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!

 

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Force of Nature ( Aaron Falk #2) by Jane Harper

Book Description:

Published: February 6, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

Review –

A great story with so many things going on it’s hard to know where to begin.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk and his partner, soon to be married, Carmen, had been using Alice, the murder victim as an inside source to solving a huge money laundering scheme within the company she worked for. Now that she’s dead, they have to figure out if her murder had something to do with their investigation or she was just a random choice. As the investigation continues they discover that she was disliked by the majority of her co-workers, so that could be something to look at. On the other hand, years ago the same area of wilderness had been the killing grounds for a serial killer and his son is still out there, or so some people say. Could he have killed Alice? So many people to consider and motives to sift through.

Eventually the killer is found out and the reason(s) behind the act discovered and the book ends on an upbeat note after having learned a bit more about the quiet, hermit-like Aaron Falk.

Now I’ll just have a wait until next year for the next installment of the Aaron Falk series. That’s one reason why I don’t usually read a just released book, the wait for the next in line is soooo long!

Great book and I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

The Prisoner(Criminal & Captives #1)by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2014

Format: E-Book

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

Review –

This is definitely a dark, gritty romance. Grayson is in prison for killing a cop (he was framed) and Abigail is there working on a writing assignment for a college class. When Grayson figures out that she is intent on eventually publishing some of the inmates stories as part of an online journal it doesn’t take him long to bribe his way into her class. He needs to get word out to his crew in order to facilitate a break out. Abby is buttoned-up, all prim and proper, and also completely fascinated by the big, hardened prisoner. Grayson is dangerous and her attraction to him leaves her jumpy and confused. But she is determined to finish the assignment.

Predictably, during his prison break, Grayson takes Abby hostage.  She is terrified of what he is going to do to her, but their fascination for each other continues to build. If there isn’t a content warning, there should be because  there are several instances where Grayson’s sexual advances aren’t welcome and even one scene  where Abby has been drugged by Grayson so she can sleep and isn’t completely in control of all of her faculties. Regardless, Abby does slowly come to trust him as she learns of this history and the horror he lived through as  a child. And it is horrific. Her back story is also pretty terrible and in a way made me believe that these two scarred people might be made for each other.

There is a violent bloody beating where Grayson also loses himself and there are twists and turns and a huge change of heart from one of the supporting characters, Stone. It was dark, edgy and a true page turner.

I loved it. If you like DARK AND EDGY, this one is for you.

The sequel, Hostage, has just been released. It is Stone’s story and I can’t wait.

 

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Book Description:

Published: January 24, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune and another woman’s mysterious fate through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard.

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive – and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate-glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant – and it does.

Jane

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street, she is instantly drawn to the space – and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror as the girl before.

Review –

I’ve been listening to a lot of creepy books lately but this one is one of the best.

The architect who designed the house has a list of 200 rules that MUST be obeyed if you wish to live at One Folgate Street. Besides the ones listed in the blurb above, nothing is to be left on the floor, no rugs, no curtains, no children, no pets, no limescale on the shower floor (the HouseKeeper-a techno entity that runs the house will know) and no clutter whatsoever. He has full right to approve or disapprove any application made to rent the property. As chance has it, he mostly leases to women who look like his wife you died tragically along with their son in an accident before the building of the house and are buried under the property.

When Jane finds out that the woman before her died in the house, she sets out to find out who killed her (her death was ruled an accident/suicide).

The architect has affairs with all the women tenants and his script is almost verbatim every time. I told you it was creepy!

Anyway, suffice it to say that Jane does discover who killed Emma and a lot of other things too and she finally leaves One Folgate Street a happier person. BUT, the ending gave me goose bumps!!!!!

I highly recommend this book!

Five stars.

Heartbreak Hotel (Alex Delaware #32) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 14, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex’s most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.

At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.

What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.

When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.
Review –
“Heartbreak Hotel is the thirty-second Alex Delaware novel Jonathan Kellerman has written. He learned early in his career that child psychologist Delaware and his police investigator buddy Milo Sturgis make a winning team. Over the years there have been good Delaware stories and some that are not as good. Heartbreak Hotel is one of the best.

The novel starts with Alex being contacted by a woman named Thalia Mars. Since he is a child psychologist he rarely takes on adults as clients, and Thalia is very adult. She is ninety-nine years old with her one hundredth birthday coming in three weeks. Still there is something about her that piques Delaware’s interest so he agrees to meet with her. Nothing much happens in that meeting but the next day things get a lot more interesting. Delaware gets involved in a murder case that sends him and Milo reeling.

The circumstances of the murder and the body count that follows requires some step by step investigating by Milo, who takes Alex along for the ride and his expertise. It is a painfully slow process for them but due to the writing expertise of Kellerman, it is a fast trip for the reader. Each investigative fact the duo uncovers is another building block in the case against the murderer. Some of the evidence and background information is found by Milo, but a good amount is also found by Alex.

Kellerman is the kind of writer who wants to make sure the reader knows the scenery of the places where the plot develops. He describes what each character is wearing, what they look like, even how they move. Then for good measure he tells you about the furniture in the places where they live or work. He describes the architecture in specifics and doesn’t miss a detail when giving you the lay of the land.

Sometimes this attention to detail is a bit too much but Kellerman is so good at describing everything you have to give him a little leeway. In the end it all pays off because as you finish the pages you feel you have seen a movie in your head. Plus you have images of the characters that linger in your mind along with the plot.

In Heartbreak Hotel, Jonathan Kellerman has created another compelling murder mystery. You get the insider’s view from Milo Sturgis’ vantage point, and the outsider’s view from Delaware’s. It is one of the best novels Kellerman has written in a couple of years and it renews your faith in his enduring talent.” by Jackie K. Cooper (couldn’t have said it better myself)

I highly recommend this book.

 

Glass House (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 29, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montreal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

Review –

I love this series,The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series, because of the  group of close knit quirky characters and the quaint village of Three Pines where they reside. Within the characters there is a baker, a painter, a book seller, a B&B owner, a bistro owner,  an old, no holds barred poet and Armand Gamache, now chief of the Sûreté du Québec.

There is a murder in the village caused in part by the emergence of a Black Robed Figure (the conscience) stalking someone in the hamlet.  But did the dark thing come for a villager or for one of their guests? The appearance of the black thing coincides with the visit of four out-of-town guests. They are friends from the Université de Montréal who meet for a yearly reunion at the B&B in Three Pines, usually in August but this year it happens to be November first.

All of this is being related by CI Gamache, on the  witness stand in a horribly hot Summer, explaining how over the course of a few days the masked man grew into a fixture on the village green and morphed slowly into an omen.

Conscience is an overarching theme in Penny’s latest Gamache novel, seeping into the courtroom narrative as Gamache grapples with an enemy much larger than the dark thing, a war on drugs and two separate drug cartels, he took on as the new Chief Superintendent. His victory depends on the outcome, and the path, of this murder trial.

While certain installments in Penny’s bestselling series take Gamache and his team to the far reaches of Québec, others build their tension not with a chase but instead in the act of keeping still—this is one such book. The tension has never been greater, and Gamache has sat for months waiting, and waiting, to act, with Conscience watching close by.

Fantastic story and on the edge of the  seat suspense  and a lot of tears when I feared that a favorite character might have met their end in  gun battle that occurred in the bistro. Thankfully, at the end of the book the character in still in critical condition in the hospital with brain damage but I have every faith in the author, Louise Penney, that she will bring this character back to us in the next installment of this series, which comes out in August of this year.

The Witches’ Tree (Agatha Raisin #28) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2017

Format: E-Book/OverDrive

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn’t make her feel any better…

Review –

Another quirky murder mystery involving  the aging, unmarried, chubby, woman with small bear like eyes, Agatha Raisin. I have felt sorry for Agatha in past books but this one takes the cake. In between looking for clues to solve numerous murders she always has her eye out for a new man and a new romance.  Sir Charles Fraith, her old friend, comes in and out of her life and  uses her for sex when he fancies and Agatha, looking for a man’s comfort allows herself to be used. 

The murders seems to be secondary to Agatha’s plight for a new man and that’s sad. She does solve the crimes, with help and still ends up unhappy at the end.

The author needs to do something in the next book to turn Agatha around and into the confident woman she once was or I’m afraid her following is going to drastically dwindle.

I’m a huge fan so I will continue to read the next when it comes out but fingers crossed that the author sees the light!

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

Review –

This page turning mystery is about the circumstances relating to a missing sixteen  year old girl who traveled to London with her best friend one year in the past. We start on the train where Ella, “the witness,” sees two teenage girls flirting with two men who were just released from prison. Her mothering nature kicks in and she thinks she should try to figure out who these girls are and warn their parents that they might be up to no good. She ignores that instinct and feels haunting regret the next day when the news reports one of those girls has disappeared. Each chapter of this story is told between the varying perspectives of Ella – the witness, Henry – the father of Anna, the missing girl, Sarah – the friend, Matthew – the private investigator, and occasional interludes by the “watcher.” The bulk of the book takes place around the one year anniversary of Anna’s disappearance when everyone is hoping with renewed interest Anna will be discovered.

Every chapter ended with a mini cliffhanger but they never really went anywhere. Not until the final minutes of the book/recording do we find out who the “watcher/killer” is. There are twists and turns but none that give anything away until the end.

It’s an okay mystery and it’s a fast read or listen. Give it a try if you life this genre.

 

 

Chase by K.R. Dwyer (aka Dean Koontz)

Book Description:

Published: June 10, 2014 (first published in 1972)

Format: Audio

Ben Chase is a war hero, but a reluctant one. He struggles with bitter memories and feels alienated from the culture to which he has returned. When he claims that a psychopath is stalking him, he has by then made such an outsider of himself that no one believes him. He must resurrect the repressed warrior within to save himself and a woman he comes to love. Heroes need monsters to slay, and they can always find them—within if not without.

Review –

I love Dean Koontz but he wrote this one very early in his career and under a different name so the plot was very predictable and it also failed to give me the shiver than I get from many of his works. The pacing of the story was good after the half way point and we see the character of Chase soften around the edges after having met Glenda.

This was far from a favorite but having rad it (listened to it) I can truly see how much Mr. Koontz has grown as a storyteller.

I’d only recommend this for die-hard Dean Koontz fans.

Touch & Go (Tessa Leoni #2) by Lisa Gardner

Book Description:

Published: February 5, 2013

Format: Audio

This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear:  The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go.

Review –

Five stars.

Fantastic read!

“Ever since Libby Denbe caught her husband, Justin, a handsome and wealthy Boston construction czar, cheating on her, their marriage has been on life support. Their experimental night out turns into a nightmare when they return to find three masked men in their Beacon Hill home terrorizing their 15-year-old daughter, Ashlyn. Swiftly overpowered and driven off in the kidnappers’ van, the family can only wonder why they’re being held in an unused prison in northern New Hampshire. At the same time, corporate investigator Tessa Leoni, whose firm had been hired by Denbe Construction to handle security problems, and New Hampshire county cop Wyatt Foster wonder why all three of them were kidnapped when Justin is clearly the one worth the most money—and why long hours pass with no ransom demand. The clues point to an inside job masterminded by one of Denbe Construction’s top brass: chief financial officer Ruth Chan, chief operating officer Anita Bennett, or construction manager Chris Lopez. Alternating, as in Catch Me (2012), between third-person installments of the search for leads in the case and the beleaguered heroine’s first-person accounts of her torment at the hands of the bad guys, Gardner generates such irresistible momentum that most readers will forgive the combination of cool-eyed professional investigation and heavy-breathing domestic soap opera as a family even Libby describes as “three mere clichés” begins to disintegrate still further under the grueling pressure.

Even readers who figure out the ringleader long before Tessa and Wyatt will get behind on their sleep turning pages to make sure they’re right.” from Kirkus Review

I HIGHLY recommend this book!