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.

 

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Dark Sacred Night (Renee Ballard #2, Harry Bosch #21) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 30, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

LAPD Detective Renée Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch in the new thriller from #1 NYT bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Review –

“Harry Bosch, who just can’t stay retired, unwillingly teams up with a Hollywood detective who has reasons of her own for wanting in on his latest cold case.

It may be nine years since 15-year-old runaway Daisy Clayton was grabbed from the streets of Los Angeles and killed, but the daily presence of her mother, Elizabeth, in Harry’s life—she’s staying at his place while he helps her stay clean—makes it a foregone conclusion that he’ll reopen the case. On the night Bosch drops into Hollywood Division to sneak a look at some of the old files, he’s caught by Detective Renée Ballard, who was bounced from LAPD Robbery/Homicide to “the late show,” Hollywood’s third shift, after her complaint about aggressive harassment by a superior went nowhere. Bosch needs to find out who was responsible for what happened to Daisy; Ballard needs to work a case with teeth, even if she’s partnering with a reserve investigator in the San Fernando Police Department (Two Kinds of Truth, 2017, etc.) who’d rather work alone. Before they get what they need, they’ll have to wade through a double caseload as grueling and sometimes as maddeningly routine as you can imagine, from an apparent murder that turns out to be a slip-and-fall to an ancient gang killing whose repercussions flare to sudden life to the theft of some valuable Andy Warhol prints to a missing man who’s not just missing—not to mention Elizabeth’s sudden disappearance and Ballard’s continuing lack of support, and sometimes even backup, from her department. Not even the canniest readers are likely to see which of these byways will end up leading to the long-overdue solution to the riddle of Daisy Clayton’s death.

Fans who don’t think the supporting cases run away with the story will marvel at Connelly’s remarkable ability to keep them all not only suitably mystifying, but deeply humane, as if he were the Ross Macdonald of the police procedural.” Kirkus Review

Five stars!

After reading The Late Show last December I said the Michael Connelly had hit a home run with the new character of Renee Ballard and this book solidly confirmed it. Adding to it, she partners with Harry Bosch on a cold case and together they save each others lives and solve both cases.  Fantastic!!!!

Now, I have to wait another year for the next installment but I know it will be worth it!

 

 

 

Find Her (Det. D.D. Warren #8) by Lisa Gardner

Book Description:

Published: February 9, 2016

Format: Audio

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora Dane was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime–a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him–she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

Review –

A kidnapping survivor–turned-vigilante tries to save another young woman while the police do everything they can to save them both.

Flora Dane might look unscathed but she’s permanently scarred from having been abducted while on spring break in Florida seven years earlier by Jacob Ness, a sadistic trucker who held her captive for 472 days, keeping her in a coffin for much of the time when he wasn’t forcing her to have sex with him. Now back in Boston and schooled in self-defense, Flora is obsessed with kidnapped girls and the nature of survival, a topic she touches on a bit more than necessary in the many flashbacks to her time in captivity. The author  must walk a fine line in accurately evoking the horrors of Flora’s past ordeals without slipping into excessive descriptions of violence; she is not entirely successful. When Flora thwarts another kidnapping attempt by killing Devon Goulding, her would-be abductor, Sgt. Detective D.D. Warren’s interest is piqued even though she’s meant to be on restricted duty. Then Flora disappears for real, and Warren, along with Dr. Samuel Keynes, the FBI victim specialist from Flora’s original kidnapping, fears it’s related to the kidnapping three months earlier of Stacey Summers, a case Flora followed closely. Gardner alternates between Warren’s investigation into Flora’s disappearance and Flora’s present-day hell at the hands of a new enemy.

The world of the FBI, the terror of abduction and victim advocates blend into this tense and sometimes hard thriller. The author knows how to invoke  strong emotions, and readers will be forced to deal with tough questions that don’t necessarily have answers.

Five stars !!!!!

Fear Nothing ( Det. D.D. Warren #7) by Lisa Gardner

Book Description:

Published: January 7, 2014

Format: Audio

My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear. . . . She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D. D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women, he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:  Fear nothing.

Review –

“Recovering from a nasty fall down a flight of stairs, Detective D.D. Warren, of Boston Homicide, tangles with a pair of sisters who put her pain in a whole new perspective.

Forty years ago, Harry Day, about to be arrested for killing eight prostitutes, got his wife to slit his wrists before the police closed in. He left behind two young daughters: Shana, a sociopath who followed so closely in her father’s footsteps that she was jailed for life when she killed a neighborhood boy at age 14, and Adeline, not quite a year old when her father died, who’s grown up cursed by an inability to feel physical pain. Naturally, Adeline went to medical school and became a psychiatrist specializing in pain management, and it’s in that capacity that D.D. consults her after an accident at a blood-soaked crime scene leaves her with an impressive set of injuries. Christine Ryan, the victim who’s been smothered and flayed by someone who left behind a bottle of champagne, a pair of fur-lined handcuffs and a long-stemmed rose, is followed distressingly quickly by a second victim, occupational therapist Regina Barnes. Even worse, the handiwork of the Rose Killer is gruesomely linked to the criminal careers of Harry Day, dead these 40 years, and his daughter Shana, who’s been in the Massachusetts Correctional Institute for over 25 years. Alternating as usual between third-person chapters following D.D.’s investigation and first-person chapters dramatizing Adeline’s point of view, Gardner (Touch & Go, 2013, etc.) paints an indelible portrait of two troubled sisters so closely bound together by blood that they agree: “Blood is love.”

If you think Gardner pulled out all the stops in D.D.’s previous cases (Catch Me, 2012, etc.), you ain’t seen nothing yet. Better fasten your seat belt for this roller-coaster ride through family hell.” Kirkus Review

Fantastic read!!!!

 

Still Midnight (Alex Morrow #1) by Denise Mina

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Armed men invade a family home, shouting for a man nobody’s heard of. As DS Morrow tries to uncover one family’s secrets, she must protect her own.

Review –

First of all a very short blurb that does nothing to make you want to read this book. Sad.

It might have been a routine home invasion. Two men in balaclavas, backed up by a third waiting in the car, push their way into a house, demand to speak to Bob, shoot a family member in the hand and, when they see Bob’s not there, leave with the head of the family, for whose safe return they demand two million  pounds as “payback. For Afghanistan.” Only the details don’t make any sense.

Ugandan-born shopkeeper Aamir Anwar and his family apparently have nothing to do with Afghanistan, with anyone named Bob, or with the remotest likelihood of assembling such a staggering ransom. When Strathclyde CID gets the case, it goes not to DS Alex Morrow, who’s next in line as lead detective, but to her despised rival, DS Grant Bannerman, who shunts Alex into meaningless busywork and ignores the all-important lead she hands him. The heroine’s home life, if you can call it that, is as dispiriting as her professional life. She dreads heading home to the husband who tells her, “I hate who you make me.” They have lost a child and it has caused a rift between them.

Only a few days pass over the course of this book, and despite its grim beginnings, the violence is kept to a minimum. The author’s attention is instead focused on who these people are, and how they ended up clashing in a middle-class suburb.

There is little suspense and less mystery but a great read and I can’t wait to read more in this series.

Persons Unknown (DS Manon #2) by Susie Steiner

Book Description:

Published: July 4, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son, Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

Review – 

When we last saw Manon, she had adopted Fly, an orphan closely related to her last case, Missing, Presumed, and they were moving in with Manon’s sister, Ellie, and her toddler, Solomon, in London.

A year or two has passed, and the unlikely family unit has moved back to the familiar world of Cambridgeshire, where Manon is stuck working cold cases—and she’s five months pregnant, having decided to give up the wait for “Mr. Right” and take matters into her own hands.

She’s concerned about Fly, now one of the only black kids in the neighborhood, and the fact that he’s 12 going on 20. When a wealthy London banker is found stabbed in nearby Hinchingbrooke Park, Davy and Harriet, Manon’s friends and co-workers, quickly discover that he’s Ellie’s ex-boyfriend—and Solomon’s father. But before they can fully investigate this connection, their Chief Superintendent shuts them down and strongly suggests, instead, that they arrest Fly, who’s been caught on camera walking through the park at the time of the murder.

As in her previous novel, the author does not shy away from exploring the racist aspects of the justice system; this only works because she has crafted such complex and believable characters. There is no doubt that Manon is barely making it from day-to-day, but her heart is always in the right place, and for all her awkwardness, she once again proves to be a great cop—and a fierce mother.

A second adventure that strikes all the right notes—layered mystery, incisive cultural context, and a delightful protagonist who deserves a place alongside other beloved literary detectives.

I truly love this series and can’t wait for the third installment, and hopefully it will be out soon. Hint, hint… write faster, Susie Steiner!

 

Missing,Presumed(DI Manon #1) by Susie Steiner

Book Description:

Published: February 25, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

Review –

DI Manon Bradshaw  is sad and lonely, estranged from her sister and something of a misanthrope. She is single, 39-years old and  listens to her police radio to help drown out the loneliness while she goes to sleep, But she’s also funny and clever, and interesting. Going to watch a Swedish film at the cinema, alone, she muses: “The Swedes are a nation who appreciate morbidity, unlike the British, who are just as depressed as everyone else but who like to project their darker feelings, saying to people in the street, ‘Cheer up, it might never happen!’

Her personal life seems a complete disaster, but her professional interest and energy are piqued when the beautiful graduate-student daughter of a famous physician goes missing, apparently the victim of foul play. As the investigation into free-spirited Edith Hind’s disappearance uncovers no strong leads, Manon finds herself drawn to two unconventional males: one, a possible romantic partner, plays a tangential role in the investigation when he finds a body; the other, a young boy with a tragic home life, mourns the death of his brother, who also might have ties to Edith or her family.

As Manon draws nearer to the truth about Edith, aided by her idealistic partner, Davy, and their team of homicide detectives, she also has to face the fact that she might not be destined to follow the traditional domestic model. Though it follows all the typical twists and turns of a modern police procedural, this novel stands out from the pack in two significant ways: first of all, in the solution, which reflects a sophisticated commentary on today’s news stories about how prejudices about race and privilege play out in our justice system; and second, in the wounded, compassionate, human character of Manon. Her struggles to define love and family at a time when both are open to interpretation make for a highly charismatic and engaging story.

There is a HEA for both Edith and DI Bradshaw, but not in the way of a fairytale.

Looking forward to reading more in this series.

 

 

The Trespasser(Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Antoinette Conway, the tough, abrasive detective from The Secret Place, is still on the Murder squad, but only just. She’s partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that’s going well – but the rest of her working life isn’t. Antoinette doesn’t play well with others, and there’s a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers’ tiff, but gradually they realise there’s more going on: someone on their own squad is trying to push them towards the obvious solution, away from nagging questions. They have to work out whether this is just an escalation in the drive to get rid of her – or whether there’s something deeper and darker going on.

Review –

I don’t know if it was the narrator or the fact that this is number six in the series and I have only read the first one, but it just seemed to go on and on and I felt oppressed under the weight of it. Not until the last two chapters did I really enjoy it. 

While the premise is good and I did like the ending I was glad when it was over. That being said, I plan to find earlier books in the series and give them a try. I don’t like to give up on a good murder wh0-done it!

 

The Late Show (Renee Ballard #1) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

From New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

Review –

I love Michael Connelly and his character, Harry Bosch, is one of my favorites so I was a bit surprised to see that he is starting  a new series with a female LAPD detective, Renee Ballard, as the headliner.

Ballard has been banished to the police department’s night shift — the Late Show — because of an ugly incident with her boss. Her Lieutenant made a sexual advance toward her and she filed a sexual harassment claim against him, of which he denied and even denies to her face that it ever happened.  She also feels betrayed by her former partner, and her new partner wants to spend as much time as possible with his wife. So Ballard operates as a lone wolf, Southern California-style.

She doesn’t exactly live anywhere. When her shift ends, she greets the morning by pitching her tent at the beach, changing clothes in her van, getting out her paddle board and hitting the waves, washing away the horrors of the night before. Ballard grew up in Maui. Her father, a surfer raised in California, drowned; her Hawaiian mother wants nothing to do with her. Her closest companions are the grandmother she seldom sees and Lola, her beloved dog.

In the book she  begins by answering an elderly woman’s complaint about credit card fraud. Then she learns of a cross-dresser who’s been savagely attacked. As usual, Connelly relies on his inside-baseball knowledge about police attitudes. “Drag queens, cross-dressers and transgenders were all generally referred to as dragons in vice,” he writes. “No distinctions were made. It wasn’t nice but it was accepted. Ballard had spent two years on a decoy team in the unit herself. She knew the turf and she knew the slang. It would never go away, no matter how many hours of sensitivity training cops were subjected to.”

Then, during the same night, there are “four on the floor in a club on Sunset” — four shooting victims in one booth, and a waitress near the back exit who turns out to be a fifth. This club, the Dancers, takes its name from another in Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye,” and its drinks are named for Los Angeles literary titles. Connelly doesn’t give Ballard Harry Bosch’s taste for jazz, but he laces the book with noir references. There’s a character who favors brass knuckles that say “Good” and “Evil,” à la Robert Mitchum’s “Love” and “Hate” tattoos in the film “The Night of the Hunter.”

By the end of a highly populated book Ballard will get to the bottom of every aspect of several crimes. And she’ll do a lot more. Smart and fierce, she never stops working. She’s also steamy enough to weaponize seduction if it will help her, and absolutely blunt when she speaks her mind. When a colleague who betrayed her tries to apologize, she responds with an unforgiving tongue-lashing.

The pacing of Ballard’s debut story is breathless. Unless she’s in the water, she never has a peaceful moment: There’s always a lead to follow, a house to scope out, a late-night call to make. One thing she loves about the night shift is feeling entitled to assume a combat stance at 3 a.m., scare some miscreant out of bed and shout: “Police! Let me see your hands.”

Mr. Connelly has hit a home run with this one and I can’t wait for the next installment in the Renee Ballard saga.

Fantastic read.

Five stars!!!!!