Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Book Description:

Published: March 5, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .

Review –

I absolutely love how Peter Swanson writes in your face psychopaths and mentally unstable people who may or may not be reliable. Truly, he’s brilliant at it.

I found the fact that he shined a bright light on these characters and put the crazy front and center so  refreshing. There’s no beating around the bush about who’s not playing with a full deck. And I was totally happy about that.  In fact, I hated when I had to take a break from listening to do something mundane.Then our of nowhere comes a  major plot twist that  left me reeling.Some may see it as a  pure gimmick, but I thought it was genius. 

This is a psychological thriller, but with just a  bit suspenseful. It’s a story of perversion, cruelty, and deceit. The author skillfully uses it all to keep readers off kilter and breathless to the very last page.  

I have loved every Peter Swanson novel I’ve listened to and I can’t wait for his next book. Mr. Swanson, write faster!!

Five stars.

 

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Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell

Book Description:

Published: April 18, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine-year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

Review –

“Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her fifteen year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned.

She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced.

Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She’s disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie.

As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious.

 The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes.” Kirkus Reviews

You will not believe the ending!!!

The book is dark and unsettling but so good.  Five stars!

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Book Description:

Published: July 18, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Review –

Sometimes the way we THINK we will behave when something happens is NOT the way we do behave when that same thing happens. Cass never thought she would be the sort of person to leave someone marooned in their hour of need – not least a lone female in a dark wood, late at night – but when she passes a stranded car on her way home she doesn’t stop, get out, and go to offer help. She hurries on home, forgets about it, and crawls into bed.

This is not the only breakdown of the story, though. The next morning, Cass awakes to the horrifying news that a woman has been found dead in a car in a wood. Not just a car and a wood, in fact, but that same car in that same wood. The one she ignored. She just can’t shake from her head the knowledge that she was there, and maybe she could have helped and maybe if she had, the woman wouldn’t be dead and she wouldn’t be slowly losing her mind thinking about it.

This is a brilliant psychological thriller about regrets and a past that cannot be changed. All the elements are carefully crafted, right down to Cass’s job as a teacher, meaning she has six long weeks to lounge around the house, going over and over the murder in her mind. It is hard not to empathize with Cass when things start to happen. First, there are the phone calls which haunt her during the day, silent callers who don’t utter a word but just breathe ominously down the phone. Then there’s the other stuff. As if the death wasn’t enough to worry her mind with, her mind itself is becoming the worry as she forgets appointments, cannot remember where she’s put things, can’t find her car in a parking garage, fails to remember invitations she has made, and just can’t remember proposals she agreed to, such as what to get someone for a birthday present on behalf of the whole gang. When her mental health starts to waver, Cass doesn’t know who or what she can trust, including herself.

The story moves swiftly and although there are jolts in your mind that something’s a little off, and although any regular thriller readers will pick on certain characters, convinced they must be involved in a butler-did-it kind of way, the unravelling is wild and absorbing, and the ending hugely satisfying much like in the author’s previous hit  Behind Closed Doors.

This one will keep you guessing from the first page to the last !

 

 

 

Sick Girl by Rachel Hargrove

Book Description:

Published: March 15, 2018

Format: ARC/Free Digital Book

His wife always comes first. Until now.

Twenty-five year-old scrappy Aubrey is fed up with Tom, a married neurologist with two children. When he’s not shoving their relationship on the back burner, he’s canceling their dates. With a frightening health diagnosis looming over her shoulder, Aubrey concocts a desperate plan to have Tom forever.

Kill the wife. Take her place.

Befriending Tom’s successful, kind wife comes easy to Aubrey. However, the closer they become, the more doubts Aubrey has about following through. Then a shocking discovery changes everything…

Sick Girl is an addicting psychological thriller with a riveting unreliable narrator from debut author Rachel Hargrove. Get ready for twists, turns, and endless thrills. Coming March 2018! Sick Girl is a compelling novel that fans of You and Gone Girl will love.

Review –

Aubrey has cancer and is in love with Melissa’s husband, Tom. Tom and Melissa seem to have it all, but looks can be very deceiving. Melissa has cancer, or does she? Tom loves Melissa, or does he? Tom loves Aubrey or does he?

Aubrey thinks Tom is dragging his feet where their relationship is concerned so she is determined to take things into her own hands and kill Melissa but comes to like her and has a change of heart. Eventually she discovers that maybe she just imagined Tom being in love with her and sending her texts etc. and also discovers that he has been switching out Melissa’s supplements for caffeine and other OTC drugs that would be detrimental to her health.

Will Aubrey be able to convince Melissa that Tom is trying to poison her and what will happen to her in the end?

This was a great read from beginning to end and kept me guessing all the way. I love it when an author can make you THINK you understand what’s going on and in the next sentence has you completely changing your mind.

Loved it and the cover and highly recommend it.

I got this book free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Book Description:

Published: February 11,2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Review –

In two words, this book was SUPER CREEPY!!!!

Jack has a horribly violent past and he lives to satisfy his predilection , which is to psychologically terrorize and break women and sometimes physically hurt them.

Grace is mature beyond her years and the sole guardian of the sister, Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. They meet Jack in the park and he ingratiates himself into their lives. To Grace he is the perfect man and she agrees to marry him. Millie is to be her bridesmaid, but on the way to wedding site Jack pushes Millie down a flight of stairs, unbeknownst to Grace. The wedding proceeds and they fly to Thailand for the honeymoon. Jack hasn’t been very sexually attentive in their relationship but Grace has chalked this up to his busy lawyer status . Jack has NEVER lost a case, the irony being that he defends battered women.

Jack disappears on their wedding night and when he does reappear he explains to Grace exactly what her life will be like. She will have no phone, no passport, no money and she will do as he says or else Millie will suffer. He locks her out on the terrace for hours at a time while he goes off and feeds her only when he feels like it.

Arriving at their new home Grace sees that it is everything they had discussed prior to the wedding but try to escape and each time a privilege is taken away until finally she is kept in black pajamas  in a small plain room with bars on the one small window. She can have no books or newspapers, no television, no writing implements , nothing to offer distraction and stimulation. 

When Millie turns eighteen the plan is for her to come live with them so Grace has to get free before that happens.

THAT is all I’m going to tell you, except to say that this book is told from Grace’s POV in Past and Present modes.

Does she get free from the clutches of her crazy, murderous psycho of a husband?  You will have to read or listen to this book for yourself. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and flipping pages or listening from beginning to end inn one sitting. (I almost did.)

Fantastic debut novel. Can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.

Five stars *****

 

In The Woods by Tana French

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. Thomas Gaughan
Copyright © American Library Association.
 
Review –
Everthing I’ve read about this book seemed very favorable and  that’s why I chose to read it, but I’m was thrilled with it.
 
The premise of the book is great and I thought what could be more interestering than a new murder investigation being tied to an old unsolved investigation but, by midway through ,I found it laborious to turn the pages.  Reading each word was a chore, so much so that I laid it to the side for weeks ,but knew in the long run I’d have to finish it ,so I did.
 
If I had a rating scale I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars.