Scorched Grounds by Debbie Herbert

At least one Saturday a month I like to feature southern literature. I may not be a southern gal any longer, but writers from that region have a gift that is quite different from most other authors. Their writing is grittier, darker, have sly wit and so much charm. Southern Literature is definitely in my soul.

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Scorched Grounds is the second book by Debbie Herbert in the Normal, Alabama series. For those wondering, yes there is a Normal Alabama. It’s an…. unusual place and one I don’t care to drive through again. The series is set in the same location but with totally different characters so join us as we get to know the people from Normal.

Della Stallings’ father went to prison for murdering her mother and brother. Della was the sole survivor of this tragedy, one that has left her with a debilitating phobia. She has worked her entire life to cope with this phobia, including working only the night shift. But now, her father is being released from prison on a technicality and murders begin happening almost immediately. Della has no idea if it is her father who is killing people or, worse, he is being framed by someone else – someone very close to Della.

From the cover, alone, you can tell that this story is very dark. The characters are not very likable. The places are dreary and, some, in ruins. Despite that, you get the sense that Della is trying desperately to rise above this, not to be pulled down by the horror that is her life. There is, however, someone who is determined not to allow that to happen. From Della’s father, to her very bizarre psychologist, to her gosh-awful aunt and uncle, there are so many suspects, a myriad of twists and turns and chilling acts of terror to ensure you are captivated from start to finish.

Herbert does an amazing job at creating an atmospheric thriller that is a perfect example of southern noir. I loved it and hope you will too!

Thank you to #Thomas&Mercer and #Netgalley for this intriguing thriller

Alone in the Wild @KelleyArmstrong #PublicationDay

Rockton – secluded, secretive and always full of surprises. A tiny town in the Yukon where the most desperate people go to hide. Now the Yukon forest has another hidden surprise for Casey Duncan: a baby.

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Alone in the Wild is the fifth in the Rockton series by author Kelley Armstrong. Centering around the town of Rockton, a secret fortress hidden in the vast Yukon forest, it is a place for those who need or can afford extreme hiding. Some of its residents are victims, some are those who have committed the crime but all of the Rockton residents are colorful, interesting nd not always law abiding. Casey Duncan and her life partner, the hard-assed sheriff, do their best to keep everyone safe – from one another, “the settlers” who have chosen to live outside of Rockton and from the “hostiles,” those who have de-evolved while living in the wild.

When Casey discovers the baby under the coat of a dead “hostile” woman, she begins to search for the murderer and the baby’s parents. Moral questions arise about the capability of the parents, whoever they may be, of caring for a baby through the Yukon winter. Casey’s search takes her directly into the “hostile” camps, to the trailers of those who sell and trade with the “hostiles” and the “settlers” and the “settler” camps themselves. Those who have followed this series finally get a full picture of the life these outcast groups live, how they interact with one another and a deeper look into some of the Rockton residents themselves.

As an avid follower of Kelley Armstrong and the town of Rockton, I found Alone in the Wild to be one of the best written books in this series. Questions that we have had from the beginning are answered and the people, themselves, became fuller and more fleshed out. While it has been suggested that Alone in the Wild could be read as a stand-alone, I heartily disagree. Each book in this series picks up where the previous book left off and, if you are not familiar with the characters, the town and the back-story, you will be more confused than necessary than if you start at the beginning. The characters grow and change, as does the town of Rockton itself. I highly recommend Alone in the Wild for those who like improbable locations and quirky characters.

Thanks to #Edelweiss and @Minotaurbooks for my copy of Alone in the Wild.

The Third to Die @Allison_Brennan

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Detective Kara Quinn is visiting her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, after being placed on administrative leave by the LAPD, when she comes upon the mutilated body of a young nurse during an early morning jog. The manner of death is clearly ritualistic; she calls it in. Meanwhile back in DC, special agent in charge Mattias Costa is meticulously staffing his newly-minted Mobile Response Team. One of his first recruits is the brilliant FBI forensic psychologist Catherine Jones. When word reaches Matt that the Washington state murder appears to be the work of the Triple Killer–it will be the first case for the MRT. They have a chance to stop him before he claims another victim strikes, but only if they can figure out who he is and where is is hiding.

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That Ending!! It may not have been a cliffhanger but it definitely left me wanting more, now…. immediately. How soon can she write the next in this series!?!

Brennan is well known for her psychological thrillers so when I was offered an ARC for her newest book I jumped at the opportunity. The Third to Die is the first book in a new series by Brennan revolving around the FBI’s Mobile Response Team. This newly formed segment of the FBI consists of highly specialized agents who are top in their field, whether it is forensics, crime scene specialists or investigators. They are mobilized primarily in rural areas where the local force most likely is lacking in either experience or equipment. This is their first case in the field and it is a nightmare. A serial killer has re-emerged after years of silence. His method is killing someone on March 3rd, 6th or 9th. This story is made more interesting by the addition of a SFPD officer who is on “vacation” in the area and ends up helping the FBI solve their case. This detective, Kara Quinn, is one of the most interesting characters I’ve run across in a thriller in a long while. The chemistry between her and FBI agent Matias Costa is electric – and fun! The story is engaging, interesting and, yes, thrilling! So much so that I’m reading past written books by Brennan and cannot wait for her next in this series!

On sale Februrary 4th, this is crime fiction at its best and should be bookmarked on your to-read list. If you haven’t read the other books in Brennan’s series, they are really great as well.

Allison Brennan - photo credit Brittan Dodd

About the Author:

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers, has had multiple nominations and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a five-time RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense. Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids. Allison and her family live in Arizona. Visit her at allisonbrennan.com You can find her, additionally, at the following social media sites:

FACEBOOK and TWITTER : @Allison_Brennan  INSTAGRAM  – @abwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52527.Allison_Brennan

You can find the book at your favorite bookseller on 2/4: AMAZON  BN 

APPLE BOOKS

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Mystery for my copy of The Third To Die. @HarlequinBooks

Good Girls Lie #JTEllison @Mira #BookBlogTour

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I’m thrilled to be part of the Harlequin Blog Tour: Mystery/Thriller 2020.  The selection of books was top-notch. Some of my favorite books for the coming year are on this list! Up first is Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

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Goode girls don’t lie…

The Goode School is considered the Ivy League prep school known as the Silent Ivy. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

Look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Ellison’s book and I forgot how much I like her writing as well as her ability to build suspense. There is a reason why she is such a successful writer in the genre. Good Girls Lie is a tautly written tale of girls, rich elitist girls, sequestered away at a remote boarding school. When new “Ash” is admitted, she appears to be the perfect “Goode Girl.” She is tall, tanned, has perfect hair and the smile of an innocent but she also has a lifetime full of secrets. Her smile is practiced and her motives are impure but is it she who drove a fellow student to commit suicide or are there more secrets to reveal. The answers to these questions are what make this heart-pounding thriller so good!

Good Girls Lie is set to be published December 30 and should be on every suspense lovers 2020 TBR.  You can find the book at the following book sellers:

AMAZON/ BARNESNOBLE/ BAM

JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

You can connect with Ellison at the following:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Many thanks to Harlequin and Mira for coordinating this Blog Tour. Stay tuned for more of my reviews of the books being published this spring. You can with J.T. Ellison if you live near any of the following cities.

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You Are Not Alone #MurderousMondays

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An Anonymous Girl by these authors is one of my books that I’ve recently read so when I saw You are Not Alone, I jumped on it quickly and read it from start to finish even more quickly! You are Not Alone is a slow burning suspense filled thriller that kept me enthralled from the very first chapter to the last.

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Shay, our main character, witnesses a brutal suicide at the subway station. She tried to stop the young woman from jumping in front of the train but was unsuccessful. The only thing left of the crushed young woman is a necklace which Shay absentmindedly puts into her pocket. That necklace will lead Shay into a world of women that is, at best, inexplicable. Have they become her salvation and pathway to a new and beautiful world OR will these women lead her to jump in front of the subway herself? Written with such artful nuance, the reader will remain unsure until the very end.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It doesn’t publish until 2020, but it is one to add to your TBR list now. It’s a fascinating read that you will not want to miss.

#netgalley  #Edelweiss  #YouAreNotAlone  #@greerkh @SarahPekkanen

#Caged #Buried by @ECooperAuthor

Two books. Two mind-bending thrillers. One amazing agent.

Recently I was asked to read the third installment in the SSA Sayer Altair series by Ellison Cooper. The problem was that I hadn’t read the first two. I have had Caged bookmarked to read since it was first published but you know how TBR lists are, more books piled on top of that one. So, I thought before I read the upcoming book due in 2020, I would catch up with the first in the series. Was I ever glad that I did!

Agent Altair is one bad-assed woman. She has been knocked down by the death of her fiance, her job is in jeopardy and she is an orphan whose parents were killed in a tragic accident but none of those tragedies can stop Sayer. As a neuro-scientist she studies the brains of psychopaths for the BAU. She also is one of the best at hunting them down when they take the form of serial killers.

Both books are fascinating, not only for how well they are written but by the science behind psychopathy. Cooper is obviously brilliant and she brings that knowledge into the books that she writes. I, for one, have grown tired of the same old stalker-chases-woman thrillers and, if you are like me, you will find Cooper’s books a refreshing change. Yes, we have serial killers but their methods and reasons for killing are far more than man-murders-woman. Both Caged and Buried taught me more about psychology and the classics than I thought I ever would know. They are fantastic! Ten stars for this new to me author and now I cannot wait to begin her next one!

 

The Woman in the Park @teresasorkin @tullanh

A married woman meets a handsome stranger – In The Park. When the handsome stranger’s wife turns up dead, the only suspect is the married woman….

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The Woman in the Park is the exciting debut from the writing pair Teresa Sorkin and Tullan Holmqvist. A woman, Sarah Rock, is determined that her husband is having an affair with his young associate. Sarah, who has been under care for depression in the past, has weekly or twice weekly sessions with her psychologist through which we, the reader, learn more about Sarah, her family, her loneliness after her children leave for boarding school and, quite frankly, this appeared to be more of sad tale about mid-life rather than a suspenseful mystery. When Sarah meets Laurence in the park, however, things begin to change. Her life, formerly heartbreaking, appears to be filled with new life and energy – until the police show up at her door. There has been a murder in the park, a woman, and Sarah is their primary suspect. As Sarah’s world unravels, we go on a desperate journey with her to discover the truth, if the truth is capable of being found.

The Woman in the Park is a very short, extremely taut, marvelously written story that had me enthralled from beginning to the end. I literally read it in one afternoon never stopping once! While we know that Sarah is an unreliable narrator, the last section of the book is so surprising, so amazing that I never suspected until the very end. I was speechless!! Yes, The Woman in the Park really is that good!

Have you watched or do you remember The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis when, at the very end, you sit there with your mouth hanging open and your head shaking in disbelief? That is exactly what I felt like at the end of The Woman in the Park. If you haven’t see that movie – you need to. If you haven’t read The Woman in the Park, you absolutely must! If this is their debut, I cannot wait to see all of the great books that will come from this writing pair!

Thank you #Edelweiss, the authors and @BeaufortBooks for my copy of this amazing book!