#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Crime, Dectective, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Southern Saturdays, Tags and Challenges

The Good Detective

I should tell you that once I picked up The Good Detective that it was so gripping and thrilling that I could not put it down until I finished it. I should tell you, but I can’t. The fact is that I started this book twice, two months apart, and each time I read the first chapter, got so incensed that I put the book down and didn’t finish it. But there was something about the blurb that kept pulling at me, reeling me back in; something that kept saying “read it, c’mon, you know you want to.” So, on the third try I vowed to get past the second chapter regardless of how angry I became. You know what happened, right? I didn’t put the book down until I completely finished the book! I stayed up all night long and finished reading it. I cannot believe how stupid I was to think I wouldn’t absolutely love this book – because I absolutely LOVED this book!!

51Bg7iOP81L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_amazonThe Good Detective is P.T. Marsh, a “rising star” in a southern Georgia police department, at least he was until his wife and young son drowned in an accident that either was or might not have been a horrible accident. For over a year, P.T. has been a semi-functioning drunk. While in a bar, more like a strip club, he promises a dancer that he will have a talk with her abusive boyfriend. His “talk” actually means that PT beats the crap out of the guy after which he goes home to drink the remainder of his night away. Imagine his surprise when PT is called out the next morning to a murder scene and it is the boyfriend who is murder victim. This is the part that made me so angry. I have no tolerance for police brutality even when the person on the receiving end is a Neo-Nazi scumbag. However, all of this takes place on just a few pages at the very beginning of the book and the remainder of the book is incredibly fascinating! Read on…..

The death of the scumbag leads PT and his partner to the lynching site of a young African American boy. As they begin to search for the boy’s killer – since the best witness and/or suspect is now dead thanks to possibly PT- they begin to uncover something very sinister in their small rural, Georgia town, something that has been happening for centuries and it is dark and conspiratorial, and dangerous and of the very worst sort of nightmare that you can possibly imagine. I wouldn’t even attempt to perceive such atrocities except that I lived in the south and my father was from rural Georgia so I know that this horror does exist and that is what made this book so terrible and fascinating all at the same time. It was like watching a train derailing. I didn’t want to know, didn’t want to see the travesty that was unfolding but I couldn’t stop either.

McMahon has created characters on both sides of the fence that are perfectly conceptualized. They are not pretty, they are not good, they have flaws and some are so awful you won’t want them in your room, not even on your pages. I’m not sure you can create characters like this unless you have encountered them at some point in your lifetime. There were times that this read like something out of the 1930s or 40s, but then I remembered that there are parts of the rural south that still are very much like this. Who am kidding? There are places like this all over the US, not just the south. That’s what is so disturbing. This is happening everywhere, not just in small towns or in a particular region. In the end, there was a small amount of justice and a bit of redemption for PT as well. I can only hope that we will find this type of redemption for America soon. The quote below summed up the ending of book as well as my feelings for my history with the southern US:

There’s no place I’d rather travel than in the South…Even with our history, when I’m at Publix buying groceries, I see interracial couples. Lots of us. So as much as we struggle here with race, in some ways our struggle is closer to the surface and I hold out hope that this means it’s easier to fix.Β 

I know this was a bit of a rambling review. This was a very emotional book for me. The one thing I can say is that I highly recommend it and hope that you will read it, even it takes you a time or two to get started.

I owe much appreciation to #Edelweiss, @PutnamBooks, #JohnMcMahon and @PenguinPublishingGroup for my advanced copy of #TheGoodDetective

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#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Domestic Drama-Dysfunctional Families, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

You Belong to Me #MarkTilbury

There is dark and then there is Noir DARK. You Belong to Me is on the darker shade of that Noir scale. It was so gritty that I had to take breaks, sit the book down and come up for air. Yep, it’s that good!

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Let me tell you first – THERE ARE NO SPOILERS HERE! Unfortunately, I read a review for this book that, quite literally, gave away the twist at the end. And what a great twist it is, too. Or, it would have been if I had not had it spoiled for me!! WHY do people do that!? Reviews do not include spoilers people!! The ending of this book is worth the reading of the entire book! I love great twists at the end. I love them!

Briefly, this is the story of four teenage boys who already are living on the wrong side of the tracks. They don’t have the best that life has to offer, particularly Danny, but they are making it okay. Until one fateful day when they decide to seek revenge against Danny’s brother for a lifetime of abuse that he has waged against all of them but especially upon Danny. What happens to these boys, what they discover about the brother and about themselves, will alter their lives to an extent that the four of them barely eek out an existence into adulthood.

Now it is several years later and events have aligned to bring these men back together again. A girl is missing, these men have seen this before. Can they find her before it’s too late? What happens to them now will shock you to your core. Did I mention dark and twisty!? Tibury’s writing will have you gripping the book and tearing through the pages to the end. The characters are sad and heartbreaking, some of them I didn’t even like, but they were real and very dimensional. I cared about them and I came to care about their fate! The storyline could have been have placed in midwestern America as well as Ireland or any place in Europe. It’s universal in its bleakness. It is a well told tale. If you like noir, psychological thrillers then this is absolutely the book for you!

Thank you to #Netgalley, #BloodhoundBooks and #MarkTilbury for my advanced copy of this – did I mention dark – thrilling book!

Book Reviews, Fiction, Horror, Noir, Crime and Dark Endeavors, Thriller

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.

Fiction, Thriller

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. πŸ˜‰ 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.

 

 

 

Domestic Noir/Thriller, Thriller

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

My apologies for going MIA for a few days. In my real-life-non-reviewer world, I run a bed and breakfast. We purchased an abandoned, run-down, falling apart Victorian home two years ago and are rehabilitating it to its former glory. This week, we opened a new guest room but WOW did it take more work than anticipated. The BnB also had its first wedding of sorts so there was a ton of prep work for that as well. Loads of Fun but, sadly, no time for reviews. Now I’m back, at least until the holidays. πŸ™‚

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Camilla Way is a new-to-me author. I went into the book unsuspecting and was wowed by its gripping suspense.

The Lies We Told is the story of two families – one who has a daughter, Hannah, who never has been quite normal. In fact, she has sociopathic tendencies that worsen the older she gets. The second family has a son who is missing and his girlfriend is trying desperately to find him – hopefully before it is too late. The intersection of these two families is where our story lies. Each family has a dark secret that will affect the outcome of all of their lives. Their secrets have been buried for decades but what will the cost of revealing that secret be?

While the story itself was not always as plausible as I would have liked, the suspense was nail-bitingly fantastic! I stayed up late to read this one through to the end because I just had to know the “secret” and how these two families were intertwined. To say I was shocked at the reveal is an understatement – more so – I was shocked at the subsequent twist. This is one helluva ride from start to finish.

If you like mysteries, suspense and thrillers, this is the book for you. Camilla Way is definitely on my radar now and I cannot wait for her next book!

Thank you to PenguinPublishing – Berkley for this amazing read!

 

Crime, Dectective, Murderous Mondays, Uncategorized

Truth and Lies by #CarolineMitchell

Lies can hurt you but, sometimes, the truth hurts more. Truth and Lies is a chilling new thriller by #CarolineMitchell.

Mondays

It’s Monday and time for my latest look at Murder and Mayhem that is filling our literary shelves.

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Still reeling from her father’s untimely death, DI Amy Winters wants nothing more than to throw herself back into her police work where she can honor her father’s memory by becoming a well respected cop just like he was. However, fate deals Amy a blow when a letter arrives proclaiming that Amy is, in fact, the daughter of one of the most notorious serial killing couples Great Britain ever has known. This couple lured young teenage girls to their home, brutally murdered them and then hid their bodies. Most of these bodies were recovered but three still remain missing. The lone surviving killer, Lillian Grimes, wants to make a deal with Amy: do what Lillian asks and the bodies will be revealed. However, it soon becomes apparent that Lillian has additional plans for Amy as this old, cold case is apparently intertwined with a current kidnapping crime.

Caroline Mitchell is a former CID and her knowledge and experience are well apparent throughout the book. This is, by far, one of the best written police procedurals I have read in a long time simply because the methodology, the “cop-speak,” and protocol were perfectly realistic. In addition, the psychological aspect of both cases were fully explored and developed. We were able to see the struggles going on within Amy while also watching in horror the machinations of the very evil Lillian Grimes. It is a race against time as a young girl’s life hangs in the balance.

I haven’t read Mitchell before this book but, based on the writing of Truth and Lies, she definitely is going on my author watch list. If you enjoy police procedurals, crime novels or mysteries, then you will love this book. I highly recommend it – not to mention there is a terrific ending that will leave you wanting MORE –Β  ASAP.

Thanks to #Netgalley, #CarolineMitchell, #Thomas&Mercer and #AmazonPublishingUK for this terrific book!

 

Southern Saturdays, Thriller

The Cyprus Papers

The Cyprus Papers is a fast paced thriller that you will not want to put down until you know the ending….

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For this week’s Southern/Midwest Saturday, I bring you a new author: C.W. Bordener. Bordener is originally from Chicago, studied in my home state of Indiana and now resides in D.C. where he is a financial consultant. His financial expertise is very apparent in his writing which is interesting and intriguing. Bordener is to financial espionage what Grisham was to legal thrillers in his early days.

In The Cyprus Papers, financial consultant Emily is tasked with the financial forensics of a political rising star – a Congressman who is prepping for a run for the White House. However, in doing due diligence, Emily soon discovers a paper trail with deadly results. Every where she turns, she is one step behind a mastermind killer. With her life in tatters, she has two choices – give up and give in or follow the trail to its ultimate, and deadly, conclusion.

This was a quick read for me since I refused to put it down until I was finished. There is a lot of political drama and references to world events that contained a lot of information but Bordener writes this in such a way to make it fascinating rather than overwhelming. There were details revolving around DC were spot on, something that writers who do not live in the beltway have a difficult time mastering. These details helped, not only to flesh out Emily’s character, but to bring the book to life in a very real, salient manner. This topic is very current – from the Panama Papers to the Cypriot international money laundering schemes – The Cyprus Papers very much mirrors today’s reality. If you enjoy espionage, political intrigue or well written, fast paced thriller, then you definitely will enjoy The Cyprus Papers.

 

Crime, Dectective, Fab Fiction Fridays

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 ChildrenΒ 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.