Redemption Road by John Hart

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free. But for how long?

And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, the unthinkable has just happened…

This is a town on the brink. This is a road with no mercy.

After five years, John Hart returns with Redemption Road, his most powerful story yet.

Review –

This book is set in a  small city in North Carolina. The protagonist is police detective Elizabeth Black, who has been put on suspension because she appears to have used excessive force — 18 bullets — in killing two men in the basement where they were raping and torturing an 18-year-old girl. “Hero Cop or Angel of Death?” a newspaper headline asks.

Adrian Wall, a fellow officer whom she once idolized but who was convicted of murdering a woman in a ritualized way,  finishes serving his time and arrives back in town, and the killer strikes again. Besides sexual chemistry, Liz and Adrian share a reluctance to tell the truth about the incidents that have brought them under suspicion, and their motives for silence are the same: protecting someone else.

Liz’s campaign to clear Adrian is hampered by her suspension and her sizable shoulder chip. She has alienated her father, a rigid-minded minister, most of her fellow officers, and the brutal warden of the prison in which Adrian was confined. On the other hand, she has lavished motherly affection on 14-year-old Gideon, the vengeance-seeking son of the woman whom Adrian was convicted of killing, and Channing, the girl whose rape occasioned all those gunshots. 

This story is so convoluted and gets more so deeper into the plot we go. There is buried treasure, we find out who the serial killer is and the warden and his henchmen get there just due. BUT…Beckett, Liz’s partner of four years is paralyzed from a gut shot given by the warden, and exited his back, Gideon is left behind because he also needs urgent medical care at the end and Liz, Adrian and Channing one on the run.  BUT… there is an hea but you’ll have to read or listen to this book yourself to find out what it is.

Fantastic book!

Five stars!!

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A Cold Heart (Alex Delaware #17) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: December 30, 2003

Format: Audio/OverDrive

LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis summons his friend, psychologist-sleuth Alex Delaware, to a trendy gallery where a promising young artist has been brutally garroted on the night of her first major showing. The details of the murder scene immediately suggest to Alex not an impulsive crime of passion, but the meticulous and taunting modus operandi of a serial killer.

Delaware’s suspicions are borne out when he and Milo find there’s a link between the artist’s death and the murder of a noted blues guitarist. The twisting trail leads from halfway houses to palatial mansions, and from a college campus to the last place Alex ever expected: the doorstep of his ex-lover Robin Castagna. As more killings are discovered, unraveling the maddening puzzle assumes a chilling new importance — stopping a vicious psychopath who’s made cold-blood murder his chosen art form.

Review –

I’m finding more and more of this series, Alex Delaware, that I haven’t read or listened to but I was disappointed with this one.

It’s a bit on the boring side and predictable to boot. The identity of the killer is a little too easy to guess and the action packed ending a tad too obvious. All in all, not the authors’ best work.

 

 

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 Obsession by Nora Roberts

Book Description:

Published: April 12, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Review –

I’ll start off first saying that this book may be too much for readers who have a difficult time with stories of abuse, physical and emotional, as well as murder/serial killers. Naomi’s father was a monster. Plain and simple. And as this was told from multiple POVs, there are parts later on where we see things from a killer’s mindset which was not pretty. But it was definitely relevant to the story and helped to see just how twisted the individual was.

“The characters, both main and secondary, I thought, were great. Brave Naomi had been through so, so very much and I liked that she was still working on her issues regarding her traumatic past. Because of that, she didn’t want to get close to Xander. I liked him as well and thought he might seem a bit *too* good to be true, but I got such a kick out of his easy way of teasing Naomi, getting her to smile. I thought their connection rang true as well, starting off with physical attraction and evolving into much more. And I would be remiss not to mention Naomi’s uncles Seth and Harry. I absolutely adored them and how they supported Naomi and Mason throughout their lives.

What I really liked overall about The Obsession was how Roberts was able to take what could have been a dark and very heavy story and basically added in contemporary romance to lighten the overall tone. There were some great lighthearted moments between Naomi and Xander, with their quick-witted bantering as they got to know each other. Plus Naomi’s dog Tag was like comic relief in several scenes. (One involving a Cone of Shame which was hilarious and realistic to a dog owner!)” taken from harlequinjunkie.com 

Fantastic Read!

 

 

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Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Book Description:

Published: August 11, 2015

I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

While I LOVED the book, I have read reviews that said that the going back and forth in time between the two points of view distracted many readers. For me this was not a problem because I listened to the audio version and going back to 1995 when Tessie is  sixteen and seeing different doctors to help her cope with the trauma that she went through and then to the present as Tessa trying to help free the man serving time on death row and it flowed very smoothly.

It’s a creepy psychological thriller and will keep you hanging on to every word. There are a couple of surprise twists that you don’t see coming and that makes it even better.

Five stars *****

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The Leopard (Harry Hole #8) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: 2009

In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood. The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options. There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn’t want to be found. Deeply traumatized by The Snowman investigation, which threatened the lives of those he holds most dear, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong’s opium dens. But with his father seriously ill in hospital, Harry reluctantly agrees to return to Oslo. He has no intention of working on the case, but his instinct takes over when a third victim is found brutally murdered in a city park.

The victims appear completely unconnected to one another, but it’s not long before Harry makes a discovery: the women all spent the night in an isolated mountain hostel. And someone is picking off the guests one by one. A heart-stopping thriller from the bestselling author of the The Snowman, The Leopard is an international phenomenon that will grip you until the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

The first thing that I noticed about this book was the length, it is longer that most of the other Harry Hole books I have read, and secondly, there is much more violence.

Here is the book in a nut shell:

  • Following the traumatic events of the previous novel, The Snowman, former police inspector Harry Hole has exiled himself in Hong Kong and frequents the Opium Dens.
  • Kaja Solness, a new Norwegian Crime Squad officer, tracks down Hole and asks for his help in investigating a series of possible serial murders in Oslo.
  • Solness convinces Hole to return when she tells him that his father, Olav, is seriously ill and will not live much longer.
  • Harry returns to the Crime Squad unit to find it engaged in a power struggle with Kripos—Norway’s national crime investigation unit that investigates organized and serious crime. Its power-hungry head, Mikael Bellman, seeks to have all Norwegian murder investigations placed under his agency’s jurisdiction. From the very moment of landing in Norway, Hole finds himself the target of Bellman’s hostility—though the head of Kripos is not averse to obtaining the results of Hole’s investigation and taking credit for them.
  • Hole and Solness discover that all three victims had stayed at the same ski lodge some time previously, all on the same night. Harry deduces that the murders are part of the killer’s attempts to cover up his trail. Suspicion initially falls on a man known to have been at the ski lodge at the time, but he is eliminated from the enquiry when it is discovered that he has been murdered by the killer.
  • Following a discussion with The Snowman, from his previous case, Harry believes that the murderer is someone whom he knows and who has become close to him. This person is arrested but, unfortunately, Harry’s instincts are proven wrong. It is then discovered that the real killer has fled to the Congo, where Harry and Solness pursue the killer. There Harry—and separately Solness—are kidnapped by associates of the killer. Harry manages to escape and, following clues given by one of the killer’s associates, finally confronts and kills the murderer at the lip of a live volcano.
  • Later, at the funeral of his father, Harry spots his former lover, Rakel, and her son, Oleg, who have fled from Norway following the events of The Snowman murders. At this short meeting, Harry manages to confirm that they are happy away from Norway. It becomes apparent that Rakel is the one great love of Harry’s life—that no other woman can truly replace her, and that Kaja’s deep love for Harry and her aspiration to build a life together with him are doomed to failure and to heartbreak.
  • Harry returns to see The Snowman, who is gravely ill and who feels some remorse for his crimes. It is tacitly suggested that Harry helps The Snowman to commit suicide out of remorse for having failed to follow his father’s request for him to perform euthanasia.
  • By the end of the novel, Harry has accumulated many new traumatic memories and haunting “ghosts”—having been very near death several time. He mutilated his own face to get free of the killer’s fiendish trap. He shot an African mercenary who turned out to be a young boy. He twice saved Kaja’s life by ruthlessly sacrificing somebody else’s: during an avalanche, while resuscitating Kaja, he allows another police officer to suffocate to death and, at the final showdown in Africa, while shooting down the murderer, Harry inadvertently kills another woman who was held hostage. Though not facing any charges for these deaths, Harry is well aware of what he has done and is determined to return to Hong Kong for good.

I feel so bad for Harry because he just could not catch a break in this book and now he goes back down the rabbit hole in Hong Kong. (makes me want to cry)

Five stars *****

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The Devil’s Star (Harry Hole #5) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: July 6, 2006

A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.

A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Highlights of this book:

  • Harry is now drunk most of the time and his job is on the line.
  • It’s been three years since the murder of his partner, Ellen Gjelten.
  • He has broken promises to Rakel and she is fed up.
  • A serial killer is on the loose in Oslo killing women and cutting off a finger and leaving his calling card of a red diamond in the shape of a five pointed star.
  • Tom Waaler has a talk with Harry and openly suggests he sell his soul to the devil.
  • Harry lays his card on the table to Waaler and tell him he knows he intimidated the only witness that could identify him in connection to Ellen”s murder and arms running.
  • Harry pretends to go “in to business” with Tom Waalar
  • Man is framed by the real serial killer so Harry rescues him from jail and then they are both being hunted by everyone, especially Tom Waaler and his minions.
  • Harry discovers the identity of the real killer.
  • Oleg is kidnapped by Waalar
  • Waalar finally gets whats coming to him.
  • Harry gets to keep his job.

Five stars *****

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Private India (Private #8) by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi

Book Description:

Published: August 28, 2014

In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation – along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…

Review –

This is the first book in the Private series by James Patterson and others that didn’t thrill me, although the storyline was action packed, fast paced  and interesting.

Maybe it was the locale or the narrator and  although I listened to it in its entirety  I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Sometimes that happens but if it ever happens to you, don’t despair. Just pick up another book: audio, physical or digital and start reading or listening again. Remember that in every book lies an adventure!

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Police (Harry Hole #10) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: October 15, 2016

The police urgently need Harry Hole . . . A killer is stalking Oslo’s streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical.

But this time, Harry can’t help . . . For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone.

Least of all himself . . .

Review –

Another great chapter in the Harry Hole Series by Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbo.

In this one Harry is no longer employed by the Oslo Police Department ( I don’t know why because I haven’t read the book in order) but they need his help in solving a rash of serial killing where the victims are police officers.

His romance with Raquel is still going strong and her son Oleg is no longer a young boy,

This is a great story with fast paced action and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

I highly recommend this series!

ADDITION as of 06/21/16

Having read Phantom (Harry Hole #9) I now have a greatly understanding of this book.

Harry is not introduced into the story until Chapter 16 and at that time is working as a lecturer at the Police Academy. Up until now he has been in a coma at a hospital under police guard night and day because they are afraid whoever tried to kill Harry in the previous book will want to finish him off if it’s leaked that he is still alive.

 

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The Bat (Harry Hole #1) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published in 1997. Published in  English: July 2, 2013

Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.

Review –

I have a bad habit of reading series books out-of-order due to no fault of my own, so that’s why I’m just getting to the first in the Harry Hole Series.

Harry Hole is a Norwegian police officer and a drunk. His drinking is key in every book I’ve read so far and after what I discovered in this book you’d have thought he would never touch a drop of liquor every again., but that’s not the case.

He has been sent to Australia to help solve the murder of a Norwegian woman now living there. She has been raped and thrown from a cliff. Along the way to solving this crime he meets, Birgitta, a Swedish witness and the two become very close and this becomes a pivotal part of the book. He goes to boxing matches, a gay nightclub, learns about the drug culture, and meets and becomes friends with Andrew Kensington, an Australian Aborigine and a homicide detective with the Sydney Police Department and Robin Toowoomba, a boxing match champion and protégé of Andrew’s.  Both of these men play a VERY important role in this story.

Reading this book is like a roller coaster ride and there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.  I loved it.  Too bad I didn’t get to read it before I read the others because in this one we learn why Harry Hole acts the way he does. He is a great character!

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