NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Tell Me a Secret by Samantha Hayes

"The worst kind of secrets are always the ones we keep from ourselves."

What a compelling and unputdownable psychological thriller! Yes, read in a single sitting, and could not look away as all the secrets, lies, betrayals, and confusion bubbled to the surface in an explosive conclusion that I really didn't see coming. I love it when I'm surprised!

Lorna is married to Mark and has a stepson, Jack, and they have a daughter, Freya. She's a therapist and he's a dentist. They have a nice little life. Except for the fact that Lorna has been carrying on a torrid affair that she wants (needs) to end...She feels that she is in love with this man, Andrew, and when he won't let her go, she finds herself falling apart both personally and professionally. But, wait! There are a couple of things going on behind the scenes that are really going to wrench her ordered life about. Nothing is quite what it seems.

This book was full of pathology and characters that draw you in even as you're thinking there is something not quite right about them. I have to say that I really enjoyed this one! Domestic drama, psychopathy, dangling clues and hints to something darker than what it first appears.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this e-book ARC to review. Don't miss it!

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer (DI Robyn Carter #5)

I'm a little miffed because the synopsis on the book information page is so misleading and I've found this to be a disturbing trend. I often wonder if the person who writes the descriptions has any true knowledge what the book is about.

This is the 5th in series that features DI Robyn Carter and her team out of Stafford. The investigation involves the murders of 3 different people connected to the nearby town of Coltron. Jordan Kilby, age 23, is found strung up like a scarecrow in a local farmer's field. Owen Falcon is a football buddy of Jordan's and he's found dead in his garage, the victim of a gruesome murder. The final death is Dr. Lucy Harding, a GP just starting out at the local clinic. How are these 3 linked? Who is killing them in such particularly savage ways and why? The investigation sort of plods along as Robyn, Mitz, Anna and David try to figure out if there is a message in the murders. There are many additional characters to keep track of and plenty of red herrings but most readers will figure out the "who" quickly but the "why" takes a bit longer for the reveal.

I liked this well enough but it was sort of slow. There was a narrative written in italics that hinted at the genesis of the motives for the killings, or at least an attempt to explain the psychopathology involved in the making of the murderer. This was not particularly suspenseful and not a thriller per se, mostly a standard police procedural. Again, Robyn's personal life is tangentially addressed with no resolution there either -- and this has gone on for several of the books in series. It's getting old. I just wonder why female detectives can't have normal, healthy, and dare I say it -- somewhat happy -- lives and families?

Will I read a #6? Probably, because now I'm a little invested in these people so I hope that none of the characters go the way of other stories in this genre and get killed off willy nilly. Anyway, in this outing, and this is not a spoiler, Robyn and her team catch the killer and tie up the loose ends as expected.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for this e-book ARC to read and review.

Three Secrets by Clare Boyd

Francesca's husband goes out to get cigaretttes one night and ends up jumping from a bridge. What drove Robert to commit suicide? Turns out that this family is hiding some really nasty secrets, telling some self-serving lies, and covering up most of the truth. You see, Robert had a brother...and parents. And they all seemed to be good at only one thing -- deception. What a dysfunctional collection of people making up the Tennant clan. Francesca included.

Domestic drama populated by a cast of completely despicable characters! Not a one was honest or moral and though I read it all in one sitting, it was only to verify that I had correctly anticipated its conclusion. I had a hard time with this book and probably will be in the minority opinion so will just leave it at that. I did like the author's previous book, LITTLE LIAR, much better.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this e-book ARC to read and review.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Boardwalk Trust (Beach Lawyer #2) by Avery Duff

Absorbing legal drama, the second in a series featuring "beach lawyer", Robert Worth.

In this case, Worth helps out a troubled and homeless father and daughter who received information that indicates they are the beneficiaries of a family trust. Teo and Delfina Famosa have been living in a box truck and hope that receiving this money will lift them out of the life they've been living. Worth soon finds more than he ever imagined when he shows up to a court hearing only to hear that the trustee, the now deceased Carlos (Teo's brother) has completely spent all the assets leaving nothing. So why is the Dragnov crime syndicate interested? Worth and his girlfriend, Gia, and his friends Erik and Reyes, go to great lengths to figure out what happened to the trust and to help the Famosas.

Lots of action and legal detail with complex characters that have layers and depth. Worth is a good guy, trying to do his lawyerly best for his clients, but the case becomes very personal to him as well.
I enjoyed this and the first book in the developing series, and though this could be read as a standalone, it's best if the reader has the background from the debut. I'm definitely going to want to read #3. I'm a fan of legal thrillers.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dying Truth (DI Kim Stone #8) by Angela Marsons

"...the past never stays in the past."

The deaths of several children at a private, exclusive school will test the skills and emotions of Kim Stone's detectives. Much of the plot centers around secret clubs that exist at the co-ed Heathcrest Academy -- a school that caters to the rich and whose graduates usually go on to illustrious careers and exist at the top of society. Once a member, always a member. And no one can turn down an invitation to join. Consequences and rules govern the members' behavior and it seems some are meant to pay the biggest price for getting on their wrong side. The legacy is forever.

This 8th book in the DI Kim Stone series has all the pieces that make a page-turning crime thriller and police procedural. Great writing, lots of detail about the investigation, and the characters we've all grown to know and love through the other books -- yes, I've read them all, in order, to this point.
When reading a book is much like attending a family reunion, you know the author has developed characters that have personality and depth. So, to do what Ms Marsons did feels a little like betrayal. But no further spoilers here -- and as someone else mentioned in another review, Karin Slaughter made me feel this way at another time and book. I can't accept it!

Is the tear-jerker ending enough to make me quit reading this series? Probably not, though I don't like to be manipulated this way. I'm sure I will still want #9. After all of these books, however, I do wish that Kim would get some serious psych help to get over her issues and resolve some of the problems she has from her own past!

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this e-book ARC to read and review.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Woman in Blue (#8 Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

Mystery and police procedural set in Walsingham. The book description given is not really what this particular book is about.

Briefly, and without spoilers, a woman is found murdered in a ditch close to an old church graveyard where she was seen by Cathbad, one of the recurring characters in this series, while he was housesitting at the cottage attached to the church. She was wearing a white nightdress and blue robe, but she is not a vision of the Virgin Mary, but a patient at a nearby drug treatment facility. Nelson and his team are investigating when a second murder follows. Both victims were blonde. In addition, a group of female priests is visiting the area for a course and one of them is an old schoolmate of Ruth's. Hilary is receiving threatening notes because the writer doesn't think there should be female priests. Is the killer the sender of the notes? Nelson has his hands full to solve this case. Meanwhile, the story line continues from previous books as Ruth struggles as a single mother to Kate and Nelson deals with some marital problems.

I am not positive, but I think I've only read one other book in this series and I think it may have been the second book. So this 8th was quite a fast forward as far as relationships and events that developed. I didn't feel too lost, but I hesitate to say this is just as good if read as a standalone or if this is the one you pick up first. I wish I had read them all in order! The reason I went back to this one is because I also have The Dark Angel (#10) to read and review.

I like the writing and the interplay between the characters. The fact that Ruth is an archeologist who sometimes works with the police on cases is also very interesting though she didn't really figure much into this particular book. Loved all the details about the history of Walsingham, discussion about religion, pilgrimage and such. I look forward to another episode. I'd like to start from the beginning but I don't know if that will happen!

Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the E-book ARC given to me for review back in 2016. Sorry it took so long!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

For Richer, For Poorer by Kerry Wilkinson (#10 Jessica Daniel)

Another compelling read in this tenth book of the excellent police procedural series featuring Detective Jessica Daniel of the Longsight Police. In this outing, as usual, Jessica is juggling multiple cases but most of the focus is on solving one that involves home invasion robberies. In addition, there's a human trafficking situation. Jessica's colleagues are mostly the same as in previous books with a few changes, most notably the second appearance of DS Archie Davey and the absence of DCI Jack Cole -- so she has a new boss. I enjoy her interaction with the team.

I am a fan of this series and I've read them all, in order, and would urge anyone interested to do the same so that you see all of what Jessica has gone through from the start. Her character is well-developed and constantly adapting to the events that happened and the people she works with. I look forward to #11 and definitely like the writing style of Kerry Willkinson. The plots are usually quite complex and, though there is action, the pace is more measured as the investigations develop.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland

Magnolia Close. Wimborne. Dorset. The Rawlings live at number four -- Dominic, Kirstie and their 6-month-old baby, Daisy. It's a lovely and quiet neighborhood. But who knows what goes on behind those closed doors?

The drama begins when Kirstie wakes from a nap to hear a man's voice on her baby monitor -- "Quick, let's just take the baby now and go." When she rushes to Daisy's room upstairs, Kirstie finds her daughter safe in her cot, sleeping peacefully. There's no one in the house. No one there trying to steal away with her baby. After the police have come, interviewed the neighbors and found no babies in any other house, and gone -- that's when things start to fall apart for this little family. As Kirstie's concern for Daisy's safety escalates to paranoia, as Dom begins to wonder if she's not having some sort of breakdown, and as her friends become wary, Kirstie is no longer the same doting new mother and wife. What is going on in this neighborhood?

This was a quick read and a page turner as I definitely wanted to get to the conclusion and find out all the answers. I found myself thinking Kirstie was a total nutjob on one hand and feeling sorry for her on the next. I thought I knew where it all was going -- but I didn't! NO SPOILERS. The characters were quite an odd assortment with behaviors that threw up red herrings left and right and that kept the narrative interesting and me guessing. An entertaining standalone psychological thriller.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review.