Walk A Crooked Line by Susan McBride

It has been a long while since a police procedural has rocked my boat, kept me on the edge of my seat and made me say, “Wow.” Walk A Crooked Line did all of those things a more!

TBR Thursdays

#TBRThursdays is the day that I reach back to my To-Be-Read list, read a book and review it. Then, hurrah, it’s not on my ever growing list any longer!

Why I waited so long to read Walk a Crooked Line is a puzzle to me. If I had known how great it was going to be, I wouldn’t have waited! This is the second installment in the Jo Larsen series. Normally second books are not as good as the first and I’ve come to expect that. This one, however, is even better than the first!

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Jo Larsen is an amazing detective who once had a very bright future ahead of her. She made some critical errors in judgement and had to pay the price for them. Now, she trying to rectify her mistakes and continue with a job she loves and is good at but in a much smaller town. Much. Smaller. When she is called out to the scene of what appears to be the suicide of a 15 year old girl, she cannot let things go until she knows “why” the girl would take her own life. Was it willingly, did someone push her or did someone bully her into doing so. These are the questions that Jo wants answers to and she will investigate until she finds that answer – unless someone stops her first.

McBride has created a very sympathetic protagonist in Jo Larsen. She is smart, capable but flawed with a gambling addiction and a sister who always has been a thorn in her side. As we explore the reasons why this girl might have killed herself, we also unravel more of Jo’s back story and the more we learn, the more wonderful and brave she becomes.

There are multiple story arcs throughout the book: the suicide, Jo’s sister who has returned to town, dog-nappings and subsequent abuse but never does the book get muddled or confusing. Each story line is handled deftly and thoroughly as the book roars toward its climactic conclusion. In the genre of police procedurals/suspense, Walk A Crooked Line stands out as a winner.

Thank you to #Netgalley, @SuzMcBrideBooks and #Thomas&Mercer for my copy of this well written tale.

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The Weight of Silence @Gregg_Olsen

Gregg Olsen has delivered once again – a taut, well-written police procedural that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

TBR Thursdays

Each Thursday I try like hell to cross another book off of my TBR list. I have no idea why I waited so long to read The Weight of Silence by Gregg_Olsen when I know that his books always are going to be amazing. Of course this one is no exception!

The Weight of Silence is the follow-up to Olsen’s bestseller, The Sound of Rain, where we first met Detective Nicole Foster. Foster is back after her catastrophic downward spiral in The Sound of Rain and ready for a second chance. She’s moved back to her childhood home on the Washington coast to care for her niece Emma and begin “fresh” in a new department. Of course, the past never really is buried and her sociopathic sister, Stacey, is not going to let Nicole’s past stay in the past for long.

The story is two-fold: the majority of the theme is an extremely well written police procedural where Nicole and her partner, Carter, are investigating the worst kind of case – the death of a child. The parents insist at every opportunity available that the child’s death was an accident. But was it really? Methodical policing may prove otherwise. As the case progresses, Olsen gives us an in-depth examination of Nicole’s current life – her intense love for her niece, her “family” which includes an aging pooch and her Alzheimer ridden father. We learn more about Nicole’s gambling addiction and the strength she uses to overcome it every single day. To say that Olsen is a master of character development is understatement. He is brilliant. Ultimately Nicole’s past and present converge at a climactic conclusion that is extremely satisfying on both fronts.

There are times when I think that suspense/mystery/thrillers all are blending together and merely re-telling the same plot over and over again. With The Weight of Silence I am reminded how wonderful it is when the genre is done right.

Five highly recommended Stars to The Weight of Silence!

Thanks to #Netgalley, #Thomas&Mercer and @Gregg_Olsen for this very enjoyable book.

 

Fab Fiction Friday

Although it is very late in the day, it still is Fab Fiction Friday and I have a fabulous book for you today: The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison.

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The Summer Children is the third in The Collector’s Series by Hutchison, the most popular, of course, being the first one: The Butterfly Garden. This is one of those rare books for me that crossed genres of horror, thriller, police procedural and simply great fiction primarily due to the incredible writing skills of Hutchison. Admittedly, I have not read either of the two other books in the series so I have nothing against which to compare this book as others have done and are doing. This book, alone, is stellar – excellent mystery, fabulous character development and unspeakable scenes of horror as each poor child is brought to agent Mercedes Ramirez’ porch.

Having not read the previous books in the series let me add that if you have read the other books, this is a must read. It continues the saga of the garden girls as well as the agents involved in their rescue. The ending of this book had me in tears and, as I’ve said, I don’t know the butterfly girls’ story. However, the ending is perfection. If you haven’t read the first two books, have no worries, there is enough detail within that you never once will feel lost or confused. There were details that made me want to read more but never did I feel that I needed to know more in order to understand the context of the story.

There are few writers that can pull off a well written, intense thriller and it is very obvious that Hutchison is one of those writers. I cannot begin to recommend this book highly enough to you.

Thank you #Netgalley, Dot Hutchison and Thomas Mercer Publishing for allowing me to read this copy for free.

 

Murder and Mayhem Monday

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Welcome to Murder and Mayhem Mondays where the theme always will involve, well, yes… murder and/or mayhem. I read a lot of crime fiction, thrillers and police procedurals so it is only fitting that they have a day in which the focus is on them. And yes, I know that I quite nearly missed Monday entirely and for some of you I most likely did – but it’s here!! Consistency is the name of the game for me right now. And so….

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Look For Me is the ninth book is the D.D. Warren series, second to feature rescued “victim,” Flora Dane and yet it is the first Lisa Gardner’s that I ever have read! I don’t know how I missed her to this point except to say that there are a lot of great authors whose names are Lisa – Gardner, Unger, Jewell – and I like them. I put the word victim in quotes because Dane would never consider herself a victim but rather a survivor.

Despite the fact that I came in on the second chapter of Flora Dane’s story, there is plenty of background within this book to fill in any gaps and answer any questions the reader (me) might have. Dane was a victim of an extended hostage/abuse situation and Warren was one of the detectives who helped solve the case. The two do not see eye to eye on how to handle men who prey on women and often cross paths as they search out these men in the world – one through legal means, the other as a vigilante. However, their paths converge when they both are trying to help or look for a young runaway/suspect named Roxanna who either is the only survivor of a very brutal murder or the primary suspect – depending on your view point. As Warren works the case, Dane searches for Roxanna in order to help her. Eventually, Warren makes Dane a criminal informant in order to keep Dane under her watchful eye. Let me note that I appreciate the fact that Gardner made Dane a CI rather than allowing her to continue to meddle at free will. No cop in their right mind would allow a citizen, regardless of their past, free reign into an investigation which is what so many writers would have us believe. So thank you, Lisa Gardner, for keeping things real!

The remainder of the book is told in alternating chapters by the two women. This was a good way to handle the back and forth timeline as well as the different focus that these women had on working this case. I won’t go into the actual book any further – you could and should read it for yourself. I will say that this series is very well written. There are two very strong women, very different personalities, but both of whom are characterized extremely well. The story never gets lost in the character development and we never lose sight of the fact that both of these women have personal lives and demons on which they must focus. That is a realistic aspect for most women today.

Again, although there are books that proceed this one, you can read it as a stand alone. It would simpler if you read the first in the Flora Dane series, but it won’t hinder your enjoyment if you do not. I have since gone back and started at the beginning of Warren’s series in order to fully appreciate her and her story. You can find this book in hardcover, paperback and e-book. Your library, always, is a good source as well. I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I did.