NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, October 31, 2016

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Preposterous. I despised every single character in this book and the ridiculous plot was completely unbelievable from both a police procedural standpoint and a mystery. The notion that someone could wake up naked in a neighbor's bed with said neighbor bloody and dead beside her compounded by amnesia and what must be completely inept police with no DNA or forensics capabilities...I'll stop here. Don't recommend.

This is the first by this author I've read. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Evil Games (#2) by Angela Marsons

Second in the series that I seem to have read backwards! Enjoyed this one as well as the other 3 I have read. DI Kim Stone is a complicated woman -- a bit of a psychological mess -- but she is determined to close her cases despite some unorthodox methods. She's the typical cop in genre fiction who doesn't follow the rules, obey superiors, or work very well with others. This means she is always in some sort of personal physical danger -- and of course, she always escapes to chase down the bad guys another day. Despite these flaws and stereotype, the plots are interesting and cover a wide range of crimes from murder, abuse, psychological manipulation, etc.

I am looking forward to #5 and intend to read them in order from now on -- definitely would have helped to have the backstory on DI Stone because I read #3 first. I hope that one day she will be somewhat normal and actually have some relationships in her life. Wouldn't it be nice if, for once, some of these tough female characters could have a good woman friend? I'm not meaning romance as I think Kim Stone is nowhere ready for that! She does need a bit of a "life" however. It gets boring reading about her lonely life with her motorcycles!

Bought this one too!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Silent Scream (#1 DI Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

Suspenseful debut of new series kept me glued to the book from start to finish. Two and a half hours later, whew -- what a character!  I'm a fan of female detectives, so this introduction to DI Kim Stone hooked me from the prologue through to the surprising conclusion.

Five people gather around a shallow grave outside of a children's social services care home burying their secret. Years later, the land is set to be dug by a team of archeologists. Suddenly, the members of that clandestine group start dying. There is a lot going on in this case and it centers mostly on how children in the care system continue to be misused and abused by those paid to care for them -- "out of the frying pan into the fire". The most horrifying thing about this novel is that probably many of the bad things that happened to the kids in care might still continue in these social systems and justice centers today.

Glancing back through my "books read", however, I noticed that I had read #4 and #3 (in that order) back at the beginning of the year. In those reviews, I remark that I can't stand Kim Stone -- perhaps that was because I didn't have any idea of her background to explain why she is so brash, cocky, obsessed, and haunted. She does that have annoying characteristic of always being right (to show up everyone she works for or with), but she has a loyal team despite all. I like the interaction between Kim and her usual partner, Bryant. Her snarky comments are sometimes funny.

Since I started at the wrong point, I'd suggest if you're interested in gritty police thrillers that you begin with the first and progress up. I just queued up #2 and catching up!

Actually bought this e-book I needed to catch up the series.

Bitter Moon (#4) by Alexandra Sokoloff

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." (John Stuart Mill)

Wow -- another great book in this amazing series! This takes the reader back to where it all began with Cara and why she does what she does. These must be read in order to fully appreciate the development of the character of Cara. Roarke is retracing the period of time Cara spent in Las Piedras 14 years before the current events and manhunt featured in books one through three. Cara had her choice -- to be afraid of the wolf or to become the wolf. She became the wolf.

Totally absorbing and fast paced as the narrative shifts between Cara in the past and Roarke in the present. Basically Roarke is channeling Cara as he investigates the deaths of two young girls in the town all those years ago. Although the repetition of the evil of "It" gets a little tiresome, I found it only a minor annoyance.  Even though I knew "who" because I read so many books in this genre, I found the process quite a thrill ride.

I love this series and I will be waiting eagerly for book #5. The author is writing fiction, yes, but she is quite passionate about the need to stop abuse and neglect of children in the social services programs. She's an advocate of those organizations that work with children and teens and her plea for all to open their eyes and help them.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

PsychoAnalysis by V.R.Stone

"The mind...contains memories too painful to remember, elicits emotions we don't want to feel, and makes us do things we don't understand."

Three characters on very different paths, but all have personal issues from the past that will collide in the present. One is a Freudian psychiatrist and author -- Dr. Karl Gross who specializes in serial killers and celebrity sex addicts. Another is DI Martin White whose work days are usually spent looking at cold cases -- until he is assigned a partner for this investigation. And lastly, Sarah Smith (AKA Sarah Silver) -- a rarity -- female serial killer who has traveled the world for her prey. Just who is the hunter?

Lots of action and great messed up characters that remind us all of how complex humans can be. The detectives want to find and stop the killer. The psychiatrist wants to get inside her head and save her (and maybe write a book about her). Sarah wants to ...quit? Maybe. Told in alternating points of view, this psychological crime thriller takes the reader on quite the ride and begs the question -- what shapes human behavior?

This was an excellent debut and I'm definitely going to be eagerly waiting for this author's next book. Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the e-book ARC to review.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Hamish Wolfe is a convicted murderer -- three young women met their fate at his hands -- or did they? He begs celebrated defense barrister and true-crime author, Maggie Rose, to take his appeal forward. Between Wolfe's mother and his fan club, Maggie is beseeched until she agrees to see him in Parkhurst Prison. He is indeed a very handsome man; she can see why he receives hundreds of letters a month from female admirers. Women drawn to the alpha man. Though initially refusing to take his case, and deterred as well by Detective Constable Peter Weston who arrested him, Maggie finds herself wondering-- not about his guilt as she doesn't care about that -- but whether or not she can get the conviction overturned.

Maggie Rose is a bit of an odd duck, reclusive yet flamboyant with her turquoise blue hair and slight stature. She finds it telling that all of the dead women were quite heavy and not especially attractive. Are those rumors about Hamish during his university days true? Hamish insists he was framed but Maggie cannot fathom who would do that to the good doctor. Regardless, she agrees to help and begins an investigation hoping to find evidence that will create doubt.

Setting: Somerset in the UK, present day. Sharon Bolton is an amazing writer with an eye for description and detail. You can feel the cold and the menace of the caves. Her characters are complex and interesting. Maggie is an enigma and there is a sense that she has a past that is only hinted at. A loner. The pace is fast as the narrative ratchets up the tension to a twisty conclusion that some might anticipate but that will be relished nevertheless. I loved it!

This is the second book I've read by this author and can't wait to see what's next. The setting is so vivid it is almost another character and allows for splendid visualization of the action as it happens. I'd recommend it!

Friday, October 14, 2016

See How They Run by Tom Bale

Ordinary couple caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

When Alice and Harry French are awakened in the middle of the night by intruders who threaten them and their baby daughter, Evie, they think at first that these men have gotten the wrong house. Neither Alice nor Harry know a man named Renshaw. Shaken, they don't call the police, but then events spiral out of their control and they are on the run pursued by the ruthless criminals. But -- they aren't together.

Great fast-paced action and suspense as Alice and Harry try to evade the criminals intent on recovering something that was stolen from them. Who can they trust? Forced into suspicious partnerships and separated from each other, Alice and Harry find themselves in life or death situations.

Enjoyed the characters and the drama -- average family in peril. A good thriller with some nice twists make it a compelling read that was hard to put down.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dark Water (Erika Foster #3) by Robert Bryndza

The bones of a child are drug from the quarry water and she is soon identified as Jessica Collins -- an 8-year-old who went missing on her way to a birthday party 26 years ago. As DCI Foster tries to find some clues about who may have abducted her and why, the discovery of the bones has ignited a series of events that result in the deaths of people connected to the investigation. The Collins family is a mess and Erika's team is desperate to get this case closed. A clever twist at the end! This hooked me from the start and kept me engrossed throughout. A London setting, vivid descriptions and great characters make this one I'll be recommending.

I love this series and have read all 3! The character of Erika Foster is so well-developed and she makes such a believable protagonist. Although you could read this as a standalone, I think that it is better if you do start from the beginning to see Erika's history leading up to this, book #3.  I can't wait for the next book.

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

Friday, October 7, 2016

Away from the Dark by Aleatha Romig

No one gets out of "The Light"...

This is a very suspenseful and worthy sequel to INTO THE LIGHT -- which had ended on a cliffhanger that left me desperately waiting for this followup. I can't help but wonder, however, if there is more to come though I understand that the author has indicated that the story arc featuring Jacoby and Stella is concluded?!  I definitely would read another featuring the characters from this duology.

Many of the questions asked in the first novel were answered in this one but I do not want to say more to avoid giving spoilers. Jacob (Jacoby) and Sara (Stella) are involved in very dangerous activities as they seek to expose the horrors of The Light and save those that are captive in the religious cult. This is definitely a duet that requires that you read it in order, so don't start this one unless you have read the first.

I liked the characters of Jacob and Sara and some of the minor ones as well. Though I typically dislike a lot of romance (lots of LOVE in this set), I wasn't as bothered by it as usual as their relationship was important to the plot. The evil in The Light's leadership was palpable and the subjugation of women was a bitter pill to swallow.  I had a hard time putting the book down as it raced to the conclusion even as I expected the outcome -- but not some of the twists. Definitely enjoyed both books.

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

Absorbing story of a family reacting to the sudden disappearance and presumed death of the wife and mother. The twist is that she suffered from sleepwalking (parasomnia) -- so the reader learns a lot about this topic throughout the course of the narrative. 

What happened? Beautiful Annalee Ahlberg vanished after apparently walking out of her home in the middle of the night. The story is basically a family drama with a mystery that is told from the point of view of the oldest daughter, 21-year-old Lianna, who is trying to take care of her younger sister Paige and her father, Warren.

I found the information about parasomnia quite fascinating as it is not something I knew much about beforehand. However, I didn't care much for any of the characters in the book, I didn't relate to Lianna, and was quite disappointed in the ending when the mystery is solved. I did not find it suspenseful or "spine tingling" and would not say it is a thriller. I would say this is not my favorite Bohjalian novel and I have read all the previous ones so just making that comparison. Others may certainly find it more "mesmerizing" than I did.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Doubleday Books for the e-book ARC to review.