NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

This the most deliciously entertaining, and horrifying, revenge thriller that I've read in ages! Almost impossible to put down, be sure to set aside a good chunk of time so that you can read it all in one setting -- if you dare!

If you are feeling terribly depressed and thinking that suicide might be the answer to your situation, DON'T CALL LAURA! Laura vounteers at a hotline call-in named End of the Line -- and her goal isn't to help you cope, to help you overcome the circumstances you're in, or even get you to think of other alternatives. Her most fervent desire is for you to kill yourself. And, Laura is good at her job.

To say that Laura is one of the most messed-up characters I've come across in this genre is saying something. She's more than a sociopath and she will always win. When she encourages Ryan's wife, Charlotte, to jump off a cliff with another caller, David, she feels the elation and triumph of her skill. She can't wait for the next candidate. Unfortunately for Laura, Charlotte's husband isn't willing to let go and move on. He finds Laura and has a few tricks up his sleeve as well. What the two of them, Laura and Ryan, set in motion is an amazing battle of wits and one-upsmanship that takes the reader on a twisty tale that had me spellbound from the beginning.

I loved the writing, the story, and couldn't have hated Laura more. But, she's a winner and such a psychopath that you hold your breath waiting to see where she will take it next. The escalation and the actions of the characters will have you tense and hoping that this game won't have a bad ending. NO SPOILERS, but the conclusion was quite fitting. What a narrative of twists and turns! You know Laura is messed up, but no idea of the extent of her madness.

I loved this and highly recommend it. I'll definitely be looking for other titles by this author (I also read THE ONE).

Remember -- "While seeking revenge, dig two graves -- one for yourself." (Douglas Horton).

Monday, December 11, 2017

Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

SO lucky to be able to read the second book in the series immediately after the first!

"The bright day is done, and we are for the dark."

Katie Flanagan, a medical doctor and scientific researcher, after the events from book one, is bound for Antartica for an 8 month stint as the second doctor on the Wilson outpost base. She'll be there to examine the effects of how humans adapt to the long months of darkness and isolation. There are only 9 other peeople on the base, all but one are males -- and she will be shut up with them for the duration of the dark. Despite her anxiety and trepidation, things are going as well as can be expected until her friend, and the only other female at the site, the doctor in charge, Sara, has gone missing. A hunt for her has gone without result and there are other issues that take Katie's former training and expertise to the forefront.

Meanwhile, attorney Daniel Marchmont, his wife Rachel, and their daughter, Chloe, continue the treatments for Chloe's genetic blood disorder -- Diamond Blackfan Amemia (the research that Katie was working on before her whistleblowing got her in trouble). Daniel is again working with Lyle on a new theory, with his new company, Thesus, whose had a breakthrough in cancer research. When the head of that project goes missing, Daniel and Lyle are at a loss to go further with the development of the theory and the acquisition of the patents. Could there be a connection to missing Sara? In another of those wild coincidences in this series -- there is -- but NO SPOILERS.

Despite the necessity to suspend disbelief over the fact that Katie's situation is related to the disappearance of Dr. Flora Mitchell, the story and plot are very entertaining and will keep the reader glued to the pages. The missing women aside, the main character is really Antarctica. The details about life on the base and the strain of living in that hostile environment are very compelling and interesting. Katie continues to be someone that we want to get to know better and I am quite eager to see where she will go next after her experiences in wintering over in Antarctica.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lion Fiction for the ARC to read and review. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone interested in medical thrillers. The suspense lies in the mystery of what happened to Sara in Antarctica with only the 10 people on the base. I totally enjoyed it! Can't wait for #3 in this series! I was so lucky to be able to read the second book in the series immediately after the first -- these should be read in order.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Deep Water by Christine Poulson

How far over the line would you go with millions at stake? Millions of lives, millions of dollars...

Very tightly plotted scientific/medical thriller with a focus on the ethics of the laboratory scientist. The fast paced narrative also relates the degree of pressure that researchers are under to get new treatments and therapies to those who need them -- the patients, and to those who want them -- for profit.

This suspenseful novel has a large cast of characters and quite a few parallel plots that the author cleverly navigates with ease. The main character is Katie Flanagan, a post doc, newly hired at Calliope Biotech to work on a biotech cure for a rare blood disorder. Her cell lines and western blot are a disaster and she's on a deadline. Attorney Daniel Marchmont is a patent lawyer, hired after an accident kills the former attorney handling the case involving a dispute of which lab was first to produce a substance that might cure obesity. It so happens that Daniel's daughter, Chloe, has that very rare blood disease (the first of several major coincidences that had potential to defy belief). There is a lot happening in this short book (252 pages), but the essence of the science is related to the reader through very effective narration and description by the author so is easily understandable.

The main focus of the story is that many things are going wrong in the lab and there are several who could be responsible for the bad luck and negative results. Without spoilers, just know that Katie is trying to figure out what is going on with the lab and the blood disorder research while also trying to figure out why her experiments are total failures.

Easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable, I'm glad I finally picked this up after reading a review by a Goodreads "friend" (Rachel). I had won this from LibraryThing a long time ago as an ARC and I'm sorry it took me so long to get to it. Medical thrillers are my favorites in the mystery and suspense genre so I'm always happy to find a new author. In fact, I'm reading the second book in this series next!

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Silent Children (DI Robyn Carter #4) by Carol Wyer

Greed. Betrayal. Secrets. Lies. All components of a compelling plot.

Cannock Chase in Stafford:  A 33 year old male, Henry Gregson, has been found shot dead inside a car. With little evidence to go on, DI Robyn Carter and her team -- Mitz, Anna, and David -- begin the tedious and painstaking investigation that they hope will lead to the killer. Days pass without much progress when a second victim, Tessa Hall, is found dead on her kitchen floor. Are the two murders connected? Then, Anthony Hawkins drops dead on a deserted golf course in the early hours of a Saturday morning. Did these three people know each other? Every single person that the police interview seems to be hiding something, and Robyn cannot figure out if these deaths are the result of actions by a single perpetrator since Hawkins had a heart attack. Yes, indeed, there is a relationship, but DI Carter can't seem to work it out.

Mostly a police procedural with the solving of the case the main focus, there is a lot going on in this complicated narrative. Included are chapters from the POV of a child describing his life with his sister and the abuse they suffered. You know it has something to do with the "why" of what has happened, but it's very unclear. Until it isn't. I figured out where this was going fairly quickly but it took quite a while for me to understand the motive behind it all because of the many characters and their relationships.

As far as Robyn -- this is the first in the series I've read, and it's #4, so I've missed a lot of the backstory and it did affect my whole perception of her and I wish I'd started with #1. I felt like I came into the middle of something that everyone else knew and I didn't! She's definitely a character I would like to know better, and I sure hope she gets some resolution to her personal situation that seems to be occuppying a lot of her time, emotion and energy beyond the job. The other members of the team show potention for a lot of development as well. I'll probably try to find the first 3 books in the series at some point. I'd definitely read another in this series because this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger and I just hate an unanswered question!

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney


I usually like to start my reviews with a quote, but there were so many good ones in this extremely well-written debut that I couldn't pick one that hadn't already been represented in others. The best thing about this book was the quality of the writing as Alice Feeney has an incredible command of a turn of phrase.

That said, I just sit here, my head still reeling from the story within the covers of this psychological thriller. I read this one tonight in a couple of hours, couldn't put it down, had to find where it was going, tried in vain to figure out who was writing the diary, who was in the coma -- you get the picture. The phrase, "Sometimes I lie" totally kept me trying to anticipate and, regretfully, experiencing one (or two or three) of those WTF moments!

Here's the gist -- a woman lies in a hospital bed in a coma. Her husband and sister visit her in present tense. There are diary entries back from childhood, but you have no clue who wrote them. And then there is a first person narration of events that occured the week before the accident that led to the coma with a lot of backstory thrown in. Confusing? You bet! Mindblowing? ABSOLUTELY.
If you want a book that causes you to reread significant portions of the sections even after you've finished, then this is the one for you. After doing some extensive review after finishing, I think I've finally GOT IT. But, please, if you are thinking about picking this one up -- don't read any of the reviews or the questions with their spoiler alerts.

I'm afraid I'll be thinking of this one for some time as those books that make you delve deeper always stick a bit longer in the mind. Thank you to the publisher for the book to read and review and to NetGalley for the digital ARC. If there is a sequel, I'll certainly want to read it.!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Last Cry (Detective Dan Riley #1) by Ann-Lou Weatherley

"Fear is the most debilitating of all the emotions. It paralyses you, governs your every waking moment and thought. It conditions you. And I lived in fear."

When a wealthy older man is found with his wrists slit, bled out in a bathtub at an expensive hotel, DI Daniel Riley is called to the scene. It becomes immediately apparent that this was only made to look like a suicide. Something more sinister is going on here. As he and his team investigate and find ties to "Goldilocks" and "Daddy Bear", they are quite certain that another murder will soon take place as the killer completes the story. But what is the reason for The Three Bears theme and the deaths? "Sometimes there is no why." NO SPOILERS. You must get this immediately and read it to find out!

This was a very fast paced and extremely well written thriller with some interesting characters -- in fact, I can't wait for #2 so that I can get to know DI Riley better. I really empathized with him, (but can we give the whole Rachel thing a rest now - it was a little much) and he seems to be a good, decent man who likely will get his head back in the game shortly. The other members of his team aren't that known to us yet, but very curious about them as well. I see a lot of potential for developing this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review. I definitely recommend it as one of the best detective novels I've read lately. It was very hard to put down! SO, Anna-Lou Weatherley, a new author to me, where is your second book -- please don't make me beg or wait too long!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

No Cure for the Dead by Chrstine Trent

This is the first in a series, ostensibly about Florence Nightingale.

It is 1853. Lady of the Lamp Florence Nightingale has just accepted the position of Superintendent of the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness in London.

As soon as she is installed, Florence discovers a dead nurse hanging in the library. Instead of a novel focused on the real accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, the reader is relegated to a tale of how she solves the case. Her entire day consists mostly of trying to ferret out the killer rather than to discuss the many amazing accomplishments of this nurse. I found it mostly tedious to read about the daily occurences in the house and grew incredibly disdainful each time the word "miasma" was mentioned (so irritating that the author would focus on this completely INACCURATE THEORY OF Florence Nightingale so long disproven). In short, the book was not about anything really medical or nursing related, it was about FN becoming some sort of Nancy Drew and so thus, sold FN incredibly short. Florence Nightingale was an amazing woman for her time but the way she was portrayed in this novel totally sold her short. Whether or not she was romantically challenged (her relationship with Richard Monckton Miles) and her feelings about her family aside, I expected this to be more about how she changed the face of the art and practice of nursing -- not about how she was pretending to be some sort of sleuth.

I know this sounds harsh, but honestly -- I've been a nurse for over 40 years and Florence Nightingale's history and accomplishments are well known to me. Putting her in this scene and making her, quite frankly, a completly unlikeable character, were anathema. Sure there were a few paragraphs about changes she wanted to make with the nurses she was forced to train (a cut above prostitutes), and yes, historically her ideas did propel the profession forward -- it is just that this story does her character no justice. We don't see her caring much for patients, sure a rare turn, but yeah, she's an administrator LOL. Anyway, I am well familiar with the history of Florence Nightingale and her life. Turning her into a quasi detective took away from her modest life long work.

Some of this may be historically sound as far as research goes, but I felt throughout that the Florence portrayed here was nothing like the real woman I've reseearched myself. Making her focus on the murder and solving the crime as the main point of the novel took away from her stature -- not to mention dwelling on the "miasma" theory so much -- give it a rest, we know it's not true. Many of her studies, however, did advance and elevate the practice of nursing -- but nothing she ever did gives evidence that she'd spend so much time away from actual patients to work on solving a murder case. That's the problem with fiction based on real life characters.

Regardless, I did read this and I don't know if I would attempt a second in the series considering this is labeled as #1. I want to read historical fiction that uses real life people in their own element. Please let Florence Nightingale pursue MEDICAL or NURSING issues and not murder mystery. Thank you, however, to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh

Beware the lies...this psychological thriller has many twists and turns as it reaches an incredibly surprising conclusion.

Anna Johnson, with her weeks old baby Ella, is very sad -- she can't get over the fact that both her parents committed suicide and left her alone. Her partner, Mark, is supportive, but he never met her mom and dad so he doesn't really understand her emotional turmoil. When Anna receives a card that indicates that perhaps it was not suicide, she contacts the police. A nearly retired civilian desk officer, Murray, investigates on his own time. And then, the strangest thing happens... NO SPOILERS.

The narrative is told in mulitple points of view and often the reader is not sure who is speaking because one is unidentified by name. Anna's voice is the main speaker driving the plot forward. It's Anna who contacts the police and who is totally confused by the transpiring events.

This was not a particularly fast-paced novel with way too much internal angsting going on within the characters. It's not action based at all. I can't honestly say that I liked the main character, Anna. I could not identify with any action or decision she made. None of the women in the book seemed very "all there" mentally, and I didn't relate to any of their reactions or behavior. Murray was a dogged and determined investigator with an interesting sidebar concerning his mentally ill wife. But there was way too much description that was dragging down the forward motion of the story.

I found myself sort of rushing through to the end, confounded by the "ah ha" moment and the ensuing drama. It's all tied rather neatly up at the end, except...

If you're in the mood for a psychological family drama, then this is the novel for you! Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishers for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Missing Child by Alison James

"You may give them your love, but not your may house their bodies, but not their souls."

I have to say that this is one of the BEST police procedural thrillers that I have read lately. From the start to the finish, it gripped and held me tight as I tensely waiting for the very satisfying conclusion. I can't wait to see more of Rachel Prince!

A child has been kidnapped out of her home in the middle of the night and missing for several months when Detective Rachel Prince, of Bermondsey in South East London with the Major Crime Investigative Support unit, gets called to liaise on the case with the National Crime Agency to interface with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command. She and her partner, DS Mark Brickall, are late to the investigation but are all holds barred as they query all the parties. Lola Jade Harper, 6 years old, vanished and there are no traces of what happened to her. The child's mother, Michelle, and her father, Gavin, are divorcing and in the midst of a fierce custody battle at the time of Lola Jade's apparent kidnapping. Where is Lola Jade and can Prince find her in time?

Great investigative process and a really complicated story line highlight this suspenseful novel. I don't want to give any spoilers, but it is definitely a book you should set aside time for as it will be very hard to put down. I really liked the character of Rachel Prince, except -- please -- let the woman eat and can't she be a little less appealing to EVERY single man who meets her? She's quite cynical and independent, but the potential romance angle really doesn't do her any favors here. The reader can sense her frustration as the investigation leads to one roadblock after another, but she doesn't give up and relentlessly pursues her suspect despite the stonewalling and lack of evidence. Although I figured out, eventually, where this was going -- it was a great ride!

I'd highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good police procedural with a compelling narrative and a unique spin. I can't wait for #2!

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Stolen Children by Kerry Wilkinson

"Just trust yourself and know where the lines are. It's not all black and white, there are shades of grey everywhere."

Jessica Daniel is back, and in this outing she has been promoted to DI after her last case and after she took a little hiatus from policing. Her gang is with her, and the reparte is resumed. In this particular police procedural, Jessica and her team are tasked with figuring out who is targeting people with random attacks after a councilman is doused with acid at a political rally. There are quite a few threads in this story and it's hard to figure out where it is going with all the activity going on. Jessica seems back to her normal self and life with Adam is good. She's working hard, as usual, but appears to have her demons in check.

I wouldn't say this is necesssarily tense or suspenseful, but it is a good example of investigative technique and the inherant difficulties in putting together a suspect after random crimes. The incidental inclusion of the "slasher" from a few years ago is only barely mentioned and not essential to the plot line. I think the point of this eighth in the series is to mainly get Jessica back on track after her breakdown. The original title, CROSSING THE LINE, is more reflective of the actual events that occur in the narrative. The kidnapped children barely get a mention -- the book synopsis on this page really isn't very accurate in describing what this book is actually about.

I love the characters in this ongoing story and will always be eager for the next. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC to read and review. The new title for this is THE STOLEN CHILDREN but the book has little to do with that subject, honestly, and it should not be retitled.

#8 in Jessica Daniel series

Behind Closed Doors by Kerry Wilkinson

I was not quite ready for this story line after the sort of cliffhanger ending at the conclusion of #6. 

Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is usually heading up her usual team and they are investigating cases in and around Manchester. Something has happened to Jessica, however, and she's broken and depressed. She hasn't been working and has alienated most of her co-workers as well as Adam, who's meant to be her husband. In an attempt to provide Jessica with some sort of lifeline, DCI Jack Cole offers a job involving a nearby police force who are investigating a sort of reclusive cult. Jessica will go solo into this weird community in an effort to discover what is going on behind the closed doors of the huge old house out in the woods.

Jessica doesn't have to fake being messed up and she's brought quickly into the fold that is dominated by a very creepy trio. Quasi religious, but mostly insulated, the cult has a lot of rules that must be followed. Even though they say that anyone can leave at anytime, there are only two ways out of the huge house -- and those doors are almost always kept locked. As in locked in. Armed with only a cell phone that she must keep hidden, Jessica tries to figure out what may have happened to a young man, found dead, who was known to have lived there right before his death. Jessica has quite an adjustment to the house routines and difficulty in getting the information she wants without being outed. The housemates are not encouraged to ask questions and most are there because life on the outside was unbearable for them. Can she figure out what is going on before they discover who she is?

This isn't as suspenseful or twisty as are the usual stories in this series, but it was well paced and had a different vibe to it. Since Jessica is on her own, the reader misses the other characters that usually are a foil for Jessica's forceful personality. I do hope she recovers now, and returns to her usual form in subsequent books. I know she had a hard time but I hope things will look up for her now and that something happy and good is in store for her! 

Good for me that I have #8 ready to read next, and it will be the third Jessica Daniel in a row I've read, so off I go for more...fingers crossed!

Dying Breath by Helen Phifer

Police procedural and thriller.

Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin runs a tight team out of Brooklyn Bay and, in this second book in the series, she's dealing with a very complicated string of murders that may or may not be connected. As the investigation proceeds, Lucy also deals with her personal issues at home and some changes at the station. Meanwhile, a killer is out looking for his next victim.

This fast-paced story is told from the point of view of the criminal as well as from Lucy. Though there are indications of his identity throughout, along with his backstory, it isn't until the climax that he is revealed. Most readers of this genre will anticipate the confrontation between the two and the ultimate conclusion.

I liked the characters, however stereotypical to police and crime novels featuring female protagonists. Lucy is as spunky and as appealing as any in her role, and her male subordinates and bosses both respect her and have her back. She suffers romantic attention as well -- but I hope none of those develop into full blown relationships!

The most interesting piece of this book was the backstory of the man behind the murders. His childhood and association to the infamous Carnival Queen Killer -- but I'll say no more to avoid any spoilers. I did enjoy this and wish I had read the first book in the series prior to this one as there are references to previous cases. I like to see how a character changes and grows as new stories are published.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC to read and review. Can't wait for a third one featuring Lucy Harwin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mr. Tender's Girl by Wilson Carter

"There are things that stick to you...they're like your skin. No matter how fast or far you run, they accompany you. They are forever a part of you."

For Alice (Hill) Gray -- the part that has stuck is having survived a brutal stabbing when she was 14 years old. Two teen girls, identical twins, convicted of the attack were sentenced to prison after a trial where they claimed to have been motivated by a popular series of graphic novels titled MISTER TENDER. The main character was a bartender who could get his customers to do horrible things. Those novels were written by Alice's father and the whole ordeal destroyed the family and ended the series.

Now Alice has moved to Manchester, New Hampshire as far from London and the scene of the crime as she could run. She has changed her name but lives in fear because someone has been stalking her -- someone who is very familiar with her life and who won't let her escape the memories. She owns a coffee shop, works out, and is living alone and trying to remain anonymous when she realizes that Mister Tender has come to America to find her.

The novel is fast-paced and entertaining. I figured out where it was going pretty quickly, but that didn't detract from my ability to enjoy the story. It's got a little of everything including some gore, a touch of tension, and a nice, tidy plot. I would definitely read another thriller by this author.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Sourcebooks for the e-book ARC to read and review. 

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Oh what may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side."

This second book in the Jane Hawk series was amazing as was the first. I think I may die, or inject myself with nanobots, if I don't get to read #3 soon. The blend of thriller and science fiction is so highly addicting that I could barely put the book down and though I didn't want to finish knowing that I was going to have to wait for the final in the trilogy, I couldn't help myself.

You must read these in order, and this followup to THE SILENT CORNER is every bit as absorbing as the first. Nonstop action, interesting characters, and a plot that freezes your soul. In this outing, Jane continues her quest to find and destroy the man she thinks is funding the technology that is reducing ordinary humans into automatons. Her quest takes her across the country and tests every fiber of her being. Her allies are few, her enemies are legion, but somehow she survives and is committed to ending this annhilation of mankind's humanity. I loved the pace and the narrative though I have the same complaint about Koontz's verbosity, I didn't seem to mind it so much this time. This is a story that resonates with the times and all of the unrest and rebellion in the world. Is the science and the theme believable -- you bet. We don't even know what forces come into play to tap into the minds of innocents and turn them into sycophants.

The first book by this author that I ever read was WHISPER. It was Dean Koontz who turned me into the thriller reader I am today and for years I have waited for him to return to form and write another series that engaged me as much as those early works. I think I've read most of his books, but this one has stood out for me and returned me to the fold of fandom. I cannot wait for more of Jane Hawk and her exploits. I highly recommend this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Group - Ballentine for the e-book ARC to read and review. Please make him write faster.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thicker than Water by Kerry Wilkinson

A married couple hires a teenage boy to babysit while they go out for date night. When they return, the sitter is missing -- but their little daughter is still asleep in her crib. The parents of the boy don't know where he could be. Then, his body is found across town in an apartment. There is a connection between the families, but it takes Jessica and her team awhile to figure it all out. Add a thread tying in the owner of a strip club and you have a parcel of an interesting investigation.

Set in Manchester, this 6th in the Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is every bit as compelling as the previous books. I do love the series and all of the characters. The writing is fabulous and the plot moves forward at a pace designed to keep the reader's attention until the satisfying conclusion (except for that bit of an unfair cliffhanger, Mr. Wilkinson!). I like the relationships between Jessica and her team as well as the setting and the police procedural details. I'll keep reading this series as long as he writes it -- so on immediately to #7.

By the way, this book has another title now -- THE MISSING DEAD.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gone Missing by T.J. Brearton

"Despite Recent Crimes Assholes Have Committed, Women Are Still 99.9% Safe Going for a Run."

Not Katie Calumet. She's kidnapped while on a morning run and taken high up in the vast Adirondacks. State Police Investigator Justin Cross catches the case. Katie's husband, David, and her wealthy parents soon receive a ransom demand. With no response to the proof of life request, no idea who has taken her or where she may be held, the FBI is soon involved in the situation. Everyone is searching, but the area can be treacherous and the off trail forest is dense. The truth is, Katie could be anywhere up there -- or already dead.

This is a suspenseful and tense read that alternates between the point of view of Katie and Cross. She's very determined and resourceful -- and she has a secret that propels her to fight for survival. Cross is focused but is dealing with personal issues he can't take the time to examine or repair. The Adirondack mountains and parks are also so detailed and described, almost making that terrain another character in the book. The supporting police and secondary characters don't figure too much into the narrative, but the interactions between all do propel the plot forward.

Fast-paced and descriptive, this thriller kept me involved and turning the pages as the story evolved and came to a satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed it and will read more by this author.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Fast-paced suspense thriller set in present day Denville, Pennsylvania, USA.

Alice Vega is a bounty hunter who specializes in finding kidnapped and missing children. When two young sisters go missing from a strip mall parking lot, she's called in by the girls' aunt to find them. The local police department is understaffed and aren't interested in Alice's "help", so she tracks down a disgraced former detective turned private investigator (Max Caplan) to help her with the search.

Bailey is 8 and Kylie is 10, according to their mother Jamie Brandt, who was just inside a store for a few minutes before returning to the empty car where she'd left the girls. Witnesses report seeing the girls get into a car, but other details are sketchy or missing. It's up to Vega and Cap to figure out what happened. The narrative moves along quickly alternating between the points of view of Vega and Cap. The Feds are called in and the police also get involved as different veins of the investigation proceed and more is discovered -- could be that this nabbing is related to the cases of two other missing girls.

The characters are what makes this book so interesting. Lots of flaws and personality quirks, some great dialogue and a hint of backstory. Makes the reader want to get to know the parties better. Cap's daughter, Nell, was very three dimensional teen and seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Alice is self-contained and sensitive though she's as tough as nails while getting the job done. Cap is solid as both man, father and cop. Although there is a hint that Vega and Cap could deepen their relationship beyond their professional partnership, romance is not in bloom ...yet(I so appreciate that). I'm wondering if this is the first in a new series. I'll definitely look for a sequel!

I enjoyed this and look forward to reading other books by this author. Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Penguin Random House for this e-book ARC to read and review. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Darkness at the Edge of Town by Jennifer Harlow

"Most people aren't aware when a life-changing moment happens to them until time passes. The moments that form a person, defube him or her, when everything changes."

Ex FBI profiler, Iris Ballard, always knows her "moments" almost as soon as they happen. She is on the talk show circuit after her most recent case made her a household name when she gets a call from her mother -- Iris's twin brother, Billy, has left his girlfriend, taken all their money, and ran off to join a cult. There's not much that Iris hates more than going back home, but off she goes to see if she can at least talk to Billy and figure out what's going on.

Grey Mills holds few good memories for Iris, but she did have a mentor at the Sheriff's Department from way back when before she left the town and never looked back. She wants to spend as little time at home with her psycho mom as possible, so she gets started right away. What she finds at the New Morning Movement chills her to the bone. But Billy seems happy and Iris is stunned to learn that he's married a fellow member and is going to be a father. When the cult leader, Mathias Morning, finds out that Iris is onto him, she must rely on her former partner, Agent Luke Hudson. Well, he's much more than her work colleague.

No more spoilers but there is plenty of action and romance in this second book of the series. I'd call it more of a drama than a suspense thriller, but it was fast-paced and entertaining. Iris is an interesting character, there's good backstory within in case you haven't read the first book, but I'd urge you to read these in order so you can see the changes that Iris goes through after all that happens to her. She's quite the complicated woman and she is well aware that she's not an easy woman to love.

Thank you to NetGalley and Alibi for the e-book ARC to read and review. I'll definitely want to catch book #3 when it comes out.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman (#2)

Legal drama about domestic violence featuring one of the main characters from the previous book in this "Hidden Justice" series.

Emilie Wesley, an attorney and reporter, is the roommate of Hayden McCarthy and cousin of Hayden's boyfriend, Andrew. This book is Emilie's story. She's working at the Haven, a non-profit that serves women who want to escape difficult or abusive domestic situations. When one of her clients, Kaylene Adams, doesn't show up for a protective order hearing, Emilie is suprised. Kaylene seemed so determine to get out with her two daughters. As she is leaving court, a news alert reports mutliple shootings -- apparently Kaylene has shot one daughter dead, injured the other and killed herself. But that can't be right, can it?

The bulk of the rest of the story is about Kaylene's brother, Reid Billings, asking Emilie to help him get custody of the surviving daughter away from Kaylene's husband, Robert. The whole case moves very slowly -- probably because the main narrative is taken up with Emilie having a bit of a breakdown and a career crisis all while fearing she has a stalker. And if that's not enough to take away from the whole legal issues that are mentioned here and there, the rest of of the plot focuses on the romance between Emilie and Reid. So, to sum it up, the book is mostly angst with heavy dose of romance and a touch of legal proceedings. In addition, there is an extreme Christian theme -- which in an of itself is OK -- but every single character is always talking about it?? Hard to imagine that world and everyone on the same religious theme page all the time. Got to be too much, really. A little goes a long way. It seemed that this book was less about legal and more about romance and religion so it really wasn't much of a thriller nor was it suspenseful.

And the mystery of what happened in the Adams's house? Predictable and drug on forever with a rushed ending. I selected these two books in the series because I wanted to read legal thrillers, but I don't think I will read more for the reasons above. I was disappointed by this sequel.

I did, however, want to mention that I live in KC and have also spent hours in the Nelson-Atkins Museum staring at the original Monet painting the author describes. The wall-sized water lilies painting is amazing.

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

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman (#1)

Absorbing and fast-paced legal thriller!

"My job is to help his mother discover what happened, peel back the layers of the government's bureaucracy and ensure this doesn't happen to another child."

This is the passionate advocacy of attorney Hayden MCarthy after being assigned a case to investigate the death of a young boy in a Texas juvenile detention center -- Miguel was killed there while trying to get into the USA illegally. His mother wants answers. His younger brother, Jorge, is scared and confused. Shadowy figures on the fringes are looking for something they believe that Miguel secreted out of Mexico -- drug cartel business. Hayden is trying her best to file a petition in the proper court but she isn't getting much support from her firm, Elliot & Johnson, nor is she getting the information she needs about what happened from Gerard Campbell, a partner, nor the mother. And she's trying to sue the US Government! 

The action and transpiring events are nonstop as Hayden confronts the obstacles. Meanwhile, her roommate, Emilie, a former law school friend, has introduced Hayden to her cousin, Andrew Wesley. Oh yes, there's a romance here (I admit not my favorite part of a good story) and lots of intrigue as Hayden investigates her case. I really enjoyed the legalese and the development of the case theme told only so well because the author is an attorney. The characters are very interesting and I can't wait to learn more about them. Just so you know, this is also heavy on Christian themes -- which I didn't realize when I requested it, but it was easy to separate that out from the main narrative if it should bother you. 

It is a complicated tale with some interesting twists and many side stories developing the characters and further issues central to the themes of immigration and integration. This is the first in a series and I'm lucky because I have the second already queued up and ready to go. Very intrigued and interested to see where it all leads.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Inc. for the e-book ARC to read and review. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

"Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Didn't."

What a great twisty suspense thriller by an author who's new to me. This is the second book I've read by Christopher Greyson and I want more!

Faith is 22 when she is finally released from the psychiatric center. She's been in and out over the years because of her inability to deal with her horrible past. She was the lone survivor -- 'The Girl Who Lived' -- when her father, older sister and friends were murdered in a cabin at the lake on the eve of her 13th birthday. The problem is, she has to return to Marshfield and her therapist mother to begin again. All she wants is to die, or forget -- but she can't because those who did it have never been caught. And she has seen one of them -- "Rat Face." The police don't believe her. They think she is still crazy as ever and an alcoholic with a suicidal bent. She trusts no one. In between working her assigned programs and running from herself and the memories, Faith is convinced that she is being hunted. Everyone she meets is suspect, because, after all, the killers must be close at hand. 

Though I confess I knew where this was going despite the excellent red herrings, I still enjoyed the narrative. Faith is one determined young woman and she manages to stay alive despite all that is stacked against her. The characters were interesting and the book moved along at a very rapid pace so it was easy to read quickly. A really satisfying psycholgical thriller.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the ebook ARC to read and review.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

And Then She Was Gone by Chistopher Greyson

Wow -- what great writing and obviously the start of a new, exciting series featuring our protagonist, Jack Stratton.

In this introduction, he's only 18, still in high school, and wanting to enter the US Army in order to pay for his future at the police academy.   Jack is a tightly strung young man with horrors in his past. He wants to do good -- to be a hero. When a young woman, Stacy Shaw, goes missing and is later found murdered, Jack gets involved because a kid from the neighborhood has been accused of the crime. Jack is adopted but spent part of his life with foster parents and this tie is very strong. He's still in contact with Aunt Haddie, and his best friend (and foster brother), Chandler. Jack is intent on investigating this crime and Chandler goes along with him. The pair have a great dynamic, and they have foster siblings who also become involved in Jack's pursuit of truth. He won't back down even though the police have warned him off. He talks to witnesses and presents a theory of the murder to the police.  

What I liked about this novel was the interaction between the characters, the dialog, the suggestion of a horrible past to overcome, and the sheer grit that Jack emanates as part of his personality. He's a great character and I only wish I could read the rest of this series, in order, to see how he evolves.   Yes, the case is solved and Jack's snooping in an ongoing investigation is vindicated -- but the ride is so well worth the read. I really enjoyed it! Hard to put the book down as I was eager to see how it all played out.

Thank you to NetGalley for the e-book ARC to read and review. I definitely will seek out more books by this author! I want to continue the series as well.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

"I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our rembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives,"

Assumptions. We all make them about ourselves, about others. We think we know the story of other peoples' lives -- their marriages, their children. We don't know a thing. Inside every home lies a story that sometimes cannot be told. A hidden truth, a secret, an embarassment, a shame. The reality is simple -- we know nothing and often we cannot believe what we are told as it goes against what we believe about others who actually live behind closed doors.

This book is great domestic drama. A scorned wife, Vanessa, telling a tale of her marriage to Richard and her feelings as she is about be replaced with a new wife, Emma. Her story is familiair -- a rich man tiring of his life looking for new love, his resultant affair and a hasty divorce. Vanessa seems a bit unstable, but is she telling the truth about her relationship with Richard? And will Emma listen?

Told in alternating points of view, this is a compelling story of marriage and betrayal. Lies and secrets can destroy any relationship but "there was Richard's truth. There was my truth. And there was the actual truth, which is always the most elusive to recognize." Great characters and a fast paced writing style made this a read in one sitting book for me. I really enjoyed it.

"I'm not afrraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."

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

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz (#2)

"Oh what may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side."

This second book in the Jane Hawk series was amazing as was the first. I think I may die, or inject myself with nanobots, if I don't get to read #3 soon. The blend of thriller and science fiction is so highly addicting that I could barely put the book down and though I didn't want to finish knowing that I was going to have to wait for the final in the trilogy, I couldn't help myself.

You must read these in order, and his followup to THE SILENT CORNER is every bit as absorbing as the first. Nonstop action, interesting characters, and a plot that freezes your soul. In this outing, Jane continues her quest to find and destroy the man she thinks is funding the technology that is reducing ordinary humans into automatons. Her quest takes her across the country and tests every fiber of her being. Her allies are few, her enemies are legion, but somehow she survives and is committed to ending this annhilation of mankind's humanity. I loved the pace and the narrative though I have the same complaint about Koontz's verbosity, I didn't seem to mind it so much this time. This is a story that resonates with the times and all of the unrest and rebellion in the world. Is the science and the theme believable -- you bet. We don't even know what forces come into play to tap into the minds of innocents and turn them into sycophants.

The first book by this author that I ever read was WHISPER. It was Dean Koontz who turned me into the thriller reader I am today and for years I have waited for him to return to form and write another series that engaged me as much as those early works. I think I've read most of his books, but this one has stood out for me and returned me to the fold of fandom. I cannot wait for more of Jane Hawk and her exploits. I highly recommend this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Group - Ballentine for the e-book ARC to read and review. Please make him write faster. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray

Sylvie Armstrong (and her baby) returns to Conley - a medium-sized town in Yorkshire, close to Leeds -- after having left shortly after her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered when they were 15 years old. Sylvie's mother has recently died and Sylvie needs to get the house for sale. Her return brings back a lot of feelings about her best friend. No one has ever been charged in Victoria's murder.
Twenty years is a long time...hence the interest of Karen Price on "Someone Must Know" for It's hoped that the podcast episodes will jar memories and new details will come to light -- and find out what really happened the night that Victoria Bland ended up in the lake.

This is an interesting mystery told in first person POV thru Sylvie both in 1995, when the murder happened, and present day. The podcasts are also scripted to give yet another layer to the narrative. As Sylvie cares for her daughter and starts the clean up at her mother's house, she also comes back into contact with other people she knew when growing up in Conley. The ancillary characters are a mixed bag and include an old high school friend who Victoria and Sylvie weren't very nice to, and some nosy neighbors. Victoria's parents even come around. It seems that most everyone is listening to the podcasts. Will the truth come out?

The thing is, something seems a little "off" about Sylvie. She's easily spooked and there are only vague hints about why she has left her husband and brought her baby to Conley. I'm a longtime reader of this genre, naturally very curious/suspicious --  and can usually catch on fairly quickly to where a story is going, but NO SPOILERS. There are some tense scenes and some big questions with a nice wrap-up at the end. I enjoyed it.

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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

"I have seen evil, and it wears a smiling face."

This third installment of the Veronica Speedwell and Stoker (Revelstoke Templeton-Vane) series is set in London, 1888, and has the pair investigating the untimely disappearance of Stoker's former best friend (who incidentally married his ex wife). Sure, there's bad blood between the two men, but Veronica and Stoker can't resist becoming involved with the circumstances surrounding John de Morgan and the former Caroline Templeton-Vane. He vanished during an excavation of the Egyption tomb of Princess Ankheset, along with a valuable diadem. Has he absconded with the treasure and betrayed his archelogical partner, Sir Leicester Tiverton? And there's this small matter of a curse -- inscribed on the sarcophagus of the entombed princess. The sensation has got the attention of the neewspapers and tabloids are bringing up Stoker's  unsavory past history. Veronica and Stoker want to get to the bottom of this mystery but it does bring up some very awkward moments as they contront and interview all the parties involved.

I really like this series. The interaction between Veronica and Stoker is barbed and often hilarious. Veronica is an independent woman in a time when her sort is not appreciated. She's fiercely independent and a free spirit and is much a match to the hard-boiled Stoker. Yes, we know they are wild about each other, but their romance never quite gets going, and that was a disappointment to me even though I usually hate that part of a good story! Enough already -- let them get on with it! They sort of already live together and it's obvious that they are going to end up a pair. Anyway, despite my frustration over their lack of communication on the subject, they do complement each other perfectly and the witty repartee is one of the best aspects of the narrative.

Suffice to say they bring the case to its conclusion in their usual dogged fashion and the bad guys get their comeuppance. NO SPOILERS. Very entertaining!

I am looking forward to the next book in what I hope is a long running series that I think needs to be read in order so as to be fully appreciated. Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for granting me access to this e-book ARC to read and review. I have read many other books by this author and have enjoyed them all!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Don't Tell A Soul (#1) by DK Hood

''Small town. Big crimes. Dark secrets."

In this first of a new series, Sherif Jenna Alton and her new hire, Deputy David Kane, try to solve what looks like 3 separate cases in the Montana town of Black Rock Falls. Missing persons, a body in a molasses barrel in the dump, and a hit-and-run attempt on Jenna herself. Part police procedural, part chilling thriller, and part suspenseful mystery combine to make this a single-sit read!

When I first started the book, I was immediately concerned about two things: an obvious set up for a romance angle AND the need to suspend disbelief at the notion that two people, formerly government agents who are now supposedly in hiding, could possibly end up in the same town. I managed to put those issues aside as the action started and the working investigations began. The short-staffed department is hard-pressed to take care of all the things that need to be done as other events pile up. The author is very adept at throwing out red herrings, so I honestly didn't know how this was going to end up as far as the identity of those responsible for the crimes. NO SPOILERS!

I liked the narrative told from the points of view of both Jenna and David. They both have backstories that I imagine will be further revealed in subsequent books in the series. I did have a bit of a problem with how quickly Jenna's "tough girl" turned into someone who all of a sudden needed a man to protect her and she makes some incredibly stupid decisions that ultimately result in her having to be rescued. WHY do this to the character? Keep her strong and independent so that the inevitable partnership with Kane is more on equal footing. Sure, we are told often that she is the "boss", but she abdicates her power position routinely and lets Kane take over. SHE is the Sheriff after all.

Regardless, I ended up racing through the book and ended up enjoying it. I'm looking forward to see where this story is going and want to know more about the characters. Obviously that small town will see an uptick in serious crime in the future!

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

A breakdown or a breakthrough?

Sanya and Harry move to Copenhagen as he negotiates the acquisition of a company there. Sanya is a bit at loose ends following a spectacular breakdown at her own job after she is finally offered a partner position there. Still trying to come to grips with her own feelings and work her way out of the pit of depression, she meets all kinds of people in Copenhagen and enjoys the beauty of the city. Lots of name dropping and references to specific places, designer brands, etc. show Sanya in a fairly elitist position enjoying the things that money can buy as she figures herself out. She's too long been acting the part of perfect wife and mother, subjugating her own desires until she no longer knows exactly who she is or what she wants from life, her marriage, herself. She references herself as Old Sanya and New Sanya, and everyone she connects with represents a chance for her to try it all on. Especially one particular man -- the owner of the company that Harry is investigating for purchase -- Anders Ravn. He's the mysterious man with a scar who takes a romantic interest in Sanya and makes her feel that she can love again.

The author refers to this book as a romantic comedy about depression, and I think it is also somewhat autobiographical for her. It's a poignant story, a bit of a farce, and definitely shows the uniqueness of the city of Copenhagen and it's obvious that Amulya loves it. The cast of characters is quite colorful the interaction between them is laugh out loud at times and quite brutally honest at others. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to end up for the marriage of Sanya and Harry. And I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted for either of them! Since I usually only read suspense thrilers and mysteries, this was a departure for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the diversion. I've read all of this author's books over the years and she always touches on subjects that have deeper themes about relationships, family, work, marriage and life. Bravo!

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the e-book ARC to read and review. I'm looking forward, as always, to Amulya Malladi's next book!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Origin by Dan Brown

This was an AMAZING book on so many levels. I love Dan Brown. I realize that haters are gonna hate, but no matter, he has an ability to take a complex topic and reduce it to an exciting story that few authors can match. His books do scream "movie adaptation" but I look forward to seeing those on the big screen. I loved it and can't wait for the next one!

Origin: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Two mysteries lie at the heart of human experience."October 10, 2017

This review is from: Origin: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
4.5 stars! Get this one now!

"Where do we come from? Where are we going? Human creation and human destiny. They are the universal mysteries."

OK, I absolutely loved this book -- stand down you Dan Brown naysayers. This was a superb blend of art, architecture, locations, science, religion, philosophy and HUMANTIES. It begs the question and the action-packed narrative attempts to answer it with a fast-paced plot and generates introspection that will make you rethink all you have held as fact. The author has a way of blending these different ideologies that make you think and imagine, what IF?

The exposition was tense enough to make me impatient and frustrated at times with the "secret" being dangled just out of reach. The characters, symbologist Robert Langdon and the future Queen of Spain, Ambra Vidal, were a great team in their mission to bring Edmond Kirsch's radical theory to light. Their visits to the historical and important sites in Spain were instructive and interesting (especially to someone like me who has never been there.) The "prophecy" was quite revealing and, I believe, not unrealistic given the times. I loved the detail and the information provided -- it's always a plus to me to learn things that I did not know. I usually keep my iPad handy so that I can look up the various places and items mentioned in the text. That's why I love the illustrated versions of Dan Brown's books!

So, I say to you -- read this! It is a book that will make you question all that is currently happening in the world. Advancements made in technology that almost defy belief -- and sort of scare you. I love a story that delves into the big questions and opens dialog. It doesn't matter if you agree with the theories presented in the book, what matters is that you give them some consideration. Could it be? Will it happen?

This book isn't really about the characters -- and, if you have read other books featuring Robert Langdon -- you already know him. It's about science and religion. How open is your mind? It doesn't matter that the book seems formulaic or that Dan Brown mentions the Mickey Mouse watch twice. It's an opportunity for you to examine your own value and belief system. The book is about ideas and perhaps even a warning about where we are headed -- and how we can make sure we get "there" with our humanity intact.

Please, if you read this and give it some thought, let me know what your reactions were! I recommend it.

A Kiss Before Killing

Here's the thing -- I hate giving stars. Most of the books I read are amazing, but a 5 star to me means that it changed my life -- I might need to give that idea more consideration. What do you think? How do you decide? My rating system is pretty simple. 

4.0 out of 5 stars "Coincidences happen all the time, Chief Inspector. It's because we live in a random universe."October 20, 2017

Well -- imagine my surprise to find that this book is #11 in a long-running series! And I have not read ANY of the previous books. I hate it when this happens! I would have liked to approach this medical thriller with all the background on the characters of Dr. John Eisenmenger and DCI Beverley Wharton. Perhaps I would have understood their relationship better based on their history together. Regardless, without the benefit of all the backstory, I did enjoy this very fast paced and quite grisly suspense novel. There's plenty of description for anyone not too squeamish, but I suspect readers of this genre are familiar with themes of bloody murder and torture. That the "victims" are only torsos when found is a bit off-putting, and that there are so many! There's another series of deaths that are occuring at a statistically higher than usual rate at the Royal Infirmary. Are these all connected somehow?

The medical details dovetail nicely with the police procedural. I like that it was told in the alternate points of view of the two main characters. The setting is the UK and it's spring time when Dr. Eisenmenger and DCI Wharton get involved in the cases. It's obvious that the author is himself a medical doctor with personal knowledge about pathologists and hospitals. Lots of dialog and action move the narrative along quickly so I was able to finish this in one sitting. There are loose ends at the conclusion so I imagine those answers will be addressed in the next book of the series. Perhaps one day I'll go back and try at least the first book!

Thank you to NetGalley and Endeavor Press for the e-book ARC to read and review. Medical thrillers are my favorite!

The Lost Child

This was a new author for me, and I have not read the first two in the series but I want to go back and see the beginning. I love series, but sometimes it is hard to keep up! Anyone else have that problem?
I am always looking for new books to read so welcome any and all suggestions!

..."Human life just as fragile, is at the mercy of human greed and shame."October 27, 2017

Ragmullin in October -- rain and murder. The first to die is Tessa Ball, mother to Marian and grandmother to Emma. When the bodies continue to pile up, Detective inspector Lottie Parker and Detective Sergeant Mark Boyd know that this is a series of killings such as they have never dealt with before. An intense police investigation involves the old psychiatric instutition, St. Declan's Asylum. A history of a mentally disturbed young woman, a fire, some children and an immense cover-up. Is this a drug-related vendetta? Or is it something much more sinister and evil?

This third in the series has all the elements of a great thriller. I love the characters, especially Lottie, as she is trying to do her job and take care of her children and grandson while also delving into her own family history. Pulse-pounding suspense with a complicated and convoluted plot that will keep readers guessing until the very last pages! I could not put this down. I hope the 4th comes out soon.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the e-book ARC to read and review. Highly recommended. You can't go wrong if you love strong female protagonists, action, and suspense with compelling plots.

The Mistake

Because Bookouture is definitely one of my favorite publishers -- they have the type of books that I want to read -- I wanted to share my review of another of my favorite series.

4.0 out of 5 stars "Truth never disappears or deserts us..."October 28, 2017

Verified Purchase
"'s there forever, shining strong. It can be covered and disguised but it's still there. You just have to know where to find it."

Sixteen years ago, Rose experienced a horrible trauma, suffered the loss of her best friend, Cassie, and also her brother, Billy, disappeared and was later found murdered. All seemingly at the hands of one man -- the psychopath who was her boyfriend at the time -- Gareth Farnham. Now she's fearful, anorexic, bulimic and lives alone in the house where she grew up. Working at the library in town, she has not moved on from that period of time. When Rose makes a startling discovery at her neighbor's house, she knows it is up to her to finally ask the questions and get the answers she needs in order to regain her life.

Told in back and forth narrative between present day and the past, Rose describes the events and her reactions to all that took place. She's quite a mess now and the reader hopes she can find the backbone and strength to see this through. This is not particularly suspenseful, but it is a nicely woven mystery with psychological overtones. The theme is one that is quite prevalent and I will only say that it has to do with men who isolate and control those victims they seek out and attempt to capture. It takes some twists and turns on the way to a surprising conclusion and I enjoyed it. I'll continue to read others by this author.

Bought this one on pub day from Amazon.

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

I have decided to restart my blog with one of my favorite books this month. I love this series and the setting, characters and writing. I know the series was taken over by a new author after the death of Larsson. I'm not such a purist that I can't enjoy the continuation of a character who both fascinates and scares me.

4.0 out of 5 stars "What can be forgiven, and what can not?"October 28, 2017

This fifth book in the Millennium series (continued from #3 by Langercrantz) is, at heart, a revenge story. I loved it! Haters gonna hate and that's too bad that people are still carrying on about whether or not this is holding up the standard set by the original author, Stieg Larsson -- but I think it does.

Here's why: Lisbeth Salander is quite honestly one of the most amazing female characters to ever hit the page. She's such an enigma that we can't help but want to probe her depths and find out what makes her who she is. Bitter and fierce, if she's on YOUR side, you have a formidable ally. She's not perfect as a human being by any standard, but she does have her own brand of morals and ethics. Suffice to say that if you get on her bad side, you're going to regret it. The backstory of her life has been revealed slowly through these five books in the series and there's more to learn in this one. The subject of twins raised apart is central to the plot line and provides a fascinating glimpse into psychology gone wrong as far as the nature vs nuture debate.

The story is quite complex with many interesting characters and multiple diversions into issues that are making headlines and discussed daily on social media. Set in Sweden, it seems that current events affect all humans much the same. As always, the narrative moves forward as it discloses more about Lisbeth Salander and also deals with financial markets, Islamophobia, honor killings, twins and murder. Although the book opens with Lisbeth in prison (see book #4), it moves on rapidly into other areas with shifts in point of view and the various parallel story lines. The author handles all these elements deftly and I love the way he integrates the locale and other details.

So, what are you waiting for -- don't hesitate to grab this one. It screams "movie adaptation" as well as just being a great read. I could barely stand to put it down so read it over the course of a day. Now all I have to do is wait patiently for #6. Who knows what Lisbeth Salander and the other much-loved characters will get up to next!
Please let me know what you think about this review and the book!

Hello again!

I have decided to return to my blog. Posting reviews on Goodreads, Twitter and Amazon is fine, but somehow the focus seems to be on how many stars a review gets rather than the merits of the book. I read so many reviews and want to make my blog a little different eschewing stars and focusing more on the merits and qualities of the writing and the story. There are SO MANY new books out there!
Alas, my favorite genre is the mystery thriller, suspense psycho killer chiller and police procedural -- I mainly read those and prefer ones with female protagonists.

In my advanced age and stage of life I have decided to read what I want, not what everyone tells me I should! I'm picky and somewhat critical and read over 100 books a year. If you have any suggestions about how I can make this blog pertinent and meaningful to readers everywhere, please comment and let me know!

Please follow me on Goodreads and Twitter @AOHSDenise and I will respond to all! Communication and interaction is essential to my life -- please comment!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bye Bye Blog!

Please follow my reviews on Goodreads or Twitter!  I would love to hear from you.

Twitter: AOHSDenise

Thank you and happy reading.

The Book Nurse