NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, April 21, 2018

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

"You can't believe people when they look you in the eyes. You gotta look behind them. See what they're standing in front of. What they're hiding."

Maggie Ippoliti Alderson is married to a widower, Dr. Noah, and she's ectastic when she gets a call from her long absent 17-year-old daughter, Anna Desroches. Maggie had lost custody of the infant Anna due to post-partum psychosis. She hasn't seen Anna in all that time. Anna wants them to meet and soon it is arranged that she will come live with Maggie, Noah and Noah's son, Caleb. Anna's wealthy father has died, and she wants to make up for lost time. Maggie and Noah help Anna move in and everything is finally as Maggie has dreamed -- until it all starts to go wrong. The next thing they know, Anna is dead and Noah is on trial for her murder.

The narrative starts at trial and goes backward in time with present day interspersed. Courtroom action, family disintegration, emotional pain and bewilderment as the happy family implodes. But it's not over, yet...NO SPOILERS

With an unusual twist that almost completely defies belief, the story concludes in a very unexpected way given all the events that transpired. The denouement took the book in a completely different direction to what was anticipated. Not sure I bought it, but I was definitely glued to the pages. Some of what transpired was hard for me to buy, but I did enjoy the action, the drama and the writing even it didn't ring plausible. I love a good legal thriller and all the legalese, but this ended up more being a bit off of that path. I'll continue to read books by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Last Thing I Saw by Alex Sinclair

What would a mother do to protect her family? "You understand more than anyone how people are when it comes to family. It brings out the best and worst in all of us."

Emma Turner is in a psychiatric hospital after an event that has shattered her. She and her husband, Darren, and 14-year-old son, Jayden, lived in a lovely home in Clearwater Hills, Illinois. Darren owned a construction company and, when an employee accident happens that threatens their financial livelihood, they try to make things right. Threats against their safety and wellbeing drive them to desperate acts -- but it's money that's wanted.

From her vantage point as an in-patient, during therapy, and through interactions with others, Emma is trying to force herself to remember exactly what happened on the night that preciptiated her breakdown. But will total recall restore her to the life and family she loved more than anything else?

Tense psychological drama told in "before" and "after" first person narrative. A savvy reader of this genre may be able to figure out what is going on before the big reveal, but NO SPOILERS here. The pace is smooth and, even as the narrative highlights some of the horrors of being in a psych hospital, it keeps the reader engaged and involved in getting to the truth of the matter at hand. I enjoyed it.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Girl with No Name (Josie Quinn #2) by Lisa Regan

Police Chief Josie Quinn has her hands full in this second book of the series. A badly beaten woman, a stolen newborn, a woman who claims she doesn't know her own name, and a missing fiance. Her missing fiance, Luke. How are all of these connected? The investigation keeps Josie and her team busy as they search in Denton for clues and evidence. Bodies keep turning up in town and Josie can't make the pieces fit until she gets some very important information from a most unusual source.

This was very fast-paced and, though Josie seems to require no food or sleep, the action moves the narrative forward in classic police procedural. Although I like the character of Josie, she -- like seemingly all other female detectives -- is quite messed up in her personal life. Josie takes risks and trusts in her own judgement no matter how dangerous the situations in which she becomes involved. She's nursing old wounds both physical and emotional and a little more of her backstory is revealed in this book. It would be best to read the first one in the series before reading this one as there are several references to the previous case. I hope Josie will get herself together so she can find some personal satisfaction as all she seems to do is work.

I enjoyed this and look forward to reading the next one in the series. Very easy to get through this in a day and just as well in order to keep all the characters and their relationships straight as the case is very complicated.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

"The truth does not always out, and for that we must all be thankful."

Dr. Alexandra Inglis has what she says was a one night stand while on a girls weekend to Ibiza. The other party, a boy she didn't realize was 17 years old, Jonathan Day. He says that Alex had come on to him and that they had been carrying on previous to the trip. He was her patient at the clinic where she worked. What follows is a classic tale of two people telling a story, but which one of them -- if either -- is telling the truth?

This drama is sort of like a train wreck. You don't want to look, but you can't help yourself. Throughout the narrative, I had to come to grips with the fact that I had no clue who was revealing an accurate depiction of the events. First I believe one, and then the other. NO SPOILERS. But the conclusion was unexpected.

The novel is compulsively readable and kept my interest. That said, I am still not sure what to think of the whole fiasco. Definitely would be a book where the themes beg discussion. Would it ever be OK for a 40 year old woman to have a sexual affair with a 17 year-old boy -- consensual or not? Read it and see what you think.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Deadly Secrets (DCI Erika Foster #6) by Robert Bryndza

Who is stalking the streets of London wearing a gas mask? With six sexual assaults on record and now a murder, DCI Erika Foster and her team must work to find and apprehend whoever is responsible.

The murdered girl was Marissa Lewis, a young and beautiful burlesque dancer, who was moving up in the world. She was viciously stabbed to death right outside her front door while her mother slept inside. No CCTV and no witnesses. The narrative moves forward with the investigation and a solid police procedural follows. Lots of possible suspects to detain, question, eliminate. They have a little trouble trying find a motive but it soon becomes obvious that Marissa had a bad reputation and was not well-liked at work or in her neighborhood.

This 6th book in the series is another hit and the whole team is back together until Erika needs to take some time off and puts Moss in charge. I always enjoy reading more about the characters and, in each book, some undergo changes that occasionally affect the dynamics and relationships within the team. It was nice to see Moss move into a stronger role though a bit disappointed when Erika had to save the day at the end. I do have to ask, however, why do these police characters always end up putting themselves in danger by rushing in alone and unarmed. I'm sure being headstrong and independent are decent qualities in a police officer, but can't a book climax occur without one of the main characters ending up alone with the suspect and getting harmed?

The story was fast-paced and this series is addictive. Erika is making some changes in her life and I can't wait to see where her story goes next. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Too Close to Breathe (DCS Frankie Sheehan #1) by Olivia Kiernan

''There is an unsettling truth to be learned when profiling a killer. That is: how incredibly alike all humans are; how worrying similar our desires, our drives, our fears."

DCS Frankie Sheehan, recently severely injured in the course of a case, has big problems at hand in Dublin. She's preparing for the court case regarding the murder of Tracy Ward (when Sheehan was stabbed) as well as investigating the deaths of Eleanor Costello and Amy Keegan. Their chief suspect is nowhere to be found. What follows is an excellent police procedural that deals with a very unsavory subset of people -- those who enjoy pain, seek it out, revel in it. What secrets lie behind the faces of those that others see and interact with everyday? And what is the meaning of the main clue -- Prussian Blue paint found on the victims. Frankie intends to find out through dogged police work with her team and they work every lead as they attempt to discover the identity of the killer before another murder takes place.  

Frankie Sheehan is an interesting character but one whom readers of this genre will be quite familiar with. Of course she doesn't follow orders from superiors, she's messed up and work is her life. Since this is the first in a new series, I see there is room for character development as several hints about her past are dangled in front of the reader. I'd definitely be interested to read more.  I enjoyed this debut and the unusual aspects of this particular case. Technology and the Dark Web prove to be an integral connection, especially a site called the Black Widow. The site allows those with some dark fantasies to interact with others also interested in various forms of BDSM.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lies by T.M. Logan

Oh, what a tangled web...

"The truth of the battle is whatever the victor deems it to be --Sun Tzu"

This was an action-packed domestic drama that centers on two couples, a "meeting, a fight, a lie." The scene -- Joe, on his way home with his son, sees his wife's car in a place where it should not be. A question -- who was she meeting there? One lie follows another as Joe is reeling from Mel's tearful confessions. Because of the circumstances, Joe is caught up as the person of interest in a murder investigation.  Dominoes start to fall and the truth is revealed in a surprising twist of events.

I first started out listening to this book on audio files. I confess, I simply can't stand audio books for the most part. The reading pace is way too slow and the voices always irritate me. (This narrator did OK for the male voices, but those of the females and William (the son) drove me out of my mind.) So I quickly asked for the e-book and was granted approval (THANK YOU) and could rip through it at a better pace.

As far as the story goes, it was the basic theme of average family man finds the strength to prevail against all odds. Common enough premise, and this one followed the same course. I had to suspend a lot of disbelief throughout as Joe ricocheted from one revelation to the next. I really didn't care for any of the characters and especially detested the obvious attempts to make me feel some sort of care and concern about Joe's family and his marriage. I must say, however, that I was not quite sure where this was going even as I was led along. Nice little twist, but NO SPOILERS here.

I did enjoy it and it certainly kept my attention as I finished this in a couple of hours. Despite some minor annoyances with the "family man" and "good guy" tags, I liked the writing well enough to want to read more by this author. If you like authors Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay, and the other male writers who tend toward this particular subgenre, you will like this book. If nothing else, the novel will make you think twice about your online presence, technology, and personal privacy.

Thank you to Edelweiss, NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this e-book (and audio) to read and review.