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Captivating and stomach-churning. It has been years since just a prologue grabbed me like this one. A few pages and that’s it, you are hooked. You know it will be hard and awful but also fascinating and real.

 “The ending changes with each petal. She loves me. She loves me not. She lives. She dies.

His hand tightens around the stem of the rose, the thorns piercing his skin. There are three petals left. He knows what way this would have fallen for her. But she broke the rules. She brought this on herself. He has no choice.

Getting up, he walks across the room to the small wooden box on his bookshelves. He takes out a tablet, breaks it in half and pours the powder into the remains of her glass of expensive wine.“

Nell has disappeared. It’s been four days since anyone has seen the nurse, but seeing as she had been out with new friends lately, her housemate wasn’t worried until now. But now her parents know, and the police have been called, and investigations have started.

The Nurse Claire Allan

And then there’s Him. He just wants attention. He wants to be recognised. He wants respect. He wants power. It’s just wrong that men are all being vilified just because some are bad. He can scare a woman just by walking behind her. How far could he take it? Could he touch her? By accident, of course. Could he? After all, she’s asking for it with the way she dresses. And why is she walking home alone?

All around the world, women feel unsafe walking home alone, worrying they may not make it home. From safe rides home, tracking apps and texting friends the number plates of their taxis – nothing seems to be enough. The fictional case of Nell is very real. After the first draft was written in 2021, a very similar case was brought to light and caused many women to speak up about the threats they feel on a daily basis.

It is more than just a threat though. Former journalist Allan unveils the dark world of the incel forums. They are disgusting and will give you goosebumps, and they are real. What is said on incel forums is gripping and creepy, and there are people out there actually interacting on those forums and the story is probably every woman’s worst nightmare. Allan however found a way to make it a thrilling novel, which yes, may be a trigger for some, but also shows us the truth behind the people who commit these crimes.

The Nurse by Claire Allan, published 17th March, 2022 by Avon, Harper Collins. ISBN: 9780008383565

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