Still Waters (Sandman Murders #1) by Viveca Sten

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

Review-

As you can see, I finally got around to reading the first in the Sandman Murders series and I’m kinda glad I did hear this series out of order.

I learned many things in this book that related back to the two other books that I have already read and it made it more enjoyable. Had I read the books in order the incidents in Book One would have been just that-incidents, but with the background I already have the incidents make others things become crystal clear.

The story starts with the introduction of the setting of a crime. The weather is hot, it’s July and a body is found on one of Sweden’s islands named Sandhamn. The body is a horrible sight to behold as it is entangled in a fishing net. Thomas Anderson is the police detective that has been assigned to the case. He is also the first person to arrive at the spot. A little research helps him identify the victim. The victim’s name is Krister Briggren. Krister has been missing for a number of months or so the official reports say.

Thomas’ investigation leads him to believe that the death was an accident till something happened to change his beliefs. A local bed and breakfast reported another body. The body was identified as Krister’s cousin. Thomas attempts to solve the mystery with the help of an old friend named Nora Linde! 

The story revolves around  a very intriguing plot and  are the  police  right when they believe that the death was an accident? There is a huge surprise twist in the story and makes for a very emotional discovery for  Nora and to me since through reading three books I am acquainted with the character involved and couldn’t believe it!

I love this series and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves a good  murder mystery.

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Soulless (King #4) by T.M. Frazier

Book Description:

Published: February 23, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Soulless, is part two of Lawless.

The finale to Bear and Thia’s epic love story.

Review –

Do not read this as a stand alone. You simply must first read them in order: King ,Tyrant and Lawless.  Call it sage advice.  Call it a moral imperative.  Call it because-I’ve-read-them-so-I-know-what-I’m-talking-about-trust-me-on-this-one-eh?  Call it what you want but please do not attempt to start this series at Soulless.  There is a reveal so utterly game changing that you probably really, really want to know why your mind is blown away so righteously.  Me- I can barely see through the chunks of grey matter siding down my forehead and between my eyes for what it’s worth.

 Lawless, left us dangling for our lives at a cliffhanger that was equal parts beautiful and sad.  I hate cliffies, but Lawless was Bear’s story and there was no way I was passing that up so there I was dangling away until Soulless dropped into my lap.  The King series builds book upon book.  To care about Soulless, you first have to understand King.  The dark story of a man lost on his own dark path and the young woman he saves along the way.  He has two friends, Bear and Preppy and together they have a brotherhood forged in blood and loyalty.  King walks his path with Doe and they both make it out alive. Bear is just starting his own tumultuous journey and when a series of events tear him away from his MC and reunite him with young, troubled Thia, both of their lives hang in the balance.

Soulless is the culmination of carefully planted seeds and plot twists that make me mighty proud of author TM Frazier.  My chief complaint regarding the first three books has been that there is so much good, gritty, dark substance that I revel in, but then, there is always a departure where the envelope is pushed too far and I am jarred out of my sweet reading spot because something completely odd or non sequitur occurred.

 It happened in every book and I shook my fists to the heavens each time.  It was akin to drawing a weird, awkward line through a masterpiece.  Never enough to turn me completely off- but enough that it absolutely bears mentioning.  Nevertheless, King was powerful stuff and the break out star Preppy captured my heart in every way, even though he is the most foul mouthed hottie I have ever run across.  The quiet force in the King series is Bear.  Bear is the son of the most awful MC President you could fathom. In fact, imagine the most depraved club president you can, then imagine him ten times more brutal and conscious-less, and only then can you begin to scratch the surface that is Chop. Walking away from the MC is by blood or casket in this world, so Soulless begins and ends with the conflict between Bear and his evil incarnate father, Chop.

Thia is Bear’s heart beat.  Drawn to her years before and reunited when she needed him most, their connection is tangible and wild.  He knows little about love, but knows he wants to care for and protect Thia.  The daughter of a deranged mother and murdered family, Thia is also searching for a home- a place where she is loved and safe.  Bear’s in every way, their bond is rock solid and the catalyst to THE BIG REVEAL.  They fight for, along side and on the behalf of the other- equals in their own way.  Thia was no whimpering willy, and she was not ridiculously courageous either.  She was just your average broken woman, trying to keep all the pieces together.  I seldom disagreed with her actions and I enjoyed her point of view.  Bear’s point  of view was so full of emotion and longing that I wanted to beat his father bloody for everything he did to ruin Bear.

It is a miracle that Bear survived his old man and was remotely salvageable as a man.  It is astonishing that these two people with royally messed up backgrounds survived at all.  Good thing they did, because their sexual chemistry is off the charts.

The best parts of Soulless lends itself to epic spoilers that I don’t dare ruin for readers.  There is a new female character that I am convinced will be prominent in the next book.  I’d like her to be a surprise, but she is a savage and the hint of her background that we do receive begs for more page time in the future!  Books 1-3 are all fast reads, so the journey to Soulless will pack a punch – but will be quick and worthwhile.  As expected, T.M Frazier did not break her pattern of “wait – what?” scenes and I spent about twenty-five pages more perturbed than I have ever been in my life.  But then I arrived at 99%- the epilogue… and all was forgiven. The who, what, where, and how- meaningless. 

Spoiling an ounce of Soulless would be such a disservice, the best I am willing to do is give you a warning.  This is a violent series and both primary couple’s road to their HEA’s are paved in blood and bones.  It is dark, but deliciously so.  You will laugh, cry, cringe and have your mind blown, so if you are game, give it a chance.  If you are looking for well dressed, polite young men courting their crushes with sweet tea and cupcakes, this is not the series for you.  The only character in this series who dressed well at all wore a bow tie, pressed shirt and slacks- and was perhaps the most visceral dangerous of them all.

Thank you TM Frazier for another mind-blowing experience.  Five stars!!!!!!!!

Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

Review –

Just finished listening to this installment of the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, and I loved it. As you may remember the character of Harry Bosch is one of my favorites.

In this one, number twenty in the series, Harry Bosch juggles yet another cold case turned flaming red hot with the sort of brand-new case that would be routine for anyone but him.

Thirty years ago, Harry  was sure that Preston Borders had raped and murdered three young women. The district attorney’s office, less confident about two of the cases, still managed to convict Borders of killing Danielle Skyler. A jury gave him the death penalty, and he’s been sitting in San Quentin ever since. Now, however, it looks as if he may get out, and not because he’s been executed. An analysis of the evidence that went unexamined back in 1988 has identified the DNA on Danielle’s pajama bottoms as that of Lucas John Olmer, who died in a different prison and never met Borders. Under the guidance of sharp-practice lawyer Lance Cronyn, Borders has filed a habeas corpus petition, made a new statement accusing Harry of planting evidence against him, and expressed a serious interest in suing everyone in sight. Harry has only nine days before the habeas hearing to defuse this ticking bomb. But how can he possibly find the time to work the case when the murder of José Esquivel Sr. and Jr., a pharmacist and his son, at their family business has swept the San Fernando Police Department—where Bosch, booted off the LAPD, is now volunteering—into a hurricane of fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions and provoked Bosch to agree for the first time in his life to go undercover as an addict and potential drug mule? You have to keep in mind in the forty years that Harry has worked in law enforcement he has never been undercover and he is now over 65. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch his performance!

The author, Michael Connelly, is a genius when it comes to juggling these two cases and tying up loose ends of another kind to boot. I am not a fan of courtroom scenes but Mr. Connelly has written one that had my blood pumping and standing uptown cheer.

Another great read!!!!!

 

Tonight You’re Dead (Sandhamn Murders #4) by Viveca Sten

Book Description:

Published: November 14, 2017

Format: Audio

Soon to be divorced, attorney Nora Linde is finding her way as a single mother, and even falling in love again, when she’s asked by her childhood friend Detective Thomas Andreasson to help in a disturbing investigation. Marcus Nielsen, a university student, has apparently committed suicide, but it’s what he’s left behind that’s so suspicious and damning: his research into the Coastal Rangers, an elite military group where, in 1976, a young cadet died under questionable circumstances, a sadistic sergeant went free, and a case went cold.

When two of Nielsen’s contacts are also found dead—and diaries of their tortuous training turn up missing—Thomas and Nora are certain that whatever happened three decades ago is unforgivable. And for someone who wants to keep those secrets buried—unforgettable. Now they must fight against time to expose a cover-up that hasn’t yet claimed its last victim.

Review –

I have found another foreign crime fiction series that I really like and again I’m reading the books out of order. The reason is that when I find one available I latch on to it and read or listen to it. I like to have the physical audio book and now they are hard to find so I have to rely on library apps like OverDrive and Libby and audio book apps like Audible.

Tonight You’re Dead is the fourth in the  Sandhamn Murders series of books – a place I love the sound of (multiple murders aside).  It sounds beautiful, set on the coast of Sweden and home to a mix of fascinating characters – not least of which (and central to all the books) is Nora, a single mom to two boys and best friend of Thomas, a local detective (and another central character in the books).

I can tell from the back story that Nora and Thomas have worked together on the solving of the crimes in the previous three books (even though she works for a bank). In this one Nora is hardly mentioned and Thomas works with a another police person, Margit.

The case itself was simple but cleverly conceived.  It starts with a young student found hanged, an apparent suicide.  Thomas is convinced by the young man’s mother to look into it further and, when he does, he finds a connection to another group of young men, Coastal Rangers who trained to be part of an elite fighting unit in the 1970s but are now also turning up dead, again looking like they have taken their own lives.

As Thomas and Margit try to find the connections, time seems to be running out for the men left alive.  It leads to a tense ending, one I didn’t see coming – which is always a plus.

I highly recommend this series.

The Absent One (Department Q #2) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: August 21, 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen introduced Detective Carl Mørck, a deeply flawed, brilliant detective newly assigned to run Department Q, the home of Copenhagen’s coldest cases. The result wasn’t what Mørck—or readers—expected, but by the opening of Adler-Olsen’s shocking, fast-paced follow-up, Mørck is satisfied with the notion of picking up long-cold leads. So he’s naturally intrigued when a closed case lands on his desk: A brother and sister were brutally murdered two decades earlier, and one of the suspects—part of a group of privileged boarding-school students—confessed and was convicted. But once Mørck reopens the files, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Looking into the supposedly solved case leads him to Kimmie, a woman living on the streets, stealing to survive. Kimmie has mastered evading the police, but now they aren’t the only ones looking for her. Because Kimmie has secrets that certain influential individuals would kill to keep buried . . . as well as one of her own that could turn everything on its head.

Review –

“Ditlev Pram is a founder of private hospitals. Ulrik Dybbøl Jensen is a stock market analyst. Torsten Florin is a prominent designer. Before they achieved their success, however, they were fifth-form students together at Rødovre High School along with Kristian Wolf, Bjarne Thøgersen and Kirsten-Marie Lassen. These last three haven’t done so well. Kristian died in an apparent hunting accident; Bjarne is doing time for killing Lisbet Jørgeneon and her brother Søren back in 1987; and Kimmie is living on the streets of Copenhagen. Now new evidence suggests that all six of them were responsible for the Jørgensens’ deaths and for a whole lot more mayhem as well. The upshot of Carl’s dogged investigation is to get himself suspended from the force. But aided and abetted by his loyal Syrian assistant, Hafez el-Assad, and his new secretary, Rose Knudsen, assigned to his unit after she failed her police driving test, he continues to build a case against his influential quarry, themselves desperate to track down Kimmie, whose voices have been telling her that it’s time to get revenge on them for their mistreatment of her. The long, eventful, often tedious chase climaxes in a wild hunt guaranteed to satisfy the most bloodthirsty readers.

As in Department Q’s debut (The Keeper of Lost Causes, 2011), Adler-Olsen plots and writes with both eyes on Stieg You-Know-Who. The result is overscaled, lumpy, strenuously unnuanced and destined for the bestseller lists.”

Kirkus Review

I love this series and can’t wait to read the next one!

Agatha Raisin and The Dead Ringer (Agatha Raisin Mystery #29) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Overdrive

The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin.

As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . . . so much so that Joseph Kennell, a retired lawyer, yells at the sisters that he ‘felt like killing them’!

When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.

Will Agatha unmask the real killer and clear Joseph’s name?

Review –

Being  a regular reader of this series I wasn’t confused over who was who, as a first time reader to the series might be, but then this isn’t a series you read for the intellectual challenge of working out whodunnit before it’s actually revealed. You read it for the black humor, the fun of wondering what drinking, smoking, man-chasing, glamorous Agatha will do next. There are so many bodies that you stop feeling the horror of violent death: you know that as soon as you look away the corpses will get up and walk away. It’s a fun read, although, not one of my favorites and I think that was because of the voice of the narrator, I miss Penelope Keith because she did a perfect Agatha Raisin!

 

 

 

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: August 23, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician disappeared five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she is not dead … yet.

Review –

Five Stars!  This book was fantastic !

Five years after Danish stateswoman Merete Lynggaard vanished without a trace from a ferry on a  crossing, Carl Mørck takes it upon himself to reopen the case as the first to be worked in the new Department Q. Despite the possible presence of an eyewitness, Merete’s unreachably brain-damaged younger brother Uffe, the mystery has long been dismissed as unsolvable by the Copenhagen police, who think Merete must simply have slipped off the boat for reasons unknown. But Carl’s in an unusually strong position to pick it up again. Banished to Department Q, his own personal cold-case unit, after a shooting left one of his best friends dead, another paralyzed and Carl himself with an incapacitating case of survivor’s guilt and rage, he can choose his cases, control his budget and call on police departments throughout Denmark for help. And he’ll need plenty of help, because the disappearance of Merete, who against all odds is still alive, held captive by a sociopathic family mad for revenge against the inoffensive minister, is only one of the problems he’ll face. His colleagues produce painful new leads on the shooting that annihilated his own team; he’s determined to put the moves on police crisis counselor Mona Ibsen, whose agenda emphatically doesn’t include his romantic overtures, because she’s married,and he can’t help growing suspicious of his remarkably talented new assistant, especially since he bears the name Hafez al-Assad. The trail to the truth is filled with authentically tedious loose ends and dead ends; the climactic confrontation with the monstrous kidnapper is very violent; and the final scene is unexpectedly touching.

I love this series, even though I read the first two out-of-order, I can’t wait to read the others and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves foreign crime fiction/drama.  This one has it all!

 

 

Closer Than You Think (Romantic Suspense #16, Cincinnati #1) by Karen Rose

Book Description:

Published: November 6, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Deacon Novak has returned home. The experienced FBI Agent knows that his move to Cincinnati’s Major Crime Enforcement Squad will be challenging, but the greater challenge will be saving his younger brother before he becomes the kind of criminal Deacon is chasing. Faith Corcoran has escaped her identity. Being a therapist to victims of sex crimes was rewarding, but her work with their offenders has jeopardized her life. Her move represents a chance to build a new life in the empty old house her grandmother has left her. What Faith doesn’t know is that a killer has made the house his playground, taking girls into the basement and murdering them. And now Faith is about disturb his fun. With a murderer focused on her, Faith is going to have to put her trust in Deacon if she’s going to survive. Because this killer is always closer than she thinks…The first in a brand new series and Karen Rose at her tense, tantalising and thrilling best.

Review –

“Coming home to her family mansion in Cincinnati, Faith Corcoran hopes to escape a stalker, but the move puts her in even greater danger. Digging for answers with a sexy FBI agent brings unexpected love—if they can survive.

After a year of being stalked by an ex-con, psychologist Faith leaves Florida behind for a new start in her long-abandoned family home, which she inherited from her grandmother. Except that once she gets into town, she nearly runs over a young woman escaping from the boarded-up building, where it soon becomes clear that a serial killer has taken up residence. As body after body is uncovered in the basement, suspicion falls on Faith’s fractured family—including a couple of cousins and two estranged twin uncles. When the FBI is called in to support local law enforcement, Faith is drawn to Deacon Novak, an agent assigned to her case. Soon it becomes clear that someone is determined to kill her, and it’s probably not the previous stalker. In fact, the stalker may have been a convenient cover for someone else’s murderous intentions. Deacon and Faith begin to search for clues in Faith’s past and those of her grandparents and their two sons and two daughters, who have a mysterious history of wealth, secrets and betrayal. Yet as they work through years of lies and misunderstandings, and more bodies show up in other locations, the killer is tightening his net, and it includes Deacon, since it’s obvious that his relationship to Faith has become personal. Rose has written an intricately plotted mystery with enough suspects to keep us guessing and a chilling but believable killer who hides in plain sight.” Kirkus Review

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Fantastic read!  Five stars!!!!!

 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: May 29, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

Review –

In the author’s fourth novel in as many years, Harriet “Hal” Westaway is barely making ends meet as a tarot reader on the Brighton Pier.

Her mother died in a hit-and-run several years before, and in her grief, Hal has drifted into a solitary and poverty-stricken life. Worse still, she’s under threat from a loan shark who’s come to collect the interest on an earlier debt. So when she receives a letter saying she’s been named in the will of, possibly, an unknown grandmother, she decides to travel to Cornwall, despite fearing that it’s probably all a mistake.

There she meets several possible uncles and a creepy old housekeeper right out of a Daphne du Maurier novel, all against the backdrop of a run-down mansion. As Hal desperately tries to keep up her charade of belonging to the family, she realizes that the malevolent atmosphere of Trepassen House has strong roots in the past, when a young girl came to live there, fell in love, and was imprisoned in her bedroom. Hal just has to figure out exactly who this girl was…without getting herself killed.

The author continues to refine her gift for the slow unspooling of unease and mystery, developing a consistent sense of threat that’s pervasive and gripping. She uses tarot readings to hint at the supernatural, but at its heart, this is a very human mystery. The isolation of Trepassen House, its parliament of magpies, and its severely creepy housekeeper cultivate a dull sense of horror. Ware’s novels continue to evoke comparison to Agatha Christie; they certainly have that classic flavor despite the contemporary settings.

I rated this book 4 1/2 stars because it was slow to get started but the second half was on fire and I highly recommend it for any mystery/horror enthusiast.

 

Lawless (King #3) by T.M. Frazier

This is Henry, the bane of my existence and he isn’t feeling his best and has totally taken over my chair, so here I sit at my desk so I might as well work on a post.

Book Description:

Published: December 8, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Thia is prim and proper.
Bear is leather and lawless.
It will never work between them.
It’s a lie they almost believe…It is necessary to first read King and Tyrant to fully enjoy Lawless.

Review –

 

Lawless is raw, dark, and hot. When some books claim to have a “bad boy”, they are just wrong. TM Frazier shows you a legitimate bad guy. Bear is a criminal who has murdered several people, does drugs, and is generally everything that is really bad. He is not just a cocky bastard who hooks up with girls (he does that too) and claims to be a bad guy. So, anyone who claims a book has a “bad boy” needs to use the King/Bear test. If he is not as bad or worse as these guys, he is not a bad boy.

Now having said that, let me talk about the story in Lawless. First, you do have to read King and Tyrant first. Honestly, if you haven’t read those, stop reading this review and go read them. The plot picks up right from page one and it does NOT stop. I wasn’t sure I would really like Bear. I don’t know why, but I was hesitant to even start the book, especially  because of what the author did in Book One, King.

Once I did start reading, I fell in love with Thia. She is so well written!  She and Bear met when she was ten years old and one of his friends tried to rob the convenience  store she was minding. Bear gave her his skull ring and told her if she ever needed help to come look for him.  Well, she needs help in a BIG way and goes off

to the MC club to find him, only he isn’t there because he has left the Beach Bastards. His father and President of the club, Chop, beats her up and almost rapes her but Gus rescues her and takes her to King’s.I worried that this would end up being another story that just followed the same plot as King and Doe. Thankfully, I was wrong. While this is still about bad men and girls desperate for help, the plots are unique. You are left with a major cliffhanger so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Five stars!!!!!! 

And, Oh My God, that cover!!!!!!