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Simon Says by Jo Wesley - Book Tour & Review

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Simon Says

Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.
He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing, leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.
A desperate man is a dangerous one.
Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.
Now it’s his move. Because it's not enough to face your demons.
Sometimes, you must destroy them.

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My Review
Simon Says is a dark, mildly disturbing thriller that, thankfully, doesn't end on a depressing note. 
It tells the story of Cindy, and each chapter switches between when Cindy was 14 and her present day life. The book opens with Cindy running for her life after her house catches fire. That fire sets off the chain of events that propel the rest of the story forward. Forced to return to her childhood home with her twins, the memories of that summer when she was 14 start flooding back, and boy, they are not pretty.
Simon Says deals with some hard subject matter. Namely an older man preying on a young, naive girl whose mother and sister are basically garbage to her. He offers her friendship, and when she latches on to that, he takes advantage and destroys her childhood. 
While there aren't any real graphic depictions, the book does bring up the topic of rape, so it may be triggering to some readers. Just be warned in case you are a sensitive reader.
I have to say this book was really good. Even with the dark subject matter, it was an intense read. Cindy's life really sucked, and she went through a lot, but even after everything, she was still there for her twins, doing everything she could to protect them and prove she could be a good mother. 
I absolutely despised Simon, but I also found Cindy's mom and sister disgusting, mainly because her mom reminded me a bit of my own. And the fact that they knew what happened to her and kept it hushed up because it would "ruin" them was sickening. I'm glad Mandy (her sister) had a bit of a redemption arc near the end. 
Simon Says is an emotional read that will anger you and make you cry, but there's also some light there in that dark tunnel, and, ultimately, it does have a happy ending. 
I'm giving it 4.5 stars.

Author Bio –
SIMON SAYS isn’t my first thriller. Several unpublished novels went before it, but there was something about this story that made me come back to it time-and-time again. Although it was written in 2015, recently a few author friends encouraged me to publish it as they remembered reading it years before.
I used to work in an office where the wider team comprised people working with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and general community safety. I wrote SIMON SAYS during this period and my team provided information and advice. Also, the Red Watch team at the local fire station read my first chapter during their tea break and advised on a couple of points to make it more accurate (I thought it would be one person, not the whole team reading it!).
Currently, I am completing a novel in another genre but I really enjoy writing thrillers, so I am planning my next one.

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