Tell Me Lies by J.P. Pomare

Book Description:

Published: March 5, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie could cost her family and freedom.

Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children, and a successful career. On a warm spring morning, Margot spots one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Suddenly, one tragedy leads to another leaving her, her family, and her patients in danger. As misfortune unfolds, listeners will soon question Margot’s true role in all of these unfortunate events.

Tell Me Lies is a fast-paced, psychological, whodunit mystery that will leave listeners wondering if anyone can actually be trusted.

Review –

This was offered free on Audible and is an Audible Original. What is an Audible Original you may ask, it’s a story that is written with the listener in mind. The story goes from thoughts in a persons head to words on a page to to words being narrated to a listener.It is never printed as a book.

This psychological thriller takes place in Australia in the home and office of psychologist Margot Scott. When her family falls victim to an arsonist, she suspects one of her clients. I won’t give any of this story away, but It will grab you by the throat from the beginning and never let go and you won’t believe the ending!

I highly recommend.

 

 

Good Girl,Bad Girl (Cyrus Haven #1) by Michael Robotham

Book Description:

Published: July 23, 2019

Format; Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity.

Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth?

Review –

Troubled psychologist Cyrus Haven has to evaluate a girl without a past while finding out who killed a rising young figure skater.

Evie Cormac is an enigma. No one knew who she was when she was found in a secret room in a north London home, weighing less than a child half her age, which was determined to be 11 or 12. Only a few feet from her hiding place was the decomposing body of a man who had been tortured to death.

Given a new name, she ended up in Nottingham’s Langford Hall, a high security children’s home, after a series of foster homes. Now, six years later, she’s eager to be declared an adult, so Cyrus must evaluate her for possible release. Evie is rude, unruly, self-destructive, prone to occasional violence, heartbreakingly naïve, and very, very broken. She also seems to be able to tell, with remarkable consistency, when someone is lying. This intrigues Cyrus, who wrote a thesis on human lie detectors, aka “truth wizards.” When Cyrus makes an impulsive choice to temporarily foster Evie, it brings a basket of challenges to his already complicated life.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is assisting his mentor, Chief Inspector Lenny Parvel, in the investigation of the suspicious death and possible rape of fifteen-year-old Jodie Sheehan, who was called the “golden girl of British skating.” Some shocking revelations lead Cyrus and the police down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets, and Evie can’t help but involve herself in the investigation. It’s the careful and often poignant interplay between Cyrus and Evie that elevates this page turner.

Cyrus’ parents and sisters were murdered when he was just a boy, and by all accounts Evie’s childhood was nothing short of hellish. Trauma unites them, but the author seeks to show that together, they might begin to heal. Readers will adore the brilliant hot mess that is Evie, and more than a few moments are breathtakingly sad, such as Evie’s confusion about her wrinkly fingers during a long bath…because she’s never in her life had one.

This was a fantastic read/listen (my second on Scribd’s free 30 day trial) and I will look for more from this author!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When She Returned by Lucinda Berry

Book Description:

Published: October 15, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

One woman’s reappearance throws her family into turmoil, exposing dark secrets and the hidden, often devastating truth of family relationships.

Kate Bennett vanished from a parking lot eleven years ago, leaving behind her husband and young daughter. When she shows up at a Montana gas station, clutching an infant and screaming for help, investigators believe she may have been abducted by a cult.

Kate’s return flips her family’s world upside down–her husband is remarried, and her daughter barely remembers her. Kate herself doesn’t look or act like she did before.

While the family tries to help Kate reintegrate into society, they discover truths they’ve been hiding from each other about their own relationships. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets. As the family unravels what happened to Kate, a series of shocking revelations shows that Kate’s return is more sinister than any of them could have imagined.

Review –

Dark and disturbing…

When Kate Bennett vanished from a Target parking lot, her husband and daughter never thought they would see her again. But eleven years later, Kate shows up dehydrated and malnourished, showing signs of severe abuse in Montana holding a baby. With Kate returning, her family’s lives are turned upside down. As they struggle to understand what happened with Kate during those years, shocking revelations come to surface and threaten to destroy their lives. The narrative shifts between past and present and is told from the perspectives of Kate(first wife), Meredith(new wife), and Abbi, (daughter). Kate’s story is chilling and full of dread as she recounts the shocking cruelty from her days/years in “captivity”. The author’s exploration of Kate’s complete entrapment in the cult community is both compelling and disturbing. The pace gets hampered in the middle from the monotony of Kate’s story, but Berry threw in another twist that invests readers’ interest until the shocking culmination and what an ending it is!!!

I listened to this while traveling from Oklahoma to Alabama last month and kept my mind off the HUGE semi-trucks that traverse I-40.

Five star read!

 

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Book Description:

Published: February 5, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

n the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

Review –

Abigail Knight, the protagonist of this complex, emotionally intense debut novel by Christina McDonald is determined to get answers after her seventeen-year-old daughter, Olivia, who recently seemed unusually distracted and moody, is found, brain-dead and pregnant, at the bottom of an embankment below the ZigZag bridge in her hometown of Portage Point, Washington. Meanwhile, Abi manages the grief of seeing Olivia being maintained on life support just long enough to allow her granddaughter to live.

The chapters told from Olivia’s viewpoint in the months leading up to the accident, during which she struggles with friendships and romantic relationships while piecing together the truth about her absent father, convey the cadence and the awkward urgency of teenage thought and behavior without exaggerating it. Every carefully fleshed-out character behaves authentically, yielding a satisfying sense of tragedy rather than one of villainy. McDonald dives into the mother-daughter conflict without compromising the reader’s compassion for either of them. Fans of twisty domestic suspense novels will be rewarded.

A fantastic read and I can’t wait to delve into the author’s newest book, Behind Every Lie!

 

Split Second (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell #1) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2004

Format: Audio/Library Book

Stars: 4

Michelle Maxwell has just wrecked her promising career at the Secret Service. Against her instincts, she let a presidential candidate out of her sight for the briefest moment and the man whose safety was her responsibility vanished into thin air. Sean King knows how the younger agent feels. Eight years earlier, the hard-charging Secret Service agent allowed his attention to be diverted for a split second. And the candidate he was protecting was gunned down before his eyes. Now Michelle and Sean are about to see their destinies converge.

Drawn into a maze of lies, secrets, and deadly coincidences, the two discredited agents uncover a shocking truth: that the separate acts of violence that shattered their lives were really a long time in the making – and are a long way from over….

Review –

Two defrocked Secret Service Agents investigate the assassination of one presidential candidate and the kidnapping of another.

The author sets out with two plot strands. The first begins when something distracts Secret Service Agent Sean King and during that “split second,” presidential candidate Clyde Ritter is shot dead. King takes out the killer, but that’s not enough to save his reputation with the Secret Service. He retires and goes on to do often tedious but nonetheless always lucrative work (much like a legal thriller such as this) at a law practice. Plot two begins eight years later when another Secret Service Agent, Michelle Maxwell, lets presidential candidate John Bruno out of her sight for a few minutes at a wake for one of his close associates. He goes missing. Now Maxwell, too, gets in big trouble with the Secret Service.  Though separated by time, the cases are similar and leave several questions unanswered. What distracted King at the rally? Bruno had claimed his friend’s widow called him to the funeral home. The widow says she never called Bruno. Who set him up? Who did a chambermaid at Ritter’s hotel blackmail? And who is the man in the Buick shadowing King’s and Maxwell’s every move? King is a handsome, rich divorce, Maxwell an attractive marathon runner. Will they join forces and find each other kind of, well, appealing? But of course. The two former agents traverse the countryside, spinning endless hypotheses before the onset, at last, of a jerrybuilt conclusion that begs credibility and offers few surprises.

Although there are a lots of critics about the lack luster characters in this book and series, I’ve only read the first two and I find the books on point with traits of any crime thriller: drama, suspense, mystery and a bit of possible romance.

 

 

 

The Night Before (Savannah #1) by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Blood Will Be Spilled. . .

In the dark shadows of a sultry southern town, a serial killer strikes. It’s an act of sinister precision that has happened many times before. . .every victim an offering to a hunger that can never be sated. . .

Night After Night. . .

The next morning, Caitlyn Montgomery Bandeaux wakes covered in blood. But Caitlyn has no memory of the night before, when her estranged husband was brutally murdered like so many others she has known. . .

After Night. . .

Wanted by the police and haunted by horrifying, fragmented memories, Caitlyn turns to Adam Hunt, the town’s new psychologist. But how far can she really trust him? For as a twisted killer strikes again and again, Caitlyn’s about to discover that those who appear the most innocent are usually the most evil. . .

Review –

The Montgomery family are the rich family in town going back a few generations. With that wealth has come “The Montgomery Curse” which has to do with mental illness, incest, womanizing, and mysterious deaths in the family that are occurring in a systematic fashion. So when Caitlyn Montgomery Bandeaux wakes up in her blood-soaked bedroom, she knows something is very wrong. Problem is, she can’t remember where she was or what she did the night before. That becomes a huge problem when she finds out that her estranged husband, Josh Bandeaux, committed suicide or was murdered the night before.

 I figured out one of the plot twists fairly early on but I did not see the twist about who the killer was coming. Totally took me by surprise!

Loved it!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

An electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Review –

Struggling Manhattan makeup artist Jessica Farris impulsively decides to chase some quick cash by lying her way into an NYU psychiatrist’s study—of ethics and morality, no less—in this slickly twisty psychological thriller from bestselling authors Hendricks and Pekkanen.

 Still shaky after a disturbing #MeToo encounter with a top theatrical producer that dashed her dream of doing stage makeup, the twenty-eight-year-old laps up the supportive attention from impossibly chic and self-confident Dr. Lydia Shields, whose second-person narrative alternates with Jessica’s first person. So when the therapist starts to enlist her in increasingly dicey real-life role-playing assignments, including trying to pick up specific targets, such as a stranger in a hotel bar, Jess pushes aside her doubts and goes along—until she hears some information too alarming to ignore about the fate of Dr. Shields’s previous protégé. The page-turner’s second half whizzes along at a furious pace, exploiting the dual perspectives for maximum tension. Though some of the gasp-worthy final twists require substantial character flip-flops, and an eye roll or two, it’s a fantastic, suspense filled mystery that I HIGHLY recommend .

 

Redemption (Amos Decker #5) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: April 16, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars; 4

Detective Amos Decker discovers that a mistake he made as a rookie detective may have led to deadly consequences in the latest Memory Man thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Amos Decker and his FBI partner Alex Jamison are visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he’s approached by an unfamiliar man. But he instantly recognizes the man’s name: Meryl Hawkins. He’s the first person Decker ever arrested for murder back when he was a young detective. Though a dozen years in prison have left Hawkins unrecognizably aged and terminally ill, one thing hasn’t changed: He maintains he never committed the murders. Could it be possible that Decker made a mistake all those years ago? As he starts digging into the old case, Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough…

Review –

By now, readers, of this powerful series, know his story. Years back, the Hulk-sized Amos Decker suffered a bone-crushing helmet-to-helmet hit during his first play in the NFL, rendering him unable to forget anything, ever. Not only is every memory seared permanently into his brain—a medical condition known as hyperthymesia—for good, but the way Decker’s brain sees and processes colors has also been altered (synesthesia). 

Abandoning the playing field for police work, Decker’s condition is both a gift and a curse. While he’s able to remember endless important details pertaining to various investigations, he can never forget the murders of his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law—the images of their dead bodies forever, painfully, preserved in his memory. Now, though, Decker is working cold cases with an elite FBI unit, a job that takes him all across the country in search of justice for those who deserve it most. This time, after narrowly escaping death in Pennsylvania following the events of last year’s The Fallen, Decker is back in his hometown of Burlington, Ohio. 

After swearing to never go back, Decker, accompanied by his partner, Alex Jamison,  makes his return to Burlington in order to visit the grave of his daughter, Molly, on what would have been her fourteenth birthday. While mourning his loss in the cemetery, a man approaches and introduces himself as Meryl Hawkins. The name does more than just ring a bell for Decker, causing the big guy’s jaw to drop ever so slightly. Years back, Decker put him away for murder—the first murder investigation of his career as a cop, in fact. 

Though sentenced to life in prison with no parole, it turns out that Hawkins was recently released after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. From day one, he’s professed his innocence, and he’s sticking to it in his final hour. Moreover, he wants Amos to help him prove it once and for all. As it turns out, Decker’s former partner, Mary Lancaster, thinks there might be something to his claim. After all, why would a man on his deathbed go to such lengths to have his name cleared if he was, in fact, really guilty? 

Still not sold on the idea that Hawkins might really be telling the truth, a skeptic Decker agrees to give the case another look—only to realize that the clear-cut investigation might be a little too clear-cut. Then comes another twist, when Meryl Hawkins is found dead with a bullet hole in his head. Figuring that the only reason to kill a dying man is to keep him quiet, Decker finally realizes he may have gotten it all wrong years ago and sets out to right his wrong, no matter the cost . . . even if it means digging up a dangerous old secret that someone’s willing to kill in order to keep it buried in the past. 

Even just a few years back, Amos Decker was arguably Baldacci’s third-best protagionist, behind Will Robie and John Puller. Now, after several really strong books, you could make the case that he’s the author’s top hero, a dramatic turnaround for a character whose origin book, The Memory Man, wasn’t all that well received, but I loved it. As always, Baldacci’s writing is smooth, and his commitment to fleshing out his cast of characters continues to pay off in this one. The story is solid, with a couple of strong twists, and while some readers might see the ending coming, Baldacci still provides a fun, entertaining journey getting there. 

Fantastic read!

 

 

The Washington Decree by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

The president has gone way too far. . . . These are practically dictatorial methods we’re talking about.

Sixteen years before Democratic Senator Bruce Jansen was elected president of the United States, a PR stunt brought together five very different people: fourteen-year-old Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, small-town sheriff T. Perkins, single mother Rosalie Lee, well-known journalist John Bugatti, and the teenage son of one of Jansen’s employees, Wesley Barefoot. In spite of their differences, the five remain bonded by their shared experience and devotion to their candidate.

For Doggie, who worked the campaign trail with Wesley, Jansen’s election is a personal victory: a job in the White House, proof to her Republican father that she was right to support Jansen, and the rise of an intelligent, clear-headed leader with her same ideals. But the triumph is short-lived: Jansen’s pregnant wife is assassinated on election night, and the alleged mastermind behind the shooting is none other than Doggie’s own father.

When Jansen ascends to the White House, he is a changed man, determined to end gun violence by any means necessary. Rights are taken away as quickly as weapons. International travel becomes impossible. Checkpoints and roadblocks destroy infrastructure. The media is censored. Militias declare civil war on the government. The country is in chaos, and Jansen’s former friends each find themselves fighting a very different battle, for themselves, their rights, their country . . . and, in Doggie’s case, the life of her father, who just may be innocent.

Review –

“The creator of Denmark’s Department Q, that unforgettable squad of misfit detectives, jumps the pond in this ambitious, paranoid fantasy of how quickly things can go wrong in the hands of an American president who’s determined to take a strong stand against threats of violence.

Sixteen years after Virginia governor Bruce Jansen’s first wife, Caroll, was stabbed to death during a very public moment on a visit to China, his successful run for the presidency comes to the worst possible climax when his second wife, Mimi Todd Jansen, is gunned down, perhaps in his stead, on election night. Deeply shaken by the first death, Jansen is so traumatized by the second that observers wonder whether he’ll take the oath of office or resign in favor of Vice President-elect Michael K. Lerner. As it turns out, Jansen not only assumes, but transforms the office, using agencies and executive orders already in place to step up surveillance on his fellow citizens, unplug the internet, defang or shutter critical journalistic outlets, and ban first ammunition, then guns from private ownership. Members of paramilitary militias like Moonie Quale predictably go ballistic, but members of Jansen’s cabinet, many of them touched by personal violence against their loved ones, overwhelmingly support him. So far the scenario recalls that of It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis’ classic 1935 novel of homegrown American fascism. Adler-Olsen’s complication is his decision to focus not on a single American oppressed and powerfully radicalized by the new regime but by an oddly assorted group—journalist John Bugatti, presidential press secretary Wesley Barefoot, Sheriff T. Perkins, and staff attorney Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, whose father is convicted of arranging Mimi Todd Jansen’s murder—who were all present on that fateful day in Beijing.

Despite a disturbing and all-too-plausible concept duly supported by an appendix listing real-life executive orders ripe for tyrannical misuse, this nightmare gradually turns into a standard-issue lots-of-good-guys-versus-even-more-bad-guys scenario populated by characters you’ll hardly miss when they’re killed, as so many of them are.” Kirkus Review 

I highly recommend this book, it’s scary to think this could happen in our not-so-distant future.

Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Book Description:

Published: June 25, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 3

Never make a promise you can’t afford to keep…

This is a story about Charlotte – a mother and a wife with the perfect job, the perfect life… at least, that’s how it looks from the outside.

But behind closed doors, the marriage is breaking, and Charlotte’s husband Tris doesn’t even know how much. He has no idea what Charlotte has planned for him, who she has found, why she has hired someone to pretend to be her. But he doesn’t have long to wait to find out…

Don’t Ever Tell will keep you gripped from the very first page andhave you guessing until the very last. From the bestselling author of The Daughter and White Lies comes an unputdownable psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before!

Review –

While premise for this book sounded like an intriguing idea, I just don’t think it hit the mark. It was not edge-of-your-seat. It was not exciting. And it was definitely not fast paced. (Not that a book has to be fast paced to be exciting). I’ve read many slow burn starts, but this one just took too long to explode…and even then, it didn’t. The reveals, when they came, were not mind blowing or shocking. In fact, despite never actually saying so, I made one of the links very early on which was only confirmed when a character’s full name was disclosed. Then it made sense. The other was quite clever, I admit.

However, the execution of reveals were a little convoluted I felt, and didn’t flow. The reader would be left wondering at the end of Mia’s chapter, only to pick up in Charlotte’s next in a completely different place and you’re left wondering “What…?” Even when it did pick up where the previous chapter left off, it felt as if it was just thrown in as a “by the way”. It made for confusing reading that didn’t flow as neatly as it could have.

The climax, which began in the Prologue, that took us through to the ultimate ending wasn’t really edge-of-your-seat stuff. And in the end, the reader is left with questions as to what actually happened on “that night”. There was no surprise, no shock, no real twist – just a lot of unanswered questions.

I truly don’t recommend the book unless you like to spending you reading time being confused and dazed from beginning to end.