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. 

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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

 

 

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

Only Daughter @SarahDenzil

Kat has been repeatedly told that she is a sociopath and incapable of love. She, however, knows beyond a doubt that she loves her only daughter with a passion, regardless of whether that love is natural or has been learned. When she told that her daughter, Grace, is dead Kat refuses to believe the news. When she is told that Grace committed suicide, Kat vows to find her killer!

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amazonWOW! Only Daughter is one heck of a roller coaster ride. From beginning to end, I had absolutely no clue who to suspect or how this book would end and that made for one very thrilling read!

Kat has a very dark history: an abusive mother, a very traumatic event that changed her teenage years and ultimately her life, an “accidental” pregnancy in order to snag a wealthy husband. You name it, and Kat has experienced it. The one constant in her life, the one person for whom she would move heaven and earth, is her daughter. Kat even sees a therapist in order to “obtain human emotions” so that she can be a better mother to Grace. So when she learns of Grace’s death, she knows in her mother’s heart that Grace did not commit suicide. However, the more Kat learns about Grace, the more she wishes she had learned nothing at all. Was Grace the child she knew and loved or the monster that her friends are making her appear to be.

Only Daughter is the story of every mother’s nightmare and as readers we live that nightmare through Kat – every emotion, every pain and each and every discovery she makes until the very climactic conclusion. This is a gripping, suspenseful tale full of intriguing twists that will grab you and not let go even after you have finished the book! The writing is tight, the characters are very well developed, from the snotty teens to obnoxious wealthy parents, every character is well drawn. I absolutely loved it and if you like thrillers, I think you will too!

Thank you to #Netgalley, @Bookouture and #SarahADenzil for my advance copy of #Only Daughter which will be available on March 13, 2019.

The Moroccan Girl @CharlesCumming

I had a bit of “ooops” moment yesterday apparently. For whatever reason, this was supposed to have posted on its pub day and it did not. However, after visiting Amazon, they also are having a “glitch” with the book so it is just as well. I promise that my review did not cause the glitch despite the fact that my family is convinced that I can break all things electronically related. It’s a myth – really. It is.

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At its heart, The Moroccan Girl is more fiction/romance than spy thriller despite what you will be told otherwise. I used to read espionage books like they were going out of style. This borders on spy thriller but it is more “espionage wannabe” than the actual fact.

Kit Carradine – not to be confused at all with Keith Carradine the real-life actor – is a spy thriller writer with international fame. He is approached by MI6 to deliver a “package” to someone when he travels to Morocco for a writer’s conference. Carradine is ecstatic! He finally has an opportunity to actually do so spy work rather than just write about it. He soon realizes, though, that he has been manipulated (duh moment here) and that the request has far deeper implications than he realizes. The woman, Lara Bartok aka the Moroccan Girl, whom he is supposed to be on the look out for, is missing. She is part of a subversive, revolutionary group called “The Resurrection” who is targeting alt-right groups across the globe. As the search for Bartok continues, Carradine is unsure who and what to believe. I can’t really blame him. 

The Moroccan Girl was an extremely interesting, very fast paced thriller. It is, quite literally, ripped from today’s headlines. The part that actually involved Carradine was bit contrived – I’m not sure MI6 would involve an author in this manner – but the CIA has done stranger things than this recently so what do I know. Cumming has masterfully crafted a intriguing set of characters that are both relatable and secretive, just as good subversives should be. In all, it is a riveting spy/romance tale that will keep you thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end.

 

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.

Murder Theory (The Naturalist #3) @AndrewMayne – Publication Day

I have a confession. I may be a book nerd, but I’m a science geek at heart and this geekiness of mine manifests itself in the strangest of ways. Since I never was allowed to truly follow my scientific love due to parental influences as a child, I did weird stuff instead: became a Trekkie, followed volcano trails throughout the US, collected fossils and rocks, studied astronomy for the fun of it and look for the scientific principles by any and absolutely everything. I know, I know…. you’re wondering what this has to do a book review, aren’t you? Andrew Mayne is one of my very favorite authors. He is a former illusionist. Can one be a “former” illusionist? I don’t think so. Being an illusionist is more than being a “magician.” It’s understanding the psychology and science behind the slight of hand, the trick of the eye. It’s becoming the master of one’s own body. It’s absolutely amazing! Today, Mayne is an author who incorporates these same scientific and “slight of hand” principles into his books. And I love them!

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What a long intro, right? In Murder Theory, Computational biologist and serial-killer hunter Dr. Theo Cray is back after slaying dragons and killing monsters in the previous two novels. Well, okay, no dragons and the monsters were serial killers. Now there is something strange lurking in the dig around the last murder site, something that is making seemingly normal people kill and kill violently. While the local cops and even the FBI are quick to write this off as a one time psychotic break, Cray begins to see a pattern of behavior that could be viral based and, if it is, could spell potential problems if it falls into the wrong hands aka WMD used by any government or military. As Cray searches for the causes, the how and why of the virus and how it could be spread, he begins to trip ever so lightly over the line of good and evil and, at times, appears a little closer to the monster he once was chasing. Has the virus affected him or is this just part of his mad genius working overtime?

Mayne is an excellent story-teller. His writing style and quick chapters propel the story along at a rapid fire pace making this a thrilling ride to the finish. There are times when the story could get bogged down in the scientific jargon, and there is a lot of that, but Mayne makes the science so interesting that it lends to the excitement of the tale rather than detracts from it. It creates substance rather than has the reader skimming over the dry parts because, quite simply, there are no dry parts. I have no idea if any of the science is real but it certainly sounds authentic to me and I love it! And let me tell you – I’m a sucker for last lines that make me go “WHAT!?!?” and the last line of the book had me doing exactly that!!! I would read this book all over again just to get to that last line! You know me well enough by now that when I write that, it’s a killer ending! And in this case it may very well be just that!

Murder Theory could be read as a stand alone. There is enough back story that a new reader could pick up and carry on without reading the first two installments. I do, however, highly recommend the first books as well as his Jessica Blackstone series. They are well worth reading and highly enjoyable!

Murder Theory is available today at your local book seller or library. Many thanks to #Netgalley, #AndrewMayne and #Thomas&Mercer for my copy of this great thriller!