Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: September 20, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

Harlan Coben delivers a thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

Review –

There is something very special about reuniting with a cast of characters you haven’t read about for some time. Myron Bolitar and Windsor Horne Lockwood III, (Win) are two of my favourite characters in all of fiction,(next to Harry Bosch) and we haven’t seen them (besides brief appearances in Coben’s YA Mickey Bolitar trilogy) since 2011’s Live Wire. That is a very long time to wait.

Home brings these characters back, alongside the classic cast: Esperanza; Big Cyndi, Myron’s parents. Heck, even the kids wh0 starred in Coben’s YA series play a vital role in proceedings, and it’s great to be reunited with Mickey, Ema and Spoon. Their presence adds a cool continuity to things. So, sure; this book is for the fans. The readers, like me, who clamour each and every year for a new Myron novel. But there’s plenty here for “non-Myron” fans to enjoy. If indeed there even are such people out there.

There’s a big mystery here, and there are surprising twists (unleashed rather late in proceedings, admittedly, but no less effectively than in other novels) but it’s the emotion of the characters that really lifts Home above the rank and file. The heart and soul of this novel are the twin families coping with the loss of a child, and the extremes parents go to in order to protect them.

Ultimately, it’s just great to be back with Myron and the gang. The novel’s ending is possibly conclusive – – with a real lump-in-the-throat moment –(with 28 minutes left tears formed in my eyes and at 19 minutes left they started to fall) – so who knows when we’ll see these characters again? In many respects, I wish I’d taken my time with the novel and truly savoured it. Instead, I smashed through it in almost one sitting. That’s the true evidence of Coben’s class: his books are so gripping, you can’t put them down or turn them off.

Five stars *****

 

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Book Description:

Published: July 5, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

She sets a trap. But is he really a killer?

The famous bestselling author Linda Conrads  is a mystery to her fans and the media. For eleven years she did not leave her villa on Lake Štarnberškom. Despite the problems, Linda was very successful, but no one knows her remoteness has been brought about by a traumatizing memory. Years before  Linda found her younger sister, Anna,  in a pool of blood – and saw her killer  flee.  The killer’s face haunts her dreams. One day she experiences an incredible shock when seeing the killer’s face on television. He is a prominent journalist . For Linda, it’s reason enough to forge a dangerous and devious  plan – to lure the killer into a trap.

But what really happened the night of the crime?

Review –

This was my first read/listen by this author and I enjoyed it very much.

Everyone thought Anna was perfect and ignored plain Linda and one day Linda finds her sister dead in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed seven times. She saw the killer. Looked him right in the face before he fled through the terrace doors. The police took her statement but were skeptical . There was no forced entry and nothing was disturbed.

Now plagued by panic attacks, Linda copes with debilitating anxiety by secluding herself in her house, her last safe haven. But the sanctity of this refuge is shattered when her sister’s murderer appears again–this time on her television screen. Empowered with sudden knowledge but hobbled by years of isolation, Linda resolves to use her only means of communication with the outside world–the plot of her next novel–to lay an irresistible trap for the man.

But as the plan is set in motion and the past comes rushing back, Linda’s memories of that traumatic night–and her very sanity–are called into question. Is this man really a heartless killer or merely a helpless victim?

I won’t give the ending away but there are many twists and turns and even a hidden love story .

The author is German and the book was a  translation and while I’ve seen reviewers that did not like it at all, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

 

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Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: June 23, 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When a serial killer strikes bucolic Painters Mill, Ohio, the killer’s signature -—Roman numerals ritualistically carved into each victim’s abdomen- —matches the MO of four unsolved murders from 16 years earlier. Police chief Kate Burkholder, who’s reluctant to dredge up the past, must keep secret that she knows why the old murders stopped. Not satisfied with the case’s progress, local politicos set up a multijurisdictional task force to assist, including a law-enforcement agent battling his own demons. The added scrutiny and the rising body count threaten to push the chief over the edge. Adept at creating characters with depth and nuance, Castillo smoothly integrates their backstories into a well-paced plot that illuminates the divide between the Amish and English worlds.

Review –

Since I enjoyed number eight, Among the Wicked, in this series – I decided to go back and start from the beginning and I’m so glad I did.

In this first book in the series we learn more background on Kate’s reason for leaving the Amish life and her estrangement from her siblings. We also meet her love interest-to-be, John Tomasetti for the first time and learn more of his back story. Both were tormented with a serious past yet they were drawn together during the hunt for the serial killer. 

We also learn the lengths to which people will go to cover up ugly things in their lives and the affect in has on all around them.

I enjoyed this book more than number eight so I will continue with the series.

A great read.

 

Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster #2) by Robert Bryndza

Book Description:

Published: June 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

Review –

This is only the second book in the DCI Erika Foster series and I’m totally hooked.

I just love DCI Erika Foster…she’s abrasive, yet extremely loyal, willing to go as far as necessary to solve a case. Her and her team will do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and that is clearly evident in this book. Erika is certainly a force to be reckoned with.  She may not always see eye-to-eye with her bosses and her co-workers – those that are equal to her – but those that work for her know her dedication to the job and are usually willing to go to bat for her.

The one thing that does make my blood boil in this book (and in the first one as well) is that the upper ranks of the police department are made to look totally incompetent and just plain stupid. It’s like without Erika no crime would get solved. And once she does bring in the killer, she is not even given a pat on the back and her promotion is given to someone less talented. You would think after a while that they would come to expect the unexpected from her. I guess I’ll have to wait for other books in the series to see if they wise up.

I found myself completely invested in this story right from the beginning because it’s another fast-paced, shocking thriller and even though this one takes place in the sweltering heat of the summer, it’s still has that chilling factor to it that all good mysteries do. 

Excellent read/listen.

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The Other Woman(Jane Ryland #1) by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Book Description:

Published: September 4, 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news…until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on her assigned puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election.
Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hunting the young women of Boston.
As the body count rises and election looms closer, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their cases are connected…and that they may be facing a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to silence a scandal.
Dirty politics, dirty tricks, and a barrage of final twists, The Other Woman is the first in an explosive new series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Seduction, betrayal, and murder—it’ll take a lot more than votes to win this election.

Review –

This was my first read by this  author and I’m fairly certain I’ll be reading more, of this series in particular.

The first in a series. Jane Ryland is a reporter. She gets fired from her TV job and gets a newspaper job. She is in love (or at least, has the potential to be) with Jake – a cop, but they can never be together because of their jobs.

I actually like that Jake and Jane don’t do anything sexual in the book. For one thing, I feel like they really are getting to know and love(?) each other as people instead of just lusting after each other. Too many books out there today have “insta-love” between the two main characters and it is just TOO unbelievable .

This book is about a political campaign and all the back-stabbing and scandal that goes along with it, however, it is a bit confusing and with tons of twists and turns it becomes a tangled mess.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Twists and turns, multiple plot lines and points of view don’t bother me.

If you like a good “whodunit” give this book a try.

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The Girl In The Ice (DCI Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza

Book Description:

Published: February 12, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

Review –

I was excited  to discover and enjoy an author I hadn’t read before! Loved the character, and although she has her flaws, she is a strong woman with principles.  The  plot was fantastic with enough suspense and twists to keep my interest.

Right from the beginning you feel you can guess some of the twists, but also  feel the frustration of DCI Foster trying to find the vital clues. Lots of build up and the ending definitely  does not disappoint. 

I am so looking forward to the rest of the series!

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What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

Review –

Author Gilly Macmillan alternates between two narrators in her mesmerizing debut novel: Rachel Finch, a grieving mother whose eight-year-old son, Ben, disappears from the Leigh Woods in Bristol, England  10 months after her husband left her for another woman; and Detective Inspector  James “Jim” Clemo, who tirelessly searches to find Ben.

Rachel can’t forgive herself for letting her son run ahead of her in the forest, and Jim blames himself for not solving the case sooner. In the aftermath of the investigation, Rachel learns disturbing things about her past and comes to the painful conclusion that she can trust only a few people in her life. Meanwhile, Jim suffers from severe depression that leads to acute insomnia and panic attacks, causing his department to mandate counseling sessions. The suspense intensifies as suspects are ruled out, and the media relentlessly pursue Rachel for negligent supervision of her son. 

Excellent book that will keep you guessing to the end.

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Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross

Book Description:

Published: October 25, 2016

With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

EGGNOG MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

DEATH BY EGGNOG by LEE HOLLIS
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

NOGGED OFF by BARBARA ROSS
Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yultide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

Review –

I haven’t read a food related murder mystery in a long time so I thought this one would be perfect, and it completely lived up to all my expectations.

EGGNOG MURDER is set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and  I loved learning about their Real Beard Santa Club, which I now know is a real group with branches everywhere. The characters of this story drew me right in and I realized I have missed them so I know I need to get caught up on the books I have missed as soon as possible.

DEATH BY EGGNOG  takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. I was at a little disadvantage with this one as it was my introduction to these characters and the writer’s style of Hayley’s articles right in the story but I knew from the start Agatha Farnsworth, the head librarian, was definitely on Santa’s naughty list and was not surprised she was our victim. What was surprising was the culprit responsible for her demise.

NOGGED OFF focuses on Julia cleaning out her old apartment in New York since she has decided to stay in Busman’s Harbor. When she meets her subletting tenant her quick trip to the city gets complicated. The author packed a whole wonderful cozy into just over 100 pages. The mystery takes us on quite a ride that at times was just plain crazy and so much fun to read. I love Julia and her big heart. It was fun to make winter trip to Busman’s Harbor.

All three of these stories were well written with interesting characters. Great reads for the holiday season but they may have you refraining from eggnog for a while. I say fix a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and curl up in a cozy chair. These mysteries will captivate you for a few wonderful hours.

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Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: March 13, 2007

The unlikely heroine of this Lisa Scottoline thriller (which follows 2006’s Dirty Blonde), mousy University of Pennsylvania assistant law professor Natalie “Nat” Greco, finds herself in way over her head when an unintended visit to a minimum-security prison in nearby Chester County puts her in the middle of a deadly uprising — and places her at the center of an elaborate plot that involves an incarcerated crime boss and more than a few improbable conspirators.

Greco’s classes at Penn Law — the History of Justice, for example — aren’t nearly as well attended as those taught by charismatic and handsome prof Angus Holt. Greco herself is far from immune to Holt’s charm, so when he asks her to accompany him to Chester County Correctional Institution to lecture to inmates involved in an externship program, she quickly agrees. But the professors’ visit soon turns deadly; a riot erupts, and amid the chaos Greco finds herself alone with a dying correctional officer who has been stabbed through the heart with a metal shank. His last words are a cryptic  message to his wife: “It’s under the floor.” Soon thereafter, Greco is inexplicably set up for the murder of a state trooper and is forced to become a fugitive from justice while she tries to unravel the mystery of the dying man’s words.

While not as sexually supercharged or frenetically paced as Dirty Blonde, Daddy’s Girl derives its power from the subtle and compelling coming-of-age of protagonist Greco, a sheltered and socially naive woman who, when faced with the ultimate adversity, discovers herself.

Review –

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I have mixed feelings about this book, though overall positive I did find it a bit daunting to keep up with all of the action., if you can believe that. I mean, it had a prison riot and break out, road blocks , a vice dean on her case, plus family and boyfriend trouble. It wore me out. It’s really just an adult Nancy Drew mystery.

The end had a surprise twist and even though it was a bit cliché, it was still perfect.

Not the best but not the worst.

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