An Anonymous Girl

I don’t know about you, but I have the day after Christmas holiday hangover of not wanting to do much of anything except sitting around and drink coffee and read. By itself, that’s a bad idea; however, I’ve read a dozen books all of which now need reviews written for them. Would anyone like to volunteer for me, please? No? Oh, okay then…. On the first day after Christmas I wrote about An Anonymous Girl…..

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanan, authors of the best-selling hit book “The Wife Between Us,” are back and the hype their book is receiving is well deserved!

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In a world where morality is an ever changing gauge, a fluid point on which no two people agree, making ones way through relationships – familial, friendship, romantic liaisons – can be tricky at best. So, when Jessica, a make up consultant in need of money, overhears a client talking about a morality study at the local university that pays a handsome fee in return, she maneuvers her way into the study, a move that will alter her life forever.

This is a smart, expertly written psychological thriller that weaves a web of deceit so intricate that you will caught into it before you realize the first strand has been laid down for you. The characters are deftly written, I disliked them and loved them at varying times and all at once – is that is even possible – until the very last line of the book.

While I wasn’t a fan of The Wife Between Us, I found An Anonymous Girl to be extremely entertaining, very thrilling, a marvelous cat and mouse game and the ending was sheer perfection. The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars is because there were scenarios that were just too over the top that they were unbelievable. That doesn’t always bother me, after all this is fiction, but it didn’t always work in this work. The book was, however, an excellent read and I highly recommend it!

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Fairwood #EliYance

Fairwood is a modern day Bonnie and Clyde with a darkness so dark it gives noir a new meaning.

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If Wayward Pines and Lost had a lovechild, it would be Fairwood, a twisted tale of suspense. Dexter and Pandora are on the run from the law. They are bandits, bank robbers who, at one time were notoriously celebrated for their feats, but now have made a fatal mistake and need they to hide to stay alive. They discover the town called Fairwood, a small, rural community with little – okay, no – technology and it appears to be the perfect place to hide. However, what they have run to may be far more terrifying than what they have run from. This storyline alternates with that of a very burned out cop who is somewhat on their tail. Eventually his narrative intertwines with theirs in a shocking way that you must read to find out what happens!

Fairwood is a masterfully told story that is unlike any I have read before. Yes, I read Wayward Pines and I have read some similar books but none took me to the psychological places that Fairwood did or surprised me the way Eli Yance managed to do. Yance is a gifted storyteller who teeters between genres much like Stephen King did in his beginning: horror, paranormal, thriller, suspense – where the reader questioned themselves and reality but couldn’t put down the book – and you will not be able to put down Fairwood either. If you like any of these genres then you truly will enjoy Fairwood!

Thank you to #Edelweiss and #EliYance for my advance copy of the reprint of #Fairwood.

The Line Between @ToscaLee

Wow! Rarely would I begin a review with just “wow” but rarely have I read a book this amazing! Wow! The Line Between is a seamless marriage of dystopia meets thriller that will have you on the edge of seat from start to end which, if you’re like me, will be a day of non-stop reading!

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Wynter Roth had lived in a doomsday cult since her mother entered New World when Wynter was 7 years old. It was a cross between apocalyptic fear mongering meets vegan preppers with a lot of male chauvinism thrown into the mix. The cult leader was “Magnus,” a former scientific researcher who developed seeds. Now Magnus is attempting to bring about the end of the world to prove his prophecies are true. Wynter, for reasons you have to read to know, is kicked out of the cult shortly before a pandemic begins sweeping across America. Only she knows who is behind the deadly disease and only she can stop it.

Wynter is one of the best written characters I have read in ages. She’s vulnerable, yet strong; naïve but keenly intelligent. Most of all, she is fearless. All of these qualities will be needed in order for her to trek across America in an attempt to bring the knowledge that she has in her possession to a researcher who can find a prevention or antidote for a virus that is creating madness in the human race.

Tosca Lee is a masterful story-teller. At no point throughout the book did I doubt the plausibility of the characters or their actions. Lee takes time in the beginning of the book and through a “flashback” dual timeline, to allow readers to truly know Wynter, the cult members and their lifestyles and, through her eyes, we are able to watch as her disbelief begins to grow as well as her struggle with her faith as doubt creeps into her thoughts. I also thought that way Lee described Wynter’s post-cult re-integration was deftly written. However, the writing toward the end of the book was brilliant and breath-taking! The ending itself is nothing short of perfection – except, I WANT MORE!!

The Line Between is an amazing thriller, an even better dystopian novel and an absolute must read for 2019! You can pre-order your copy today for a January publication.

A million thanks to #Netgalley, #ToscaLee and #HowardBooks for my advanced copy of The Line Between.

The Burglar @ThomasPerry

In the crime fiction genre, few authors are as well known as Thomas Perry and few books are written as intelligently as those he has authored. Fans of his anti-hero thrillers are in for a treat with Perry’s newest, The Burglar.

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Elle is a unique burglar. She takes great care to blend into her surroundings, often appearing as a wealthy sorority girl just out for a run. She scopes out the houses meticulously, insuring that there will be no mistakes and no one home to create violence for anyone. Her newest mark should have been an easy one – she was sure no one was home and hadn’t been there for a few days. However, once inside she doesn’t find an empty home but rather three dead bodies. Covering her tracks, she thinks she has escaped a problem, instead someone now is stalking her! Unable to go to the police for help, Elle realizes that she has to solve the murders herself and catch the killer(s) before they catch and kill her.

The premise for The Burglar has been written in both books and movie scripts. What sets this one apart from all others is Elle – a woman, obviously – and the skillful, methodical writing of Perry that takes what could be a ho-hum mystery to the next level of edge-of-your-seat thriller. Yes, this is a game of cat and mouse, but Perry works in so many twists and little puzzles throughout the book so that the reader stays engaged from start to end. I also thoroughly enjoy books that feature an anti-hero rather than focusing on the same cop-detective-gumshoe theme. In all, The Burglar is one of the best suspense/crime/thrillers I’ve read in quite a long time. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy any of these genres.

The e-book will be available in January, 2019 or you can purchase the physical book now. Either way, I’m sure you enjoy this thrilling read.

Thank you to #Netgalley, #ThomasPerry and #GroveAtlanticMysteriousPress for my copy of this engaging read.

The Winner Maker #JeffBond

The Winner Maker is a uniquely blended, cross-genre tale of the good and bad of over-achieving and the price paid to become a “winner.”

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The book opens with a very dramatic scene with students gathered around their awe-inspiring honors English teacher atop the Chrysler Building in Chicago. As the high achieving students are preparing for their individual presentation, one student shocks the crowd by dangling below the glass floor by a giant magnet. However, the magnets do not hold and as the student plunges to his death, a white banner emerges proclaiming, “Live Big,” the teacher’s motto for his private group of “Winners.” Six months later, the book continues with the disappearance of this septuagenarian teacher and coach, Bob Fiske. Four of his former students, all “winners,” gather to help locate their beloved teacher. As they pursue clues to his disappearance, they must also confront secrets each holds dear, as well as the underlying tension from their own high school experience under the tutelage of Fiske. Eric, a program developer aka the “geek,” Lydia who has overcome her shyness to succeed and whose sister died on the night of their prom; Doug, the quarterback, all-star, who is now a hedge fund broker and his wife, Stephanie, perhaps the most loyal follower of Fiske who is now a successful marketing guru. Each must deal with the past in order to solve Fiske’s disappearance, but at what cost to each of them personally and professionally?

Admittedly, I quite nearly stopped reading this book after the first few chapters; not because it wasn’t well written but, rather, because I detested the characters intensely. I haven’t had such a visceral reaction to all of the main characters of a book in a really long time, however, these “winners” made me want to slap each of them! I persevered, though, and realized that the point of the first part of the book was to elicit exactly those emotions. They all were overachievers, a little too perfect, a lot too driven. I found no humanity in them whatsoever. As the book progressed, I gradually realized that for some of the characters, that perfection was a shell masquerading their insecurities, you know, just like in real life. 😉 Each had something they were hiding and how they individually dealt with their secrets and their past made the book far more than a generic thriller. Instead, the “thriller” aspect to the story took a bit of a backseat to the these character’s lives and emotional turmoil.

There were two things that kept me from giving this a perfect rating. First, while I found the characters to be beyond convincing, some of their actions were not. One had to suspend belief just a little to assume that a high school kid could get away with what Jesse did in the opening sequence. There are other examples, but that one was a little over-the-top. Secondly, I still – days later – am not entirely sure that I liked the ending. It was abrupt, extremely fitting, but a little too abrupt. Either it was the perfect ending or … well, I’m just not sure. You read it and tell me what you think!

Whether you like suspense, thrillers or a really good drama, The Winner Maker will hit all of those buttons and more. It is a fast paced read and parts of it will have you on the edge of your seat wanting more!

Today is publication day for The Winner Maker; you can find it at Amazon. Thank you to #Netgalley and #JeffBond for my copy.

 

 

 

Don’t Let Go: World Noir by Michel Bussi, translation by Sam Taylor

If you’ve read my blog or online reviews, you know that I adore World Noir, particularly Nordic Noir. The darker the plot, the better the book. Don’t Let Go by Michel Bussi is, simply put, one of the best world noir books that I’ve read.

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Set on Reunion Island, the backdrop of tropical and French cultures blend to create the perfect atmosphere for this fast paced thriller. Martial and his wife, Liane, are wealthy Parisians who are enjoying a holiday on the island. However, Liane disappears with no trace except bloods in their room. Setting up the timeline for her disappearance, it appears that Martial was the last one to see Liane before she vanishes. But there are secrets abounding and nothing is quite what it appears. What is Martial hiding and what does the hotel staff know that they aren’t sharing?

The story itself is intriguing and one that constantly keeps the reader guessing. Despite the laid back island setting, the book is fast paced, edge of your seat thrilling as Aja, the female detective in charge, races against time following the trail that Martial is setting down. The characters all are so real and relatable that even when one doubts Martial’s story, you still want everything to be okay in the end. But can it possibly turn out alright with a murderer on the lose? There are twists and turns, all of which lend to the credibility of the story line but serve to keep you turning pages until the very end. This is a fabulous read and one that you will not want to miss!

Thank you to #Edelweiss and #Ingram Publishing for my copy of Don’t Let Go. It is on sale now at your favorite retailer.

The Burning Island @HesterYoung

The Burning Island is a fast paced, well written, slightly paranormal suspense novel that will knock your socks off!

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Charlotte “Charlie” Cates is a journalist who believes in facts. This is why she hasn’t fully accepted the “fact” that she is having vivid dreams and visions of children who need her help. After her latest adventure, saving a young boy who was near death in the Arizona desert, all Charlie wants to do is get away – from the dreams, the drama and the press who are hounding her every move. When she has the opportunity to travel to Hawai’i for work, she takes along her best friend, Rae, in the hope that she will relax and have some quiet time away. Of course that doesn’t happen. Of course. She’s writing a story about a volcanologist whose daughter happens to be missing. Haunting dreams begin appearing to Charlie as soon as she arrives on the Big Island.

Hester Young has created an eerie, atmospheric novel that grabs you on the first page and does not let you go until the very end. The story takes you from green sand beaches, to the crater of a volcano and into lush dense woods as we follow along with Charlie on her quest to locate the missing girl before it is too late. The suspense is palpitating, the horror quite real. Although there is a touch of paranormal in The Burning Island, it is so well written that I never once doubted the believability of the story. There are a few surprises but, again, it was how the story played out and not done for the shock factor.

The Burning Island is the third book in the Charlie Cates series, but it works very well as a stand alone. In fact, I didn’t know until I had finished that there were books before this one. I’m now the proud owner of those first two books. I love the character that Hester Young has created in Charlie and enjoyed her style of writing as well. I cannot wait to read Charlie’s story from the beginning!

Thank you to #Edelweiss, G.P. Putnam and Sons and #PenguinBooks for my copy of The Burning Island.