Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: August 21, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person – and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?

Review –

“Reading anything by Karin Slaughter is like riding a particularly scary amusement park ride. Reading this one is like booking a season ticket on a ride that never lets you off.” Kirkus Review

I couldn’t have said it better. I am a HUGE fan of Karin Slaughter and have read all of her books and I rate this one FIVE STARS!

Andrea Oliver’s always felt inferior to her parents. Her father, Gordon Oliver, is a trusts and estates attorney; her mother, Dr. Laura Oliver, is a speech therapist. Andy herself has never aspired to any career goal higher than serving as an assistant to someone important. Even when she left Belle Isle, Georgia, for the Big Apple, she got nowhere, and she was only too eager to return home when her mother announced three years ago that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.

As the two women mark Andy’s thirty first birthday by sharing lunch in a mall cafe, a crazed shooter opens fire on a mother-and-daughter pair who’ve stopped to greet Laura, and Andy’s life changes in an instant. Or rather two instants, the first when the shots ring out and the second when Laura, after inviting the killer to shoot her next, coolly and dispassionately kills him. It takes the dazed Andy hours to realize that her mother’s not at all who she seems to be, and by the time she’s ready to accept the fact that Laura Oliver is a woman with a past, that past is already racing to catch up with both mother and daughter. Cutting back and forth between Andy’s harrowing flight to nowhere after Laura pushes her out of her home and a back story thirty  years earlier involving the Army of the Changing World, a cell of amateur terrorists determined to strike a mortal blow against greedy capitalists and, it eventually turns out, each other as well, the author never abates her trademark intensity, and fans will feel that the story is pumping adrenalin directly into their bloodstreams. Long before the end, though, the impostures, secret identities, hidden motives, and double-crosses will have piled up past the point of no return, leaving the tale to run on adrenalin alone.

The plot was unlike anything I had read before but the chapters set in the present were more engaging than those set in the past and I found myself speed reading through the backstop just to get back to the present.

Loved it and can’t wait for her new book, The Last Widow, that comes out later this year.

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An Accidental Death (DC Smith #1) by Peter Grainger

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters. As an ex DCI, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so.

The latest trainee detective to work with him is the son of a member of his former team, and together they begin to unravel the truth about what happened to Wayne Fletcher. As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that others are involved – some seem determined to prevent it, some seem to be taking too much interest. In the end Smith operates alone, having stepped too far outside standard procedures to ask for support. He knows that his own life might be at risk but he has not calculated on the life of his young assistant also being put in danger. He might still get his man but at what cost?

Review –

For me, one of the biggest treats of  reading is discovering a new series you really, really love and reading all the books straight through. Recently I discovered  a novel called An Accidental Death by Peter Grainger. It’s the first of a series featuring Norfolk Detective Sergeant DC Smith, and I liked it so much I intend to read the seven  other books in the series. DC (short for David Conrad) is a former Detective Chief Inspector in the fictional Norfolk city of King’s Lake, and has chosen a demotion in order to do real police work rather than management. He is an older man of many hidden talents of which most are unknown to his colleagues. He is not afraid to use unorthodox methods to achieve successful results. DC is such an original voice, and the books are complex explorations of character and relationships. 

The current case under investigation is unusual without being sensational. It covers contemporary topics from school briefings on drugs through to international terrorism and is designed to provide as much insight into DC Smith as it does to the causes and execution of the crimes being investigated.

Loved it and look forward to reading the rest!!!!!

 

Side Note:

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase or quote “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”, but in all my reading I have NEVER seen it referenced until THIS book and I thought that was cool.

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: April 11, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan – for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz’s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who’s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin’s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn’t realize that Evan’s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it’s impossible to know where he’s going – or whom he’s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team – and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will keep readers riveted to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.

Review –

Five stars !

“If you were looking for a mid year replacement for a departing government teacher, you could hardly do better than Chris Brennan. He’s clearly prepared to cover the courses in government and criminal justice; he’s bright, attractive, and personable; he bonds instantly and effectively with students; and he can even serve as assistant coach of the school’s faltering baseball team. Chris is clearly too good to be true, an observation it never occurs to his new colleagues to take seriously. Only Abe Yomes, the gay African-American language-arts teacher, poses any threat, not because he sees through Chris but because he actually grew up in Wyoming, where Chris is pretending to be from. Soon enough, however, Mr. Y is dead, an apparent suicide, and Chris is ready to go ahead with his plan, which requires him to befriend a lonely, vulnerable boy—preferably somebody both in his class and on the baseball team—separate him from his cohort, and turn him into a patsy for a scheme that involves a rented truck and a mountain of ammonium chloride fertilizer. To say more would undermine several whopping surprises Scottoline has in store, but readers can be assured that the author nails the high school milieu, from athletic rivalries to sexting, and that even if they spot every twist coming from a mile away, they’re still in for one thrilling ride on the roller coaster.” Kirkus Reviews

At first you’re not sure where the book is heading but after a few chapters it is clearly unveiled and from there it is action packed, fast paced and gives you a hero to cheer.

Excellent read.

 

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Book Description:

Published: July 11, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Review –

“A search for a missing girl resurrects traumatic memories for a woman already struggling with life.

Sunday Night—not her real name—lives in seclusion on an island off the South Carolina coast while contemplating the ruins of her life. Her early childhood was a nightmare. Taken in by policeman Perry “Beau” Beaumonde, rebellious Sunday earned a choice of jail or the armed forces. Her stint in the Marines led to a job with the Charleston PD, where the accidental shooting of an unarmed man has left her wounded and pensioned off. That’s when Beau suggests she take an investigative job for wealthy, well-connected Opaline Drucker, whose 15-year-old granddaughter, Stella, may have been kidnapped by a cult after she missed being killed in a Hebrew school bombing that claimed the lives of her mother and brother (though the family isn’t Jewish). Accepting the job, Sunday heads to Chicago, where Drucker’s connections get her first-class treatment and information from the cops handling the case. Paranoid Sunday sets up motion detectors in her room at the Ritz and moves from hotel to hotel while awaiting the results of her internet trolling. She hears from the bombers and manages to avoid one trap but gets ambushed at the Ritz, where she kills an attacker identified as one of the bombing suspects from an old security tape. Seeking help in staking out a female member of the gang, Sunday calls on her twin brother, Gus, and they chase the suspects from Chicago to California and back East. Reichs periodically interrupts this tale with the first-person narrative of a girl desperately trying to escape a cult. Is it Stella or Sunday? Are the bombers really trying to kill Jewish schoolchildren, or is their motive still deeper?

The authors’ newest heroine, the polar opposite of cerebral Temperance Brennan (Speaking in Bones, 2015, etc.), is fueled by a well-nigh uncontrollable rage in her thrilling, violent search for a missing girl so much like herself.”

The above was taken from Kirkus Review.

Although I enjoyed the book, I’m not sure if the character of Sunday Night will grow on me; but I really liked her twin brother Gus (August Night) and he, I could become invested in. I guess I’ll just wait and see what the author decides to do.

 

Invisible Murder (Nina Borg #2) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Book Description:

Published: October 2, 2012

Scavenging hospital ruins in northern Hungary, two Roma boys stumble on something more valuable than usual black market finds. The chain of events threatens many lives. In Denmark, Red Cross nurse Nina Borg puts her life and family on the line when she treats Hungarian Gypsies living illegally in a Copenhagen garage. What are they hiding? What makes them so sick?

Review –

THE INVISIBLE MURDER, the sequel to THE BOY IN THE SUITCASE, is a gripping thriller which sets the three distinct  narrative threads running before entwining them in a nail-biting race against time climax. Nina acts much more rationally in this second book, and yet still cannot seem to win and her ethical acts take a toll on both her and her family, physically, emotionally and personally. The authors weave politics into their characters’ lives, from the issue of immigration in Denmark to the racism and prejudice faced by the Roma and this is what makes this series of books an interesting as well as an exciting read. 

Although, Nina inadvertently put her daughter in harms way, she didn’t mean to, and her husband,(I thought ) should have been more understanding instead of LEAVING  her. And, on top of that he left  her while she was still recuperating in the hospital. If you ask me, she’s better off without him. Just saying .

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I look forward to reading another by the author.

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Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon #7) by Nevada BarrA

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2000

There is peril beneath the watchful eyes of the Lady…

When Anna Pigeon left New York City after her husband was killed, she hoped it would be forever. But now her sister Molly is clinging to life in an uptown hospital ICU, so Anna has reluctantly returned. Rooming with a friend and fellow park ranger in close quarters on Liberty Island—the small strip of land that is home to Lady Liberty—Anna spends her free time exploring the grand monument and the crumbling, overgrown, and eerie ruins in the unrestored sections of nearby Ellis Island. But the peace she seeks here is shattered when she finds herself among a crowd gathered at the Lady’s base, staring at the broken body of a teenager who fell—or was pushed—to her death.

The reason behind the youthful girl’s fatal plunge is not the only mystery alive on these historic sites—nor will hers be the only death. Hidden in a dangerous labyrinth of stone, glass, and steel are secrets Anna Pigeon is now compelled to uncover…and an insidious threat to herself and to others that could wreak havoc on a nation’s proudest day. There is peril beneath the watchful eyes of the Lady…

Review –

I ran across a book in the Anna Pigeon Series by Nevada Barr that I had not read or listened to so I jumped at the chance to listen to it in this case.

This is number seven so it’s relatively early in the series so I learned a bit more about Anna’s sister and the man she eventually married. 

This was a very pleasant read full of drama, suspense, mystery, mayhem and plenty of historical facts about the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Liberty Island.

If you haven’t read any of this series, seriously think about it. I’m looking forward to reading or listening to Boar Island, number nineteen in the series, which takes place in Maine and involves a cyber stalker.

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Private London (Private #2) by James Patterson and Mark Pearson

Book Description:

Published: 2011

SOMETIMES WHEN THE NIGHTMARE ENDS – THE TERROR IS ONLY JUST BEGINNING

For Hannah Shapiro, a beautiful young American student, this particular nightmare began eight years ago in Los Angeles, when Jack Morgan, owner of Private – the world’s most exclusive detective agency – saved her from a horrific death. She has fled her country, but can’t flee her past. The terror has followed her to London, and now it is down to former Royal Military Police Sergeant Dan Carter, head of Private London, to save her all over again.

In central London, young women are being abducted off the street. When the bodies are found, some days later, they have been mutilated in a particularly mysterious way. Dan Carter’s ex-wife, DI Kirsty Webb, is involved in the investigation and it looks likely that the two cases are gruesomely linked.

Dan Carter draws on the whole resources of Private International in a desperate race against the odds. But the clock is ticking… Private may be the largest and most technologically advanced detection agency in the world, but the only thing they don’t have is the one thing they need – time.

Review –

This was the first book in the Private series that I listened to although I had listened to others during the normal routine of my days. This is the second in the series and it takes me longer to finish a book when I listen to it in the car because I don’t go out every day (almost, but not quite).  Because I spent more time with these characters I came to know them more fully and really get a feel for them.  Dan Cater came to be one of my favorites and I hope the author writes more with him in mind.

This story is fast paced, action packed, full of mystery and deception  with a twist or two thrown in for good measure.  A great story and I recommend this series and that’s one thing I never thought would say.

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Memory Man (Amos Decker #1) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published; April 21, 2015

Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Memory Man will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

Review –

This is a fantastic book and had me hooked from the very beginning.

What if you couldn’t forget ANYTHING?  Sounds like an okay deal for all the good memories but what about the bad, sad and horrible memories, you don’t forget those either. They are with you 24/7. That’s what plagues Amos Decker and sometimes he handles it well and other times he doesn’t.

I will definitely read the next book in the Amos Decker Series whenever it comes out because even though he has let himself go, gained weight, is horribly out of shape, you can’t  help  but fall in love with his character and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for  him.

Excellent read!

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Deadline by Sandra Brown

Book Description:

Published: September 24, 2013

Dawson Scott is a well-respected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan. Haunted by everything he experienced, he’s privately suffering from battle fatigue which is a threat to every aspect of his life. But then he gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson’s career–one in which he has a vested interest.

Soon, Dawson is covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. As Dawson delves into the story, he finds himself developing feelings for Wesson’s ex-wife, Amelia, and her two young sons. But when Amelia’s nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws. . .and the secret, startling truth about himself.

Review –

I found it very hard to become invested in this book because after the prologue it was very slow in most parts and it bogged down. It does have two serious twists that I did not see coming and that made up for the slowness but on the whole I rated it three out of five stars. I listened to it driving back and forth to another town about 100 miles away for several days in a row,(husband had surgery)so I was stuck listening or I would have pulled my hair out.

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