The Promise(Elvis Cole #16, Joe Pike #5, Scott James and Maggie #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: November 10, 2015

Format: Audio

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in the new heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Robert Crais.

Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim — and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.

Review –

“Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole is joined by K-9 cop Scott James and his battle-scarred German shepherd, Maggie, in the search for a woman out to avenge the killing of her son in a suicide bombing in Nigeria.

The woman, Amy Breslyn, is a chemical production engineer working for the government who disappeared with $460,000 in company money and a newly purchased gun. Cole is directed to a bungalow in Echo Park, where James encounters him after a man is beaten to death inside, surrounded by a stash of munitions and explosives. We learn that Amy has infiltrated the arms-dealing culture hoping to get close to people who know the identity of her son’s murderers. Persecuted by the LAPD, Cole and his taciturn partner, Joe Pike, slowly unravel bad information and false identities—helped by James reluctantly at first, since he’s not sure Cole isn’t dirty, and then wholeheartedly after attempts on the lives of both the K-9 officer and his Afghanistan-traumatized dog (introduced in the 2013 stand-alone Suspect). After 20 novels, Crais remains one of crime fiction’s smartest and most effortless plotters. The story unfolds with supreme ease, energized by the enigmatic presence of mercenary Jon Stone. James’ undying love for Maggie can be a bit much, as can Crais’ decision to narrate a nightmare sequence from the dog’s point of view. But the book speeds along at an agreeable clip, lifted by the author’s command of the setting, and those military canines do deserve their plaudits.

Not Crais’ deepest or thorniest mystery but another solid outing with a host of involving characters.”(taken from KirkusReviews) because I couldn’t have said it better.

Fantastic read!!

Caught by Harlan Coben

Book Description:

Published: March 23, 2010

Format: Audio/OverDrive

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

Review –

This book will grip you tightly around the throat just after the first sentence and won’t let go until the end.

I knew opening that red door would destroy my life.

There are so many things going on in this book, the disappearance of a seventeen year old girl,  and a man being cast as a pedophile, but is he?  He is one of five Princeton roommates who have had their lives destroyed in the last year. Who is behind it?

What really happened to Haley and is it connected to Dan Mercer?

So many questions, but I’ll never tell. If you want to know, you really need to pick up this stand alone novel by Harlan Coben. You will not be disappointed.

Fantastic!!

 

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder #6) by Linda Castillo

Book Description:

Published: July 8, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies .  . .

Review –

The story begins thirty-five years earlier as a young Billy Hochstetler is awakened in the middle of the night by intruders threatening his family. During the burglary, his father is shot and killed, his mother is forced to leave with the three men, and he and the children are forced into the cellar. Billy decides to try to save his mother and after escaping through a window, goes after her, leaving his brothers and sisters by themselves. He chases the get-away car, but is unsuccessful in rescuing his mother. He returns to the house to find it engulfed in flames. In one night he has lost his family.

Fast forward to present day…Painter’s Mill Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a supposed suicide. After checking the scene and looking into other facets of the dead man’s life, it is determined that he was murdered. Inside the mouth of the murdered man was a small carved Amish doll with the name Hochstetler on it.  Circumstances in subsequent murders also  seemed to bring the Hochstetler incident into the mix. But are there any other connecting threads?

Kate and her officers, including over seventy Pickles, have to work around the clock to solves theses crimes and harm comes to some.

John Tomasetti is dealt a blow when one of the men responsible for the murders of his wife and daughters is let go-free as a bird.  Tomasetti has to do something, but will it be legal or ethical?

Kate and John have been living together now for about six months and she’s afraid that now that she’s given away her heart John will hurt her.

Great read and I can’t wait for the next one to become available on OverDrive.

 

The Stranger(Patrik Hedstrom #4) by Camilla Lackberg

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A string of suspicious deaths points to a potential serial killer who has turned his eye toward Fjällbacka and her dark forests, where two children vanished decades before.

A local woman is killed in a tragic car crash, but it isn’t a clear-cut drunk driving case. The victim’s blood contains high alcohol levels, yet she rarely drank a drop. Meanwhile, a new television series begins shooting in Fjällbacka, and as cameras shadow the stars’ every move, tempers start to flare. When a drunken party ends with an unpopular contestant’s murder, all eyes turn to the cast and crew. Could there be a murderer among them? The ratings spike as the country tunes in to a real life murder mystery.

Detective Patrik Hedstrom finds himself increasingly unable to focus on the strange circumstances of the first case, but what if that holds the key to a series of other unsolved cases across Sweden? Under the unforgiving media spotlight, Patrik tackles his most challenging investigation yet.

Review –

This is the fourth in the Patrik Hedstrom series and since I’ve only read the first one, I was a little lost on some of the background.  Overlooking that, this was a great read/listen with a great story line straight from today’s reality television and a twist or two. It just goes to show that an act, though  accidental, can have far-reaching consequences .

I’m really loving this series but it’s hard to find the books or audiobooks but I’ll keep looking.

 

Chaos (Kay Scarpetta #24) by Patricia Cornwell

Book Description:

Published: November 15, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Review –

As much as I loved Depraved Heart, Kay Scarpetta #23, that I read in 2015, I disliked this one, and that’s a real shame because I had been really looking forward to it.

Choas was WAY too long. In hardback it was 400 hundred pages and the audio was 12 hours long. This story could have been told in half that length and not have detracted from the basic storyline. That storyline being that evil incarnate, Carrie Grethen, will do anything, hurt or kill anyone to get to Kay Scarpetta and her family.  She is captured (again) at the end of this book so I’m anxious to see what the author will come up with next time. Hopefully it will be a more succinct book.

Caged (Caged #1) by D.H. Sidebottom

Book Description:

Published: May 18, 2016

Format: Free Digital Book

Judd Asher was taken from his front garden when he was just four years old. After an extensive search he was never found.
Twenty-one years after a random call out, Judd is found chained and beaten in the basement of an old rundown farmhouse where he has lived the life of an animal for the last twenty-one years.

Kloe Grant is assigned as Judd’s personal therapist. It’s her job to rehabilitate him, to guide him back to normal life. But as Judd’s only emotion is rage, Kloe finds it both heart-breaking and challenging mending a soul that’s not only broken but caged inside him by the demons of his past.

However, when Kloe’s relationship with her patient raises some eyebrows, Kloe can’t fight against the powers that want to see her fail, and with an arm behind her back, she walks away, leaving behind a man who has come to live life again for her.

Four years later Judd, now known as Anderson Cain, the darkest and most formidable cage fighter in a world where violence and crime are the only way to keep breathing, Judd finds there’s not a lot in life that can abate the rage that still twists and prowls beneath his skin.
Not until a chance encounter brings him to her door. To the woman with the bluest eyes and the most stunning smile, the woman who took his hand in the darkness and led him through the door into the sun.
But Kloe Grant left him when he needed her the most. She took the only shred of hope and trust he had left and annihilated it. She starved his belief, and she fed his fury.
She owes him. And he’s going to make sure that this time, she pays. In blood. In lust. In pain. And with her soul.

Review –

This book was not what I thought it would be. I thought it would be another story about the kidnapping of a young boy and his release from captivity twenty-one years later. I thought it would be about his rehabilitation and merging back into society. But it was NOT.

Anderson WAS more than damaged. He was a savage, a sadist, a masochist, insane, and hell-bent on revenge.

We learn that Kloe, the personal therapist, meant to help him, had her demons as well and together they fall to the depths of depravity.

This is absolutely everything you want in a dark erotic novel. Suspense, actual brutality and emotion, intensity and strong characters. Sex scenes so dark and yet so erotic it makes me uneasy at your own reactions. More than anything, this wasn’t just a simple novel focused solely on sex, but a focus on mental health and finding life, consolation and comfort in questionable actions, something to fill the empty void of the two lead characters. The unliveable nature of Anderson in particular was wonderfully troubling, attractive, arrogant, broken and cruel.

There were so many jaw-dropping  moments I didn’t know what to do with myself.  

This book will not be for everyone, so be forewarned that it is DARK, very very DARK, with triggers.

I didn’t know going in that this had a sequel but it did and I’m reading it now. HAD to!

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Aced (Driven #4) by K. Bromberg

Book Description:

Published: January 11, 2016

Rylee and Colton’s ride continues…

One moment. Six years ago.

The night she made the world around me so much more than just a blur. Now it’s the catalyst that threatens to tear us apart.

Our happily was supposed to be ever after. So why do I feel like it’s slipping through my fingers?

How can one moment, when our world seemed so right, resurface and cause our perfect life to spiral out of control?

I can’t lose her.

She’s my checkered flag.

Review –

I thought I had posted a review for this book, but I guess it was lost among the many other books in my memory so here it is-

ACED is the fourth installment in K. Bromberg’s contemporary adult DRIVEN erotic romance series focusing on Colton Donavan, and Riley Thomas Donavan. ACED covers several months in the life between the end of CRASHED (Driven #3) and the epilogue that advanced the series approximately ten years. I do not recommend reading ACED as a stand alone-too much history, backstory and personal information is missing.

Told from dual first person points of view (Colton and Rylee) ACED focuses on the relationship between our leading couple as well as their struggle to deal with past transgressions, and future hopes. This ‘imperfectly perfect’ couple must face several demons: past and present; personal and public; old and new; dangerous and dark. We get up close and personal as one family struggles to survive as their world begins to crumble against the battering paparazzi, and those seeking revenge from a time long ago.

Colton, one of my favorite book boyfriends, makes mistakes, he has flaws, he has more skeletons than a grave yard in his closet but nothing will ever stop him from protecting his family and the love of his life. This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions. You will feel heartbroken, you will feel angry, you will feel happiness, you will feel it all throughout this read. From the moments with Xander, through the awful exposure of privacy that these two feel, Aced will make you fall in love with their love all over again.

This was a wonderful look at marriage and all it takes to keep your happily ever after!

It is a great conclusion to a rocky but beautiful love story.   Fantastic series !!!!!

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The First Rule (Elvis Cole #13, Joe Pike #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: January 12, 2010

The organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union are bound by what they call the thieves’ code. The first rule is this: A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters. He must have no family-no wife, no children. We are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death.

Frank Meyer had the American dream-until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. The only thing out of the ordinary about Meyer was that- before the family and the business and the normal life-a younger Frank Meyer had worked as a professional mercenary, with a man named Joe Pike.

The police think Meyer was hiding something very bad, but Pike does not. With the help of Cole, he sets out on a hunt of his own-an investigation that quickly entangles them both in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses, and cutthroat criminal­ity, and at the heart of it, an act so terrible even Pike and Cole have no way to measure it. Sometimes, the past is never dead. It’s not even past.

Review –

Since Robert Crais first introduced Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in 1987’s “The Monkey’s Raincoat,” readers have been treated to one of the best, albeit unlikely, partnerships in crime fiction. Yet it’s inherent in such pairings — whether it’s Holmes and Watson or Spenser and Hawk — that one character ends up in the shadow of the other. For Crais, that shadow role falls to Pike (few dare call him Joe), an enigmatic, Zen-like warrior who has been the sidekick to the wise cracking Cole for most of the series with the notable exception of 2007’s “The Watchman,” in which Pike had the lead. There, as he began in 1999’s “L.A. Requiem,” Crais revealed tantalizing bits of Pike’s back story and psychological underpinnings, enriching his writing and the series in the process.

Pike has the lead again in “The First Rule,” which takes readers on a multicultural guided tour of Los Angeles crime, from Westwood to Willowbrook, Marina del Rey to Lake View Terrace. 

When Joe Pike’s good friend Frank Meyer is gunned down in cold blood, even the L. A. cops are worried about who’s gonna tell Joe Pike. Pike has a reputation that’s been well earned over the years. He wears red arrows tattooed on his biceps that point forward because Joe Pike doesn’t back up or back down. Ever.
I know a lot of people who haven’t read Crais’s books might read that last bit and go, yeah, right. But we fans know. Joe Pike,one of my favorite characters, might be cut from the same cloth as Batman and truly near superhero standards, but we just don’t care. We can’t get enough of this guy. If the world was truly the way it was supposed to be, guys like Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, World’s Greatest Detective, would exist.
I believe in them. It’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

The prose is stripped down, lean and hard and merciless — and different from an Elvis Cole novel. We view Pike more from the outside even when we’re in his point of view. Pike is a very private person, and I like the mystique he manages to keep even while on center stage.
This book might not be for everyone regarding the brutal nature of the crimes and the extremes Pike goes to, but the action is dead on and very representative of what these Eastern European crime syndicates do.

A great read that will keep you turning the page and wanting more when you come to the end.

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published:July 31,2012

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

Review –

Dare Me is the sixth  book by an American author Megan Abbott, and is centered on American cheerleading,( not just the pom-pom shaking kind) and an ambiguous death that takes place in the first few pages. The book explores themes of friendship, obsession and power. This is expressed through not only the events of the novel, but also the relationship between the protagonist, Addy Hanlon, and her best friend, Beth Cassidy.

While they might also have tans and wear glitter, those items are used as war paint: “You may have the bodies of young girls,” says a character at one point near the novel’s end, “but you have the hearts of warriors.” The girls in this book are not at all “sugar and spice and everything nice”, not by a long shot.

Besides the world of modern cheerleading there is a mystery subplot and again I am confused as to what genre to place this book. It reads like YA, but it mentions, wild keg parties, binge drinking at a house with an authority figure present, bullying, and make all of them seem like an everyday occurrence.

While I enjoyed reading this book I would not recommend it to any one under seventeen.

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Magnificent Bastard by Lili Valente

Book Description:

Published: April 25, 2016

 

F*ck Prince Charming. Sometimes, you need a Magnificent Bastard.

Face it, ladies: love sucks and then you cry…while your ex rides off into the sunset banging your best friend.

But why let a break-up end in tears when it can end with sweet revenge? Enter Magnificent Bastard Consulting and me, chief executive bastard. I’ve got it all—looks, brains, a heart of gold, and the killer instinct guaran-damn-teed to make your ex regret the day he said goodbye.

With the help of my virtual assistant, I’ve built an empire giving broken-hearted women the vengeance they deserve, while keeping myself far from the front lines of the heart. Life is a bowl of cherries, until my virtual assistant shows up on my real doorstep for the first time, begging for a Magnificent Bastard intervention of her own.

Damn… She’s a bona fide sex kitten.

I pride myself on being a true pro, but pretending to be her lover soon leads to giving it to her good, hard, fast, and up against the wall. And somewhere between getting balls deep in my sweet and sexy assistant and watching her ex beg for a second chance, I break every last one of my damn rules—professional and personal.

So what’s my next move? Fight for the girl who makes me want to get up on a white horse and ride to her rescue, or stay a Magnificent Bastard to the end?

Warning: MAGNIFICENT BASTARD is a stand-alone erotic romance told from the
hero’s point of view. No cliffhanger. Lots of dirty talk.

Review –

The blurb above says it all. The boss-assistant romance. So. Much. Fun.

My favorite things about this story were the humor and the hot, hot, hot sex scenes.

“I’m happy to strip you bare right here. Right now. Lift you up on this counter and f**k you until you come so hard you see Jesus.”
“I’m Jewish,” she murmurs, swallowing hard.”

I usually don’t read erotic romances with humor because few authors fail to pull it off, but Lili Valente  gets an A+!

If you like the boss-assistant trope wrapped in a sexy and humorous story, Magnificent Bastard should be on your list.

Great read.

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