It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Book Description:

Published: May 16, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

Review –

What a roller coaster ride! My head is still spinning from all the twists and turns this book took to relate the journey of three girls who meet their Freshman year at college and became roommates and friends/enemies for the next 20 plus years.

One girl gets way with murder and one girl is later murdered and you don’t find out the killer until THE VERY END.

Loved it. Highly recommend it!

Five stars!!!

Advertisements

The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet

Book Description:

Published: September 21, 2017

Format: E-Book/OverDrive

A frozen body, a murdered biker, and a lawyer with nothing left to lose. In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman’s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death. A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe. Does the frozen woman hold the key?

Review –

I always LISTEN to foreign crime fiction because I prefer a narrator with the correct accent and pronunciation of words and cities involved to be correct rather than stumble over the vowels and consonants myself.

I was not so lucky with The Frozen Woman in that all I could find was an e-book and so I stumbled my way through it and it was not a pleasant journey.

The storyline was good but I thought the plot was a bit convoluted. I may try this author again IF I can one of his books on audio.

The Night Season (Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell #4) by Chelsea Cain

Book Description:

Published: March 1, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

He captured the Beauty Killer, one of the most deranged serial killers in the country. Now, Portland police detective Archie Sheridan faces a different kind of killer – a brutal rain season that has flooded the Willamette River, claiming several lives. As water levels rise, so does the fear. Because some of the victims didn’t drown;they were murdered.

The first body contains a rare poison. Three others prove to be murders as well. And with each gruesome discovery the medical examiner uncovers, Archie begins to realize he has not escaped his nightmares, even with his deadliest enemy behind bars. The flood has washed up old skeletons from the past. And a ruthless new serial killer rules the night…

Review –

Archie is finally free, at least physically, of his former lover and crazed torturer, Gretchen Lowell, The Beauty Killer,who’s behind bars, Portland Detective Archie Sheridan vies with a slightly more mundane serial killer in Cain’s latest installment in the series.

This time the villain is a  largely unseen male menace. Accompanied by a nine-year-old boy who was stolen from his parents 18 months ago, this serial killer carries around small, blue-ringed octopuses in baggies,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus

subjects his victims to their poisonous bites and tosses the corpses in the river.

The killings begin after the discovery of a skeleton points back to the Vanport flood of 1948, which wiped out an entire public-housing project and claimed the lives of many residents who were tardily warned by authorities of the impending disaster. Sixty-two years later, with the overflowing Willamette River about to wreak havoc on Portland, two people close to the still-shaky Sheridan are touched by the octopus killer’s evil: Henry Sobol, a fellow cop, and Susan Ward, a hungry crime columnist with wild hair. 

The story is deftly handled, the suspense is plentiful and the author’s description of the gloomy atmosphere and Portland setting is superb. Gretchen fans will be pleased when she shows up at the end and with a glance tells us we haven’t seen the last of her.

Excellent read!!!

When Secrets Strike (House of Secrets #2) by Marta Perry

Book Description:

Published: October 27, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In Laurel Ridge, Pennsylvania, a community once united must suspect one of their own.

Amish quilter Sarah Bitler’s dreams no longer feature a husband and family. Instead, she searches for success in the quilt shop within Blackburn House, a place once tarnished with deadly secrets. She refuses to let the past influence her future…until an ominous fire forces them to collide.

Firefighter Aaron King was the first to touch Sarah’s heart—and the first to break it. Now a widower and father of two small girls, his return to Sarah’s life brings her buried feelings to the surface. As a string of horrific incidents tears apart their community, an arsonist’s wrath threatens to destroy them all. With Aaron as the only suspect, Sarah must follow her instincts to find the truth. But to protect an innocent man, she might risk her heart to Aaron again…and risk her life to an unknown killer.

Review –

Amish Sarah Bitler is a single businesswoman, partnering with Allison Standish (the  heroine in the previous book, Where Secrets Sleep) to run a quilt shop. The love of her life, Aaron King, married someone else and is now a widower with two daughters, and she assumes she’s lost any chance of gaining his affection. They’re brought closer together by a series of arsons that seem to be targeting local farms, which also puts Aaron’s life at risk, as he’s a volunteer firefighter. As the investigations continue, with subplots involving a shady real estate deal and an aging widow, the stakes rise. Perry weaves a deft tale, taking a solid traditional cozy mystery plot and melding it nicely with a largely chaste romance. The spatterings of Amish culture and German phrases (“that makes gut sense,” “was ist letz”) are either explained contextually or explicitly, and they serve the story well.  

Excellent series.

The Hope That Kills (DI Fenchurch #1) by Ed James

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The body of a young woman is found on the streets of East London, in the shadow of the City’s gleaming towers. No ID on her, just hard-earned cash. But there is no doubting the ferocity of the attack.

DI Simon Fenchurch takes charge but, as his team tries to identify her and piece together her murder, they’re faced with cruel indifference at every turn—nobody cares about yet another dead prostitute. To Fenchurch, however, she could just as easily be Chloe, his daughter still missing after ten years, whose memory still haunts his days and nights, his burning obsession having killed his marriage.

When a second body is discovered, Fenchurch must peel back the grimy layers shrouding the London sex trade, confronting his own traumatic past while racing to undo a scheme larger, more complex and more evil than anything he could possibly have imagined.

Review –

This book introduces us to DI Simon Fenchurch and  we follow him around the streets of East London as he delves deeper into the criminal underworld to crack the case. In this first book we learn a bit about Fenchurch’s backstory, which I really like as you feel like you’re getting to know him and it makes sense why he (re)acts the way he does in certain situations. He is a very likeable guy, who is still troubled by the unsolved case of his missing daughter.

This story wasn’t as thrilling as some other police procedurals (eg. the DCI Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza) however, it does take you into the nitty gritty criminal underworld of East London; gripping in a raw, hard-hitting way.

I haven’t decided if I will read/listen to any other books in this series because the narrator of this one was not very good and narrators can make or break an audio book and the jury is still out on this one.

 

Evil at Heart (Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell #3) by Chelsea Cain

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multi week bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. These days, she’s more of a cause célèbre than a feared killer, thanks to sensationalist news coverage that has made her a star. Her face graces magazine covers weekly and there have been sightings of her around the world. Most shocking of all, Portland Herald reporter Susan Ward has uncovered a bizarre kind of fan club, which celebrates the number of days she’s been free.

Archie Sheridan hunted her for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a détente of sorts—Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen’s trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?

Review –

“She’s extracted his spleen, hammered nails into his chest, broken his ribs, whittled away at him with an X-Acto knife, but these and an array of other scarifications, emotional as well as physical, have not dampened Archie’s ardor. He remains crazy about Gretchen Lowell, aka the Beauty Killer. And crazy, too, in the sense that as the result of her ministrations, he currently resides in Portland, Ore.’s Providence Medical Center, termed by Archie “the loony bin.”

As for Gretchen, until recently she’s been residing in the slammer, where Archie helped put her. Having busted out, however, she’s up to her old tricks—murdering with undiminished enthusiasm, leaving her signature heart carved into the torsos of her victims, usually before they’re dead.

Seldom indeed, when in the hands of Gretchen the grotesque, does anyone die in a hurry. And now, perversely, she’s become a media darling. Her glam photographs seem omnipresent. She sells newspapers, she boosts ratings, she has fan clubs: global constituencies, gleefully marking the days their hero has been able to elude slew-footed police forces—76 and counting. So suddenly the question takes on an unsettling nuance. Is it Gretchen and Gretchen alone who’s been dismembering and disemboweling? Or has she been joined by copycats?

It’s enough to get Archie into his clothes, out of the hospital and back into bossing his catch-Gretchen task force, the trauma of it all having driven him sane.” from Kirkus Review

The reader or listener never does find out for sure if Gretchen is or is not responsible for the latest killings but in my mind she was.

Looking forward to the next installment.

 

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!!!!!

 

The Bone Box (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus #24) by Faye Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 28, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In this thrilling chapter in Faye Kellerman’s bestselling series, Rina Lazarus makes a shocking discovery in the woods of her upstate New York community that leads her husband, police detective Peter Decker, through a series of gruesome, decades old, unsolved murders, pointing to a diabolical, serial killer who’s been hiding in plain sight.

On a bright and crisp September morning, while walking a bucolic woodland trail, Rina Decker stumbles upon human remains once buried deep beneath the forest grounds. Immediately, she calls her husband, Peter, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD, now working for the local Greenbury Police. Within hours, a vista of beauty and tranquility is transformed into a frenetic crime scene. The body has been interred for years and there is scant physical evidence at the gravesite: a youthful skeleton, a skull wound and long dark strands of hair surrounding the bony frame. As Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, further investigate, they realize that they’re most likely dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate—a well-known and well-respected consortium of higher learning where Rina works.

And when more human remains are found in the same area, Decker and McAdams know this isn’t just a one-off murder case. Short-staffed and with no convenient entry into the colleges, Decker enlists Rina’s help to act as the eyes and ears of campus gossip. Winding their way through a dangerous labyrinth of steely suspects and untouchable academics, Decker, McAdams, and Rina race to protect their community from a psychopathic killer still in the area—and on the hunt for a fresh victim.

Review –

I am fairly certain that this is the first book I’ve read from this author and maybe because I haven’t read any others in the series, this one fell short for me.

I could not get invested in any of the main characters and the storyline, while plausible, was predictable . For me, this book was just okay, but to be fair I plan to start at the beginning and read The Ritual Bath and maybe that will change my mind.

 

 

Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell #2) by Chelsea Cain

Book Description:

Published: September 2, 2008

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Portland detective Archie Sheridan, the former head of the Beauty Killer Task Force, hunted Gretchen Lowell for years before she kidnapped him, tortured him, and then let him go. Now that she is behind bars, Archie is finally piecing his life back together. He’s returned home to his ex-wife and their two children. But no matter how hard Archie tries, he just can’t stop thinking about Gretchen!

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the first corpse he discovered there a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. Then, the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes from prison, and once the news breaks, all of Portland goes on high alert; but secretly, Archie is relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can capture Gretchen and now he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all. Even if it means becoming her last victim!

Review –

In Sweetheart Archie’s best friend and detective, Henry, as well as his wife step in and stage a whole intervention scene. They are severing all ties between Archie and Gretchen. Henry explains that they are moving her to a place far out of his reach and banning all phone calls and visits with her. It doesn’t matter that every time Archie visits her she gives up another name of another victim. It’s just not worth it anymore.

This novel opens up with the shuffling of transporting Gretchen from one prison to another, in which she escapes. Archie knows she will kill anyone, especially those who are important to Archie. She will kill anyone to get his attention.  She wants him and she will not stop until she has him all to herself. With so many people Archie cares for there are a lot of people she can come after to gain his attention. But Gretchen isn’t playing games anymore. After a few leads that send the detective all over the city yet seem to get them nowhere to finding her, Gretchen comes directly for Archie and he goes to her willingly.

With Archie missing, our favorite reporter Susan Ward is back in action. Of course, she never left the action of trying to find the real scoop on the U.S. senator who seduced his children’s babysitter a decade ago. Only he’s dead and the babysitter is too. Susan worries her story is long gone? Until she finds a connection between the dead bodies that seem to be popping up everywhere and the sex scandal? Working with Henry trying to find Archie, Susan struggles with who to trust with the clues that she keeps uncovering about the other case she is working on.

The story goes back and forth between Archie’s relationship with his captor and Susan’s struggle to piece together all the parts of more than one head-scratching case.  I found the book a bit sluggish at times and felt that Cain was not doing as great a job at holding my attention with this installment of her Gretchen Lowell series.  The tension in this book was not up to par compared to her first book and the gory details of the previous book was traded for some lewd scenes between Archie and Gretchen ( we find out that Archie and Gretchen were having an affair before she kidnapped and tortured him and no one know but just the two of them.). Cain does however utilize the multiple plots going on in the book quite well and is easily switched from one to the other. I give kudos to Cain for incorporating the psychological complexities to the relationship between Archie and Gretchen as well as keeping the main characters busy with moving the storyline in the right direction. Though I feel the book could have been a wee bit better it was still a page turner (Archie tries to commit suicide while handcuffing Gretchen to the stairs in a cabin in the middle of a wild fire) for the most part.  It’s believable or as believable as one who’s never experienced a psycho serial killer can be and I am totally looking forward to the third installment, Evil at Heart.  I have it on hold on OverDrive but there are two people ahead of me.

Excellent read!

 

 

Heartsick (Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell #1) by Chelsea Cain

Book Description:

Published: September 4, 2007

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Damaged Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she was the one who caught him. Two years ago, Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, but instead of killing him she eventually saved his physical life by calling 911 and turning herself in, but Archie’s existence has been fundamentally ruined. Although Gretchen has been locked away for the rest of her life, Archie is in a prison of another kind—addicted to pain pills, unable to return to his old life, powerless to get those ten horrific days off his mind. Archie’s a different person, his estranged wife says, and he knows she’s right. He continues to visit Gretchen in prison once a week, saying that only he can get her to confess as to the whereabouts of more of her victims, but even he knows the truth—he can’t stay away.
When another killer begins snatching teenage girls off the streets of Portland, Archie has to pull himself together enough to lead the new task force investigating the murders. A hungry young newspaper reporter, Susan Ward, begins profiling Archie and the investigation, which sparks a deadly game between Archie, Susan, the new killer, and even Gretchen. They need to catch a killer, and maybe somehow then Archie can free himself from Gretchen, once and for all. Either way, Heartsick makes for one of the most extraordinary suspense debuts in recent memory.
Review –
This story is very sick and twisted, which makes or an EXCELLENT read.
Archie Sheridan is on so many pills for the pain and suffering of being kidnapped and tortured for ten days (she set a trap for him and Gretchen drove nails into Archie’s ribs, removed his spleen while he was awake, feed him handfuls of pills, carved on his torso and made him drink drain cleaner, just to name of few of her tricks and against rather steep odds Archie fell madly in love with her) by the beautiful serial killer, Gretchen Lowell but he has been called back from medical leave to lead a new task force and try to catch a new serial killer, dubbed the After School Strangler. Add in Susan Ward, whose father died when she was 14.  She’s a  pink haired reporter doing a piece on Archie, since he is a celebrity of sorts and as a freshman at Cleveland High, where one of the recent victims attended school, she may or may not have had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her drama teacher. Archie realizes almost too late that Gretchen has actually been setting her own trap, and Susan is the intended victim.
I won’t say who the After School Strangler turns out to be but as the story progresses it’s not hard to predict the outcome and that’s okay because there’s MUCH more to the book than the solving of the current crime. The characters run the show in Heartsick, which refers to the heart carved on Archie’s chest by Gretchen, and it’s much more satisfying to learn what happens to them AFTER the crime has been solved. 
Archie decides to quit seeing Gretchen on Sundays and try to reunite with his family and Susan tries to be a better reporter.
Fans of the serial killer genre, crime/mystery fiction readers and anyone who appreciates a first-rate suspense thriller are gonna eat this book up and since Heartsick is just the first in a whole series of Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan novels, the fun’s just getting started.  
I have already started the second in the series called Sweetheart and can’t wait to see what Gretchen has up her sleeve for Archie this time around.
 Five stars!!!!!