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.

 

The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedstrom #1) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: June 15, 2010

Format: Audio/Audible

Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.

Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past.

Review –

This is the second book from this author that I have listened to and I loved it. The first one was The Stonecutter, and I listened to it over a year ago and it was number three in the series. This was number one and we meet up with the main characters of Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck. He is a police detective and she is a writer and most of the action takes place in the small fishing village of Fjallbacka, Sweden.

Erica’s childhood friend, Alex, is found murdered in a bathtub with both wrists slit. Alex and her family moved away when she was around ten and she was never the same outgoing little girl. Soon after Alex’s murder, a  close friend of hers is found hanging in his home. Can these two murders connected?

There are many twists and turns in this foreign crime fiction  and we learn about the horrible things done to Alex as a child by someone who should have been a protector and why she and Anders were close.

The murderer is someone I never expected, which always makes a  book even better.

Right along with the murder investigation we see the chemistry between Patrik and Erica evolve into more. Although they knew each other in school, over twenty years ago, Erica had no idea the depth of feelings that brewed between them.

Great read and a great who-dun-it.  Looking forward to finding more in the series.

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The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

An amazing talent makes her debut with this stylish psychological thriller—with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep—in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend during a breakdown.

Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind—or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her… or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again? A story of marriage, murder and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.

Review –

I don’t have any personal experience with bipolar disorder, so I can’t say whether or not Crawford does a fair job of presenting what a person who suffers from it is feeling. She does spend a lot of time exploring Dana’s mental illness, however. Dana reflects about her first manic episode, when she was in college. She felt invincible, forgoing sleep and food, convinced she had tuned in to some larger power. When her boyfriend found her perched on top of their building, convinced she could fly, she was admitted to Bellevue.

Dana is aware of her illness and knows that her judgement will be skewed. She can feel herself getting worse and knows she only has a short time before she needs to get help to regulate. But the mania also makes her feel sharper and smarter, and she’s desperate to find Celia’s killer–even if it’s her–before that evaporates.

Dana was the last person to see Celia alive, or so she thinks and what Celia told her and showed her made her mad enough to kill her, but did she?

The grainy picture Celia showed her from her phone was of Peter and his “tart”, who Dana thought  was his secretary, but pulled that out when she met her.  So, who was he now seeing?

Dana discovers that Peter had an affair with Celia, dumped her and now had another woman he was bedding. Did Peter kill her to keep her from telling Dana, not knowing she already had?

So many questions and Dana has no answers but she knows she is a prime suspect and she must prove her innocence before she has a mental break.

Sadly, the break comes first.

Adding balance, half the text is told from the point of view of Jack Moss, the detective assigned to Celia’s case. We get to view Dana’s world from an outsider looking in, and it kept the novel from feeling too dreamy or detached.

Detective Jack Moss’s second marriage has ended and he has a soft spot for Dana because he saw her twenty years ago when she was first admitted to Bellevue. He is a kind man, with a son from a first marriage who he doesn’t really know and now he is a new grandfather. I liked his character very much.

The killer was a surprise to me and I love that fact and I thought the ending was perfect.

If you like suspenseful thriller be sure and pick up this one or add it to your TBR list.

Five stars !

*I love the name of this book and you find out what exactly it means early on.(another reason to read it)

 


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My Sister’s Grave (Tracy Crosswhite #1) by Robert Dugoni

Book Description:

Published: November 1, 2014

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

Review – 

Because of all the twists and turns in this book, I think I have whiplash!

If the main players in this story had just been honest –  there would have been NO story.

The daughter of a prominent man in a small community goes missing and presumed dead, although no body was found, and a convicted rapist who served his time and now back in town, is “framed” for the disappearance. All of those involved in the frame up take a vow of silence. The missing girl’s sister has never believed that the trail was all it could have been and when, after twenty years, her sister’s body is discovered, she vows to get the convicted man a new trial and have her sister’s case re-opened.Well, that opens a whole new can of worms and she finds out how dangerous it is to uncover some things.

I won’t give anything away, but you’ll be surprised who turns out to be the murderer.

Great read/listen.

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Mystery (Alex Delaware #26) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: March 29, 2011

Few know the city of Los Angeles the way #1 bestselling author and acclaimed suspense master Jonathan Kellerman does. His thrilling novels of psychological drama and criminal detection make the capital of dreams a living, breathing character in all its glamour and infamy. That storied history of fame, seduction, scandal, and murder looms large in Mystery, as Alex Delaware finds himself drawn into a twisting, shadowy whodunit that’s pure L.A. noir—and vintage Kellerman.

The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauborg Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitués for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman—alone and enigmatic among the revelers—waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can’t help wondering what her story is, and whether she’s connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.

Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade’s insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex’s shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauborg may have been her last.

But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains as mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster’s sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo’s best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal.

Review –
Next to Harry Bosch, a character created  by author Michael Connelly, Alex Delaware, is my favorite crime fiction character.

“The book’s title refers to one of the victim’s aliases. Unidentified for much of the book, she could be a princess or a porn star, or anything in between. An anonymous tip (another deus ex machina contribution to the novel) sends Alex and Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to a web service that sets up sugar daddies with young women (“sweeties”) looking for someone to take care of them. The trail leads to love nests, rehab centers, various houses, a car leasing agency, a clinic that tests for venereal diseases and a wealthy, dysfunctional family with a few skeletons in the closet, all providing more than a novel’s worth of potential suspects.

Though Milo shows up occasionally, usually in time for a huge meal, and there are the obligatory cameos by characters from Kellerman’s other series, much of the detecting in Mystery is done by Alex himself, and most of that using search engines. Milo’s impressive success rate for homicides grants him a certain amount of latitude, but his rank requires him to attend meetings that pull him away from the investigation. Alex has become his de facto partner, though his affiliation with the police is nebulous. That doesn’t stop him from stretching the truth, implying a much more formal arrangement. He uses this to pressure witnesses, suspects and even police department employees into violating confidences, while strictly maintaining his own. 

When his long-time companion Robin volunteers to go on a stake out with him, Alex tells her she’ll be bored. That doesn’t discourage her—and her presence actually helps him with his cover—but it’s clear that she cramps his style. He’s a lone wolf who willingly throws himself into dangerous situations without any consideration for how that might impact others. He could probably do with a little time on the couch having his own psyche and motives analyzed. Though Alex and Robin briefly process what happens between them after they get home, it feels like a missed opportunity to develop their relationship.” by Bev Vincent, Onyx Reviews

I had the audio book and loved every minute of it.

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The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole #10) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: January 31, 2006

Review –

 

Elvis Cole is back…

With his acclaimed bestsellers, Hostage (a New York TimesNotable Book) and Demolition Angel, Robert Crais drew raves for his unstoppable pacing, edgy characterizations, and cinematic prose. Now, in The Last Detective, Crais returns to his signature character, Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole, in a masterful page-turner that probes the meaning of family and the burdens of the past.

Los Angeles, 3:58 A.M.: Elvis Cole receives the phone call he’s been waiting for since childhood. Responding to a gunshot, the LAPD has found an injured man in an alleyway. He has told the officer on the scene that he is looking for his son, Elvis Cole. Minutes later, the man is dead.

Haunted throughout his life by a lack of knowledge about his father, Elvis turns to the one person who can help him navigate the minefield of his past – his longtime partner and confidant, Joe Pike. Together with hard-edged LAPD detective Carol Starkey (who is harboring her own growing feelings for Cole), they launch a feverish search for the dead man’s identity. Elvis, meanwhile, struggles between wanting to believe he’s found his father at last and allowing his suspicions to hold him back. With each long-buried clue they unearth, a frightening picture begins to emerge about who the dead man might have been – and the terrible secret he’s been guarding.

At the same time, Elvis has no way of knowing he has awakened a sleeping monster. The further he goes in his investigation, the closer he draws to a merciless killer who is violently connected to the unidentified man’s past. This psychopath believes Cole is hunting him, and he goes on the attack to find Elvis before Elvis can find him.

Review –

The Elvis Cole Series  is another one of my favorites because Cole is so down to earth and doesn’t let things get to him TOO much and his partner, Joe Pike, wears sunglasses most of the time, even at night and hardly says a word and is all muscle. Together they privately investigate and solve crimes and the books are fast paced and the characters well-defined.

If you’re looking for a new mystery/crime fiction series to start-I recommend giving Elvis Cole a try.

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Memory Man (Amos Decker #1) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published; April 21, 2015

Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Memory Man will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

Review –

This is a fantastic book and had me hooked from the very beginning.

What if you couldn’t forget ANYTHING?  Sounds like an okay deal for all the good memories but what about the bad, sad and horrible memories, you don’t forget those either. They are with you 24/7. That’s what plagues Amos Decker and sometimes he handles it well and other times he doesn’t.

I will definitely read the next book in the Amos Decker Series whenever it comes out because even though he has let himself go, gained weight, is horribly out of shape, you can’t  help  but fall in love with his character and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for  him.

Excellent read!

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Busted (Will Trent #6.5) by Karin Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2013

Detective Will Trent is standing in a Georgia convenience store, waiting on an obstinate Icee frozen drink machine. To the surveillance cameras and bored staff of the Lil’ Dixie Gas-n-Go, however, Will appears to be someone very different—the menacing ex-con Bill Black. Going undercover as Bill, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent is about to infiltrate the most corrupt town in the most corrupt county in the new American South. But first: his Icee.

Everything changes in one horrific instant, as all hell breaks loose at the Lil’ Dixie. A cop is shot. A bag of cash goes flying across the floor. A young woman disappears while a killer takes off in a battered pick-up truck. Within seconds, Will is in pursuit.

Review –

This is a short novella which leads up to the novel Unseen, which I read  in September of 2013 and don’t know how I missed this one. 

Poor Will Trent, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all because of an Coke flavored Icee!

If you are familiar with the Keystone Cops, that’s what part of this story felt like. There was chaos, chasing a hold up man in a beat up  pick-up down the Interstate, finding out that an 84-year-old grandmotherly woman lied about everything ad finally getting the bad guys put where they belong.  That’s really all I can say without giving away too much.

If you’ve never read or listened to anything by author, Karin Slaughter, you should really give this a try.  It is short and you’ll get a sample of her writing style. It will not disappoint.

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Dishing The Dirt (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #26) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha’s ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha’s slum background.

Added to that, Jill was counselling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders, although has no proof she had done so.

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her. When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days’ later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion – and must fight to clear her name.

Review –

I usually love an Agatha Raisin Mystery  but this one was disappointing.

The writing seemed rushed, there were too many deaths, SEVEN(even for a murder mystery) and while the killer did have a motive it just seemed a bit too easy. I do realize that the end leaves it wide open to be continued in the next installment, which I’m guessing will come out next year.

I did like that Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, gets her own plot development and it’s about time. Her husband takes her for granted and is a rude man.

Agatha is still looking for Mr. Right and I do wish the author would find one for her. It would serve James, her ex-husband, and Charles, and old friend and sometimes bed mate, right.

While I did enjoy the book it just didn’t live up to the standard of the others, but I will be sure to read the next one because that’s what avid readers do-READ.

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Night Is Darkest (Men In Blue #1) by Jayne Rylon

Book Description:

Published: November 24, 2009

Some secrets refuse to stay hidden.

Lacey Daughtry’s perfect weekend is interrupted by tragic news of her brother’s murder in the line of duty. Plagued by a rash of mysterious phone calls, she turns to her brother’s best friends and fellow officers for protection…and comfort.

Spending time in close contact with Mason and Tyler, the two men she’s dreamed of since her first girlhood crush, seems like the answer to a prayer. Especially when they begin to explore the desire she’s harbored for so long.

But the partners are holding out on Lacey. Determined to suppress the most extreme facets of their lust, they agree to settle for sharing the woman they crave while concealing their desire for each other. Until Lacey cracks their resolve, unleashing a torrent of emotions that threatens to distract them when they can least afford it.

Their blossoming relationship is complicated by secrets. And the only way to evade the killer threatening their lives is to bare their souls in the darkest hours of the night. Or everything will come crashing down, just before the dawn.

Review –

I guess this would be classified as “erotic romance” but it also fits into the “crime fiction” genre and that’s what makes it so good.  While there is a LOT of sex, and not your run of the mill male to female vanilla sex, it worked well with the storyline.  Maybe I’m becoming  more in tune with the erotic romance genre and realize that the authors are giving readers what they want because this is the second book that I’ve read lately with a prominent threesome.

The chemistry between Lacey and her brother’s two male best friends is electric and Mason and Tyler have the same kind of chemistry for each other.

Together they cope with the death of Lacey’s brother and a fellow policeman and piece together who killed him and why. It’s a very good story with well-defined characters and a romance that is somewhat believable. I mean, it all depends on if you mind sharing your sexual partner or spouse.

 This is the first in the Men in Blue series but I haven’t decided if I’ll read any of the others. This one is a good stand alone.

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