One Little Mistake by Lucinda Berry

Book Description:

Published: September 9, 2021

Audio

Stars: 2

From the best-selling author of The Secrets of Us and The Best of Friends comes a novella of deceit, desperation, and how one little mistake can unravel a life.

When overwhelmed stay-at-home mom Alexis finds herself at odds with her husband after she’s charged with a DUI, she is given one chance to get her family back: complete AA and admit her faults. The problem is, she’s never had a drinking problem and has no idea what caused the blackout that led to her arrest. Still, she’s committed to working through the program, if that’s what it takes to be reunited with her two young children. But when she connects with a new friend, Farrah—a confident, successful powerhouse of a woman Alexis can’t help but idolize—she’s empowered to take a closer look at her husband’s role in her downfall. What she finds shocks her to her core, quickly spiraling into something more sinister than she ever imagined.

Review –

I’m sorry but this novella, as it’s called, is just plain bad. The plot/storyline was one that has been over used and after a bit over two hours(audio version) the book was over but there were no solutions. The husband is still having an affair and now has asked for a divorce, the wife is still without her children and no one really believes that she not a drunk. The only character that does get closure is Farrah and she will be going to prison where she belong.

If this book hadn’t been offered free by Audible, I would have demanded my money back.

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

Book Description:

Published: July 3, 2014

Audio

Stars: 5

In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.
A tragic accident? Or suicide? Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.

Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They’d been in love. She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they’d all been one big happy family.

But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets. And secrets have consequences. Some of which can be devastating. 

Review –

“British bestseller Jewell’s last few novels have been a revelation—emotionally sophisticated and complex—and this latest, which gradually rewrites the history of a “perfect” family, is a fine follow-up.

Late one night, alone and uncharacteristically drunk, 30-year-old Maya is hit by a London bus. Was it an accident? Suicide? Her husband, Adrian, can’t imagine why his sweet Maya would want to kill herself, but as the novel unfolds, cracks are revealed in his perfect family.

An architect pushing 50, Adrian Wolfe is a lovely man, as everyone agrees. His first wife, Susie, mother of the gregarious Cat and pretentious Luke, both in their 20, holds no hard feelings that he left her in the country for a glamorous London life with the chic Caroline. Caroline lives in their stunningly restored Islington townhouse with their three children, all under 12, Otis, Pearl, and Beau. When, four years ago, Adrian left Caroline for Maya, he made every effort to keep the family intact—all of them holiday together (three wives, five children) and happily share custody. Or so Adrian insists to anyone who asks.

When a strange woman begins stalking him, and Luke finds threatening emails addressed to Maya on her laptop, Adrian begins to investigate. In flashbacks from Maya’s perspective, another side of the Wolfe family is revealed—she feels like an interloper, childless in a family where children are totems, and is slowly disintegrating from the onslaught of anonymous emails (though she knows they must be from a family member—the missives are too intimate and immediate to have been written by anyone else). Most damning of all, she finds herself falling in love with the family’s other outsider, Luke. Adrian is convinced the woman stalking him has answers, if only he can track her down. Although it is certain no one literally pushed Maya into that bus, Jewell shapes the novel as part whodunit, part psychological thriller: Maya was excised from the family, but why and by whom?

Taut pacing and complicated characters shape this rich examination of the modern family.” Kirkus Reviews

This book was fantastic and not at all what I had expected, which made it even better. Highly recommend!

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Book Description:

Published: July 30, 2013

Audio

Stars: 5

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…


Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

Review –

“There are more than enough secrets to go around in the intertwining lives of three women connected to a Catholic elementary school in Sidney.

Australian Moriarty (The Hypnotist’s Love Story, 2012, etc.) experiments with the intersection of comedy and tragedy in her slyly ambitious consideration of secrecy, temptation, guilt and human beings’ general imperfection.

 Superorganized, always-on-the-go Cecilia is a devoted mother who constantly volunteers at her daughters’ school while running a thriving Tupperware business. Not quite as perkily perfect as she seems, 40-year-old Cecilia yearns for some drama in her life. Then, she finds a sealed envelope from her husband that is to be opened only in the event of his death. John-Paul is very much alive, but the temptation to read the contents is understandably strong. Once she does, she can’t erase the secrets revealed.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, 30-something Tess’ husband breaks the news that he’s fallen in love with Tess’ first cousin/best friend/business partner. Furious, Tess moves to her mother’s house in Sydney. Enrolling her 6-year-old son at St. Angela’s, Tess runs into former lover Connor, and sparks re-ignite. Formerly an accountant, Connor is now the school’s hunky gym coach and is crushed on by students, teachers and parents like Cecilia. One holdout from the general adoration is widowed school secretary Rachel. Connor was the last person to see her 17-year-old daughter Janie before Janie was strangled in 1984. Still grief-stricken and haunted by a belief that she could have prevented Janie’s death if she hadn’t been seven minutes late to pick her up, Rachel is increasingly convinced Connor is the murderer.

As the women confront the past and make hard decisions about their futures (the novel’s men are pale and passive), their fates collide in unexpected ways.

Moriarty may be an edgier, more provocative and bolder successor to Maeve Binchy. There is real darkness here, but it is offset by the author’s natural wit—she weaves in the Pandora myth and a history of the Berlin Wall—and irrepressible goodwill toward her characters.” Kirkus Reviews

I loved the fact that the author made the husband’s secret something the reader would never expect. When Cecilia finally read the letter, my mouth dropped open. If you enjoy a book with lots of twist and turns, this one is for you!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Description:

Published: November 8, 2018

Audio

Stars: 2

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? Nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Review –

Nine people gather at a luxurious health resort in the Australian bushland. Will they have sex, fall in love, get killed, or maybe just lose weight?

Moriarty (Truly Madly Guilty, 2014, etc.) is known for darkly humorous novels set in the suburbs of Sydney—though her most famous book, Big Little Lies (2014), has been transported to Monterey, California, by Reese Witherspoon’s HBO series. Her new novel moves away from the lives of prosperous parents to introduce a more eclectic group of people who’ve signed up for a 10-day retreat at Tranquillium House, a remote spa run by the messianic Masha, “an extraordinary-looking woman. A supermodel. An Olympic athlete. At least six feet tall, with corpse-like white skin and green eyes so striking and huge they were almost alien-like.” This was the moment when the guests should probably have fled, but they all decided to stay (perhaps because their hefty payments were nonrefundable?). The book’s title is slightly misleading, since not all the guests are strangers to each other.

There are two family groups: Ben and Jessica Chandler, a young couple whose relationship broke down after they won the lottery, and the Marconis, Napolean and Heather and their 20-year-old daughter, Zoe, who are trying to recover after the death of Zoe’s twin brother, Zach. Carmel Schneider is a divorced housewife who wants to get her mojo back, Lars Lee is an abnormally handsome divorce lawyer who’s addicted to spas, and Tony Hogburn is a former professional footballer who wants to get back into shape.

Though all these people have their own chapters, the main character is Frances Welty, a romance writer who needs a pick-me-up after having had her latest novel rejected and having been taken in by an internet scam—she fell in love with a man she met on Facebook and sent money to help his (nonexistent) son, who’d been in a (nonexistent) car accident. How humiliating for a writer to fall for a fictional person, Frances thinks, in her characteristically wry way. When the guests arrive, they’re given blood tests (why?) and told they’re going to start off with a five-day “noble silence” in which they’re not even supposed to make eye contact with each other. As you can imagine, something fishy is going on, and while Moriarty displays her usual humor and Frances in particular is an appealing character, it’s all a bit ridiculous. 


Fun to read, as always with Moriarty’s books, but try not to think about it or it will stop making sense.” Kirkus Reviews

Looks like Kirkus like the book much more than I did. For me, the best part of the entire book was the ending when things were tied up. I read it, so that’s done, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have missed a thing. Don’t waste your time. When ever something is given the HYPE that this was-stay away!

Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine #1) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: November 13, 2018

Audio

Stars: 5

Introducing a remarkable new character from #1 New York Times bestselling writer David Baldacci: Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.

It’s seared into Atlee Pine’s memory: the kidnapper’s chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared.

She never saw Mercy again.

Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She’s the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.

So when one of the Grand Canyon’s mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she’s abruptly called off the case.

If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it… 

Review –

“Baldacci’s latest book is prefaced by a letter to readers, introducing his first female lead – FBI Agent Atlee Pine. Obviously he’s written other female characters but Atlee is the standalone lead and he comments that she’s one of the most unique characters he’s created. (This from the man who gave us Amos Decker and his hyperthymesia!) Obviously my expectations were high. I’ve read some AMAZING female leads – Candice Fox delivers many, and just recently I revisited Michael Connelly’s Renee Ballard. And on the character front Baldacci certainly offers up a wonderful new protagonist in Atlee (or Pine, as Baldacci calls her).

The book opens with Atlee visiting the man who she believes kidnapped and killed her twin sister 29 years earlier. Daniel James Tor is a brutal killer, though scary smart to boot. Atlee’s pretty sure she now remembers seeing him in their bedroom when she was just 6yrs old but worries a little that she might be wrong.

We only get glimpses of the old case however, as Atlee’s called home where she’s works at an RA (a resident agency: single-person FBI office) aided only by long-term secretary Carol Blum. Atlee’s been at Shattered Rock (as close as you can get to the Grand Canyon without being in the park) a year or so and has built a place and reputation for herself in the community but she holds herself back.

She’s called out on a case of a dead mule*. Yes, you read that right… Apparently, mule rides are a thing in the Grand Canyon (booked out a long time in advance we learn) and she’s called out as one of the mules has been killed (kinda viciously) and its rider is missing. As both were part of a group tour, their departure in the middle of the night is suspicious.

Atlee’s investigation into the murdered mule (The Mystery of the Murdered Mule!) sets off some alarm bells however and she notes that everyone from the national security agency to her boss’s boss’s boss are suddenly interested in the death of Sallie Belle (the aforementioned mule).

Of course it’s the lack of motivation for its murder and disappearance of its rider – who seems to have a murky international relations job – that is really of interest and before Atlee knows it doors are being shut in her face and she’s being warned off.

And this I guess is where the novel deviated from what I thought I’d be reading, as we dip into the murky world of spies and espionage (kinda), of conspiracies and secret government agencies. and suddenly Atlee’s on the run with Carol, unsure if the bad guys are on the government payroll!

I’ve previously mentioned that I was once a fan of espionage type thrillers and an avid reader of Robert Ludlum, Len Deighton and David Morrell. But not for a few decades and I’m not sure what changed or why I lost interest. Speaking of which (of interest, that is) I note we’ve reverted back to our foreign interests involving China and Russia again (which was the case when I was reading such books) – whereas the focus was on the Middle East throughout most of the 2000s…

Also of interest is Baldacci’s commentary on the political situation in the US and discussion around the lack of trust that Americans currently have in their own government agencies who no longer seem to be above the law. Atlee and Carol also stumble across an organisation (the Society for Good / SFG) – a think tank of sorts which also attempts to uncover corruption and right wrongs – and I suspect we might hear from them again.

So, there’s more political manoeuvring and game playing than I guess I was expecting but I really liked Atlee. As an aside, I note I’m calling her Atlee whereas Baldacci called her Pine from the get-go. I pondered the fact I noticed this… I read other books where the main female character’s referred to by her surname, but is it just that others call them that (rather than the author) I wonder?

She’s a tad extraordinary, almost an Olympic level athlete and well versed in a number of fighting methods but I like that she’s also a big solid girl and not too cliched / extreme in either her prickliness or her good-naturedness.

I also liked the burgeoning relationship between her and Carol and am keen to see how both characters grow and their partnership develops.

So, though the novel perhaps dipped into themes of less interest to me (I’m sure they’ll be more appealing to others more interested in Russia, South Korea and America!) I’m looking forward to meeting Atlee… ahem, Pine again.”debbish.com

Until listening/reading this novel, Memory Man, was my favorite series by David Baldacci, but I’m pretty sure this one will come in a close second. Can’t wait to read the others in the series.

Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4) by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: April 18, 2013

Audio

Stars: 5

Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy is the star of the Dublin Murder Squad. He plays by the books and plays hard, and thatʼs how the biggest case of the year ends up in his hands. 

On one of the half-abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children have been murdered. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care. At first, Scorcher thinks itʼs going to be an easy solve, but too many small things canʼt be explained: the half-dozen baby monitors pointed at holes smashed in the Spainsʼ walls, the files erased from the familyʼs computer, the story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder slipping past the houseʼs locks. And this neighborhood—once called Broken Harbor—holds memories for Scorcher and his troubled sister, Dina: childhood memories that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control.

Review –

A mystery that is perfectly in tune with the times, as the ravages of the recession and the reach of the Internet complicate a murder that defies easy explanation within a seemingly loving household.

The Irish author continues to distinguish herself with this fourth novel, marked by psychological acuteness and thematic depth. As has previously been the case, a supporting character from a prior work (Faithful Place, 2010, her third and best) takes center stage, as Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy attempts to penetrate the mystery of what transpired during a night that left a husband and two children dead and a wife barely clinging to life, with injuries that couldn’t have been self-inflicted. Or could they? 

This is the most claustrophobic of French’s novels, because the secrets seemingly lie within that household and with those who were either murdered or attacked within it. The setting is an upscale property development at what had once been Broken Harbor, where Kennedy’s family had itself suffered a fatal trauma decades earlier. The property development has been left unfinished due to the economic downturn, which had also cost Patrick Spain his job.

He and his wife, Jenny, had done their best to keep up appearances, with their marriage seemingly in harmony. Then came the attack that left Patrick and their two children dead and Jenny in intensive care. The investigative net cast by Kennedy and his younger partner encompasses Jenny’s sister and some of their longtime friends, but the focus remains on the insular family. Had Patrick gone insane? Had Jenny? Was this a horrific murder-suicide or had someone targeted a family that had no apparent enemies? Says Scorcher, “In every way there is, murder is chaos. Our job is simple, when you get down to it: we stand against that, for order.” Yet Scorcher’s own sanity, or at least his rigid notions of right and wrong, will fall into question in a novel that turns the conventional notions of criminals and victims topsy-turvy.The novel rewards the reader’s patience: There are complications, deliberations and a riveting resolution.” Kirkus Reviews

I totally agree, this was a fantastic book and there is a HUGE plot twist that you will not see coming.

I highly recommend this series.

The Best Defense (Barbara Holloway #2) by Kate Wilhelm

Book Description:

Published: April 4, 1996

Audio

Stars: 5

With this extraordinary novel, Kate Wilhelm returns to the marvelous milieu of Death Qualified, bringing us a page-turning legal thriller of the finest caliber. After the harrowing events of Death Qualified, attorney Barbara Holloway isn’t looking to take on any new courtroom cases – she’s happy working from a booth in a cafe in one of Eugene’s working-class neighborhoods. But when the sister of “Baby Killer” Kennerman asks for help, Barbara reluctantly looks into matters…and finds that incompetent lawyers and a smear campaign from the local right-wing press are going to allow a killer to go free. The deeper Barbara delves into the case, the more atrocities she finds – and the more she believes that the best defense may not be enough. A gripping, poignant, and masterful courtroom novel, The Best Defense is a major new work from one of America’s most popular writers. 

Review –

“Defiantly barefoot Oregon lawyer Barbara Holloway (Death Qualified, 1991) calls a truce with her lawyer father and buys pantyhose and a proper courtroom jacket in order to defend battered wife Paula Kennerman, accused of killing her six-year-old daughter and setting fire to the women’s safe house at Canby Ranch.

The Dodgson family, the ranch’s wealthy neighbors, are baying for the child killer’s blood—a demand that dovetails neatly with the shrill, troglodyte editorial stance of Richard Dodgson’s weekly paper—and it looks as if they have Paula’s bright, boyish public defender, Bill Spassero, and her private-duty physician in their pockets.

Enter Barbara and her tattered legions (Paula’s sister Lucille Reiner, Barbara’s newly supportive father, a trio of grad- student researchers), seeking to get Bill to withdraw from the case so they can mount a defense that will raise the specter of reasonable doubt and impeach Paula’s abusive husband, Jack, the hysterically bullying Dodgsons and their spies and toadies, and the nationwide anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-feminist lobby. Sprawling and overlong—especially the trial sequences—but ultimately rousing, considering how much Barbara’s fighting for and how much it matters.” Kirkus Reviews

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that I’m not a huge fan of courtroom procedurals , but the author has a way of writing so that I find myself not hating those scenes in her books. This book is more court procedural than mystery but it hooked me from the very beginning.

I found this book better than the first and will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Sweet Little Lies (Cat Kinsella #1) by Caz Frear

Book Description:

Published: August 14, 2018

Audio

Stars: 5

In this gripping debut procedural, a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family’s past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance.

Your father is a liar. But is he a killer? 
Even liars tell the truth… sometimes.

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat–her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds… 

Reviews –

“When a young London detective delves into the life of a murder victim, she finds out that the woman may have deep connections to her own family’s past in Frear’s debut.

Cat Kinsella remembers the summer she spent as a child in Mulderrin, Ireland, because it was then that glamorous Maryanne Doyle went missing. Cat has always suspected that her father, a charming ne’er-do-well who owns a pub and has connections to organized crime, may have played a sinister role in Maryanne’s disappearance, but she’s never been able to prove anything.

The tension has poisoned her relationships with both her father and her sister, and as Christmas approaches, and she pulls a new murder case, she looks for ways to avoid confronting her past. She’s already in department-mandated therapy, mostly for “over-empathizing” with murder victims, and while she gets on well with her partner, Luigi Parnell, and the rest of the squad, her personal life seems a mess.

As Cat and Parnell investigate Alice Lapaine’s death, however, they quickly discover that she is not who they thought she was, and as they unearth level after level of deception and lies, Cat begins to fear that her own secrets may be exposed as well.

Though the book begins in medias res in terms of Cat’s life and her memories, it’s a bit slow to start. Cat is somewhat prickly, which makes her hard to get to know, but as the investigation and the story wind on, she earns our sympathy and our trust because we can see that, while flawed, she acts for the victims, and she struggles with the conflict she feels for her own family. The solution to the mystery is a legitimate surprise, and Cat’s evolution from one-dimensional sad sack to complex, honest adult is both believable and welcome, putting her on par with Susie Steiner’s and Tana French’s female detectives.

A truly satisfying—and gritty—mystery.” Kirkus Reviews

I totally agree with this review by Kirkus Reviews and I’m so glad to have found another foreign crime fiction series to read/listen that has a feisty female protagonist!

Death Qualified (Barbara Holloway #1) by Kate Wilhelm

Book Description:

Published: March 25, 2002

Audio

Stars: 4

Barbara had given up the law five years before, but she’s still “death qualified,” still able to defend clients in Oregon who face the death penalty if convicted. And now her lawyer father needs her back in the arena to defend Nell Kendricks, who’s been indicted for the murder of her estranged husband, Lucas Kendricks.
But did she do it? After not seeing him for seven years? And where was Lucas all that time? Ultimately, the small-town courtroom is where the truth can be found——if one can spot it through the blinding maelstrom of injustice, confusion, chaos, reality, and love….

Review –

“Another heaven-storming hybrid of mystery and fantasy from veteran Wilhelm (Cambio Bay; Sweet, Sweet Poison, etc.): What’s the link between a powerful mind-altering computer program and two murders in the Oregon woods? Seven years ago Lucas Kendricks deserted his young family and took off for mathematician Emil Frobisher’s research project in Colorado. Now, after one day’s warning—he ordered a monster computer to be sent to his old address—he’s back, and then, moments later, he’s dead, along with a young woman he gave a lift to only a few hours before.

The police think Lucas raped and killed the hitchhiker and was shot down by his tiny, sharpshooting wife Nell; but defense attorney Barbara Holloway, needled by her estranged father into coming back to him and the law (she’d been on the run from both for five years after a dose of professional disillusionment) is convinced that Lucas’s death had more to do with the mysterious men who followed him from Colorado.

Taking on her share of clichÇs—alliance with her curmudgeonly, reluctantly supportive father; opposition from prosecutor/former lover Tony DeAngelo; romance with mathematician Mike Dinesen (whom she’s called in to make sense of the connections Lucas had with Frobisher, psychiatrist Ruth Brandywine, and computer expert Walter Schumaker)—Barbara delves into those blank seven years, and comes up with answers that are even scarier than the questions: a set of the most user-unfriendly computer disks in literature. What does all this have to do with Lucas’s murder? Not enough, unfortunately: the mixture of metaphysical fractals, courtroom drama, psychological thrills, and formal detection never quite jells. But the audacious scope of Wilhelm’s cosmic riddling may spoil you for mysteries that merely ask whodunit.”Kirkus Reviews

I can’t tell if Kirkus Reviews liked or disliked the book, but only having read one other book by this author,The Price of Silence, I loved it. Even though I didn’t understand half of the information on the metaphysical fractals, the story line was solid, but I knew in my heart that Barbara and Mike(love interest ) would not have a happy outcome and sure enough at the end he disappears and we really don’t know where he goes. I wish the author would have clued us(the readers or listeners) into what happened to Lucas’s children after watching the EVIL discs.Did they go insane too and terrorize their neighbors ? Maybe we will find out in another installment .

Cause to Kill (Avery Black #1) by Blake Pierce

Book Description:

Published: July 27, 2016

Audio

Stars: 3

From #1 bestselling mystery author Blake Pierce comes a new masterpiece of psychological suspense.

Homicide Detective Avery Black has been through hell. Once a top criminal defense attorney, she fell from grace when she managed to get a brilliant Harvard professor off—only to watch him kill again. She lost her husband and her daughter, and her life fell apart around her.

Trying to redeem herself, Avery has turned to the other side of the law. Working her way up the ranks, she has reached Homicide Detective, to the scorn of her fellow officers, who still remember what she did, and who will always hate her.

Yet even they cannot deny Avery’s brilliant mind, and when a disturbing serial killer strikes fear into the heart of Boston, killing girls from elite colleges, it is Avery that they turn to. It is Avery’s chance to prove herself, to finally find the redemption she craves. And yet, as she is soon to find out, Avery has come up against a killer as brilliant and daring as she.

In this game of psychological cat and mouse, women are dying with mysterious clues, and the stakes could not be higher. A frantic race against time leads Avery through a series of shocking and unexpected twists—culminating in climax that even Avery could not imagine. 

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, CAUSE TO KILL marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night. 

Review –

“The basic story line of Cause to Kill has the potential to be an extremely good book. Its execution, however, does not let that happen. Its potential was wasted by problems such as bad characterization, weak connections between events, and an average writing style.

The story’s main protagonist, Avery Black, was quite annoying as a character. Her need for redemption for definitely stressed upon, but she did little to actually make it reality. She was as arrogant as she was earlier, while constantly reiterating that she was no longer the same person. For someone who was supposed to be brilliant, she made very stupid choices in spite of being aware of the repercussions, and then blamed life for being unfair. Not exactly the best behavior for someone whose main goal was to begin taking responsibility for her actions and decisions. Then there was the way she kept switching from serious to flirty to friendly to God-knows-what – you just could not get an idea of what she really was as a person. So associating with her was very difficult.

Another annoying aspect was that Pierce seemed very keen on labeling her antagonist as a serial killer. And she went on to do so before the appearance of a second body and while the first case was still being worked upon as a personal crime. Serial killer based crime thrillers definitely have a following – but Cause to Kill did not unfold like one, it was just assumed to be one from the get-go, which gave the entire investigation a muddled-up feel.

The story also seemed choppy. Some aspects could really have been elaborated upon to give it that well-rounded feel, but they were left short. As a result, the story felt like it was trying too hard on the unexpected twists, which ended up being abrupt, often pointless, and forced.

Finally, the killer’s motive and psychology were also not explored to their full potential. It began really well, with great promise, but wasn’t really delved into or even bothered with, which left you with that uncomfortable this-story-didn’t-end-in-a-neat-little-bow feeling. And it also just took away all the impact with which the killer’s story had begun.

What Cause to Kill did have going for it was the relatively fast pace and storyline which, at the very crux of it, was decently intriguing. ” thebookreviewstation.com

The story line was okay but the narrator( I had the audio version) completely ruined it for me. She made all of the characters YELL at each other ALL the time. Got on my nerves . Also, this series takes place in Boston, but all of most of the characters had foreign accents. Before beginning the book I had hoped I had found a new crime fiction series to follow, but there is no way I will listen to that narrator again.