The Weight of Night (Glacier Mystery #3) by Christine Carbo

Book Description:

Published: June 6, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

On most days, the wilderness gave me peace. But not tonight.

In a land sculpted by glaciers, the forest is on fire. Thick smoke chokes the mountain air and casts an apocalyptic glow over the imposing peaks and vistas of Montana’s Glacier National Park. When firefighters are called in to dig firebreaks near the small town bordering the park, a crew member is shocked to unearth a shallow grave containing human remains.

Park Police Officer Monty Harris is summoned to the site to conduct an excavation. But with an incendiary monster threatening to consume the town, Monty seeks help from Gretchen Larson, the county’s lead crime scene investigator.

While the two work frantically to determine the true identity of the victim, a teenager suddenly disappears from one of the campgrounds in Glacier. Could the cases somehow be connected? As chances for recovery of the missing boy grow slimmer and the FBI finds only dead ends, Gretchen and Monty desperately race to fit all the pieces together while battling time, the elements, and their own unresolved inner conflicts.

Review –

National park police officer Monty Harris and forensic anthropologist Gretchen Larson take turns narrating the author’s  engrossing third novel set in Montana’s Glacier National Park. When a young man with a crushed skull of a young adult is found buried in the park, Monty and Gretchen set out to ascertain his identity and catch his killer, amid a raging forest fire. They also have to look for a missing thirteen-year-old boy, Jeremy Corey. Gretchen and Monty are each plagued by ghosts from their pasts: Gretchen, who was institutionalized as a teen in a Norwegian mental facility, suffers from parasomnia, causing her to act out unconsciously while sleepwalking. Her parasomnia recurs the night before the discovery of the young man’s body. The hunt for Jeremy dredges up painful memories for Monty, who had a boyhood friend who similarly disappeared and was never found. The suspense builds as the pair race to stop a monster who apparently keeps victims alive for days before killing them.

Although there are a number of plot lines in this book, they do not blur or cause confusion, but blend into a wonderfully told story.

A fantastic series with beautiful descriptions of nature at its best and worst.

Nine Minutes (Nine Minutes #1) by Beth Flynn

Book Description:

Published: October 23, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.

From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.

And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.

So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.

Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.

Review –

The plot of Nine Minutes is quite simple: at fifteen, Ginny is abducted from a convenience store and offered to Grizz, leader of an outlawed MC. She’ll stay many years with him and will come to love him, even with all the violence and the murders he commited. Ginny’s abduction is not as random as it seems and secrets will be revealed throughout the book.
From the very beginning, we learn what will be Grizz’s fate but we’ll still get a huge surprise.

Even if his fate is the logical and moral conclusion to Grizz’s violent life, it still remains hard to read. When you embark on a journey with the characters, you feel empathy and even sympathy and suffer with them. Try stockholm syndrom all you want but Ginny (Kit)’s feelings for Grizz were genuine and it was still a tragedy. 

As she is torn between her love for Grizz and her moral compass, she chooses to not see many unspeakable things. It’s her way to remain sane, being wrapped up in a bubble of denial. She is aware on a certain level of what Grizz does or must do but her love is too strong and she’ll remain loyal to a fault, trying not to delve too deep in his business. Kit will never loose the hope of saving Grizz and make him stop his crimes.
Daughter of a hippie mother, she’s never been beaten or abused but never got the love and care a child should get. She was the adult of the house, took care of her parent’s finances and cooking. Always a straight A student, attending Sunday Mass, she was the responsible one. As Grizz showers Ginny with love and attention she realises her mother never really did love her. With Grizz, she is needed and loved.

Grizz is a strong character: he does not relish in violence and murder but does not hesitate to punish and kill if people become a threat. He never feels regret for what he does. The only time in the book he went to some unbelievable torture was because of what happened to Ginny. He’ll do anything for her, to bring her happiness, except release her. Brutal, outlaw, drug dealer but also overprotective and loving, Grizz is a complex man.

The other characters were really interesting, some had more substance than others and each played a part in the story. I must say I cried buckets for Moe, (she lost her tongue for being too free with her speech)

What I loved above anything else? When you think you have it all figured out, the author proves you wrong. I love when an author surprises me right till the end.

This is another story where the real mastermind is hidden. The last pages made me despise someone I liked before and I’m really curious about the second book. All came so fast in the end, I never saw it coming and I’m now left with many questions with no answers. Thumbs down to cliffhangers.

I’m having a book hangover now so I’m listening to another book I’ve started. When I calm down I’ll start book number two. Can’t wait.

SIDENOTE: You may ask why the title Nine Minutes? If you choose to read or listen to this book you will find out in the first few paragraphs .

 

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Book Description:

Published: March 13, 2007

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.

In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?

Review –

“A hit-and-run on the Beltway forces the Baltimore County police to reopen a thirty year old kidnapping.

No one thought trust-fund brat Chet Willoughby would make a good cop, but in the twenty years before he retired to care for his ailing wife, Evelyn, he cleared every case but one. Willoughby never learned why or how someone abducted Sunny Bethany, fifteen, and her sister Heather, twelve, from the Security Square Mall, despite his dogged legwork and a burgeoning friendship with the parents: countercultural Dave, whose craft shop struggled until the unwanted publicity brought an embarrassment of customers, and his beguiling wife, Miriam, an Ottawa transplant whose alibi was an illicit liaison with her boss. Now a middle-aged hit-and-run driver is claiming to be Heather. Detective Kevin Infante has to evaluate that claim while dealing with ball-busting attorney Gloria Bustamante, the increasing reticence of her client and the demons of his own failed marriages. Social-worker Kay Sullivan gives the alleged victim the benefit of the doubt, but Kevin remains skeptical, even when his former partner Nancy Porter finds what could be corroboration in her cold-case files. The key to the case lies in the tortured memory of the victim, if she can just be persuaded to unlock it.

Lippman crafts a tale that resonates long after the last page is turned.” Kirkus Review

I thought I had it figured out, and I did, up to a point; that’s when the author pulled off a coup that was epic!!!!!

Where the Blame Lies by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Abducted.
Terrorized.
Imprisoned.

At nineteen-years-old, college student Josie Stratton was kidnapped by a madman and held shackled for ten months in an abandoned warehouse before she finally escaped her hellish prison.

Eight years later, when the body of a young woman is found chained in the basement of a vacant house, Cincinnati Police Detective Zach Copeland is instantly reminded of the crime committed against Josie Stratton. Zach was just a rookie on the perimeter of that case, but he’s never forgotten the traumatized woman with the haunted eyes.

As more information emerges, the crimes take on an even more sinister similarity. But Josie’s attacker died by suicide. Does the city have a copycat on its hands? A killer who picked up where the original perpetrator left off? Or are they facing something far more insidious?

Josie has spent the last eight years attempting to get her life back on track, but now there’s a very real chance she could be the unknown suspect’s next target. As Zach vows to keep her safe, and Josie finds herself responding to him in a way she hasn’t responded to any man in almost a decade, the investigation takes on an even more complex edge of danger.

As past and present collide, Josie and Zach are thrust toward a shocking and chilling truth. A revelation that threatens not only Josie’s life, but everything she’s been fighting so desperately to reclaim.

Review –

This story is told in the past and present, from the third person (I know some people have trouble connecting to this POV, but I felt the author did a great job in building an emotional connection with the heroine).
In the past . . .
We learn of the horrific abduction and torture of a young college student, Josie Stratton.  This part of the book is haunting in its simplicity.  The author doesn’t delve into the specifics of Josie’s torture, but we know that she is chained to the wall, raped, and nearly starved to within an inch of her life (the assailant drew this part out, making it that much more disturbing).
Given that there is a present that features Josie, alternating with chapters from the past, we can assume that there is at least somewhat of a happy ending for her (she doesn’t die).  But her journey and what she loses along the way, cannot be forgotten.
In the present . . .
About that happy ending I just mentioned . . . forget it.  After another woman is found, this one dead, and the particular details are revealed about her condition, the police are concerned they have a copycat on their hands.  Even though the original kidnapper is dead, they understand that Josie may be at risk once again. And that’s what brings Detective Zach Copeland to Josie’s doorstep.
There is an immediate connection between Josie and Zach that runs deeper than a physical connection.  On Josie’s part, it is the first time she’s found comfort with a man since her abduction.  On Zach’s part, he sees a woman that has survived the worst circumstances and rather than fold under the weight of it all, is fighting to regain her life.  There is admiration for her strength.  Although he doesn’t regard her as weak, he knows he can’t take any risks as more bodies are discovered.
At some point, like the characters in this story, I began to question on whether the right person was identified as the kidnapper in the past.  I think I sorted that out before any big revelation was made, but I had no clue who the serial killer was in the present.  The author does a great job on slowly revealing connections between the victims and ultimately the killer.  I loved the big twist with the killer’s identification, and how the author wraps up the  story.  Very unexpected!
The author did a phenomenal job of building this thriller, with a heroine that you want to cheer for every step of the way.  Whether you are a fan of this author, or this genre, this one is worth checking out!

 

 

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte #1) by Carla Kovach

Book Description:

Published: April 2, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

She thought he’d come to save her. She was wrong.

Deborah Jenkins pulls her coat around her as she sets out on her short walk home in the pouring rain. But she never makes it home that night. And she is never seen again …

Four years later, an abandoned baby girl is found wrapped in dirty rags on a doorstep. An anonymous phone call urges the police to run a DNA test on the baby. But nobody is prepared for the results.

The newborn belongs to Deborah. She’s still alive.

Review –

Four years ago, wife and mother Deborah Jenkins disappeared without a trace. The police did everything possible to find her but it was all to no avail. Her husband, mother, and two young children have all come to terms with her probable death, and although it hasn’t always been easy, each of them has begun to figure out what life will look like without Deborah there. And then, an abandoned infant is found outside a nearby library, an infant who’s DNA matches Deborah’s, and suddenly, the investigation into Deborah’s disappearance is active once more.

Detective Gina Harte remembers the Jenkins case well. She wasn’t the lead investigator back then, but she’s familiar with the investigation nonetheless, and now that Deborah’s case is in the forefront of everyone’s minds again, she’s determined to reunite the woman with her family, no matter what it takes. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. The original detectives did their job thoroughly, and in spite Gina’s efforts to find something they missed, nothing jumps out at her. But Gina knows that Deborah is out there somewhere, most likely the victim of unimaginable horrors. After all, how else could she have given birth to the baby girl who was left outside the library?

Gina would love to devote all her attention to the Jenkins case, but her personal life is pretty messy. Her adult daughter is in the process of planning a memorial celebration for her late father, a man who had once turned Gina’s very existence into a living nightmare. Gina doesn’t want to participate in the celebration, but neither does she want to ruin her daughter’s memories of her father, so she keeps the truth to herself, something which pushes the two women further apart. And, as if all that isn’t enough, Gina is sleeping with one of her direct superiors. Neither of them would go so far as to call what they have an actual relationship, but they’re both aware it’s very much against the rules, so they’ve been meeting in secret for the past several months.

The story is told from four different points of view. Most of our time is spent with Gina, but we also see things from the perspectives of Deborah, her husband Luke, and Deborah’s captor. For the most part, this narrative style works well, although spending a significant time in Deborah’s head took a little bit away from the mystery itself. The identity of her captor isn’t revealed until the end of the story, but his motivation for abducting Deborah is laid out pretty early on. Fortunately, there were still a number of things to be discovered about Deborah’s ordeal, and Gina’s race to uncover the truth definitely kept me listening.

If violence against women is a trigger for you, you’re might not want to pick up this book. Deborah suffers horribly at the hands of her abductor, and the author goes into quite a bit of detail about what has been done to her over the years of her captivity. Plus, Gina’s former husband was terribly abusive, and she is still dealing with flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse.

I thoroughly enjoyed with book and look forward to reading the next one.

 

The Widow (Kate Waters #1) by Fiona Barton

Book Description:

Published: February 16, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

Review –

The Widow opens in an English university town four years after the alleged abduction and murder of two-year-old Bella Elliott. The prime suspect remains Glen Taylor, a “mild-mannered” delivery driver whose professional aspirations are never realized and whose childless marriage is put under scrutiny. The only problem is, Bella has never been found and now Glen, released after an unsuccessful prosecution, is dead in an accident.

The result is even more press coverage, more police inquiries and much more pressure for the widow, Jean Turner.

Told primarily from Jean’s point of view, The Widow weaves back and forth in time. We also see the story from the viewpoints of Bob Sparkes, the detective who originally worked the case, and Kate Waters, the reporter angling for an exclusive with the widow. But it is only the widow’s actions and thoughts we witness firsthand.

And those thoughts, as well as appearances, can be deceiving.

Old questions arise and new ones emerge. Was it really Glen? Was he innocent? What does Jean know? Is she in denial or was she in league? Was it all a big misunderstanding?

This book is not as good as the blurb would have you believe, so for me is was just “Meh”.
Side Note:
When Detective Sparkes is studying the information pertaining to the abduction of Bella and people of interest he drew Venn diagrams on a white board. Who knew that Algebra would come in handy when reading a crime drama !!!
                                                 ” A Venn diagram (also called primary diagram, set diagram or logic diagram) is a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets. These diagrams depict elements as points in the plane, and sets as regions inside closed curves.”

 

Eluded by Lyra Parish

Book Description:

Published: July 28,2014

Lives intersect only to be changed indefinitely…

Lauren
This isn’t your typical girl meets boy.
There isn’t a glass slipper or Prince Charming.
I’ve lived it and now it will be told.
Welcome to my personal hell…

Derrick
I once saved lives and now… I so easily end them.

Women are drawn to me like a moth to the flame, and like the moth not all of them continue on. Some are broken, others are damaged, and a few never make it out… but it’s their decision to live. Only they often don’t know that until it’s too late.

F*ck the rules, I create my own in a world where I have nothing left to lose. Living is a game, and I’m the reigning champion by being stronger and smarter than my prey.

This is your warning. If you radiate vulnerability… Well, you could be my next victim. Don’t try to hide. I’m not easily eluded.

Abbot
It started with me and now it will end with me.
Some people call me an uncontrollable killing monster. I f*cking laugh at the mention of the word.
Monsters have no control.
I’ve got plenty.
I don’t kill without reason. I don’t kill the innocent.
I hunt the ones that deserve it, the real monsters, the ones without regret or a soul.

Review –

This was offered as a free digital book on Book Bub and was my first reading by Lyra Parish.

This is a very dark and edgy erotic romance with many possible triggers for some, those being- abduction, rape,torture and others.

Thank heavens it had a plot or it would have been almost impossible to read. I said almost. The chemistry between Abbot and Lauren was barely there at times but hot and steamy at others. Derrick was very easy to hate but the HEA made everything worth it.

If you like Dark and Edgy, this is the book for you.

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