The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

Book Description:

Published: March 13, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police—she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home—Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean—or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Review –

This novel is not fast-paced or edge of your seat, but chock full of mystery and intrigue with an intricate plot, boasting some HUGE surprises! Such a talented author , I will be reading more from him very soon! Highly recommend to fans of character driven mysteries with some unpredictable twists!

Loved it!

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The Hanging Girl (Department Q #6) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: September 8, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the middle of his usual hard-won morning nap in the basement of police headquarters, Carl Mørck, head of Department Q, receives a call from a colleague working on the Danish island of Bornholm. Carl is dismissive when he realizes that a new case is being foisted on him, but a few hours later, he receives some shocking news that leaves his headstrong assistant Rose more furious than usual. Carl has no choice but to lead Department Q into the tragic cold case of a vivacious seventeen-year-old girl who vanished from school, only to be found dead hanging high up in a tree. The investigation will take them from the remote island of Bornholm to a strange sun worshipping cult, where Carl, Assad, Rose, and newcomer Gordon attempt to stop a string of new murders and a skilled manipulator who refuses to let anything—or anyone—get in the way.

Review –

This is by far my least favorite book of the Department Q series and I hoping it’s just a problem with the translation because I really do enjoy this series.

Presumably Carl Mørck, head of the Q Department, is the protagonist, but he comes across as lazy and disagreeable. Perhaps that is how he is supposed to be portrayed, but there is very little reason to cheer for him. Adler-Olsen’s other characters have little, if any, dimension; visualizing them is difficult, (not usual for this series).

There is some description given of Mørck’s assistants Assad and Rose and she has some job responsibilities with her computer knowledge and organizational skills. Assad appears to be the comic sidekick who can’t seem to get the words right: strawstack instead of haystack. Considering that both of these characters have appeared in previous Department Q stories, it must be assumed that the author’s fans are already familiar with them and details are not needed. The other characters in the story all seem to be angry or manipulative—it’s hard to find anyone likable.

The premise of the story—a cold case file that has driven a police officer to suicide, but not until he has left clues for Mørck and his assistants to find in order to keep the cold case alive—would be workable if the story followed that line with fewer diversions.

The Department Q gathering of the mountain of information from the deceased police officer’s home is a little hard to fathom. With the information described as boxes and boxes of papers, magazines, books, letters, photos, etc., all neatly organized by Rose in an extremely short time span, it’s hard to believe that any organization could suddenly reveal the small clues and evidence needed to solve this crime.

Initially, the story does little to encourage the reader to continue listening. The storyline jumps forward and backward in time, and it almost seems that at the beginning of the story there is another storyline with no connection. This is a side story that starts at an earlier time and involves an alternative religious (cult) group. The scenes around this group are more interesting than those about the cold case file, and one must trudge through half of the book before the two issues begin to knit together in the story.

Although Adler-Olsen does a satisfactory job of tying up loose ends, the whole purpose of the story remains elusive. It’s hard to understand why a policeman would gather this large amount of information and leave it behind for others to explore, when the reality is that the police officer already knew the sad answer.

One interesting turn that is difficult to understand is what the author  does with Mørck’s assistant Rose at the end of the book. She has appeared in previous Department Q books, and if his purpose was to write her out of the series, presumably he has succeeded, and she may not be returning in any subsequent Q Department tales. Of course, fiction being what it is, she might come around again. . . . and I hope she does, because I don’t know what Carl and Assad will do without her.

Considering Adler-Olsen is a popular crime writer in Denmark one can only hope that with The Hanging Girl the translation to English is faulty, and in his own language he has painted a much more interesting and vivid picture.

 

 

Connection (Submission #3) by CD Reiss

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

This is not a pat little ending about me and Jonathan riding off into the sunset. I knew I was never destined for that, but no one warned me about the pain. No one told me about the hurt. No one told me what I’d risk for him.
I’ll do anything to make it right. Anything. You think I won’t kill for him? You’re wrong.
I have to earn my happily ever after, and we have to survive it.

Review –

Wow, what can I say other than the author really knows how to go for the gut punch in her books and this one was no exception.

I had the audio version and it was over eleven hours long but the first five were about Jonathan’s life and death situation and finding out he needed a heart transplant and then finding the right one. I thought five hours was a bit overkill. The the story jumps two years after Jonathan’s heart transplant, however, both of them are still trying to find their way back to the normalcy they once had. Monica goes back and forth with doubts about whether Jonathan wants to stay married to her seeing as he proposed and they got married while he was in the hospital possibly on his death-bed. Another hurdle they have to overcome involves their sex life. Both parties feel things have become duller but they won’t open up to each other to voice that they basically have the same fear that any sort of strenuous activity could kill Jonathan. Eventually Jonathan gets Monica to open up and they both get the opportunity to express their fears to one another and things go back to normal so to speak. Throughout the course of their marriage, Jonathan has expressed to Monica multiple times that he wants to start a family however, she is reluctant because she does not want to bring a child into a world where he or she may be left without a father if Jonathan’s heart were to give out. Jonathan almost gets his wish of being a father but then Monica has a miscarriage which is devastating to say the least. After the miscarriage, Monica realizes that she does want to have a child with Jonathan and we then fast forward 18 months later to Monica and Jonathan having a real wedding that all their friends and family can be part of and then we get a wonderful surprise when Monica is pregnant again! This baby sticks and the story has a beautiful ending of Jonathan and Monica settling into their family life.

I highly recommend this series because it is not a perfect love story, it is a story of two people being in a relationship and not always knowing what to do half the time. One thing that they can both agree on is that they will love each other till the end of time AND there is a LOT of hot sex!

 

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedstrom #5) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: June 20, 2011

Format: Audio/Audible

Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among her late mother’s possessions. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig deep into her family’s past and finally uncover the reasons why. Her enquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher. He was among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War but her questions are met with bizarre and evasive answers. Two days later he meets a violent death.

Detective Patrik Hedström, Erica’s husband, is on paternity leave but soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Who would kill so ruthlessly to bury secrets so old? Reluctantly Erica must read her mother’s wartime diaries. But within the pages is a painful revelation about Erica’s past. Could what little knowledge she has be enough to endanger her husband and newborn baby? The dark past is coming to light, and no one will escape the truth of how they came to be . . .

Review –

“Three months ago, Erica Falck asked a collector of Nazi memorabilia about a medal she found among her mother’s effects. Now he’s discovered dead from a blow to the head, and the question of who killed him is only the first of many mysteries.

Best-selling Swedish author Läckberg (The Stranger, 2013, etc.) returns with her fourth novel about the crime-solving team of Erica Falck and her husband, detective Patrik Hedström. Their adorable daughter, Maja, has just turned one, Erica’s ready to return to her work writing novels (though she won’t be going far—just to the upstairs study), and Patrik’s embarking on four months of paternity leave. But Erica can’t concentrate, because Patrik keeps interrupting her with parenting questions and her mother’s diaries tempt her like a siren’s call. Maybe the diaries will explain why her mother was so emotionally distant. They’re filled with stories about her friends back in the 1940s, including Erik, the historian recently found dead; Axel, who joined the resistance during World War II, running dangerous missions; Frans, who grew up to be a politically active neo-Nazi; and Britta, a foolish girl who adored Frans. When Patrik takes Maja out for a walk one afternoon, he stumbles upon his colleagues and joins them in examining the crime scene at Erik’s home. Patrik and Erica are pulled deeply into the developing investigation. Soon the line between good and evil blurs as they delve into the complicated history of Swedish involvement in the war. Meanwhile, Erica’s sister Anna tries to broker peace between her new husband and stepdaughter, and Patrik’s gruff boss, Mellberg, adopts a dog and takes up salsa dancing. Läckberg deftly layers the dark details of the crime upon the disturbing seeds of its origin.

Fans of Nordic noir will appreciate this taut, twisty mystery enriched with historical detail.” Kirkus Review

Love this series and looking forward to reading or listening to more installments next year.

Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

Book Description:

Published: February 24, 2009

Format: Audio

In this haunting and suspenseful thriller, Robert Masello delivers an adventure that spans continents and centuries—a spellbinding story that ranges from Victorian England to a remote antarctic research station, where an ancient glacier yields a shocking prize it has held captive for nearly two hundred years….

Journalist Michael Wilde—his world recently shattered by tragedy—hopes that a monthlong assignment to the South Pole will give him a new lease on life. Here, in the most inhospitable place on earth, he is simply looking to find solace . . . until, on a routine dive in to the polar sea, he unexpectedly finds something else entirely: a young man and woman, bound with chains and sealed forever in a block of ice. Beside them a chest filled with a strange, and sinister, cargo.

Now, in a bleak but breathtaking world of shimmering icebergs, deep blue crevasses, and never-ending sun, Wilde must unravel the mystery of this doomed couple. Were they the innocent victims of fear and superstition—or were they something far darker? His search will lead from the barracks and battlefields of the Crimean War to the unexplored depths of the Antarctic Ocean, from the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade to an age-old curse that survives to this day.

As the ice around the murdered lovers begins to melt, Wilde will have to grapple with a miracle—or a nightmare—in the making. For what is dead, it turns out, may not be gone. And here, at the very end of the known world, there’s nowhere to hide and no place left for the living to run.

Review –

In the prologue to this  supernatural thriller from the author, Robert Masello, two lovers—Lt. Sinclair Copley of the 17th Lancers and Eleanor Ames, a nurse from Florence Nightingale’s Harley Street hospital in London—fall into ice-strewn seas from a British sloop foundering near Antarctica in 1856.

In the present, Seattle writer Michael Wilde, who’s recovering from a personal tragedy, can’t resist the opportunity to go to Antarctica to write a magazine article about the Point Adélie research station.

Past and present stories alternate until Michael makes an amazing discovery in a submerged block of ice off the Antarctic coast—two frozen bodies, bound in chains. After Sinclair and Eleanor revive, Masello slowly and subtly reveals how they came to transcend death. The thrills and, most decidedly, the chills mount to a believable, sad and hopeful ending. Fans of John Campbell’s “Who Goes There?”—the basis for the movie The Thing —will find much to like. 

Even though the premise of this story was good, I just couldn’t get into the believability of it. It was a stretch, even for me. It was like TWILIGHT meets THE THING and the TITANTIC!

 

Dark Sacred Night (Renee Ballard #2, Harry Bosch #21) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 30, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

LAPD Detective Renée Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Review –

“Harry Bosch, who just can’t stay retired, unwillingly teams up with a Hollywood detective who has reasons of her own for wanting in on his latest cold case.

It may be nine years since 15-year-old runaway Daisy Clayton was grabbed from the streets of Los Angeles and killed, but the daily presence of her mother, Elizabeth, in Harry’s life—she’s staying at his place while he helps her stay clean—makes it a foregone conclusion that he’ll reopen the case. On the night Bosch drops into Hollywood Division to sneak a look at some of the old files, he’s caught by Detective Renée Ballard, who was bounced from LAPD Robbery/Homicide to “the late show,” Hollywood’s third shift, after her complaint about aggressive harassment by a superior went nowhere. Bosch needs to find out who was responsible for what happened to Daisy; Ballard needs to work a case with teeth, even if she’s partnering with a reserve investigator in the San Fernando Police Department (Two Kinds of Truth, 2017, etc.) who’d rather work alone. Before they get what they need, they’ll have to wade through a double caseload as grueling and sometimes as maddeningly routine as you can imagine, from an apparent murder that turns out to be a slip-and-fall to an ancient gang killing whose repercussions flare to sudden life to the theft of some valuable Andy Warhol prints to a missing man who’s not just missing—not to mention Elizabeth’s sudden disappearance and Ballard’s continuing lack of support, and sometimes even backup, from her department. Not even the canniest readers are likely to see which of these byways will end up leading to the long-overdue solution to the riddle of Daisy Clayton’s death.

Fans who don’t think the supporting cases run away with the story will marvel at Connelly’s remarkable ability to keep them all not only suitably mystifying, but deeply humane, as if he were the Ross Macdonald of the police procedural.” Kirkus Review

Five stars!

After reading The Late Show last December I said the Michael Connelly had hit a home run with the new character of Renee Ballard and this book solidly confirmed it. Adding to it, she partners with Harry Bosch on a cold case and together they save each others lives and solve both cases.  Fantastic!!!!

Now, I have to wait another year for the next installment but I know it will be worth it!

 

 

 

Domination (Submission #2) by CD Reiss

Book Description

Published: November 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

I want to just clarify a couple of things.
Submission is not abdication. Submission is not resignation. It’s not weak or fragile. It doesn’t mean I break at the first sign of trouble.
Well, I broke for a few weeks. When I realized I was falling in love with Jonathan and that I’d never be the same if I allowed it to continue, I broke into a million sharp little pieces. I think I damaged him in the process.
But what could I do?
Stay with him and untangle the mess of his life? Commit to his rules, his secrets, his troubles?
No. Just, no.
If we’re doing this, we’re doing it. If I’m committing, it’s to a man, not a lie. I’ll strip away everything between us, even if it ends us.

Review –

In this book we learn more about Jonathan’s past and drama.. his ex-wife constantly wanting to ruin him and get his money.. his crazy family and secrets. Monica still fighting to get a place on the music industry.. she wants to be herself not to be attached to any men last name and power. She wants to show that she is strong and doesn’t need any money or a man to hold her back.. even thou she keeps failing to achieve that when it comes to Jonathan.There’s a lot of twists and turns in Domination, people keeps trying to break them apart. lies, secrets and a past that keeps trying to come between them.The love between Jonathan and Monica is so surreal and very strong and in this book their relationship evolves even more, it get deeper and closer.. their feelings are more palpable, their love overflows the pages of the book.. is like you get to feel how strong their feelings are for each other, is just breathtaking to read about these two.

The sex between  Jonathan and Monica is darker and fiercer  and very very explicit. Jonathan is a sexual sadist and poor Monica takes anything he can dish out. I feel she is too submissive  in these cases.

This installment of the Submission series ends in a surprising cliffhanger that I didn’t see coming. Can’t wait to start the third and last book in the series, Connection, but first I have another book to read from Overdrive.

 

Submission (Submission #1) by CD Reiss

Book Description:

Published: November 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

****GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND ADULT SITUATIONS****

Jonathan Drazen. Gorgeous. Charming. Smart. Rich.
All the ingredients for a few nights of mind-blowing pleasure are right there. He’s made it perfectly clear he can’t love me, and I’m not out to fall in love either.
But I can’t stay away from him. He’s got this bossy way about him in bed. The word “Sir,” falls from my lips, and when he tells me to get on my knees…well, my knees have a mind of their own.
I got this. I can be his slave for a few nights and walk away unscathed.
We get in. Get it on. Get the hell out. Done.
He knows the line between love and lust. It’s right between my legs.
Now, let’s see if that line blurs for me.

Review –

Jonathan Drazen tops my list of favorite book boyfriends, favorite sadists, and all-time favorite men. I want him all to myself. Rich, witty, brilliant, gorgeous, and a demon in the bedroom – oh yes, Jonathan Drazen is the ultimate hero. Monica Faulkner could not be any more kick ass if she tried. Her attraction to Drazen, her voice, her honesty, her looks, her morals, her self-preservation all contribute to a neatly yet chaotic wrapped package of beauty in a heroine. Add to these brilliant characters the non-stop, intriguing plots of the story, secondary characters who make their tale even better, and scorching, sizzling, smoking sex scenes made unable to put these books down. The writing of CD Reiss pulls you in from the very first sentence and she continually gives more and more to the reader as the story moves forward. Her books are addicting, smart, brilliantly written, and a gift to readers. I’m so happy I’ve discovered this series, and this unforgettable couple.

On to Book Two.

 

 

Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: November 27, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.

Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional – until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.

But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots – and the terrible things hiding there.

Review –

“The Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec finds himself in a unique position: He’s tangled up in the life of a recently deceased woman, and it doesn’t involve her murder.

As the first snowflakes of a major storm start to fall, Chief Superintendent Gamache is standing in front of a crooked house in the middle of the woods, unsure of whom he will find inside. Curiosity is what brings him here after receiving a vague invitation in the mail. But is there danger waiting beyond the door? It’s what Gamache has been trained to anticipate. Currently suspended from his Sûreté post during the investigation into the controversial events of Glass Houses (2017), Gamache must remember he’s here on unofficial business. He and two others who arrive at the house learn that they’ve been named executors of a will belonging to a woman they never knew in life. Stranger still, the woman, who called herself the Baroness, has left millions to her three children, money everyone is shocked to hear about. Her secretiveness was fueled by generations of family bitterness and resentment. And though it may seem like Gamache has all the time in the world to dive into this dark history, his attention is in fact divided: The deadly opioid that slipped untraced into Montreal under Gamache’s watch is expected to hit the streets any day—a most unsettling thought. The author reveals a deeper vulnerability in the introspective Gamache; is it possible he’s not quite sure of himself anymore? A theme of desperation plays out in both story arcs, as characters from all walks of life move between hope and despair and traverse the fine line that separates them. The main mystery pales in comparison to Gamache’s interior story, and the decisions he makes are sure to raise a few eyebrows. Moral duty has been synonymous with our hero, but Penny seems to be pushing her characters in new directions with this installment: “[Gamache] considered his options and the atrocity he was about to commit.” The ending is adrenaline-filled but, no, not because of the mysterious will.”

Five Stars!!!!!!!

This series ranks Number One on my list of Favorite Foreign Crime Fiction Series.

Because of the decision Chief Inspector Gamache made in the previous book, Glass Houses, he has willingly resigned  from his beloved post and his son-in-law and right hand man has decided to quit the force also. He is taking a safer job and moving his family to Paris.

While the author has tied up some continuing story lines, she also  sends recurring characters in surprising directions in this riveting installment.

Can’t wait for the next book which should be released next August.

 

The Marco Effect (Department Q #5) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: September 9, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

All fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson wants is to become a Danish citizen and go to school like a normal teenager. But his uncle Zola rules his former gypsy clan with an iron fist. Revered as a god and feared as a devil, Zola forces the children of the clan to beg and steal for his personal gain. When Marco discovers a dead body—proving the true extent of Zola’s criminal activities—he goes on the run. But his family members aren’t the only ones who’ll go to any lengths to keep Marco silent . . . forever.

Meanwhile, the last thing Detective Carl Mørck needs is for his assistants, Assad and Rose, to pick up a missing persons case on a whim: Carl’s nemesis is his new boss, and he’s saddled Department Q with an unwelcome addition. But when they learn that a mysterious teen named Marco may have as much insight into the case as he has fear of the police, Carl is determined to solve the mystery and save the boy. Carl’s actions propel the trio into a case that extends from Denmark to Africa, from embezzlers to child soldiers, from seemingly petty crime rings to the very darkest of cover-ups.

Review –

“A Danish banking scam whose tentacles extend to Cameroon spells trouble for Department Q’s Carl Mørck and a young boy who gets caught in the crossfire.

It’s true: The coverup is always worse than the original problem.

If only William Stark hadn’t gotten suspicious about the ostensibly gibberish text message a Bantu development officer sent from Cameroon just before he vanished, René E. Eriksen, his boss at the Evaluation Department for Developmental Assistance, wouldn’t have had to send him off to Africa to investigate or assented to a shadowy banker’s order to have him murdered on his return. And if only Marco Jameson, a teenage beggar hiding from his uncle Zola, who planned to have him maimed to increase his daily take, hadn’t taken refuge in Stark’s grave, Zola wouldn’t be sending his young corps fanning out all over Copenhagen to find the boy before he can lead the police to the body Zola buried himself. Now Marco is frantically on the run. Eriksen and his old schoolmate and co-conspirator, banker Teis Snap, are headed for a major falling-out. And Carl, who’d be perfectly happy investigating the houseboat fire that claimed the life of Minna Virklund, wouldn’t have been sucked into a series of coverup murders that threaten to go on forever.

These are already tough times for Carl. His girlfriend, psychologist Mona Ibsen, heads off his marriage proposal by breaking up with him; Marcus Jacobsen, the generally supportive head of Copenhagen Homicide, has abruptly retired; and the new acting head, deputy commissioner Lars Bjørn, has saddled Carl with Gordon Taylor, a rookie still in law school, to ride herd on Department Q’s expenses, ruin Carl’s interrogations and report every minor infraction back to his patron. So all parties concerned can expect major drama.

If a scene works, Adler-Olsen never minds reprising it two or three times with minor variations. The result is a tale as big and sprawling as Carl’s first four cases but more diffuse, more like a TV miniseries than a feature film.” Kirkus Reviews

For some reason I can’t pinpoint, I didn’t like this installment of the Department Q series.  It was all a bit convoluted  and rambled a bit, but still a great read.