Darkness Take My Hand (Kenzie and Gennaro #2) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 1996

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything–including the truth.

Review –

The above blurb does little to prepare the reader or the listener for what lays ahead. Lehane’s latest is an explosive story that is at once gut-wrenchingly violent and achingly melancholy.

Having not read or listened to the first book in this series, I knew nothing about the bond between Patrick and Angie but it doesn’t take long to pick up on the sexual chemistry and tension between them.

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Dimassi have known each other since they were six-year-olds running wild on the playgrounds of South Boston. As grown-ups, they’re partners in a detective agency, and the dangerous spots they’ve encountered together have strengthened the old bonds. Angie is coming out of an unhappy marriage, and Patrick is happily in love, when a series of brutal murders intrude. As Angie and Patrick try to find out what kind of human being could perform such horrifying acts of rape, mutilation, torture, and dismemberment, they soon find that the killer’s motive is disturbingly rooted in their own distant past. The two work frantically with the Boston cops, the FBI, the local Mafia, and folks from the old neighborhood to unearth the killer. The culminating showdown is unpredictable and unforgettable with the greatest horrors being those closest to home. Every character will be forever affected by the outcome of this book. This book is dark, edgy,  and horribly violent so if you are squeamish, don’t read it. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the series including the first one which I have in my quench’s now.

Five stars *****

Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder #3) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 21, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

Review –

This story had so many twists and turns I almost got whiplash! Every time I thought I had things solved, another wrench would be thrown into the mix. As with the first two books, the crimes are gritty and require multi-jurisdictional support. Connecting the clues was a wonderful challenge.

Kate and John Tomasetti make progress in their relationship but it’s not easy. I really like how they’re portrayed, faults and all, adding a strong, realistic element to their story.

I’m hopelessly hooked on this series, especially the audio performance by Kathleen McInerney who continues to make a really good story exceptional. I’ve already got the next book in the queue. Can’t wait.

Mine by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: July 19, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Something happened that night in the woods at Camp Red Hawk. But all Joel and Leah can recall is sneaking out for a late hike with five camp friends, and that only the two of them and their friend Mike returned.

They have no memory of what happened to the others. No memory of anything after leaving the camp.

In the years that follow, they realize something has changed inside of them. They are different from others, in ways they never should be. In ways that send their lives down disturbing and terrifying paths.

As they grapple with adulthood, their only hope for understanding why they’ve been altered lies with them finding each other again. But how is that possible when their memories of one another have been erased?

Review –

I am a fan of Brett Battles and will be listening to books three and four in the  Project Eden series very soon. This series is a blend of thriller, horror and crime drama, and that’s what I’m used to when I think of Brett Battles. Mine is none of those things. Instead it’s a sci-fi meets coming of age. It’s a common enough story about how aliens plan to take over the earth and eliminate the humans but this has the addition of the bond of friendship. Without the friendship the three survivors had between them, none of them would have come out alive.

The only thing that disappointed me was the ending.  There was an epilogue and it was very very predictable. I wish the author would have made it a cliffhanger.

All in all, it was a great listen.

 

The Stranger(Patrik Hedstrom #4) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A string of suspicious deaths points to a potential serial killer who has turned his eye toward Fjällbacka and her dark forests, where two children vanished decades before.

A local woman is killed in a tragic car crash, but it isn’t a clear-cut drunk driving case. The victim’s blood contains high alcohol levels, yet she rarely drank a drop. Meanwhile, a new television series begins shooting in Fjällbacka, and as cameras shadow the stars’ every move, tempers start to flare. When a drunken party ends with an unpopular contestant’s murder, all eyes turn to the cast and crew. Could there be a murderer among them? The ratings spike as the country tunes in to a real life murder mystery.

Detective Patrik Hedstrom finds himself increasingly unable to focus on the strange circumstances of the first case, but what if that holds the key to a series of other unsolved cases across Sweden? Under the unforgiving media spotlight, Patrik tackles his most challenging investigation yet.

Review –

This is the fourth in the Patrik Hedstrom series and since I’ve only read the first one, I was a little lost on some of the background.  Overlooking that, this was a great read/listen with a great story line straight from today’s reality television and a twist or two. It just goes to show that an act, though  accidental, can have far-reaching consequences .

I’m really loving this series but it’s hard to find the books or audiobooks but I’ll keep looking.

 

Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 22, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary.

State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear.

When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

Review –

Another great read/listen in the Kate Burkholder series. In this one, the second in the series, we learn more about Kate’s background and her demons and also the baggage John Tomasetti carries within him. They have a strong chemistry but also act like opposing magnets. Neither wants to “need” another person in their life, when in reality it is exactly what they need.

The murders in this book were very gruesome and some were described in detail so if blood and guts bother you steer clear of this one. If you’re not the squeamish type give this book a try. 

 

Vanished (Nick Heller #1) by Joseph Finder

Book Description:

Published: August 18, 2009

Format: Audio/Library Book

Lauren Heller and her husband, Roger, are out to dinner one night when they’re brutally attacked. Twenty-four hours later, Lauren awakes in the hospital to find that her husband has vanished without a trace. The only one who has any chance of finding him is his brother, Nick, a high-powered investigator with a private intelligence firm.

Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. Trained in the Special Forces, he specializes in digging up secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He and his brother have been estranged ever since the imprisonment of their notorious billionaire father. But Nick will do anything to protect Lauren and her son. He never backs down. Even if it means taking on the most lethal enemies he’s ever had to face.

Plunged headlong into a desperate chase, Nick begins making shocking discoveries about his brother’s life — and about the giant defense contractor he works for. Now, in order to keep Lauren and her teenage son alive, Nick must take on a powerful and deadly conspiracy that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets.

Review –

Vanished starts off at a run and picks up speed as the mystery starts to unfold and by the end, your head is spinning.

The action is fast paced, the mood, mostly somber but there is humor thrown in here and there by Nick Heller(thank heavens). It was a bit too convoluted for me but a good read none the less.

Does Nick figure out the mystery? Does he find Roger? What happens to Lauren and Gabe? Who is the librarian?

You will just have to read Vanished to find out.

 

A Small Indiscretion (Marianne Jidhoff #1) by Denise Rudberg

Book Description:

Published: February 26, 2014

Format: Audio

Marianne Jidhoff is having trouble getting back on her feet after the death of her husband, Hans. As Stockholm’s Attorney General, Hans was known as much for his marital indiscretions as his ability to solve complex cases. But Olle Lundqvist, Lead Prosecutor at the department and Marianne’s friend of many years, knows that she was the brain behind Hans’s success. He persuades her to come back to work, and she quickly shakes her grief as she finds herself at the center of a series of mysterious killings among Stockholm’s upper echelons. Marianne teams up with the brash and handsome investigator Torsten Ehn to find out who is behind the murders, and together they uncover a kinky secret society populated by the city’s elite.

This sexy twist on the Scandinavian crime tradition—dubbed Elegant Crime by the author—is both a colorful glimpse into the rarefied world of Sweden’s rich and powerful and a beguiling mystery featuring a cast of unforgettable characters.

Review;

This was my first “listen” by this author and I really enjoyed it, so much so that I will be trying to find others in this series.

Marianne Jidhoff has lost her cheating big wig husband to cancer and is talked into going  back to work and so she has to come to terms of her current state and how she allowed herself to get there. She is a real woman who colors her hair, who diets and who balances her domestic life with work through the investigation of a murder, the enmity of the young office bitches, the appreciation of her male colleagues, and the sideline of society parties and friendships accompanying her old world inherited wealth. She is now one of my favorite female character .

Can’t wait to find more books in this series.

Great read.

Chaos (Kay Scarpetta #24) by Patricia Cornwell

Book Description:

Published: November 15, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Review –

As much as I loved Depraved Heart, Kay Scarpetta #23, that I read in 2015, I disliked this one, and that’s a real shame because I had been really looking forward to it.

Choas was WAY too long. In hardback it was 400 hundred pages and the audio was 12 hours long. This story could have been told in half that length and not have detracted from the basic storyline. That storyline being that evil incarnate, Carrie Grethen, will do anything, hurt or kill anyone to get to Kay Scarpetta and her family.  She is captured (again) at the end of this book so I’m anxious to see what the author will come up with next time. Hopefully it will be a more succinct book.

Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: September 20, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

Harlan Coben delivers a thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

Review –

There is something very special about reuniting with a cast of characters you haven’t read about for some time. Myron Bolitar and Windsor Horne Lockwood III, (Win) are two of my favourite characters in all of fiction,(next to Harry Bosch) and we haven’t seen them (besides brief appearances in Coben’s YA Mickey Bolitar trilogy) since 2011’s Live Wire. That is a very long time to wait.

Home brings these characters back, alongside the classic cast: Esperanza; Big Cyndi, Myron’s parents. Heck, even the kids wh0 starred in Coben’s YA series play a vital role in proceedings, and it’s great to be reunited with Mickey, Ema and Spoon. Their presence adds a cool continuity to things. So, sure; this book is for the fans. The readers, like me, who clamour each and every year for a new Myron novel. But there’s plenty here for “non-Myron” fans to enjoy. If indeed there even are such people out there.

There’s a big mystery here, and there are surprising twists (unleashed rather late in proceedings, admittedly, but no less effectively than in other novels) but it’s the emotion of the characters that really lifts Home above the rank and file. The heart and soul of this novel are the twin families coping with the loss of a child, and the extremes parents go to in order to protect them.

Ultimately, it’s just great to be back with Myron and the gang. The novel’s ending is possibly conclusive – – with a real lump-in-the-throat moment –(with 28 minutes left tears formed in my eyes and at 19 minutes left they started to fall) – so who knows when we’ll see these characters again? In many respects, I wish I’d taken my time with the novel and truly savoured it. Instead, I smashed through it in almost one sitting. That’s the true evidence of Coben’s class: his books are so gripping, you can’t put them down or turn them off.

Five stars *****

 

The Last Mile (Amos Decker #2) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: April 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution–for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier–when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars–guilty or not–a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger–and more sinister–than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

Review –

Decker is unlike any of Baldacci’s other characters, made unique by an extremely rare neurological condition called hyperthymesia–the result of a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit on the football field, which makes it impossible for Amos to forget anything.

While the idea of being able to vividly remember everything sounds awesome at first, in Decker’s case it’s also a curse.

Nearly twenty years after his NFL career ended, Decker, now a police detective, returned home to find his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law brutally murdered. Unable to forget even the smallest of details from that night, he’s haunted and tortured by the loss of his family every single day. Those events take place in Baldacci’s previous novel, Memory Man, which came out last year–but also play a role in this year’s The Last Mile.

Because of the similarities  in their lives, Amos convinces the FBI team to take on Marvin’s case and the investigation seems straightforward enough until one of the team members turns up missing as a result of their poking around. Soon things begin to unravel as Decker races to answer a series of questions, including who might want to help free Melvin Mars, and why. 

The action is fast and furious but it is so much more than a good action thriller. It sheds light on racism, a father-son relationship and capital punishment.

Both Mars and Decker are substantive, solid characters. Although their football dreams were shattered in their youth by their respective tragedies, they hold their heads high and forge ahead.

I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment, The Fix, due to be released April 18th and I hope in future books the author reunites Amos and Melvin. They became friends in this book and it would be a shame not to team them up again!