as her standard of writing is so high, plus her storylines so original, yet it's impossible to guess the ending in advance. I think if her as being in the same "mental grouping" as Belinda Bauer, Tana French, Denise Mina, Christobel Kent's two recent standalones, Jane Casey - they're just off the top of my head, but very good female writers - and all off whom are autobuy authors for me! I'll be putting up a proper review on crimeworm soon - now I need to rush and read Eileen before the Booker Prize is presented tomorrow. Although my money's on His Bloody Project - amazing book!
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  • Bookread2day
    January 1, 1970
    Luke is a true crime writer in search of a good story. Luke emails maggie morrison at litaency a story for a new book that he has been working on in Brighton. Maggie thinks the story is fantasic, and she knows editors that they can approach with Luke's story. Magie tells Luke she needs a taped confession or some other supporting evidence for his story.What is the story that Luke wants published? and who is it about? Stirring up secrets from the past Luke may of placed himself in terrible danger. Luke is a true crime writer in search of a good story. Luke emails maggie morrison at litaency a story for a new book that he has been working on in Brighton. Maggie thinks the story is fantasic, and she knows editors that they can approach with Luke's story. Magie tells Luke she needs a taped confession or some other supporting evidence for his story.What is the story that Luke wants published? and who is it about? Stirring up secrets from the past Luke may of placed himself in terrible danger.
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  • Bibliophile
    January 1, 1970
    Nope, this wasn't for me. Finding out what some Brighton gangsters got up to in the sixties didn't interest me at all. Shallow characterization and pop psychology didn't improve things. Much prefer Kelly's earlier works.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Easy to read, perhaps slightly slow to get going but with a good twist at the end.
  • Gordon Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    A good set up, a decent plot but ultimately an unsatisfying read. A true crime writer in search of a story meets a former gangster, now apparently reformed. But can Luke find out the true story of a long ago unsolved murder? The novel starts with Luke tied up in a basement, then loops back to tell how he got there. There are twists in the plot but all seemed a little telegraphed. The main problem with this novel is that none of the characters are terribly likeable, making it difficult to identif A good set up, a decent plot but ultimately an unsatisfying read. A true crime writer in search of a story meets a former gangster, now apparently reformed. But can Luke find out the true story of a long ago unsolved murder? The novel starts with Luke tied up in a basement, then loops back to tell how he got there. There are twists in the plot but all seemed a little telegraphed. The main problem with this novel is that none of the characters are terribly likeable, making it difficult to identify with them. Luke is shallow and self obsessed, using friends and acquaintances whenever it suits him.
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  • Nona
    January 1, 1970
    Well how can you not fall in love with the star of the book Luke? Erin KELLY has beautifully written a great read - or as in my case - a great audio book.The characters are effective, readable and most importantly quite plausible. How many times do we get the thriller or crime novel that reeks of the most ridiculous plots, people and events.And her ending is such a change from the usual.If you want to be entertained, with lots of twists, a plausible plot, interesting characters and some thrills Well how can you not fall in love with the star of the book Luke? Erin KELLY has beautifully written a great read - or as in my case - a great audio book.The characters are effective, readable and most importantly quite plausible. How many times do we get the thriller or crime novel that reeks of the most ridiculous plots, people and events.And her ending is such a change from the usual.If you want to be entertained, with lots of twists, a plausible plot, interesting characters and some thrills then this is for you.Well worth recommending.
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  • Karen Keane
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Brighton this is a really good suspense novel. Luke is a crime writer who is trying to escape from a relationship with his boyfriend Jem and moves to Brighton. While there he decides to investigate the murder of Jacky NYE a gangster and meets his ex partner Joss Grand. The book is full of twists and turns, with an unexpected ending it makes good reading.
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  • Judi Mckay
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this more than I thought i would. It's a good psychological thriller, with people in their everyday lives getting caught up with people involved in events which happened before they were born. I liked the parallel story of Luke and his relationship with Jem too. A good read and I will read her back catalogue
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  • Janette
    January 1, 1970
    It took me a while to get into this and I found it really easy to put down and do something else. Then, about halfway through, it really started to grip me and I was glad that I didn't give up on it. The characters really grew on me as the story unfolded although the main character is Brighton itself and is depicted brilliantly .
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  • Karen wadey
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book immensly but I'm a bit biased as it it is set in my hometown of Brighton. It is very different from the Poison Tree and from alot of books I've read this year. It has a very intruiging plot with many twists and turns and a interesting cast of characters.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    I know and am fond of Brighton and it is beautifully depicted in this story. Love the way EK writes and the plot was interesting and captivating. I actually felt a warming to old Joss Grande haha! Characters are well drawn and scene is vibrantly real!
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Had this been the first of Erin Kelly's I'd read, I'd never have picked up another, writing pedestrian, too much minutiae and unbelievable characters. Could not finish.
  • Beau
    January 1, 1970
    Erin never disappoints, a fantastic read. Loved the main character and it was set in my adopted home town (for now).
  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Clever plot, intricately woven and wonderfully described. Great characters, I really felt for each and every one of them. I’ll definitely be reading the author’s other novels 🙂
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting story, I really loved the twist at the end.
  • Andy Plonka
    January 1, 1970
    This one was interesting from the who done it standpoint as well as historical view of Brighton.
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