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!

 

 

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Last Words (Mark Novak #1) by Michael Koryta

Book Description:

Published: August 18, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Still mourning the death of his wife, private investigator Mark Novak accepts a case that may be his undoing. On the same day his wife died, the body of a teenage girl was pulled from the extensive and perilous cave system beneath Southern Indiana. Now the man who rescued the girl, who was believed to be her killer, begs Novak to uncover what really happened.

Garrison is much like any place in America, proud and fortified against outsiders. For Mark to delve beneath the town’s surface, he must match wits with the man who knows the caverns better than anyone. A man who seemed to have lost his mind. A man who seems to know Mark Novak all too well.

Last Words is a pulse-pounding thriller of one man’s undoing; you just may not know which man.

Review –

PI Mark Novak has not done well since his wife, Lauren, was murdered on her way to an interview on behalf of the Florida firm that specializes in exonerating death-row inmates for which the couple worked. Two years later, Mark, who’s at risk of being fired by that firm, receives an unusual request. Ridley Barnes, an eccentric cave explorer, wants him to look into the decade-old murder of 17-year-old Sarah Martin, who disappeared inside Trapdoor Caverns in Garrison, Ind. Barnes was a prime suspect in that case, though he was never charged. The tragedy plunged the town into an economic depression after the cave’s owners sealed it, cutting off the tourist trade. In Garrison, Mark encounters people who refuse to talk—and violence. 

The author sensitively portrays regret and grief while plunging the reader into exciting, claustrophobic scenes deep inside the massive cave, and the best and most suspenseful parts of the book by far are the ones set underground, particularly the scene in which bad guys drug and strip Novak and deposit him inside the cave. Koryta evokes the pitch-dark, damp, bone-cold setting so well, it’s easy to share the claustrophobia and eerie visions the character experiences. 

The ending is not what I expected  but served the purpose.

 

Black Light: Cuffed (Black Light Book 5) by Measha Stone

Book Description:

Published: April 20, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

“Do you think you’re the only woman in this room that loves the pain?”

Sydney isn’t one to go around directing the doms she plays with. If they don’t know how hard and how long to go, she walks.  Voicing her desires isn’t even an option. As an assistant DA she’s used to asking questions, not answering them.

Tate knows exactly what Sydney is after, how far she could go before she finds that sweet oblivion submissives find beneath his flogger. But he’s not giving it to her until she can ask for it.  He sees the fire burning in her and will try everything to show her how to let it burn wild.

One snag, there’s a murderer in town and it’s their job to make sure they get the right guy and keep him behind bars. But when the case starts to hit a little too close to home can Tate and Sydney work side by side without losing each other in the fray?

Review –

This is the first book in this series that I have read and I found it a very enjoyable read because it had an actual plot separate from the sexual storyline. Most times in the genre of contemporary/ erotic romance sex dominates the entire story and sometimes that’s fine but once in a while it can be a bit much. It was refreshing to have the sex play a part in the story, like a character.

There was suspense, angst, dark sexy times, an intriguing plot, stable characters full of passion, snarky attitudes, and a journey to self-acceptance with a sexy domineering hero. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Excellent read  and I plan to check out the other books in the series, which I found out are all written by different authors.

Note*

Call me a chicken but I’m not showing the cover because my feed shows up on my Facebook page and it’s very very sexual in nature and I don’t want to shock my friends. You can see the picture on my page of covers I like.

 

 

The Silent Girls (The Silent Girls #1) by Eric Rickstad

Book Description:

Published: November 25, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath’s investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere-and no one is safe.

Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story.

Review –

It’s Halloween in 1985 and a woman opens her door to a trick or treater expecting to have an ordinary interaction and it’s anything but. I’ll just say there is bloodshed and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up, a truly chilling opening to a really gripping book.

Next it’s 2011 and you’re introduced to Frank Rath a former police officer turned private investigator living in Vermont. He was a really strong protagonist and was developed  extremely well, I totally felt like I had a solid sense of who he is and what motivates him by the end. The secondary characters were also well drawn, they were mostly detectives who were working alongside Rath and you can definitely tell that the author is laying the groundwork for a series.
It’s dark and gritty at times, a great companion to the stark setting in the lead up to a brutal Vermont winter. The plot was well constructed and kept me guessing and the subplot surrounding Rath’s personal life really piqued my interest. And that ending, talk about an explosive cliffhanger, I can’t wait for the sequel will comes out September 12th.

Five stars !!!!!!

The Night Bird (Frost Easton #1) by Brian Freeman

Book Description:

Published: February 1, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Homicide detective Frost Easton doesn’t like coincidences. When a series of bizarre deaths rock San Francisco—as seemingly random women suffer violent psychotic breaks—Frost looks for a connection that leads him to psychiatrist Francesca Stein. Frankie’s controversial therapy helps people erase their most terrifying memories…and all the victims were her patients.

As Frost and Frankie carry out their own investigations, the case becomes increasingly personal—and dangerous. Long-submerged secrets surface as someone called the Night Bird taunts the pair with cryptic messages pertaining to the deaths. Soon Frankie is forced to confront strange gaps in her own memory, and Frost faces a killer who knows the detective’s worst fears.

As the body count rises and the Night Bird circles ever closer, a dedicated cop and a brilliant doctor race to solve the puzzle before a cunning killer claims another victim.

Review –

Just finished this book and loved it. This is a “first read” of this author and I WILL be reading more.

It’s a murder mystery involving a serial killer targeting patients of a psychiatrist who helps people overcome bad memories by totally erasing them. So, would you let someone mess with your head to get rid of a horribly bad memory? I don’t have any memories that horrible so I say “No”, but I can see where it might be a good thing for those with debilitating memories. 

Frankie Stein (hokey name, but in this storyline it works) is the psychiatrist and several of her patients are being reprogrammed to kill themselves or others by someone who hates her because she let a guilty man go free. 

She is married but the marriage is slowly falling apart and she has a hateful sister. I felt bad for her and hope that she may reappear in future books with a brighter story.

The character of Frost Easton is a new favorite of mine because of his human-ness. He’s kind, caring and has a brother who is a chef but owns a food truck and a sister who was murdered. He rescued a cat when it’s owner died and hence inherited the house of said cat. He can live there for as long as the cat is alive. He’s a police homicide detective, who in the book, works mostly alone, rarely calling for back-up unless it’s a dire situation. This to me was the most unrealistic part of the book, because in real life that just doesn’t happen.

The story is fast-moving, action packed and filled with surprises.  It was a great read and I look forward to the next installment of the Frost Easton series.

 

Lie In Wait by Eric Rickstad

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Silent Girls comes another unforgettable thriller set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, featuring Detective Sonja Test

Even in a quiet Vermont town, unspeakable acts of the past can destroy the peace of the present

In the remote, pastoral hamlet of Canaan, Vermont, a high-profile legal case shatters the town’s sense of peace and community. Anger simmers. Fear and prejudice awaken. Old friends turn on each other. Violence threatens.

So when a young teenage girl is savagely murdered while babysitting at the house of the lead attorney in the case, Detective Sonja Test believes the girl’s murder and the divisive case must be linked.

However, as the young detective digs deeper into her first murder case, she discovers sordid acts hidden for decades, and learns that behind the town’s idyllic façade of pristine snow lurks a capacity in some for great darkness and the betrayal of innocents. And Sonja Test, a mother of two, will do anything to protect the innocent.

Review –

Detective Sonja Test of the Canaan (Vermont) Police Department is working her first murder case involving a fifteen-year-old killed while babysitting a local attorney.

Jessica Cumber was killed in the home of Jon Merryfield, a lawyer who had built his career by taking on cases of underprivileged victims of violence. He was current representing a gay couple in a community divided by the issue of legalizing gay marriage in Vermont. The police arrest popular high school senior Brad Jenkins, whose father is a close friend of Jed King, leader of the gay hate group “Take Back Vermont”, for the murder. The question for the investigating officers is, Was Jessica Cumber a victim of random violence, or was her murder somehow connected to the Take Back Vermont organization? There is no evidence to suggest that Jessica knew Brad Jenkins as anything other than a schoolmate, and yet Sonja Test senses there’s more that she’s not seeing.

Lie In Wait is written largely as a police procedural, with a lot of character development on all sides of the murder investigation: the officers, the accused, the victim, and everyone else in their respective spheres of influence. Too, considerable time is spent on the investigation itself, questioning anyone who might have something to contribute, often not making much obvious progress but it only takes a random detail here or there to tie all the pieces together.

The author manages to create a real sense of place with the Vermont setting- the cold, snow and rural-ness really play in to the overall atmosphere. As well, the author manages to develop many strong, distinct characters- he writes in many POVs but each character is clearly their own. Most importantly, the actual mystery is solved in an unexpected way, with big secrets being exposed at the end.

Though often moving forward in fits and starts, this is an engrossing novel of suspense with a riveting storyline.

 

 

 

Death of a Liar (Hamish MacBeth #30) by M.C Beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 3, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Review –

For anyone who hasn’t read or listened to at least one of the Hamish MacBeth series, here is a bit about the likable character.

He lives in Lochdubh’s police station and keeps some sheep and chickens and grows some vegetables. He is occasionally guilty of poaching a salmon, sometimes for himself, but often as a gift or bribe for others.

Hamish has a reputation for laziness. He loves the town of Lochdubh (meaning ‘black lake’ (loch) in Gaelic and pronounced Lokh-DOO) and is content and at peace with his life and lacks ambition. Of great concern to Hamish and his fellow villagers is the threat of possible closure of Lochdubh’s police station,something his superior and archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, would like to see. Hamish avoids promotion, occasionally even deliberately destroying attempts to give him recognition for his accomplishments. His position as “local bobby,” sees him sometimes left out of official investigations and he must often work outside official channels, as the detectives from neighbouring Strathbane CID do not appreciate his help. Despite this, it is Hamish’s natural “Highland curiosity” and local knowledge and intuition that combine to solve crimes.

All that being said, this book did not hold my interest and I found myself wishing the book would hurry up and be over. There was nothing different from this book to differentiate it from all the others.I like all the characters but I hope the author can come up with more timely and “edge of the seat” plots.

 

There’s Something In A Sunday (A Sharon McCone Mystery#8) by Marcia Muller

Book Description:

Published: December 18, 2011

Format: Audio/OverDrive

It’s a cold Sunday in San Francisco. Sharon McCone’s alone on a routine surveillance job, following a man named Frank Wilkonson through the city’s lush horticultural hot spots to the serene foothills of the Diablos. But when she returns to find her kindly old client in a pool of blood, nothing she’s learned explains it. The search for answers takes her from Wilkonson’s sullen brood on Burning Oak Ranch, to the eccentric havoc of a household in the Haight, to Golden Gate Park and the desperate digs of the homeless. Unraveling the threads that link a homeless man, a pair of prominent activists, a wayward rancher, and a mysterious missing beauty, Sharon is plunged into the depths of domestic mayhem… entering a realm where dreams shatter and marriage leads to bloody murder.

Review –

This was free and available on OverDrive but I wish now that I hadn’t wasted by time.

The story was convoluted and boring and the narrator left a lot to be desired . I’m sorry if you’re a fan of this series but I will never read or listen to another one.

 

Sacred (Kenzie and Gennaro #3) by Dennis Leanne

Book Description:

Published: 1998

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Dennis Lehane won a Shamus Award for A Drink Before the War, his first book about working-class Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. His second in the series, Darkness, Take My Hand, got the kind of high octane reviews that careers are made of. Now Lehane not only survives the dreaded third-book curse, he beats it to death with a stick.

Sacred is a dark and dangerous updating of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, as dying billionaire Trevor Stone hires Kenzie and Gennaro to find his daughter, Desiree. Patrick’s mentor, a wonderfully devious detective named Jay Becker, has already disappeared in St. Petersburg, Florida, while working the case, so the two head there to pick up a trail. Desiree, of course, is nothing like the sweet and simple beauty described by her father, and even Chandler would have been amazed by the plot twists that Lehane manages to keep coming.

Review –

 

The kidnapping really should have tipped them off. You can’t have much of a relationship with a client who grabs you off the street, drugs you, and ties you to a couple of chairs while he makes his pitch. But dying billionaire Trevor Stone, whose wife is dead and whose daughter has disappeared, is obviously a man in pain, and the $50,000 retainer he offers (plus $200,000 for expenses) goes a long way to soften the insult. So Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his partner, friend, and sometime lover, agree to follow Patrick’s vanished mentor Jay Becker into the darkness surrounding beautiful, depressed Desiree Stone, and soon–with only a brief intermission for a lovely farewell bash for their prison-bound buddy Bubba Rogowski–they’re tangling with fraudulent grief counselors, a clever and vindictive IRS computer geek, and the Church of Truth and Revelation. And that’s only the beginning, since the trail of Desiree’s last known companion leads to Tampa, where the serious corpses will start to pile up, and where they’ll finally get an inkling of the true relationship between their megalomaniac client and his anaconda-like daughter. 

 This case leads Patrick and Angie  into unexpected territory: a place of lies and corruption, where trusting anyone could get them killed, and where nothing is sacred.

Fantastic story line and I love that the author has been slowly developing the personal/physical relationship between Patrick and Angie and in this book they become a full-fledged couple. They are super hot together.

 

 

 

 

The Blood Split (Rebecca Martinsson #2) by Asa Larsson

Book Description:

Published: January 30, 2007

Format: Audio/Library Book

It’s midsummer in Sweden—when the light lingers through dawn and a long, isolating winter finally comes to an end. In this magical time, a brutal killer has chosen to strike. A female priest—who made enemies and acolytes in equal number—has been found hanging in her church. And a big-city lawyer quite acquainted with death enters the scene as police and parishioners try to pick up the pieces….

Not long ago, attorney Rebecka Martinsson had to kill three men in order to stop an eerily similar murder spree—one that also involved a priest. Now she is back in Kiruna, the region of her birth, while a determined policewoman gnaws on the case and people who loved or loathed the victim mourn or revel in her demise. The further Rebecka is drawn into the mystery—a mystery that will soon take another victim—the more the dead woman’s world clutches her: a world of hurt and healing, sin and sexuality, and, above all, of sacrifice.

Review –

Again, I hadn’t read the first book in this series so I didn’t know all the background of the character of Rebecka Martinsson and in this book she is severely damaged so I think I need to stop reading or listening to books out-of-order.

The plot/storyline was okay but a bit convoluted and there was a LOT of deaths in the book and not all were murders. This was not my favorite foreign crime drama but what really ruined it for me was the narrator.  For some reason her voice was like nails on a chalkboard for me. 

While Rebecka Martinsson was a very complex character and this book ended in a cliffhanger – I don’t plan to reading any more of this series.