Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

Book Description:

Published: January 5, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 3

Everyone has secrets, and Rachel Holloway is no exception.She’s worked hard to keep the past where it belongs: dead and buried. And so far, she’s been very successful.

But now the small newspaper where she works wants to produce a podcast on a cold case: the disappearance twelve years ago of little Molly Forster.

Some secrets should never see the light of day, and as far as Rachel is concerned, whatever happened to little Molly is one of them. Rachel has a life now, a boyfriend she loves and a three-year-old daughter she adores, and she will do anything to protect them.

But to do that, no one can ever know that she is Molly Forster.

Review –

I’m usually a big crime drama fan, but this one sucked.

Rachel Holloway works at a floundering newspaper with the bright idea to boost readership by starting a podcast focused on a true unsolved crime story: what happened to little Molly Forster, the 12-year old only survivor of the massacre of her family twelve years earlier? Rachel panics, and does everything she can to sabotage the podcast, because she has a secret: she is Molly. And she’s been hiding ever since, terrified that the killer would finish what he started.

My problem is that from the get-go we know where the missing child is and who she is and a few chapters later we discover who the killer is. So why read any more? it’s a done deal. Of course, I finished this book(because I never NOT finish a book) but it was a real struggle to the very end.

I do like the cover very much, however.

 

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Book Description:

Published: October 17, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Review –

One day at the gym, Amber Patterson drops the magazine she’s reading between her exercise bike and that of the woman who happens to be beside her, Daphne Parrish. As she bends to pick it up, Daphne notices that it’s the publication of a cystic fibrosis foundation. What a coincidence—Daphne’s sister died of cystic fibrosis, and, why, so did Amber’s! “Slowing her pace, Amber wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. It took a lot of acting skills to cry about a sister who never existed.” Step one complete. “All she needed from Daphne was everything.” Everything, in this case, consists of Daphne’s outlandishly wealthy and blisteringly hot husband, Jackson, and all the real estate that comes with him; Daphne can definitely keep her two whiny brats. Amber hates children. But once she finds out that Daphne’s failure to give Jackson a male heir is the main source of tension in the marriage, she sees exactly how to make this work. Amber’s constant, spiteful inner monologue as she plays up to Daphne is the best thing about this book. For example, as Daphne talks about the many miseries her sister Julie went through before her death, Amber is thinking, “At least Julie had grown up in a nice house with money and parents who cared about her. Okay, she was sick and then she died. So what? A lot of people were sick. A lot of people died.…How about Amber and what she’d gone through?” Meanwhile, poor, stupid Daphne is so caught up in the joy of finally having a friend, she seems to be handing Jackson to her on a platter. 

The reader watches with shock and delight as Amber cold-bloodedly manipulates Daphne and Jackson and lays waste to anyone else who stands in her way. Then, about halfway through, the point of view switches from Amber’s to Daphne’s, and we get a surprisingly different take on the story. To say any more would spoil all the twists that Constantine (the pseudonym of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine) has in store along the way to a surprising and entirely satisfying ending.

Fantastic read!

Camino Winds (Camino Island #2) by John Grisham

Book Description:

Published: April 28, 2020

Format: Hardback

Stars: 3

Welcome back to Camino Island, where anything can happen—even a murder in the midst of a hurricane, which might prove to be the perfect crime . . .

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

Who would want Nelson dead? The local police are overwhelmed in the aftermath of the storm and ill equipped to handle the case. Bruce begins to wonder if the shady characters in Nelson’s novels might be more real than fictional. And somewhere on Nelson’s computer is the manuscript of his new novel. Could the key to the case be right there—in black and white? As Bruce starts to investigate, what he discovers between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists—and far more dangerous.

Review –

My husband read Camino Island, the first book in the Camino Island series and pre-ordered this one. When it arrived he was already reading something else so he said I could read it – so I did.

I had not read Camino Island but this book can serve as a stand-a-lone with no problem.  The first thing that bothered me was the speed at which the hurricane passed through in the first few pages. I think it at least deserved a chapter. Then upon discovering the body of Nelson Kerr, a fellow writer, they (a small group of hurrmian survivors) took it upon themselves to perform the job of police detectives – moving the body, searching for clues and finally taking all his perishable food (they later had a big cookout).

For me, the book went downhill from there. It was just okay and I told my husband I gave it three stars and that I wouldn’t be reading the first one or any more that may follow in this series.

I’m sorry Mr. Grisham, but it just wasn’t my cup  of tea.

 

The Wanted (Joe Pike #6, Elvis Cole #17) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: December 26, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 3

It seemed like a simple case before the bodies starting piling up. Investigator Elvis Cole and his partner, Joe Pike, take on the deadliest case of their lives, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author

When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it’s because her troubled teenage son Tyson is flashing cash and she’s afraid he’s dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he’s been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friends Joe Pike and Jon Stone. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won’t make any difference.

Review –

“In the latest Elvis Cole book, a teenager involved in a series of high-end burglaries is pursued by a murderous, wisecracking duo—possibly dirty cops—hired to recover a stolen laptop.

Along with his dicey new friends, Alec and Amber, with whom he’s smitten, 17-year-old Valley boy Tyson Connor has been stashing away tens of thousands of dollars from selling stolen items, including watches and jewelry. His mother, Devon, knows he’s in some kind of trouble but thinks he may be dealing drugs. After Tyson disappears, she hires Cole to find him. The coldblooded bad guys don’t hesitate to kill people, including a busboy who gave them information about Alec and Amber and an elderly regular at a flea market where the young crooks sold their loot. With the LA cops on his case, as usual, and his regular associate Joe Pike providing backup, the private eye and Devon are able to make contact with Tyson electronically. When Devon texts her son that Alec has been murdered, Amber convinces him that his mom is making up stories to get him back—but a text from Cole about the flea-market lady’s death, coupled with some Googling, makes Tyson wonder. Among West Coast mystery writers, none is more reliable than Crais, who is in excellent form here. Though he makes his villains a bit too much of a comedy duo—the violence is oddly muted as a result—it’s difficult to resist an exchange in which they argue over the use of the music from the shower scene in Psycho as a ringtone.

In his 21st book, Los Angeles ace Crais (The Promise, 2015, etc.) extends his streak of sharp, enjoyable thrillers.” Kirkus Review 

I usually loved Elvis Cole novels but this one fell a bit short for me. The teenagers turned the book into a three ring circus and I would have preferred that Joe Pike had a bigger part, but that’s just me!

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: March 3, 2020

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

Review –

“Witnessing a suicide proves almost fatal for the witness herself.

Shay Miller would not have been on that subway platform had she not taken the 22 seconds required to tie up her ponytail. Because she did, she is the sole witness to a suicide that changes her life. But is she stalking the friends of the dead girl, or are they stalking her? It seems to be both, as Hendricks and Pekkanen (An Anonymous Girl, 2019) unfold another one of their intricately plotted, female-focused thrillers. Rage about rape and sexual abuse underlies the plot as Google searches, dating apps, and hacked phones move it forward, making this a thriller of the moment. Here, the evil men are on the sidelines—the women are pitted against each other in a complicated game of cat and mouse. Shay, who is lonely, insecure, and broke, is easily drawn in by the cool and confident Moore sisters, who ply her with beauty makeovers, a “sea-blue leather purse,” “a sugar cookie scented Nest candle, with notes of Tahitian vanilla and bourbon infused caramel,” and, most devastatingly, the illusion of friendship. But socially awkward, highly observant Shay, who makes her way through life by recording statistics and factoids about human nature in a “Data Book,” can only be fooled so long. “Between 73 and 79 percent of homicides during a 15-year period were committed by offenders known to the victim,” she notes. Good thing to know. The authors dole out clues in a series of interlocking flashbacks; finally we get the detail that makes the pieces come together, with just a few little issues to argue about in your book club.

Lots of frenzied flipping back and forth for readers who like to figure out the puzzle.” Kirkus Review

In my opinion, this book was not as good as their previous two novels, but I still gave it four stars because of the twists and turns.

 

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

Book Description:

Published: June 12, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 3

From the international bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouncement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre”

Review –

“Laurence Fitzsimons has a mother who’s determined to control everything, and everyone, around her—even if she has to kill to do it.

When 22-year-old Annie Doyle is murdered, it’s ugly and sudden. Her life ends in 1980 on a Dublin beach at the hands of Lydia and Andrew Fitzsimons, for reasons not immediately made clear. Lydia doesn’t feel at all bad about the deed: “I like to think I did the girl a kindness, like putting an injured bird out of its misery. She did not deserve such kindness.” Lydia is disillusioned with Andrew after more than 21 years of marriage, and although they live in a lovely estate called Avalon, they are nearly penniless because of Andrew’s bad investments. All Lydia really cares about is her 17-year-old son, Laurence, whose every move she attempts to control. Laurence is overweight and bullied at school, but he’s also observant and not at all stupid. His parents are acting squirrelly, and he soon suspects one or both of them had a hand in Annie’s death. Meanwhile, Annie’s sister, Karen, is convinced something bad has happened to Annie, who has always been troubled: At 16 she became pregnant, was sent to a home for unwed mothers, and was forced to give up her baby girl, Marnie. It left her forever changed. Karen begins investigating on her own, eventually becoming intimately tied to the Fitzsimons. Like Unraveling Oliver (2017), this is a whydunit, not a whodunit, and the real meat lies in Nugent’s exploration of motherhood, mental illness, and what could drive a person to murder, told through first-person accounts from Lydia, Karen, and Laurence. Lydia is a Gothic villain for the ages, and Annie is sympathetically drawn; a letter she wrote to Marnie, riddled with misspellings, is heartbreaking. Society failed Annie, and her victimization never ended, even after her death.

A page-turner chock full of lies and betrayals and a very creepy mother-son relationship.” Kirkus Review
This book was a bit of a let down for me.

Mine by Courtney Cole

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

Tessa was prepared for the hurricane. Lindsey was the storm she didn’t see coming.

When Tessa Taylor unlocked her husband Ethan’s iPad to discover nude photos from a twenty-six-year-old bombshell named Lindsey, her seemingly perfect life came to a screeching halt.

With a hurricane barreling toward Florida and Ethan stuck on a business trip, Tessa finds herself imprisoned in her own home with a choice to make: Does she ride out the storm until she can confront Ethan in person, or does she take matters into her own hands?

Increasingly restless and desperate for revenge, Tessa resolves to act. And when she lures Lindsey over a few hours later, there’s no turning back.

What ensues is a battle of wills between two well-matched opponents, blinded by love for the same man but driven by demons of their own. Like storm-ravaged Florida, neither woman will be the same when the skies clear.

Review –

Mine is told through alternating perspectives: Tess, Ethan’s wife and mother of his children, and Lindsey, Ethan’s younger mistress. Lindsey is also a mother, but her son is living with her mother while she figures out her life.

As with many thrillers, the timeline jumps around. I believe most of Tess’s chapters are told in the present, while Lindsey’s are told in the past and focus on how she and Ethan began their relationship and how it progressed.

In the present day, the book follows the events of one night. Once Tess discovers Ethan has been cheating on her (he is away for work), she invites Lindsey over to confront her over the affair during a hurricane. For the most part, Lindsey is fairly unapologetic about the whole situation. She knew Ethan was married and didn’t care. She blamed Tess for why the marriage fell apart and thought Ethan would be the perfect addition to her and her son.

For awhile you wonder if either woman would be alive at the end of the book. They are brutal!

If you read The Last Mrs. Parrish, you’ll see some similar moments/themes. However, outside of the idea of two women fighting over one man, I don’t think they were that similar.

Everything is fairly wrapped up by the end and I was happy with the conclusion. Mine definitely falls more into the thriller category over a mystery.

It was a quick and suspenseful read for a hot Spring day in Oklahoma!. (it was 101 degrees here today.)

 

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Book Description:

Published: April 25, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel.

Review –

“Single mother Alice offers a stranger sitting on the beach in the rain a windbreaker, and, upon learning he has no recollection of who he is or how he got there, she invites him to stay in her guesthouse. Her children give him the name Frank, and Alice works to help him regain his memory and learn how he ended up in the north of England. Near London, Lily, a young wife from the Ukraine who has been living in England with her new husband, panics when he fails to return home. After the local police inform Lily his passport is fake, she begins to search for him to determine whom she married and why he suddenly abandoned her. These two stories set in present-day Britain are interwoven with a third story set in 1993 of a family’s annual vacation to the beach, which takes a troubling and ominous turn after the 15-year-old daughter, Kirsty, begins dating a local 19-year-old guy, Mark. As Jewell’s (The Girls in the Garden, 2016, etc.) novel progresses, the tensions in each story heighten as the characters must confront questions of whether we ever truly know other people or if we always keep part of ourselves hidden away. While these are not new questions, Jewell’s page-turner approaches them in a riveting manner. Its numerous twists avoid predictability, and the novel is well-paced as it weaves the three narratives together. Toward the end of the novel, as Alice, Frank, and Lily meet and begin to learn who has brought them together, the plot moves a bit too quickly for a full explanation of everyone’s identity and motivations. Yet even these too-short character back stories serve to circle back and reinforce the novel’s central question: how much does knowing a person in the present count for?

Dark and moody, this is a mystery with substance.” Kirkus Reviews

Definitely 5 stars!!!

A Dark Lure (Dark Lure#1) by Loreth Anne White

Book Description:

Published: July 1, 2015

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

Review –

First, be aware that there may be triggers so some. Included in the book are kidnapping,rape,torture of women,multilation, biting, etc.

Wow, what a ride! This was probably the most suspenseful novel I’ve read in the last few months.

Basically, it’s a story about survival: Olivia West, sole survivor of the “Watt Lake Killer” who died in prison, works anonymously on Broken Bar Ranch as its manager when a body is discovered. The victim’s remains have been put on display in the same way the dead killer used to do and weird things – coincidences? – begin to happen on Broken Bar Ranch.

A cop who worked on the side-lines of the original Watt Lake case – now dying from cancer – never believed the real killer had been apprehended and, thus, he’s out with his young daughter, Tori, to catch the right guy this time…

It’s hard to find fault with a book that’s as engaging and exciting as this one. Of course, it’s not high literature but it’s nearly perfect for what it is. Frequent switches of perspectives and places take place but I always knew exactly what was going on which is a big plus for me. The backstory of the Watt Lake killer is told by means of a book written by Tori’s late mother and makes for chilling interludes.

The world was natural, beautiful and rugged. The details were lush in description (the Canadian Northwest). Many of the characters and certainly the main characters were all grappling with their pasts, not always sure they wanted the future. Character growth and strength provide the base for a great story.

I loved the personal growth and how hard they fought for life. There were various twists of things, and a few I guessed.  What a pace of terrifying events with the weather to complicate matters. there was the ultimate battle for survival.

I highly recommend this heart-breaking, smart and uplifting tale!

 

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Review –

This book is equal parts old-school gothic suspense and modern psychological thriller,The Turn of the Key seamlessly blends an homage to Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with a page-turning story of surveillance, paranoia, and domestic drama.

It follows  a young woman who accepts position as a nanny at a state-of-the-art smart house in the Scottish Highlands, only to wind up imprisoned for the death of one of the children in her care, this book is one of the most binge-worthy, genuinely addictive suspense novels you will read during this quarantine event.

From the outset, readers know that things won’t end well for Rowan (the nanny)… in fact, they will end so badly that Rowan will ultimately find herself in a jail cell, awaiting trial for the death of a child under her care. But how did things go from so idyllic to so disastrous?

It takes a special story to hold a reader’s attention when the outcome is known from the outset, and that’s exactly the kind of story Ruth Ware crafts in The Turn of the Key. Readers will be spellbound  by Rowan’s experience settling in to her new life at Heatherbrae House; the beauty of the Highlands, the apparent generosity of Rowan’s new employers, the incredible amenities found within Rowan’s new home–the author paints a picture of a true dream scenario for her protagonist. But as time goes by, tensions and suspicion begins to build. The children in Rowan’s care prove to be more difficult than anticipated, and her new employers leave home for weeks on end, leaving Rowan to fend for herself. As bizarre and inexplicable occurrences begin to take place in the home, Rowan launches an informal investigation into the home’s history–and what she learns will hint at a sinister past and potential evil lurking in the home to this day. And that technology that made the home so appealing? It means that Rowan’s every move is being monitored, or is it?

As previously stated, readers know that Rowan has been arrested in conjunction with the tragic death of a child under her care. The Turn of the Key then, finds Rowan telling her side of the story – what really happened, and who she believes is actually responsible for this tragedy. You know those crime novels that you end up loving the most when you go into them knowing very little about the story’s plot? This book  is one of them. The less you know here, the better – just sit back and let the authors’ brilliant plotting sweep you up in a story of a building’s dark history and its modern-day consequences. There are so many twists and turns, and when the ending comes your mouth can’t help but fall open!!!!!

Fantastic read!