If I Run (If I Run #1) by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

 

Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review –

After finding best friend Brent Pace stabbed to death in his apartment, Casey Cox knows she will be the prime suspect and needs to make a decision quickly. Armed with thousands in cash that her father gave her for emergencies, she hops on a bus out of Shreveport, Louisiana, and becomes Grace Newland after purchasing the identity illegally.

Back in Shreveport, war-weary vet Dylan Roberts attends Brent’s funeral and is hired by a family friend in the police department to bring Casey home for questioning. As Dylan tries to determine Casey’s motive for murdering her friend, “Grace” is trying to establish a new life in Shady Grove, Georgia, thanks to Miss Lucy, an elderly woman she met on the bus. Sleuthing online from afar, Casey uncovers evidence that Brent had information pertaining to her father’s murder. Unsure who to trust as evidence begins to point to corrupt detectives, Casey digs into her family past to figure out what really happened to her father a decade before.

Dylan, just a few steps behind Casey, is skeptical of her involvement in Brent’s death. Will her questioning end up costing Casey her life, or will Dylan track her down in time to save them both? The author  is masterly in navigating the suspenseful fugitive plot, using the alternation of Casey’s and Dylan’s chapters to ratchet up the tension. Crisp dialogue and unexpected twists make this compulsive reading, and a final chapter cliffhanger leaves things poised for a sequel. 

I really enjoyed this story but the cliffhanger was a surprise because I didn’t know about the sequel. I plan on reading or listening to it as soon as I can find it.

Breakdown (Alex Delaware #31) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Psychologist sleuth Alex Delaware is surprised to get the call when well-known TV actress Zelda Chase turns up half-naked, half-mad in the LA’s rural Westside. He has little connection to the starlet, save a psychiatric evaluation he performed on her adopted son several years ago, a child who has since vanished without a trace and whom Zelda refuses to talk about. When the actress turns up dead a few weeks later without a scratch on her, Delaware calls in police lieutenant Milo Sturgis to help him crack the case—or at least the wall of silence surrounding it. When the body of a second actress turns up with the same mysterious cause of death, Delaware and Sturgis start to wonder—is this a copycat case or a coincidence? When they uncover the death of another actress, a star from another era who vanished decades ago, never to be found, they realize they’re facing one of their most baffling, mind-bending cases yet.

Review –

Kellerman offers up a slightly different Alex Delaware in this outing, a slightly obsessed one  and the plot – thankfully – kept me guessing. I say  – thankfully – because the last few have been a bit predictable.

This storyline  is mostly an interesting one, although a tad convoluted . But the author also introduces a few threads, which all tie up in a fairly surprising way at the end; but I was kept guessing and keen to understand Zelda’s fate so was pulled into the unfolding story.

I’m hoping Kellerman keeps throwing a few curve balls at his lead characters as this was an improvement on its predecessor and a very  enjoyable read/listen.

The Angel’s Share (The Bourbon Kings #2) by J.R. Ward

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?

Review –

A few high points are:

The investigation into the death of William Baldwine shows that foul play is possible and most probable.

We learn that he embezzled over $173,000,000 from his own company and family and also took most of the money out of his wife’s trust, to the tune of $1,000,000.

Maxwell, the youngest of the Baldwine children, comes home looking like a lumberjack and being very secretive.

Gin marries the sexual sadist but still loves another.

Lane and Lizzy become engaged even thought his divorce from Chantal isn’t final.

Miss Aurora has a medical emergency and may not make it

Edward, still drinking heavily, is arrested for the murder of his father.

Can’t wait for the final installment of this series, The Devil’s Cut, to come out next month.

Fantastic book.

 

Sacred (Kenzie and Gennaro #3) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: 1998

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Dennis Lehane won a Shamus Award for A Drink Before the War, his first book about working-class Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. His second in the series, Darkness, Take My Hand, got the kind of high octane reviews that careers are made of. Now Lehane not only survives the dreaded third-book curse, he beats it to death with a stick.

Sacred is a dark and dangerous updating of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, as dying billionaire Trevor Stone hires Kenzie and Gennaro to find his daughter, Desiree. Patrick’s mentor, a wonderfully devious detective named Jay Becker, has already disappeared in St. Petersburg, Florida, while working the case, so the two head there to pick up a trail. Desiree, of course, is nothing like the sweet and simple beauty described by her father, and even Chandler would have been amazed by the plot twists that Lehane manages to keep coming.

Review –

 

The kidnapping really should have tipped them off. You can’t have much of a relationship with a client who grabs you off the street, drugs you, and ties you to a couple of chairs while he makes his pitch. But dying billionaire Trevor Stone, whose wife is dead and whose daughter has disappeared, is obviously a man in pain, and the $50,000 retainer he offers (plus $200,000 for expenses) goes a long way to soften the insult. So Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his partner, friend, and sometime lover, agree to follow Patrick’s vanished mentor Jay Becker into the darkness surrounding beautiful, depressed Desiree Stone, and soon–with only a brief intermission for a lovely farewell bash for their prison-bound buddy Bubba Rogowski–they’re tangling with fraudulent grief counselors, a clever and vindictive IRS computer geek, and the Church of Truth and Revelation. And that’s only the beginning, since the trail of Desiree’s last known companion leads to Tampa, where the serious corpses will start to pile up, and where they’ll finally get an inkling of the true relationship between their megalomaniac client and his anaconda-like daughter. 

 This case leads Patrick and Angie  into unexpected territory: a place of lies and corruption, where trusting anyone could get them killed, and where nothing is sacred.

Fantastic story line and I love that the author has been slowly developing the personal/physical relationship between Patrick and Angie and in this book they become a full-fledged couple. They are super hot together.

 

 

 

 

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

Book Description:

Published: May 31, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the crash heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations–all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.

Review –

Before The Fall  starts off with a private plane being prepared to transport a TV executive, his wife and their two children; a couple who are friends of theirs; an artist the wife has befriended; the crew of the plane, and a private bodyguard employed by the TV executive. They are all flying from Martha’s Vineyard to New York. It is a summer night and other than some mild fog, conditions for flying are good. Yet sixteen minutes after takeoff the plane plunges into the sea.

The rest of the book concerns how and why the plane crashed. Various theories are possible and Hawley takes us back into the past to see how and why these suppositions could be right. He holds the reveal of what actually happened to the very end of the book. But until those final moments it is anybody’s guess.

Going back and forth to the past and relating detailed back stories on each character bogged things down but I still gave the book FIVE STARS because even through the bog I couldn’t help myself and kept on listening.

There are numerous theories as to what or who caused the plane to crash. For awhile, Scott, was himself a suspect. It is not until the end that we find out who is behind the crash and it was so very plausible that I am very glad that I haven’t flown in years and now I don’t ever plan to do so!

Five Stars *****

 

 

 

Guilty Minds (Nick Heller #3( by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is about to be defamed by a powerful gossip website called Slander Sheet, which specializes in dirt on celebs and politicians. Their top reporter has written an exposé claiming that he had liaisons with an escort, a young woman willing to appear on video and tell the world her salacious yet convincing tale. But the chief justice is not without formidable allies, and his greatest supporter is determined to stop the story in its tracks.
     
Nick Heller is a private spy—a private intelligence operative based in Boston, hired by lawyers, politicians, and even foreign governments. Known as both a maverick and a dedicated, high-powered investigator, he’s called to Washington, DC, to help out in this delicate, potentially explosive situation.
  
Nick has just forty-eight hours to prove the story about the chief justice is baseless. But when the call girl is found murdered, the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn, and Nick resolves to find the true mastermind behind the Slander Sheet story before anyone else falls victim to the maelstrom of political scandal and ruined reputations predicated upon one carefully concealed secret.   

Review –

In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.

The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to.

Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony. 

Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.

Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one hell of a ride! 

Fantastic read!

 

 

Caught by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: March 23, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

Review –

This book will grip you tightly around the throat just after the first sentence and won’t let go until the end.

I knew opening that red door would destroy my life.

There are so many things going on in this book, the disappearance of a seventeen year old girl,  and a man being cast as a pedophile, but is he?  He is one of five Princeton roommates who have had their lives destroyed in the last year. Who is behind it?

What really happened to Haley and is it connected to Dan Mercer?

So many questions, but I’ll never tell. If you want to know, you really need to pick up this stand alone novel by Harlan Coben. You will not be disappointed.

Fantastic!!

 

After The Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 14, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When a tornado tears through Painters Mill and unearths human remains, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder finds herself tasked with the responsibility of identifying the bones–and notifying the family. Evidence quickly emerges that the death was no accident and Kate finds herself plunged into a thirty year old case that takes her deep into the Amish community to which she once belonged.

Meanwhile, turmoil of an emotional and personal nature strikes at the very heart of Kate’s budding relationship with state agent John Tomasetti. A reality that strains their fragile new love to the breaking point and threatens the refuge they’ve built for themselves–and their future.

Under siege from an unknown assailant–and her own personal demons–Kate digs deep into the case only to discover proof of an unimaginable atrocity, a plethora of family secrets and the lengths to which people will go to protect their own.

Review –

This was, by far, the best of the Kate Burkholder novels to date.

Besides hunting for the identity of the bones found in the crawl space of an old barn, Kate discovers that she’s pregnant. She’s on the pill but sometimes is lax about routinely taking them so she feels guilty.  Add to this that Tomasetti isn’t thrilled about it and admits that he doesn’t even think he wants kids again. Of course, later, when heads are clearer he comes to want the child and even buys Kate an Amish made cradle.

The tension between Kate and John was so strong you could feel it. Linda Castillo is a great creator of angst.

I had my fingers crossed that the author would let it work out but because of all the falls and rough blows she took subduing the murderer, Kate loses the baby. I cried and cried and cried. I guess it just wasn’t the right time for them but I have my fingers crossed that soon their happily ever after will happen.

Five stars !!!!!

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Book Description:

Published: August 25, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

“The Dollhouse. . . . That’s what we boys like to call it. . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you.”

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.”

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

Review –

In The Dollhouse, debut novelist Fiona Davis begins with a simple premise. But as the book advances, through alternating looks at Rose’s world in 2016 and Darby’s in 1952, the story becomes increasingly complex. Davis layers on relationships and intrigue, while building tension through her story structure. Each glimpse at Darby’s world leaves both Rose and the reader yearning for more, and eager to understand exactly what shaped the ladies at this women’s residence. The pace quickens as the story hurtles to its surprising—but satisfying—end. 

Fantastic book full of twists and turns and sub-plots and makes for a great Summer read!

Five stars.

Lost Light (Harry Bosch #9) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2004

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The vision has haunted him for four years–a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.

Review –

I’ve read or listened to most of the Harry Bosch series but every once in a while I will come across one that’s I’ve missed. This was one and when I found it available on OverDrive I checked it out.

Writing in the first person for the first time, Connelly finally gets us inside Bosch’s head and it really gives us an insight to how his mind works. Great job on the author’s part.

Recalling the opening of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Bosch shows up at a rich movie executive’s home in his best suit. He has gone to ask about a woman who was murdered when Bosch was still on the police force. You see, when Bosch retired, he took his unsolved case files with him, and some of the untouched cases still haunt him.

The woman Bosch is asking about was killed at the movie exec’s studio and the case was eventually overlooked, when an armored truck delivering two million dollars as a movie prop was hijacked. But Bosch never forgets, and after asking around, he gets warnings from some of his old co-workers, namely Kiz Rider, who asks him to stay out of the case.

As Bosch begins to sift through the murder, the FBI, a paraplegic ex-cop, productions studios, his former wife, and Hollywood clubs become involved. When one of the marked dollar bills from the robbery turns up with a suspected terrorist, Bosch becomes entangled with the newly created Homeland Security division of the FBI. This is where Connelly begins to shine. He ratchets up the suspense as Bosch becomes more and more involved with the Feds, who are trying to keep him off the case. But in true private investigator tradition, Bosch only becomes more stubbornly determined to solve the case.

Particularly enjoyable are those scenes when we follow Harry as he tries to interview suspects and find clues, and the difficulty he has making the transition from an insider to an outsider. The interactions with characters, the paraplegic especially, have a very dark and moody feel.

The ending of the story is a surprise and a tear-jerker (at least for me), but works with Connelly’s theme of balancing the light and darkness of his mission, and the last third of the book is absolutely riveting.

I’m going to re-check my list to see if I have missed any other Harry Bosch gems and find them if I can.