Buried Deep by Margot Hunt

Book Description:

Published: December 5, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

In this pulse-pounding short thriller, Maggie Cabot refuses to sit by idly as police re-open an investigation into the mysterious death of a woman her husband used to know.

After two decades in a near-perfect marriage, Maggie and James Cabot are enjoying their first year as empty-nesters in their charming Florida suburb, until two detectives arrive at their front door and change their lives forever.

The remains of a young woman have been found at a campsite in the Florida Keys. Hannah Nilsson, only 21 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen on a camping trip with a group of friends—including James, who dated Hannah long before he and Maggie ever met. Shocked and heartbroken, everyone on the trip said they assumed Hannah had wandered off toward shore, intoxicated from a long night of partying, and drowned. But the discovery of her body 25 years later, half a mile away from the campsite and buried six feet deep, makes it clear that her death was not accidental.

As the police dig back into the case, Maggie begins her own investigation, desperate to piece together the truth and clear her husband’s name once and for all.

Review –

Another Audible Original that I picked up for free in December.(another great reason to subscribe to Audible)

I’ve never read anything by Margot Hunt before, but this was a really well put together story. It was a great who-dun-it that keeps you guessing, but at the same time has its predictable moments.  I know the synopsis describes it as for fans of Big Little Lies and The Last Mrs. Parrish, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the similarity to the movie A Simple Favor.  It had similar pacing and a similar shock and awe value at the end.

Speaking of the end.  This book both ended how and different than I expected.  I won’t go into full details as to not spoil it, but it had a “hmmm, that makes sense” type of story arc ending. But it also had a “wait, is that really how this is ending?” vibe to it.  I can’t really explain it more without spoiling, but I think if you read it you’ll understand.

Overall, a REALLY  enjoyable  less than three hour listen that had wonderful narration by Therese Plummer. If you’re looking for a short listen with good suspense and a great ending, give this a try.

Five stars.

Midnight Son by James Dommek Jr.

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

James Dommek, Jr., an Alaska Native writer and musician, sheds new light on a real-life mystery that pits Native American folklore against the US justice system. In the vast Alaskan Arctic, legend has it there once lived a mythic tribe—Iñukuns—that only existed in rumors and whispers. This changed forever when an actor-turned-fugitive, Teddy Kyle Smith, had an encounter that brought Iñukuns from myth to reality. Smith was an aspiring actor with a promising career until it all came quickly crashing down with a gunshot, a manhunt, bloodshed, and other frightful events.

The story of Smith’s tragic downfall has long haunted James Dommek, Jr., the great-grandson of the last of the Iñupiaq story-tellers. Midnight Son is his journey in discovering who Teddy Kyle Smith was, what he did, and what he really saw. Along the way, listeners will experience the soul of the real Alaska as narrator Dommek, Jr. brings this multilayered and sprawling tale to life.

Review –

Teddy Kyle Smith, a retired Marine, started appearing in movies as Alaska’s fledgling film industry was just taking off. But, right after his mother’s mysterious death in Kiana, Smith became the subject of a manhunt.

Smith fled into the wilderness, then shot two hunters at a remote cabin. What he said later brought to life local legends. It also initiated a legal dispute that, at its heart, questions the idea of a trial by one’s peers, if one’s peers do not understand or believe those stories, passed down through generations.

Midnight Son, which quickly become a best-seller for the audiobook service Audible, is narrated by Alaskan writer and musician James Dommek Jr.

Dommek, the great-grandson of Iñupiaq storytellers, says Teddy Smith’s story is really several stories woven together.

I thought this book would be a true crime thriller, but it is surprisingly more. I learned about Alaskan folklore, culture, and story telling in a non-traditional voice. The crime parts seemed secondary to the development of the narrator and that became of greater interest. I wouldn’t recommend to just anybody but it had my attention the whole time. It also gave a much better view of what it’s like to live in the bush than all the television  shows out there glamorizing living off the grid.

Interesting read.

 

 

Last Breath (Good Daughter #0.5) by Karin Slaughter

Book Description:

Published: July 11. 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Protecting someone always comes at a cost.

At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie’s world was never the same.

Now a lawyer herself, Charlie has made it her mission to defend those with no one else to turn to. So when Flora Faulkner, a motherless teen, begs for help, Charlie is reminded of her own past, and is powerless to say no.

But honour-student Flora is in far deeper trouble than Charlie could ever have anticipated. Soon she must ask herself: How far should she go to protect her client? And can she truly believe everything she is being told?

Review –

The book opens as Charlie is at a career women speaking event with the Girl Scouts. It seems like most of the girls don’t care that she’s there. She’s also not feeling well. Suddenly, she knows she’s about to be sick and bolts for the bathroom. It’s there that one of the girls decides to talk with her. As the girl, Florabama Faulkner (Flora) starts to talk about her life, Charlie feels a kinship with her. At first, Flora is hesitant to say what she really wants to say, but finally blurts it out….“I want to be emancipated”

Flora tells Charlie about everything that’s going on. Charlie feels for this seemingly fragile, young, and lonely girl. (I knew right there that Flora was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE) She wants to help her. People like Flora Faulkner are one of the main reasons Charlie chose to move back to Pikerville, instead of working at some hotshot firm in some big city.

But not everything is what it seems. Normally as a defense lawyer, she knows more about her clients, their friends, and family etc. than they know about themselves. But this time, Charlie isn’t sure just what she’s gotten involved in.

From there, she does some investigating into her grandparents, in an effort to try and understand how to get Flora out of there… however, nothing is ever that simple, not even in a short story. What thrills me with this story is that Karin Slaughter has accomplished a satisfying OMG moment, which is only one amazing part of this short story, and more importantly to me, highlights the strengths of her characters.

As far as prequels go, it’s an effective one into Charlie, into her past and where she now. It’s also insight into how her past affects her choices and her thinking with regards to her clients — which can be prove dangerous in her line of work. 

It is not necessary to read this prior to reading The Good Daughter, but is does give you more insight into the character of Charlie Quinn.

 

 

 

The Bone Farm (Jane Hawk #0.5) by Dean Koontz

Book Description:

Published: April 25, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

An audio original novella featuring bestselling author Dean Koontz’s compelling new heroine, Jane Hawk. From the case files of the former FBI agent before she became the nation’s most wanted fugitive – The Bone Farm details a desperate man-hunt for a serial killer before he murders again.

Katherine Haskell, a young college co-ed is on her way back to school, but she never makes it there. Instead, she becomes the latest prey of the rapist and murderer dubbed by the tabloids the “Mother Hater.” He is a twisted soul who kidnaps young girls for pleasure then discards them.

Katherine is missing, but she’s not yet dead. FBI agents Jane Hawk and her partner Gary Burkett must descend into the hell of this killer’s mind to solve the case before it is too late. The question is – will they both get out alive?

Review –

I have not read any of the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz (one of my favorite authors), so this novella was the perfect choice to get to know the female protagonist.

This is a prequel to the Jane Hawk series. One does not need to read any of the Jane Hawk novels to understand the events in this short story. In this one, Jane and her partner are investigating a serial killer case where the killer is named the “Mother Hater”.

We get Jane in the present and we also get the past and see how the serial killer comes to be. I have always liked this kind of storytelling as it seems like it is two different stories. Plot held my interest even though it was a the predictable side and it is a quick listen.

The Bone Farm was a suspenseful and intriguing story filled with twists and turns and the narrator was quite good. Plot held my interest even though it was a the predictable side.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Library Book

A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on a cold winter’s night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer.

With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.

Review –

Indeed, at just sixty-five pages with illustrations, this book is short but every word counts and that’ll hit you square in the heart. Backman’s lady in grey is worthy of sympathy; his father-character is regretful and cynical, wearing his loss like a badge he never wanted, but he’s not as savvy as he thinks he is. When that becomes apparent to both reader and character, beware.

You may shed tears over this book. You may need to savor it a second time, to feel its words again. However you read it, The Deal of a Lifetime,is an experience you’ll never trade.

The only derogatory comment I have is that sometimes during the reading of this book I felt a disconnect and had to go back and re-read some passages.

Zoo 2 (Zoo #1.5) by James Patterson and Max DiLallo

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Will the last humans on Earth please turn out the lights?

James Patterson’s ZOO was just the beginning. The planet is still under violent siege by ferocious animals. Humans are their desperate prey. Except some humans are evolving, mutating into a savage species that could save civilization-or end it.

Review –

Jackson Oz (the hero in Book One) starts in Arctic area (where he thought his family would be safer) with wife Chloe and son Eli then is called back into service to continue helping to find an end to murdering wild animals. 

Now this book is only 140 pages long but Oz travels to the following places and performs amazing feats in each one:

Paris drops off Chloe and Eli

London for a meeting

Bali to find why animal attacks are not happening

Johannesburg to find feral human.

Idaho to drop off feral human, Helen. Oz and gang are attacked by mustangs but one look at Helen and they flee.

Japan to find more feral humans.

Plane. Japanese scientist turns feral. Why? No clue. Does it happen due to their body shifting or can it be transmitted from human to human. No idea.

Middle of Pacific.

Back to Idaho where Chloe and Eli show up next. Oh plus Helen escapes. Of course Chloe and Eli have to be in trouble again.

Pearl Harbor for a phone call and trip to airport.

Salt Lake City Jackson Chloe, Eli together again.

Roadtrip to Vegas. Of course where else would you go to gamble on vaccine for feral humans.

Las Vegas of course where you find cure and city falls.

Deep underground with President.

Seriously a bad novel and highly unbearable . At one airport (I forget which one) Oz had to pay over $29,000 for a ticket.  Also an obssession to hit as many places as possible, maybe they threw darts at a global map to decided where to next send Oz and gang. I also have no clue what turns folks feral. It was never hinted at and I doubt there will be a Zoo 3 so we may never know.

Don’t waste your time with this one!

Playing With Fire by Lucia Jordan

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

This is the first book of the Playing With Fire Series a hot and fiery story with a delicious mix of romance, deep passion by Lucia Jordan!


Being a firefighter was the only thing Lucinda Gonzales ever wanted to be. While most girls were playing dolls or dress up, she was playing with her brothers in the back yard, pretending to save people from burning buildings. Firefighting is in her blood, passed down from generation to generation. So when she gets the chance to finally get into the academy to become a firefighter, she doesn’t hesitate. After her older brother is killed in a burning building, she becomes more determined than ever. She’ll be just as successful as her two brothers ahead of her, her father, and her grandfather. Just because she’s a girl doesn’t change a thing. However, there’s one person standing in her way of becoming the greatest. Chief Maddox Lancaster. The dangerously sexy, arrogant as hell fire chief seems to be throwing one obstacle after another at her, but she won’t let him stop her. It doesn’t matter if the smoldering looks he slides her way are hotter than a five alarm fire. Maddox Lancaster is more dangerous than any burning building—can Lucy take it?

Review –

This book was very very predictable but fun to read because the sexual tension between Maddox and Lucy was so HOT! That being said I didn’t become invested in the characters enough to buy the other books in the series. Am I glad I read it? Hell yes, I would have had to be dead not to.

Side note: I HATE the cover.

 

 

Chase by K.R. Dwyer (aka Dean Koontz)

Book Description:

Published: June 10, 2014 (first published in 1972)

Format: Audio

Ben Chase is a war hero, but a reluctant one. He struggles with bitter memories and feels alienated from the culture to which he has returned. When he claims that a psychopath is stalking him, he has by then made such an outsider of himself that no one believes him. He must resurrect the repressed warrior within to save himself and a woman he comes to love. Heroes need monsters to slay, and they can always find them—within if not without.

Review –

I love Dean Koontz but he wrote this one very early in his career and under a different name so the plot was very predictable and it also failed to give me the shiver than I get from many of his works. The pacing of the story was good after the half way point and we see the character of Chase soften around the edges after having met Glenda.

This was far from a favorite but having rad it (listened to it) I can truly see how much Mr. Koontz has grown as a storyteller.

I’d only recommend this for die-hard Dean Koontz fans.

Little Black Dress by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Can a little black dress change everything in her life?

Magazine editor Jane Avery spends her nights alone with Netflix and Oreos – until the Dress turns her loose. Suddenly she’s surrendering to dark desires, and New York City has become her erotic playground. But what began as a fantasy will go too far… and her next conquest could be her last.

Review –

In this BookShot, James Patterson ventures outside the genres for which he is known, waltzing onto a more romance/erotica pathway.

Jane Avery is living the typical a thirty-five  year old divorcée life, at least in her eyes; a slave to her work whose social time is filled with cookies and binge watching television. When she purchases a dress, black and slinky in nature, she finds herself filled with new confidence. While the dress does not possess any magical power, per se, Avery is pulled into a level of confidence she lacked up to that point. This confidence is primarily that of no strings attached sexual encounters with men, most of whom she has never met and all of whom will not get a second chance to unzip her.  Avery’s confidence reaches a climactic point when she visits a sex club and finds herself drawn to a man whose intrigue matches his prowess. However, after taking him back to her apartment, which she has vowed to never do, she finds that she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

When she doesn’t show up for work the next day, her sister goes to her apartment and with the help of the landlord, gains entry and finds Jane, naked and handcuffed to a radiator.

Jane rethinks the her behavior and decides that from now on she will be more careful.   END.

It was a pleasant read but I thought the ending could have been better.

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Book Description:

Published: November 4, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose written by Rupi Kaur, who is originally from India but lives in Ontario, Canada. It is about the experience of violence,abuse, love, heartbreak and loss, insight, and femininity. Although the ideas or maybe personal experiences she has written about are universal themes, they are important.  The author takes the reader on a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Review –

This book  was not my cup of tea and that’s probably not fair coming from me.you see  I wrote poetry long ago when a Senior in High School through my Freshman year in college. The poems I wrote never rhymed and  reflected feeling invisible and wanting someone to love me, then finding first love and losing it. It’s dark and sometimes “psychedelic” (It was the 60’s after all.)  Maybe next year I’ll add a page entitled In My Words and post some of them.

Anyway, I was not really impressed, it seems I’ve heard it all before, but that’s just me.