Second Life by S.J. Watson

Book Description:

Published: June 9, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep …She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger. She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything. She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control. She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin. She’s living two lives. She might lose both …

Review –

From what I’ve heard others say about this book – you either hate it or love it. I loved it BUT it wasn’t love at first sight. The first third of the book is dreadfully S L O W, but then picks up momentum.

This story is complex, and it is highly, if not totally, character-driven. My absolute favorite type of book is a strong character-driven crime/suspense/thriller novel. And while I can see Julia turning off a lot of readers, as she certainly isn’t role model material, I felt I understood her and why she did the things she did. A lot of women will connect with her.She  has a good life, yet when her sister was murdered, she could not control her overwhelming need, no matter what, to bring closure to the case, which had become cold in the hands of the French police. This becomes more understandable when we learn she is a recovered/recovering alcoholic. We also find out other things that in context with what I just mentioned clearly demonstrate Julia has an addictive personality. Falling under the control of her addictions, she does things that most reasonable people would not do, given all there is to lose in the process.

There are several provocative themes running through Second Life. We are given an eye-opening look at the dangers of the cyberworld. Really quite frightening. Another prominent subject is whom can we trust implicitly? Our spouse? Our lover? Our best friend? Our siblings? Who? Anyone? No one? And again, we are shown how an addictive personality can take one down a road no one wants to go. It becomes clear that addiction trumps intelligence, addiction trumps judgment.

There are differing opinions on the ending of Second Life. Upon listening to the very end of the book I was dumbfounded. But after thinking about it, I do think Mr. Watson ended the tale the only way it could have ended and that’s all I’ll say about that.

READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!        FIVE STARS.

 

 

 

 

The Hypnotist (Joona Linna #1) by Lars Kepler

Book Description:

Published: June 21, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

Review –

The novel opens with a horrific crime: A father, mother and their 5-year-old daughter are butchered. The couple’s son, 15-year-old Josef, survives but has been stabbed hundreds of times and is unconscious. He may be able to identify the attacker and thus save other lives, so police summon a hypnotist in the hope that he can communicate with the boy despite his being in a coma.

Erik Maria Bark, the psychiatrist/hypnotist, is a man of many sorrows. He vowed 10 years earlier to give up hypnotism because of a tragedy that is not at first explained. He’s addicted to painkillers, his marriage is falling apart and his 14-year-old son has a blood disease that requires constant treatment. Even worse travails lie ahead once Bark breaks his vow and uses hypnosis to communicate with the survivor of the massacre.

In one of the first of the novel’s many surprises, Josef confesses under hypnosis to killing his family. Of course, the subconscious mind works in strange ways, and the confession may not be true. The boy then escapes from the hospital and may or may not be involved in the next horror, when Bark’s ailing son is kidnapped.

Bark teams up with a detective named Joona Linna to find both youths, one perhaps a mass murderer, the other possibly in the clutches of someone who hates his father. Suspects in the kidnapping include a group of violent criminals whom Bark had treated with hypnosis therapy and who were not always grateful for his efforts. 

The deftly plotted story barrels along in more than a hundred short, swift scenes; it moves about as fast as a 500-page novel can. In one scene, Bark’s wife and her father are about to enter the basement of a house where her son may be held by his kidnapper.  As the woman and her father descend into the darkness — with the reader shrieking “No, no, stop, you fools!” — the beam of their flashlight falls upon “the glass of a framed movie poster.” I take that poster to be homage to Thomas Harris’s landmark thriller, Silence of the Lambs,which as both book and movie was another memorable blending of evil and suspense.

I won’t tell you the ending but it’s worth the reading.

Great on the edge of your seat foreign crime drama. Loved it!

 

Redemption Road by John Hart

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free. But for how long?

And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, the unthinkable has just happened…

This is a town on the brink. This is a road with no mercy.

After five years, John Hart returns with Redemption Road, his most powerful story yet.

Review –

This book is set in a  small city in North Carolina. The protagonist is police detective Elizabeth Black, who has been put on suspension because she appears to have used excessive force — 18 bullets — in killing two men in the basement where they were raping and torturing an 18-year-old girl. “Hero Cop or Angel of Death?” a newspaper headline asks.

Adrian Wall, a fellow officer whom she once idolized but who was convicted of murdering a woman in a ritualized way,  finishes serving his time and arrives back in town, and the killer strikes again. Besides sexual chemistry, Liz and Adrian share a reluctance to tell the truth about the incidents that have brought them under suspicion, and their motives for silence are the same: protecting someone else.

Liz’s campaign to clear Adrian is hampered by her suspension and her sizable shoulder chip. She has alienated her father, a rigid-minded minister, most of her fellow officers, and the brutal warden of the prison in which Adrian was confined. On the other hand, she has lavished motherly affection on 14-year-old Gideon, the vengeance-seeking son of the woman whom Adrian was convicted of killing, and Channing, the girl whose rape occasioned all those gunshots. 

This story is so convoluted and gets more so deeper into the plot we go. There is buried treasure, we find out who the serial killer is and the warden and his henchmen get there just due. BUT…Beckett, Liz’s partner of four years is paralyzed from a gut shot given by the warden, and exited his back, Gideon is left behind because he also needs urgent medical care at the end and Liz, Adrian and Channing one on the run.  BUT… there is an hea but you’ll have to read or listen to this book yourself to find out what it is.

Fantastic book!

Five stars!!

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 I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Book Description:

Published: June 14, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Review –

Loved the premise of this book and how the more you got into it the creepier it became.

Imagine waking up every morning and not knowing anything – not your name, who’s in bed with you, NOTHING. During the day you learn the basics and then you fall asleep at night and lose everything. You wake up the next morning and start from scratch again.

I won’t give anything away but things are not as they seem. I learned that there is a movie by the same name made in 2013, I think, so I added it to my Netflix que to see how close they stick to the story line.

If you like creepy, this one is for you.

 

 

 

Ashes (Project Eden #4) by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2012

Format: Audio

The hammer has fallen. The deadly Sage Flu has been unleashed. The scramble for survival is in full force.

Martina Gable and her family escaped to a secluded mountain cabin in hopes of avoiding the death sweeping the desert valley below, but have they gone far enough?

Dominic Ray, manager of a tropical, private island resort, has a dream job. The weather, the food, the drinks, the people—life couldn’t be better. What he didn’t expect—what no one could have expected—was that his good life was about to disappear.

In a sea of the sick and dying, Sanjay and Kusum desperately search for a place beyond Mumbai where they and the group they are leading can be safe, and where they can prepare for what the future may bring.

Brandon Ash wants nothing more than to be with his father and sister, but there is something waiting for him on a deserted, snow-covered highway. Something that may mean the reunion will never happen.

 

As Daniel Ash, Brandon’s father, lies unconscious from the serious wounds he suffered while hunting for his son, his daughter Josie realizes it’s up to her to find her brother and bring him home. But the search will be a dangerous one, that will take her far from home.

And then there is Project Eden, watching the plague kill as they had planned, even as they prepare to activate the next phase.

What will you do to survive?

Review –

Ashes is the 4th book in this exciting  series and slightly slower paced than the others  but no less captivating and its nice to have a very slight slow down to find out more about the fantastic characters. 
The subplots have become stronger and more developed and I’m enjoying the introduction of  another group.

I missed Captian Ash as he is recovering from book 3, Pale Horse, and taken a back seat in this book. Brandon, his son, however has taken over in this book and is growing up as tough and intuitive as his Dad a clever move from the author.
What I love about this series is the fact that even one of the sick often doesn’t realize how dangerous they are by doing something so simple they risk thousands of lives.
This is definitely a gripping and engaging read through every chapter. Brett has created yet another brilliant cliffhanger and this one is genius; it will throw the resistance into mayhem trying to sort this one. I’m looking forward to finding a free copy  of the next book, Eden Rising.

 

 

 

 

Pale Horse (Project Eden #3) by Brett Battles

Book Description:

Published: June 16, 2012

Format: Audio

And I looked, and behold a pale horse;
and his name that sat on him was Death,
and Hell followed with him.
—Revelations 6:8

A simple push of a button and the world will never be the same.

Martina Gable returns home from college to spend Christmas break with her family, but the relaxing vacation she expects is not even close to what she’ll get.

Sanjay, a young man in Mumbai who knows more than he should about Project Eden’s plan, will do whatever he can to keep Kusum, the girl he loves, alive and safe.

A boy named Brandon Ash runs for his life in the hills of Montana, wanting only to see his family again.

But first there is Daniel, the boy’s father, who watches Olivia Silva’s finger hover over the enter key that will decide the fate of humanity.

Do you think you’re safe?

Pale Horse is part of the Project Eden continuing saga, which is best read after completing volumes 1 and 2 (Sick and Exit 9)

Review –

This is the third book in the Project Eden series and since I finished Exit 9 in December 2015 I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember much of the story or the characters. But I needn’t have worried.

Book 3 concentrates on the devastation as the world realizes the impact of what has happened. The author’s  imagery and excellent descriptive writing puts you right there beside your favorite characters; you can smell the fires burning and feel the cold snow.
.
The main characters are still just as engaging and I’m  loving the subplots and the strong supporting characters. Brett could just skim over these subplots but they are becoming as exciting as the main; with just the right amount of time spent on them.

The world is in shock as the realization sinks in as to what has happened and we watch as governments and the resistance try to contain the virus.
What I love about this series is the fact we are following the everyday person like you or me. It’s completely believable with futuristic germ warfare it could happen anytime and that makes this thriller even more horrific and frightening on a base level.
I would like to see more of Brandon and more about the evil Perez as he is sitting in the background a bit, so I hope the author has something awful planned for him.

Great series!

A Drink Before The War (Kenzie and Gennaro #1) by Dennis LeHane

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2003

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Kenzie and Gennaro are private investigators in the blue-collar neighborhoods and ghettos of South Boston-they know it as only natives can. Working out of an old church belfry, Kenzie and Gennaro take on a seemingly simple assignment for a prominent politician: to uncover the whereabouts of Jenna Angeline, a black cleaning woman who has allegedly stolen confidential state documents.
Finding Jenna, however, is easy compared to staying alive once they’ve got her. The investigation escalates, implicating members of Jenna’s family and rival gang leaders while uncovering extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extending from bombed-out ghetto streets to the highest levels of government.

Review –

I was lucky enough to find the audio version of this, the first in the Kenzie and Gennaro series on OverDrive and it was fantastic.

A Drink Before The War is the story of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, private investigators who have been hired by a politician to find some missing documents believed to have been stolen by a cleaning lady. Their job is to find the cleaning lady (who has gone missing), recover the documents and return them to the politician. Although it sounds like a pretty cut-and-dried case, things start getting complicated when the cleaning lady is located and she lets the PIs in on a secret that starts up one of the bloodiest gang wars that the Boston area has ever seen.

Before they know it, Patrick and Angie are right in the middle of the action, and both of the rival gangs want them dead. To complicate matters, Patrick is still trying to come to terms with the ghost of his abusive father, and Angie goes home every night to a husband who has a tendency to leave her with black eyes and bloody lips. Over the course of the novel, Patrick and Angie must find a way to defeat their personal demons while desperately searching for a way out of the death sentence they seem to be facing.

A Drink Before the War is a  well-paced thriller that not only features an excellent and thought-provoking plot, but also interesting and deep characters. It’s no wonder that Lehane has gone on to write more novels featuring Patrick and Angie. They are certainly two of the best protagonists featured in a current mystery series.

Loved it and will continue to read this series.

 

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 *****

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.