Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Book Description:

Published: February 11,2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Review –

In two words, this book was SUPER CREEPY!!!!

Jack has a horribly violent past and he lives to satisfy his predilection , which is to psychologically terrorize and break women and sometimes physically hurt them.

Grace is mature beyond her years and the sole guardian of the sister, Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. They meet Jack in the park and he ingratiates himself into their lives. To Grace he is the perfect man and she agrees to marry him. Millie is to be her bridesmaid, but on the way to wedding site Jack pushes Millie down a flight of stairs, unbeknownst to Grace. The wedding proceeds and they fly to Thailand for the honeymoon. Jack hasn’t been very sexually attentive in their relationship but Grace has chalked this up to his busy lawyer status . Jack has NEVER lost a case, the irony being that he defends battered women.

Jack disappears on their wedding night and when he does reappear he explains to Grace exactly what her life will be like. She will have no phone, no passport, no money and she will do as he says or else Millie will suffer. He locks her out on the terrace for hours at a time while he goes off and feeds her only when he feels like it.

Arriving at their new home Grace sees that it is everything they had discussed prior to the wedding but try to escape and each time a privilege is taken away until finally she is kept in black pajamas  in a small plain room with bars on the one small window. She can have no books or newspapers, no television, no writing implements , nothing to offer distraction and stimulation. 

When Millie turns eighteen the plan is for her to come live with them so Grace has to get free before that happens.

THAT is all I’m going to tell you, except to say that this book is told from Grace’s POV in Past and Present modes.

Does she get free from the clutches of her crazy, murderous psycho of a husband?  You will have to read or listen to this book for yourself. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and flipping pages or listening from beginning to end inn one sitting. (I almost did.)

Fantastic debut novel. Can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.

Five stars *****

 

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Book Description:

Published: July 5, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

She sets a trap. But is he really a killer?

The famous bestselling author Linda Conrads  is a mystery to her fans and the media. For eleven years she did not leave her villa on Lake Štarnberškom. Despite the problems, Linda was very successful, but no one knows her remoteness has been brought about by a traumatizing memory. Years before  Linda found her younger sister, Anna,  in a pool of blood – and saw her killer  flee.  The killer’s face haunts her dreams. One day she experiences an incredible shock when seeing the killer’s face on television. He is a prominent journalist . For Linda, it’s reason enough to forge a dangerous and devious  plan – to lure the killer into a trap.

But what really happened the night of the crime?

Review –

This was my first read/listen by this author and I enjoyed it very much.

Everyone thought Anna was perfect and ignored plain Linda and one day Linda finds her sister dead in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed seven times. She saw the killer. Looked him right in the face before he fled through the terrace doors. The police took her statement but were skeptical . There was no forced entry and nothing was disturbed.

Now plagued by panic attacks, Linda copes with debilitating anxiety by secluding herself in her house, her last safe haven. But the sanctity of this refuge is shattered when her sister’s murderer appears again–this time on her television screen. Empowered with sudden knowledge but hobbled by years of isolation, Linda resolves to use her only means of communication with the outside world–the plot of her next novel–to lay an irresistible trap for the man.

But as the plan is set in motion and the past comes rushing back, Linda’s memories of that traumatic night–and her very sanity–are called into question. Is this man really a heartless killer or merely a helpless victim?

I won’t give the ending away but there are many twists and turns and even a hidden love story .

The author is German and the book was a  translation and while I’ve seen reviewers that did not like it at all, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

 

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The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedstrom #1) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: June 15, 2010

Format: Audio/Audible

Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.

Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past.

Review –

This is the second book from this author that I have listened to and I loved it. The first one was The Stonecutter, and I listened to it over a year ago and it was number three in the series. This was number one and we meet up with the main characters of Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck. He is a police detective and she is a writer and most of the action takes place in the small fishing village of Fjallbacka, Sweden.

Erica’s childhood friend, Alex, is found murdered in a bathtub with both wrists slit. Alex and her family moved away when she was around ten and she was never the same outgoing little girl. Soon after Alex’s murder, a  close friend of hers is found hanging in his home. Can these two murders connected?

There are many twists and turns in this foreign crime fiction  and we learn about the horrible things done to Alex as a child by someone who should have been a protector and why she and Anders were close.

The murderer is someone I never expected, which always makes a  book even better.

Right along with the murder investigation we see the chemistry between Patrik and Erica evolve into more. Although they knew each other in school, over twenty years ago, Erica had no idea the depth of feelings that brewed between them.

Great read and a great who-dun-it.  Looking forward to finding more in the series.

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Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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Cell 8 (Grens & Sundkvist #3) by Anders Rosalind and Borge Hellstrom

Book Description :

Published: January 3, 2012

Format: Audio

Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens of THREE SECONDS returns in a riveting mystery that centers on perhaps the most controversial subject in the modern criminal justice system: the death penalty.
In Ohio, seventeen-year-old John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. The victim’s father hungers for revenge, while a prison guard is torn by compassion for the young man. When Frey unexpectedly dies of heart disease before he either receives his just punishment or achieves redemption, the wheels of justice grind to a halt.

Six years later, on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, a singer named John Schwarz viciously attacks a drunken lout harassing a woman, leaving the man in a coma. The Stockholm police arrest Schwarz for aggravated assault, but when Grens learns that the assailant has been living in Sweden under a false identity, he begins to suspect that something darker and more complex underlies the incident. Following his intuition, Grens launches an investigation that spans from Sweden to the United States and reveals a startling connection between the Frey and Schwarz cases.

Featuring a multilayered plot with a killer twist, CELL 8 takes readers on a gripping, page-turning journey that explores the devastating repercussions of the death penalty as well as the fallout from the conflicting desires for public justice and private retribution.

Review –

This was a first time listen to this author’s work and I loved it. I will definitely  be trying to find the others in the series.

This is a heart-wrenching story of a man named John who was seventeen when he was convicted of murdering his sixteen year old girlfriend although he claims he didn’t do it.  Several years go by and now  he sits waiting for his day to be executed.

One of the main prison guards feels compassion for the young man and believes in his innocence and so with several others they fake the man’s death (really cool the way they did it) and send him on his way to Sweden with a fake identify. There he lives peacefully, marrying and having a son, until one night on his job he kicks a man in the face and almost kills him. He is arrested and little by little they find out that he is none other than a convict from Ohio who everyone thought was dead. 

This is where things become political and finally he is extradited to the United States and put to death. THEN there is a GIANT surprise twist and we find out the identity of the real killer and what was put into motion all those years ago come to fruition. 

Fantastic book.

Five stars *****

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The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster #2) by Robert Bryndza

Book Description:

Published: June 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

Review –

This is only the second book in the DCI Erika Foster series and I’m totally hooked.

I just love DCI Erika Foster…she’s abrasive, yet extremely loyal, willing to go as far as necessary to solve a case. Her and her team will do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and that is clearly evident in this book. Erika is certainly a force to be reckoned with.  She may not always see eye-to-eye with her bosses and her co-workers – those that are equal to her – but those that work for her know her dedication to the job and are usually willing to go to bat for her.

The one thing that does make my blood boil in this book (and in the first one as well) is that the upper ranks of the police department are made to look totally incompetent and just plain stupid. It’s like without Erika no crime would get solved. And once she does bring in the killer, she is not even given a pat on the back and her promotion is given to someone less talented. You would think after a while that they would come to expect the unexpected from her. I guess I’ll have to wait for other books in the series to see if they wise up.

I found myself completely invested in this story right from the beginning because it’s another fast-paced, shocking thriller and even though this one takes place in the sweltering heat of the summer, it’s still has that chilling factor to it that all good mysteries do. 

Excellent read/listen.

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The Girl In The Ice (DCI Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza

Book Description:

Published: February 12, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

Review –

I was excited  to discover and enjoy an author I hadn’t read before! Loved the character, and although she has her flaws, she is a strong woman with principles.  The  plot was fantastic with enough suspense and twists to keep my interest.

Right from the beginning you feel you can guess some of the twists, but also  feel the frustration of DCI Foster trying to find the vital clues. Lots of build up and the ending definitely  does not disappoint. 

I am so looking forward to the rest of the series!

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Camera Killer by Thomas Glavinic translated by John Brownjohn

Book Description:

Published: 2003

On Good Friday, a brutal double murder takes place in the woods, and the killer records the sickening crime on videotape. With the local media building up excitement — and outrage — at the scheduled airing of the footage, two couples in the midst of celebrating the Easter holiday find their idyll interrupted by the breaking news.

Against the backdrop of twenty-four-hour news coverage, the four friends spend the weekend playing cards, chatting, eating, and drinking. Despite their best efforts to enjoy this rare time together, they’re unable to stop talking about the murders and the search for the elusive killer. Repulsed by the airing of the crime, they question the ethics of showing such atrocities on television — yet they can’t stop watching.

A gripping psychological thriller, The Camera Killer will keep listeners tuned to the very end as the mystery unravels.

Review –

Format:

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I HATED this book and I’m only mentioning it so you don’t accidentally find it in your possession and decide to read it. (The blurb made it sound so good-just goes to show you can’t trust all blurbs)

Two young boys were forced to kill themselves by jumping from forty foot trees while a man videotaped the whole thing and the story is the reactions of four friends.

The unnamed narrator and his “partner”Sonja, (always mentioned as partner instead of girlfriend) go to visit Eva and Heinrich Stubenrauch over the Easter week-end and it details their actions which involves watching television to find out the latest on the murders, having a picnic and going to the bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times this was mentioned and it became a bit ridiculous. 

The murderer is found at the very end and BAM -THE END. Too abrupt!!!!!

Anyway, I HATED it. Stay away from the CAMERA KILLER.

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Invisible Murder (Nina Borg #2) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Book Description:

Published: October 2, 2012

Scavenging hospital ruins in northern Hungary, two Roma boys stumble on something more valuable than usual black market finds. The chain of events threatens many lives. In Denmark, Red Cross nurse Nina Borg puts her life and family on the line when she treats Hungarian Gypsies living illegally in a Copenhagen garage. What are they hiding? What makes them so sick?

Review –

THE INVISIBLE MURDER, the sequel to THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE, is a gripping thriller which sets the three distinct  narrative threads running before entwining them in a nail-biting race against time climax. Nina acts much more rationally in this second book, and yet still cannot seem to win and her ethical acts take a toll on both her and her family, physically, emotionally and personally. The authors weave politics into their characters’ lives, from the issue of immigration in Denmark to the racism and prejudice faced by the Roma and this is what makes this series of books an interesting as well as an exciting read. 

Although, Nina inadvertently put her daughter in harms way, she didn’t mean to, and her husband,(I thought ) should have been more understanding instead of LEAVING  her. And, on top of that he left  her while she was still recuperating in the hospital. If you ask me, she’s better off without him. Just saying .

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I look forward to reading another by the author.

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The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Book Description:

Published: November 8, 2011

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can’t say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.
Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

Review –

This is the first book that I have read/listened to by Danish author, Lene Kaaberbol and translated by Agnete Friis and I loved it, BUT…

Nina seems to be  cliché; she’s a typical damaged protagonist (seems to be suffering from manic depression) who had a childhood trauma and has been compensating ever since, distancing herself from her husband and children in order to save them from herself, while compulsively helping other “outsiders”.  She always takes too much on instead of asking the authorities  for help. Nevertheless, though there are some flaws in the book, it is a very good read, highlighting some of the social injustices that are all too familiar to us today from reading the newspapers and other crime novels.

I’m looking forward to finding more books by this author.

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