She Lies in Wait #GythaLodge

Of all of the genres that I love, and I do love a lot, the one I find myself immersed in most often is police procedurals. Police Procedurals are a sub-genre of “Detective/Crime novels” and are told from the police point of view, often involving several, often unrelated cases that seemingly come together in the end. I give you this definition because She Lies in Wait is, honestly, a perfect example of a British police procedural done well.

cover147450-medium

Thirty years ago, six teenagers went camping in the woods. Only five of them would awaken the next morning. Now, the body of the sixth friend, Aurora, has been discovered in a “grave” in the woods and it is up to DCI Jonah Sheens and his murder squad to uncover the details of what really happened that horrible night, a night filled with too much booze, drugs, consensual and non-consensual sex. Was one of the campers the killer or was it someone who knew they and the drugs would be at the campsite? They aren’t talking which leaves only the 30-year old, decomposed body of Aurora to tell her tale.

She Lies in Wait is a slow burning, methodical detective story where every clue, every person, every detail is thoroughly looked at and discussed. This is not a “thriller” or a “suspense” novel, it is procedural where you – the reader – are along for the ride with the police as they go through their investigation. If you go into this book expecting “edge of your seat” excitement, then you will be slightly disappointed. If, like me, you love and adore well written, hard core detective books, then this will be a winner! Lodge has crafted a story that has a lot of back-story in these once-teens/now-adult characters who have remained unusually close for thirty years. In addition, DCI Sheens was on the peripheral  edges of the group and appears to have a bit of history with them as well, something he would like to keep hidden from the remainder of his squad. His squad, in turn, are an interesting group. The two men are complete opposite of one another: one quiet and thoughtful, the other gregarious, and the newest member, a female, has a few secrets of her own. The intrigue of all of the characters helps to push the storyline along.

I really do hate for books to be compared to one another, but I often thought that She Lies in Wait was quite similar to Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. No doubt fans of that series would disagree, but the writing is similar and, of course, the methodology of the squad itself is the same. In addition, the way that both authors sink into the personal lives of the characters and weave it into the main story felt familiar to each and it was something I enjoy in both series.

If you enjoy police procedurals, particularly British ones, then I highly recommend She Lies in Wait. If you like a good mystery, I think you will enjoy it as well.

Thank you to #Netgalley, #RandomHousePublishingGroup and @thegyth for my copy of She Lies in Wait which will be published in the US on January 8, 2019.

 

Advertisements

Broken Ground @ValMcDermid

I am such a huge fan of Val McDermid and always look forward to her new releases. If you are like me, you will be excited to know that Broken Ground, her latest in the Karen Pirie series will be released in December in the US next month, December.

39086134

Alice Sommerville’s inheritance is lying at the bottom of a peat bog. However, she gets more than she bargained for when the retrieval specialists discover a body with a bullet hole. Pirie, who is back after a leave, is now working cold case files and is assigned to the case. However, the investigation uncovers more questions than answers.

McDermid is known as the Queen of Scottish Mysteries and there is a reason for this. She writes thoroughly researched, expertly woven intrigue with a hearty dose of atmospheric details about her homeland, Scotland. Her books, including Broken Ground, are not fast paced reads but, rather, good solid sleuthing just as a police procedural should be. There are plenty of twists and more than one mystery in Broken Groundwhich will keep you invested in the story from beginning to end.

This is, of course, part of an ongoing series and, while there are multiple references to past cases, these references also serve as a guideline for any new reader so that the reader will not be confused. It is helpful to read the other books first, but it certainly is not necessary to enjoy the story or follow along with the characters. Whether you are new to McDermid or an avid fan, like me, Broken Ground is a perfect choice for a long winter’s read.

My thanks to #Netgalley, #GroveAtlantic, and #ValMcDermid for my copy of this suspenseful tale.

Deranged by T.R.Ragan

There is a serial killer on the loose and they have P.I. Jessie Cole in their crosshairs.

cover147274-medium

T.R. Ragan is back with her third installment in the Jessie Cole series. Building on the characters from previous books, Cole is still helping car accident/amnesia victim reclaim his past. The son of a convicted murderer, Ben Morrison desperately is seeking to know more about the tragic night when his girlfriend was murdered by his father. As bits and pieces of his memories begin to resurface, he is more confused than ever about the role he may have played in her death. Cole also has been hired to follow a cheating wife but when she is found stabbed to death, the evidence suggests that she is another victim of the killer who is on the loose. How do all of the murders tie together and what do they have to do with Morrison? Cole wants to know, but knowing may cost her own life or the lives of those she dearly loves.

Deranged is solidly written murder mystery/thriller. It will keep you interested and reading to the end. It’s actually a very quick read, lots of dialogue makes it so. Because it is the third in the series, there are multiple throwbacks to past events and characters, things that I should have known but didn’t because this was my first book. Some books in a series work fine as a stand alone, you get enough information woven into the back story that you don’t notice that you’ve not read the previous books. Deranged is not one of those books. I suggest that you go back and read the first two Jessie Cole books if you are interested in this one. Conversely, there are enough spoilers in this one that you should not read it before the others.

If you are a fan of Ragan and this series then I’m certain that you will enjoy Deranged.

*I received an egalley from #Netgalley and #Thomas&Mercer in exchange for a review.

 

 

 

The Witch Elm #tanafrench

Love LOVE and more LOVE for #TheWitchElm by the amazing Tana French!!

51-u7bx505L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Amicable Toby is a happy-go-lucky guy who fancies himself as one the “The Lucky Ones.” He has a great job, although he did create a major mess there  – but he sorted out his mess so it’s all good. He has an amazing girlfriend to whom he is faithful, except for a bit of a roving eye. And he has two terrific mates who love him, at least he thinks they do. But Toby’s luck is about to change when he is brutally beaten and robbed in his own apartment. Left for dead, in and out of consciousness for weeks, Toby is trying to put his life back together again while recuperating at his uncle’s home, The Ivy House, where he and his two cousins summered throughout their childhood and teens. That is, until a human skull is found in the Wych Elm, yes a cute play on words there, isn’t it? Poor Toby – is anything that he thought true and real actually what it had seemed?

Let me be frank with you, I only dabble in Tana French’s series, The Dublin Murder Squad. There are those that I absolutely adore and then there are those that I barely make it through. French does such an incredible, amazing job at developing her characters that if I don’t connect with them, I don’t enjoy the book. The Witch Elm, however, is a stand-alone and I love – have I already used the word love – Toby! My son’s name is Toby and, ironically, my Toby and this Toby are very, VERY similar. It’s not hard to see why I connected with the book, is it?

More importantly, though, French creates a supporting cast of characters that are quirky, irritating, affable, hilarious and oh so very flawed. Through them, as they either look for the killer or attempt to cover up for the killer, we learn about family, forgiveness, love, mistakes, second-chances and, sadly, death. While there is definitely mystery and suspense here, this is not a “thriller.” It is a slow simmering, beautifully written examination of family, particularly a family in crisis.

Interestingly, as I have read other reviews and previews of the book, they seem to be divided into die-hard fans of the DMS and the rest of us and the ratings reflect that division. This is a book that stands on its own as a marvelously written, creative work that is well worth reading by die-hard fans as well as those of us who simply appreciate a well told tale. Well done Ms. French!

FIVE emerald green Irish Stars for The Witch Elm.

I could not be more appreciative to #TanaFrench, #Edelweiss and @Viking for my advanced copy of #TheWitchElm. It will be available at your usual book outlets on October 9, 2018.

I Do Not Trust You #Blogtour #LauraJBurns #MelindaMetz

I am beyond excited to be a stop on this blog tour – it is my first! I’m quite sure that I will not do this properly so forgive me in advance if it is not like all of the others. The MAIN THING is that you know about this terrific new book and this fabulous writing team! 

Memphis “M” Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight.  Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M’s tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. Together they criss-cross the globe from the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt in their search for elusive relic. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she traveling with a friend or enemy?
cover137030-medium

I Do Not Trust You is an adventure tale that will conjure up comparisons to Lara Croft and Indiana Jones in their younger days. “M” and Ash are on a mission to find a secret Egyptian relic before a zealous group who believe the relic can bring about power for their cause. Both “M” and Ash have their own reasons for wanting the relic. M’s father, whom she has believed to be dead for over a year, is allegedly being held captive while he translates the ancient text on a hieroglyphic map. Ash, a member of the “Eye.” an Egyptian religious order sworn to protect the relic, must find it before the zealots. While this sounds a bit confusing, all is explained beautifully in I Do Not Trust You, along with some amazing historical, geographical and mythological facts.

The story is simply told and I was never quite sure if this book was meant for younger readers, young adult or adult. It was entertaining regardless of the intended audience. As a history and literature grad, this book was exactly what I enjoy reading. Unfortunately it is being sold as an “adventure” novel and there wasn’t quite enough action for that to ring true. It is, however, a great mystery based on some incredible Egyptian myths. I also felt that the character development is what drove the book, rather than the suspense. I say this because there are those who expect their “thriller” novels to be very tense with a lot of fast paced action. You won’t find that here. Instead, it is a great, steady read with conversational wit and humor. I truly enjoyed reading it. Four Mythological Stars for I Do Not Trust You.

The Two Headed Team:

I had the pleasure of getting to know the authors a little bit and to ask them a few questions. They are amazing women with an impressive combined CV that never ends!

LAURA J. BURNS and MELINDA METZ have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for the TV shows ROSWELL, 1-800-MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

  1. Writing generally is considered a solitary sport, how did the two of you come together and do you find there are challenges writing as a duo?

We consider ourselves lucky that we can write together, since it’s more fun to play doubles than a solitary sport! We first met when we were both editors at the same company. We each edited a different Fear Street series by R.L. Stine. Melinda worked on the middle grade books, Ghosts of Fear Street, and Laura worked on the YA Fear Street books. One of our jobs was to come up with plot ideas, and that’s a hard thing to do by yourself. Sitting alone in a room and thinking up concepts just doesn’t work as well as bouncing ideas back and forth. We quickly began coming up with all our plots together, even though we weren’t working on the same series. And we just kept doing it! We liked all the same books and movies and TV shows, which meant we had all the same pop-culture reference points, so we could use a sort of shorthand with each other.

In terms of challenges, we aren’t the best writing partners to ask, because we don’t really have any. We began writing together for television and moved on to doing books as a team. A lot of writers talk about how difficult it is to adapt to another writer’s style or to argue over plots. We don’t have that problem. We often joke that we share a brain because it’s so easy for us to write in the same voice.

2. When creating a character for your book, do you already know who they are or do they develop as you are writing the story?

We are planners (as opposed to pantsers) so we don’t write a thing until we know who the characters are and what the plot is. Character is generally our starting point, although sometimes we have a plot-driven idea and work out the characters second. We always figure out their backstories, their personalities and how they’re going to sound, and their goals. We decide on what the main characters need from one another and how their relationships are going to work. Of course, characters do develop a bit as we write. If one of us makes a discovery about them–say, a running conflict they have with one of their parents–we let the other know and it gets worked in as we both write.

3. I Do Not Trust You takes the young readers on a world-wide quest. Do you both travel extensively or did this require a huge amount of research?

We’ve both traveled some, but nothing like what our characters M and Ash do! Sadly, we don’t have M’s ability to speak several languages or Ash’s access to the cash his group has accumulated over centuries. So we researched our locations online and just wished we could be there in person. However, since there really aren’t ancient Egyptian artifacts buried at all of these sites (we assume), many details are imaginary as well!

Thank you to #LauraJBurns and #MelindaMetz for their insight and for this incredible book! My thanks also to Brittani at St. Martin’s Press for this opportunity and to #St.MartinsPress, a publishing company on whom you can trust for great reads.

 

Tell Me You’re Mine by #ElisabethNoreback

It’s publication day for this riviting suspense tale!

9780735218543_aeab3

Tell Me You’re Mine is a slow simmering suspenseful tale of three women: Stella, a psychologist, wife and mother to a 13 year old boy and to a child that was presumed dead twenty years ago. Isabelle, who is seeking answers about her own very confusing life after she was harshly told that the father who recently died was not her biological father and Kirsten, Isabelle’s mother, who is desperately trying to hold on to her daughter while her life is crumbling to pieces around her. As the lives of these three women merge, we see how very fine the line can be between sanity and the brink of madness.

This is a debut novel for Noreback who does an incredible job of pulling you into the lives of these women. She craftfully creates a web of lies, deception, fear and insanity. As Stella becomes more convinced that Isabelle is her “dead” daughter, those around her fear she is on a brink of a breakdown. Stella has done this before, seen her daughter where she did not exist, and she is currently being investigated for having an unhealthy relationship with a patient. Perhaps she is losing her mind. As Isabelle looks for more answers, the questions she is asking and the independence she is seeking causes her own mother to crumble. As readers we, too, are forced to ask questions – who is sane, who isn’t, where should loyalties lie in situations like this and who is telling the truth.

I found the story very engaging and suspenseful. I felt Stella’s terror as she questions her sanity and wanted so badly for her to be correct about Isabelle being her daughter. I became enraged with her husband who questioned Stella’s version of the truth. I desperately wanted him to be stronger and believe her. Noreback does a terrific job creating these very dynamic, sympathetic characters. Ultimately, however, this is a suspense tale and the action packed ending will leave you breathless.

Admittedly, there were times that I felt the book dragged, or perhaps it was just that I was engrossed in the story that I wanted to know how it ended – who was telling the truth. Regardless, I read it in a day because I could not put it down. For me, that alone makes a book at least 3.5 to 4 stars. If I am that engaged with the characters then it’s a good tale – and this is.

I highly recommend it for mystery/suspense lovers and I look forward to reading more from this new author in the future. The book is on sale today at Amazon and your local book sellers. I’d love to hear from you if read it or have read it. Drop me a comment below.

Thanks to #Edelweiss, #ElisabethNoreback and #ThePenguinPublishingGroup for me advanced copy of this terrific book.

 

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Mondays

It’s Murder and Mayhem Monday and I am super excited about this week’s book!

iu

I admit that I have a rocky relationship with Lapena’s books. I adored A Stranger in the House but thought The Couple Next Door was only so-so. I wasn’t sure what to expect from An Unwanted Guest and was thrilled by how much I liked it!

“We can’t choose the strangers we meet.”

Lapena has written a thriller in the style of the old school authors from the Golden Age of Mysteries. In fact, from beginning to end, An Unwanted Guest is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None or The Mousetrap, but fresher and updated for today.

In An Unwanted Guest, we find guests arriving at the stately Mitchell Inn, nestled in the Catskills with snow gently falling. However, as the guests make their way to the Inn, the snow begins to fall harder and the wind picks up furiously. Soon, the Inn is without power and the guests are trapped until help arrives. Each of the guests also brings with them baggage of the emotional kind. There is the wealthy attorney once accused of murder; the beautiful, wealthy couple hiding secrets from their past. Gwen and Riley are college friends – Gwen with a dark secret that only Riley knows and Riley who has a severe case of PTSD. There also are two lovers hoping to make things more permanent and a married couple, one of whom wants to make things less permanent. And then there is the writer who just wants to escape from it all. When the first victim is found, these secrets begin to unravel until the terror becomes so real it is palpable even to you, the reader.

Lapena does a stellar job developing each of the characters. They are fully fleshed out and become very real. We know their secrets, their hopes, their hates and their desires. It is far easier to believe that there must be a mad-man on the loose than it is to believe that one of these guests could be responsible for the mayhem that has ensued. Well, with the exception of one of the guests, a man, for whom I had a particular dislike. Sadly, he has an alibi throughout.

There are times when An Unwanted Guest comes dangerously close to becoming “campy” and too “old school;” but, fortunately, Lapena handles those situations beautifully and the book stays well on track racing toward a thrilling conclusion. In fact, I liked this book so much that I would read it all over again just to have the pleasure of re-reading the last page which was both surprising and enormously satisfying!

If you have read Lapena in the past then this is a must-read for you. If you love Golden Era mysteries then you will find joy in An Unwanted Guest. If thrillers are your thing then this is a fast paced read that will leave you wanting more from this author. It’s a marvelous read from the start to the very last line!

I’m extremely appreciative for the opportunity to read and review this advance copy of An Unwanted Guest. My thanks to @ShariLapena, #Edelweiss and #PamelaDormanBooks.