#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Fiction, TBR Tuesdays

#TwoforTuesday #TheRunaway #OneLittleSecret

Riveting and captivating mysteries is the genre to which I always find myself returning. The Runaway by Ali Harper and One Little Secret by Cate Holahan are two marvelous books that exemplify this genre so well.

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The Runway is the second book in a series revolving around two young, female private investigators who run an agency specifically searching for missing persons. The gals from No Stone Unturned have, so far, only has solved one case but soon they find themselves with two complicated jobs – a missing boyfriend and a cold case involving a woman who never was identified. Each of these cases leads the women into areas they never have gone before, from flats for the extremely wealthy and well-known, to freestyle “raves” in open fields. As the evidence begins to mount, they soon discover that neither case is at all what it appeared to be and that discovery can, and does, lead to dangerous conclusions.

The Runaway is very “in the now” book. This is not your stodgy old mystery novel but rather a very current, realistic one with characters that are flawed, young and extremely capable. The vernacular is edgy, the characters are young and feisty as hell. You know I love books with strong female leads and Jo and Lee are about as strong and urbane as they come.

“Women aren’t taught to fight; they aren’t taught to stand their ground. Women are taught…. to run.”

These women do NOT run, they are not afraid and they definitely stand their ground. I loved them! I loved the book! While this is the second in the series, it reads as a stand alone quite well. I read it before I read the first in the series and, while I understand more about the women, I never felt lost while reading The Runaway. If you like mysteries with strong female leads the I cannot recommend The Runaway highly enough!

ONE LITTLE SECRET by Cate Holahan

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Over the summer I fell into a reading slump. I was behind in everything – reading, reviewing, commenting – and I truly felt as though I needed to throw in the towel as a blogger and reviewer. And then I read One Little Secret. It completely turned everything around for me! I read the entire book within hours and immediately went on a search for all of Cate Holahan’s books. I downloaded them and read them all as well. I was a fan! I was also out of my slump. Do I need to say more!?

Fine. One Little Secret is a marvelous “locked-room mystery.” Susan wanted nothing more than a peaceful get-away at the beach. She invited a few other couples to join her and her husband at a beach house rental. Susan thought it would be a dream vacation for them, a time of fun and games and a way to reconnect with one another. She thought wrong – deadly wrong. A night of drinking leads to diminished inhibitions, secrets are revealed and the next morning one of them is found dead on the beach. Who wanted this person dead and why, more importantly how?

One Little Secret is well written, suspenseful to the end and is one of the best “locked room” mysteries I’ve read in a while. It very easily could have slipped into campy but the craftily worded plot never allows it to go there. While many have called this a “summer beach read” because it set at a holiday house at the beach, this is a mystery that will be a good read any time of the year. When you’re finished with this one, go find Holahan’s other books. You will enjoy them as well!

Thank you #Netgalley, @CrookedLaneBooks, and @HarperImpulseandKillerReads for my copy of these terrific books.

 

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Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Fiction, Thriller

The Last Widow #KarinSlaughter

Enthralling, Emotional, Enlightening – these are merely the beginning of a long list of adjectives I often use to describe Karin Slaughter’s books. Thrilling and captivating, The Last Widow, was a heart stopping, engrossing read from cover to cover, something I have come to expect from this author, which is why she is on my “must read” list for every new book she writes.

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After a hiatus, Slaughter has returned to the Will Trent series which includes Sara Linton, both of whom now are working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and who are tentatively in a relationship. The book begins with a shopping trip turned abduction and rapidly moves to a bombing at the Emory campus in downtown Atlanta. En-route to the bombing, Will and Sara become entangled in a car crash that escalates into murder and mayhem and Sara being taken hostage. Whew! And that was all in the first few pages of the book! Soon we, the readers, realize that all of this is part of a white nationalist terrorist plot that has been brewing for well over a decade. The problem is how to stop the looming attack without losing half the population as well as Sara.

What I love most about Karin Slaughter’s books is the volume of research that goes in to each and every one of them. I know that when I read one of her books not only are they going to be an exceptionally well written thriller, I am going to come away from the experience with a greater knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. She always deals with “ripped from the headlines” topics in her books and The Last Widow is no exception. As the characters are informed and updated on the standing of white nationalists in the US, we learn as well and what we learn is frightening and eye-opening. Never does Slaughter preach or make judgement calls; she is even handed and quite neutral on the issues at hand. I, on the hand, am not at all and wish that there had been more anger on anyone’s part. Those from the FBI often were apologetic over not doing more, stopping more, shutting down more terrorist groups and their reasons were not reasons with which I could agree. Too many people are dying and, unlike fiction, there is no one rushing in to save the day.

The Last Widow is realistic, sobering and frightening and I am quite sure it will regarded as controversial as many of her previous works have been. It is, however, one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. My only concern is with the first few chapters of the book. Slaughter begins by telling the same events from different perspectives. It is, at first, quite repetitive and somewhat strange. The remainder of the book continues to be told from multiple perspectives but not the same events from each character’s point of view. The shift is an odd one and I’m unclear why it was used in the first place. That isn’t her usual writing style and I found it distracting. Once she stopped doing that, the book was perfection.

If you’ve never read Karin Slaughter before now, I highly encourage you to do so. She has several stand-alone books including Coptown which is one of my all time favorite books. This is the 9th book in the Will Trent series which was merged with the Sara Linton series. You could read it on its on but I wouldn’t suggest it. There simply is too much backstory with all of these characters and it is that backstory that makes this book as remarkable as it is. Start at the beginning of the Will Trent line and work forward – you’ll be glad that you did.

 

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Fiction, Horror, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors, Thriller

The Whisper Man #PublicationDay #AlexNorth

There is nothing that I love more than a true psychological thriller, one that gets into your head and won’t let go. That is exactly what I found in The Whisper Man by Alex North. 41nYBGAZjpL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Let me first say that the cover art is one of my all time favorites. I had to read this book just for the cover alone and it definitely is representative of the horror within.

Tom and his son Jake have suffered the loss of their wife and mother. As a result, Jake – a very sensitive child – is having nightmares about the house in which she died. The pair move to a new village and into a home that others call “the scary house” but Jake insists is his very favorite. Tom decides the house has character, not terror, within its walls. He was wrong. In their small, sleepy village there once was a child killer, currently behind bars, Now another person is abducting children. Will Jake be the next victim of The Whisper Man?

This very easily could have been a run-of-the-mill child abduction book but it is so much more than that. The character development was superb throughout, even with minor characters who only appear infrequently such as Jake’s teacher. These characters draw you into their lives so that you become part of the story itself. And what a story it is! This is a very scary, creepy book. It is on the scale of Stephen King’s earlier works and reminded me why I originally read horror/thrillers. It turns out to be more psychological than horror but, wow, you do not know that until the very last chapter of the book. And yes, I am being deliberately evasive about the story line because part of the joy of reading this book was going into it blind and not knowing the real from the psychological terror. I want that for you as well.

This is a must-read book for anyone who loves horror, thrillers, psychological suspense or simply a really well told story! It is in my Top Ten favorites for this year and I highly recommend it.

It is publication day for The Whisper Man so run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookseller and get it today.  Thank you to #Netgalley, #CeledonBooks and @writer_north for my copy of this terrific book!

Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Fiction, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors, Thriller

Blood Relations @JonathanMoore

Lee Crowe is a dis-barred lawyer, now a PI who has a reputation of getting the job done – regardless. Even he doesn’t realize what that will mean when he finds a body of a beautiful woman, dead, on the roof of a Rolls Royce in the middle of the ghetto. Wait, can we still use the word ghetto? Well, you know…. Being the type of guy that Lee is, he snaps some great photos of the woman and sells them to the highest bidding magazine. That sets him a course that will take him from coast to coast with a trail of dead bodies in his wake.40796146

Blood Relations started off like any other PI/Crime/Detective story: dead bodies, downtrodden former somebody barely getting by in their new life with a beautiful ex-spouse who haunts them. But this isn’t just any ‘ole story; this is a Jonathan Moore story. If you know anything at all about this author then you know that there will twists, turns and a pile of noir throughout and I absolutely was not wrong or disappointed with this one. While the theme of the story, and the atmosphere remains constant – that of a gumshoe looking for a killer – soon we are on the trail of an errant FBI agent and a scientist who is so cutting edge that his work is either insane or genius or both. This is Mary Shelley meets Michael Crichton with some Mickey Spillane thrown in for good measure. How could it be anything other than amazing?

Obviously, I highly recommend Blood Relations and, if you haven’t already Moore’s other books, I absolutely loved The Dark Room. Check him out and let me know what you think.

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Murderous Mondays, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

Lying Next to Me @Gregg_Olsen

 

Murder monday with textcover159593-mediumNo matter what you see, no matter what you’ve heard, assume nothingD5KO2IEUUAIQIwJOne of my favorite quotes is “believe nothing that you hear or see, even salt looks like sugar.” I thought of that quote often while reading Gregg Olsen’s latest thriller, Lying Next to Me. Absolutely nothing was what it appeared to be  – nothing.

Adam and his wife Sophie, along with their 3 year old daughter, have rented a cabin on a lake. Next to them is another couple, Kristin and Connor Moss and on the other side, a grandmother with her grandkids. On the second day of the trip, Adam takes his daughter out in a row boat to go crabbing. While on the water, he sees someone abduct Sophie who is sitting on the shore. An elderly walker also sees Sophie being abducted. The grandmother and her grandkids arrive home to see Adam and his daughter frantically rowing toward shore and calls 9-1-1. The Moss’ couple. sees and hears nothing. But what really happened that morning. What did anyone truly see or hear? They all experienced the same thing, right? Right!?

Admittedly, I adore Gregg Olsen. I’ve read everything he has written, including his true crime novels. When it comes to crime – real or fiction – I think no one does it better. Lying in Wait is a tense, stay-awake-to-finish thriller that had me hooked from the very first line. While I suspected who might have done it – but wait – there’s no way they could have done it – it was a locked room mystery and too many variables and too many unsolved questions as to why. Until the answers were there before us in the end and then … just WOW. This is a suspense novel that makes you really hate everyone while at the same time hoping that at least one of the bad guys isn’t as awful as you think they might be. There is a child involved, surely someone is good. They have to be! In the end, I sat staring at my Kindle and wondering about what I had just read while knowing that is exactly how I like my thrillers! Leave me in awe. Leave me in wonder. Leave me speechless and Lying in Wait absolutely did just that!

Obviously I highly recommend #LyinginWait to anyone who enjoys a great crime novel. I also encourage you read Olsen’s other work. It’s all fantastic. Lying in Wait will be available May 21 at amazon

Thank you to #Netgalley, #Thomas&MercerPublishing and #GreggOlsen for my copy of Lying in Wait.

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Fiction, Murderous Mondays

Murderous Mondays – The Dark Bones @Loreth Anne White

Let’s face it, Mondays are Murder! Seriously, I love murder: Crime thrillers, suspense, historical murders, sci-fi murders, cli-fi murders, cosy, paranormal, I’ll take them any way you serve them up. I find that no matter how many other genres I read, I always come back to…. Murder. So each Monday I will share with you my latest Murder read. Of course, I probably will share with you others throughout the week, but if you like a good murder, you know you can find here on #MurderousMondays! 

retro open book isolated on white backgroundI started reading books by Loreth Anne White a few years ago and fell in love with her Angie Pallorino series. Some of you may be familiar with those. The Dark Bones is the second book in a new series, A Dark Lure, and I actually didn’t realize that until after I finished the book. Obviously it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the first book since I thought it was a stand-alone. It is fantastic! 

41943994amazonWhen Detective Rebecca North left her rural Canadian hometown, she vowed never to return. A call from her drunken father made her nervous, a follow up call notifying her of his apparent suicide brought her home. However, “Becca” is not content with the suicide findings. Her father may have been a drunk, but he was not suicidal. Despite what she believes, the town, including all of the “officials,” seem hell-bent on making sure his death is classified as a murder. Becca is determined to find out what her father was doing before he died, who he was with and why the townspeople are behaving so strangely and to give her father the proper RCMP burial he deserves. 

The Dark Bones swept me up in its saga from the very beginning – the frantic phone call, the alleged suicide, teens accidently setting fire to cabin – there is so much action in the beginning that it was difficult not to get carried away in the drama. But this is more than just a thriller. There are multiple storylines for several families. A few story lines that I know now harken back to the first book which are resolved in this book – don’t worry, you will either appreciate the closure or enjoy the independent story on its own . Becca has unresolved issues from her high school years that led to her fleeing the town. There are underlying issues of drug trading, which sadly afflicts all rural small towns and there are stories of abuse – physical and mental – which were undetected for years. There is a lot going on in this book but it is handled with care, deftly written and marvelously crafted. There are tiers and folds to this story, each waiting for you to pull back their coverings so that they can reveal their mysteries to you. Mystery, romance, murder and more – you cannot ask for a better story than this. 

Have you  read other books by White or this one? Do you have murderous exploits on your reading list – are they something you enjoy? Let me know and, please, join me each Monday as we follow along with our favorite culprits and their captors on Murderous Mondays. 

Thank you to #Netgalley, #LorethAnneWhite and #MontlakeRomance for my copy of #TheDarkBones available May 21,2019. 

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

The Secret Child #CarolineMitchell

Caroline Mitchell burst onto the detective/suspense scene with her debut thriller, Truth and Lies. Now she is back with the second installment in this gripping series with The Secret Child. While I am nearly always leery of second books, this one is just as good as the first and had me glued to its pages from the very first page!
40678553amazonDI Amy Winter is still reeling from the shocking revelations that she uncovered in the first book, Truth and Lies, all of which are explained fully in this one but I won’t reveal them here. With no time to fully process what is now her explosive, in-the-headlines life, she is thrust into a kidnapping/murder/arson case when four-year-old Ellen is snatched from her bed and the home is set on fire and her mother, subsequently is murdered. The kidnapper claims to be Luka Volkov, a child prodigy of Ellen’s father who came from Russia to participate in a special study for children just like Luka. The problem is that Luka is supposed to be dead, the victim of a tragic fire many years before. When a second child is taken, DI Winter is forced to call upon all of her resources in order to solve this very sordid, convoluted case which will bring more personal harm to herself  with possible repercussions for her entire team.

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love police/detective stories. They are, by far, my favorite genre even above thrillers/suspense. For Mitchell to keep me intrigued, surprised, even gasping out loud at certain points, is a testament to her exceptional writing abilities. There is, quite literally, so much going on with the story. Every single character, every member on Winter’s team, is an important player. Each person who worked at the “school” where Luka lived, every victim and their family, everyone who comes in contact with Winter becomes a fully developed character. In most books, that’s a downfall as too much information has to be processed. Mitchell, however, seamlessly weaves each of these characters together, blends their stories into one just as you might do so in your own life. There is no gap, no hole, just a steady flow in the narrative with one surprise and twist and terrifying turn after another. It is utterly brilliant.

The Secret Child can, absolutely, be read as a stand-alone. There is enough back story so that you never will wonder what is happening or who is who. However, both of Mitchell’s books are outstanding works and I highly encourage you to read Truth and Lies as well as The Secret Child. I will now be waiting anxiously for Mitchell’s next incredible book in this series!

The Secret Child is available via Kindle now or in paperback on April 18th. My gratitude to #Netgalley, #AmazonUK, @AmazonPub and @Caroline_writes for my copy of #TheSecretChild

 

 

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Southern Saturdays, Tags and Challenges

The Good Detective

I should tell you that once I picked up The Good Detective that it was so gripping and thrilling that I could not put it down until I finished it. I should tell you, but I can’t. The fact is that I started this book twice, two months apart, and each time I read the first chapter, got so incensed that I put the book down and didn’t finish it. But there was something about the blurb that kept pulling at me, reeling me back in; something that kept saying “read it, c’mon, you know you want to.” So, on the third try I vowed to get past the second chapter regardless of how angry I became. You know what happened, right? I didn’t put the book down until I completely finished the book! I stayed up all night long and finished reading it. I cannot believe how stupid I was to think I wouldn’t absolutely love this book – because I absolutely LOVED this book!!

51Bg7iOP81L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_amazonThe Good Detective is P.T. Marsh, a “rising star” in a southern Georgia police department, at least he was until his wife and young son drowned in an accident that either was or might not have been a horrible accident. For over a year, P.T. has been a semi-functioning drunk. While in a bar, more like a strip club, he promises a dancer that he will have a talk with her abusive boyfriend. His “talk” actually means that PT beats the crap out of the guy after which he goes home to drink the remainder of his night away. Imagine his surprise when PT is called out the next morning to a murder scene and it is the boyfriend who is murder victim. This is the part that made me so angry. I have no tolerance for police brutality even when the person on the receiving end is a Neo-Nazi scumbag. However, all of this takes place on just a few pages at the very beginning of the book and the remainder of the book is incredibly fascinating! Read on…..

The death of the scumbag leads PT and his partner to the lynching site of a young African American boy. As they begin to search for the boy’s killer – since the best witness and/or suspect is now dead thanks to possibly PT- they begin to uncover something very sinister in their small rural, Georgia town, something that has been happening for centuries and it is dark and conspiratorial, and dangerous and of the very worst sort of nightmare that you can possibly imagine. I wouldn’t even attempt to perceive such atrocities except that I lived in the south and my father was from rural Georgia so I know that this horror does exist and that is what made this book so terrible and fascinating all at the same time. It was like watching a train derailing. I didn’t want to know, didn’t want to see the travesty that was unfolding but I couldn’t stop either.

McMahon has created characters on both sides of the fence that are perfectly conceptualized. They are not pretty, they are not good, they have flaws and some are so awful you won’t want them in your room, not even on your pages. I’m not sure you can create characters like this unless you have encountered them at some point in your lifetime. There were times that this read like something out of the 1930s or 40s, but then I remembered that there are parts of the rural south that still are very much like this. Who am kidding? There are places like this all over the US, not just the south. That’s what is so disturbing. This is happening everywhere, not just in small towns or in a particular region. In the end, there was a small amount of justice and a bit of redemption for PT as well. I can only hope that we will find this type of redemption for America soon. The quote below summed up the ending of book as well as my feelings for my history with the southern US:

There’s no place I’d rather travel than in the South…Even with our history, when I’m at Publix buying groceries, I see interracial couples. Lots of us. So as much as we struggle here with race, in some ways our struggle is closer to the surface and I hold out hope that this means it’s easier to fix. 

I know this was a bit of a rambling review. This was a very emotional book for me. The one thing I can say is that I highly recommend it and hope that you will read it, even it takes you a time or two to get started.

I owe much appreciation to #Edelweiss, @PutnamBooks, #JohnMcMahon and @PenguinPublishingGroup for my advanced copy of #TheGoodDetective

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

Nothing to Lose @VictoriaSelman

Blood for Blood was my Amazon First Reads selection for January and I absolutely loved (!) the book and the character, Ziba Mackenzie, a former special ops agent now freelance profiler working for the MET in London. When I found out there was a second book in the series, I was thrilled! Nothing to Lose is the continuation of Ziba’s story and she is back, despite her personal loss and her close encounter with a serial killer in Blood for Blood. 

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When Ziba gets a call in the middle of the night regarding the second murder eerily similar to one a few weeks before, she isn’t thrilled to be called back to work and there are those at the MET who aren’t there with open arms to welcome her either. Ziba has just discovered a hard drive with information pertaining to her murdered husband’s last case and much of that information points directly back to dirty cops somewhere within the MET. However, when Ziba arrives on at the scene of the murder she realizes that the murder victims bear an uncanny resemblance to her. If anyone should profile this case, it is Ziba. With divided attention, Ziba throws herself into both cases but her split attentiveness could lead to danger.

Ziba Mackenzie is a character full of flaws. She brassy, rash, drinks too much, is moody, abrasive and impulsive. These are her good qualities, actually. They are what make her an excellent profiler and an interesting person for a thriller. You know from the beginning that she will end up in trouble; there’s simply no way for her to avoid it. You also know that if you needed someone working on your case, you’d want someone like Ziba.  Victoria Selma does a fantastic job bringing this character to life. I can envision exactly what Ziba would look like, how she sounds, even to the point that I want to tell her to cut out the slang already when it gets to be too “over the top.” When you, as a reader, can feel the character’s persona then you know the writer has done their job. In addition, the plot is ripped from today’s headlines. It’s gripping, suspenseful and not so horrific – although it is quite awful – that I would think it’s unbelievable. Selma even goes to the point of explaining a fugue state involving one of the victims and a nuance of that state of which most people are unaware. It’s attention to detail like this that puts Nothing to Lose in category of top-notch thriller. If you like action as well as old fashion detective work, you will love Nothing to Lose. And yes, you can read this as a stand alone, there is plenty of back story included, but I highly encourage you to read both books.

Thank you to #Thomas&Mercer, #VictoriaSelman and #Netgalley for my advanced reader copy of #NothingtoLose

#NGEW2019, Crime, Dectective, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

In The Dark @CaraHunter

“She opens her eyes to darkness as close as a blindfold”

Cara Hunter is back with her second, equally enthralling, psychological thriller In The Dark. It is rare for a second book to be just as good as, if not better than, the first but Hunter has succeeded with this twisty, very unexpected dark tale.

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When a young woman and child are found in a basement and an old man suffering from dementia is found in a stupor upstairs, my first thoughts went to ROOM. I honestly thought this was going to be another version of “kidnapped girl, has child in captivity” story. WOW – I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. In fact, despite the fact that I managed to discern bits and pieces of the story as I read along, there was no way – none at all – to have guessed the premise or ending of this book. The final page of this story, well, WOW, just WOW. In the past few months there have been a few books that have startled me with the endings, not just the ending but the very final page of the book, and this definitely one of those!

Of course, the lovable, yet extremely flawed DI Adam Fawley is back and I have to admit that I love this guy. I’m not sure what it is about this character but I really do enjoy reading about him and I’m even coming around to liking his wife, more so in this book than the last. The characters in this book, as the last, are very well created, they are incredibly believable. Boy, are they are ever believable! In The Dark, while a psychological thriller, still is a police procedural at heart and each piece of the puzzle is slowing and surprisingly revealed at just the perfect moment. The build up is slow but that is what makes the ending so fantastic! Have I said WOW? I think I have, but perhaps not enough. I really liked that ending! I think you will too!

If you haven’t read the first book, Close to Home, that’s okay. This works as a stand alone but it helps to have the back story on the Fawley’s. This promises to be a great series and if you like series, I absolutely recommend that you read both of these terrific books. In the meantime, pick up In The Dark. It’s available now in paperback and ebook. You’ll be glad that you did! Just don’t read in it In The Dark!

NOTE: The third in the series, No Way Out is due to be published in 2019 as well. I cannot wait!

Thanks to #Edelweiss, @PenguinPublishing and #CaraHunter for my copy of this terrific thriller.