Mystery/Suspense

#BookReview
The Last Move by Mary Burton
@MaryBurtonBooks @JoanSchulhafer

Synopsis:

In this gripping stand-alone from bestselling author Mary Burton, an FBI agent must catch a copycat killer. The only difference this time: she’s the final victim.

Catching monsters helps FBI agent Kate Hayden keep her nightmares at bay. Now an urgent call brings her back to San Antonio, the scene of her violent past. A brutal new murder shows hallmarks of a serial killer nicknamed the Samaritan. Tricky part is, Kate already caught him.

Either Kate made a deadly error, or she’s got a copycat on her hands. Paired with homicide detective Theo Mazur, she quickly realizes this murder is more twisted than it first appeared. Then a second body is found, the mode of death identical to a different case that Kate thought she’d put behind her.

Now Kate and Detective Mazur aren’t just working a homicide; the investigative pair is facing a formidable enemy who knows Kate intimately. While Mazur is personally trying to protect Kate, the closer they are drawn to the killer, the clearer it becomes that in this terrifying game, there is only one rule: don’t believe everything you see…


Book Rating: 9/10

Disturbing, engrossing, and adrenaline pumping!

The Last Move, the latest novel by Burton, is a well-paced thrill ride featuring the tenacious and tough FBI agent, Kate, and the intelligent, patient homicide detective, Theo, as they join forces to hunt a serial killer with a penchant for reenacting the most heinous of crimes.

The writing is taut and tight. The characterization is well done. And the plot is a captivating police procedural with twists, turns, red herrings, family drama, deception, vengeance, depravity, murder and a smidgen of romance.

I have yet to pick up a Mary Burton book that wasn’t an entertaining, eerie, romantic mystery with exceptionally intriguing characters and The Last Move is no exception. And even though this novel is being billed as a standalone I sure hope we get to see Hayden and Mazur on another case sometime down the road.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of my reviews for The Forgotten Files series by Burton you can find them here:

 

Thank you to Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Mary Burton, visit her website at: maryburton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MaryBurtonBooks

#BookReview
The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride
@McBrideKristina @skyponypress

Synopsis:

You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim.


Book Rating: 8/10

Mysterious, unpredictable, and sinister!

The Bakersville Dozen is a young adult novel that takes us to the small town of Bakersville, Ohio where five popular, senior girls have one-by-one gone missing after being featured in a libelous video with eight of their peers.

The characters are nervous, bold, and at times impetuous. The writing is edgy and taut. And the plot is filled with an abundance of teenage drama, secrets, danger, jealousy, murder, red herrings, tension, and romance.

Overall, The Bakersville Dozen is a well-paced, suspenseful YA whodunit that reminds me of those classic 90s teen thrillers like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer that had you thinking “why would you do that?” while you simultaneously gripped the edge of your seat. It’s captivating, entertaining and has an ending you definitely won’t see coming.

If you haven’t had a chance already to check out my review for A Million Times Goodnight by McBride you can find it here:

 

About the Author:

Kristina McBride is a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor, as well as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest and Wright State University. She dreamed of being a published author since she lived across the street from a library as a kid. She is the author of two previous novels, The Tension of Opposites and One Moment. She lives in Centerville, Ohio with her husband and two young children.

 

 

Thank you to Sky Pony Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kristina McBride, visit her website at: kristinamcbride.com

or follow her on twitter at: @McBrideKristina

#BookReview
Gone Astray by Michelle Davies
@M_Davieswrites @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

What if someone thinks they deserve their life more than you?

When a Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined. . .

Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.

DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.

As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .

Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Suspenseful, absorbing, and skillfully executed!

Gone Astray is a well-paced psychological thriller set in Buckinghamshire, England that is told from multiple perspectives; Lesley, Rosie’s loving, distraught mother who is not entirely comfortable with her new wealth; Maggie, the dedicated, appointed Family Liaison Officer whose own personal life is in tatters; and finally a menacing, aggressive character whose hostility and anger towards the Kinnocks is escalating rapidly.

The writing is crisp and fluid. The characters are flawed, complex, and intriguing. And the plot, using alternating chapters, does an excellent job of intertwining, unraveling and building not only all the tension and increasing family drama but also the suggestions, clues, and procedures of the unfolding police investigation.

Overall, I think Gone Astray is a fantastic debut for Davies that definitely highlights money doesn’t always bring happiness and often we don’t know people as well as we think.

The second novel in the DC Maggie Neville series, Wrong Place, is due out later this fall and you can be confident it’s already on my TBR list.

About the Author:

Michelle Davies has been a magazine contributor for over twenty years, including working the production desk at Elle, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine, and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle is also a crime reviewer for the Books section of the Sunday Express.

Michelle lives in London with her partner and daughter, juggling crime writing, freelance journalism, and motherhood. Gone Astray is her debut novel.

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Michelle Davies, visit her website at: michelledavieswriter.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @M_Davieswrites

 

#BookReview
The Coldest Fear by Debra Webb
@DebraWebbAuthor @HarlequinBooks

The Official Synopsis:

A killer with nothing left to lose…

Afraid or not, Detective Bobbie Gentry has a monster to confront. The pain of losing her family and nearly her life to a criminal’s vile hunger is still fresh, but now the landscape is different. Now she’s not alone. Now she has Nick Shade to trust. Nick treats the terror of his past with vengeance. He’s dedicated his life to hunting serial killers, and he’d give up his last breath to save Bobbie. When a string of killings bloodies Savannah’s elite society and causes cold cases to resurface, Bobbie is captured in a city more haunted than Nick’s inescapable nightmares. And as the murderer strikes close, Nick and Bobbie will need to become even closer if they’re going to survive.


Book Rating: 9/10

Gripping, gritty, and highly suspenseful!

The Coldest Fear is a taut, disturbing police procedural that delves into a 32-year-old cold case involving missing children and takes you on a hunt for an escaped, sadistic serial killer.

The writing is fluid and intense. The plot is a skillfully crafted mix of twists, turns, murder, retribution, justice, fear, deception, lies, and secrets. And the characterization is remarkably well done with some of the usual gang back including the wounded, determined Bobbie Gentry who finds herself heading to Savannah to help out on the case and the mysterious, troubled Nick Shade who still seems to be hiding in the shadows.

The Coldest Fear is truly a macabre thrill ride with great pace, good character development, and an ending that will leave you wanting more. And even though this is the third book in the Shades of Death series and can be read as a standalone novel, I highly recommend the first two titles in the series, No Darker Place (Book #1) and A Deeper Grave (Book #2) as well.

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                       

For more information on Debra Webb, visit her website at: DebraWebb.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @DebraWebbAuthor

#BookReview
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
@SVaughanAuthor @AtriaBooks

Synopsis:

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?


Book Rating: 8/10

Intricate, dark, and compelling!

Anatomy of a Scandal is a gripping tale that reminds us that justice may not always be blind in the face of privilege, politics, charisma, and power and that rape has devastating and enduring emotional and psychological effects on its victims.

The story is told from differing perspectives; James, a handsome, entitled politician accused of a heinous crime; Sophie, a dependable, intelligent wife who believes in her husband’s innocence; and Kate the tough, tenacious barrister who wholeheartedly knows he’s guilty.

The characters are multilayered and well developed with some wounded and resilient and others ostentatious, arrogant, and callous. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create tension and suspense as it subtly unravels the personalities, motivations, and histories of all those within it.

Anatomy of a Scandal is ultimately a novel about marriage, over indulgence, consent, scandal, revenge, deception, adultery, social status, rape, and the British legal system and is certainly an excellent, highly entertaining debut for Vaughan.

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is due to be published January 2, 2018.

Preorder a copy now from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Sarah Vaughan, visit her website at: sarahvaughanauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @SVaughanAuthor


#BookReview #TheSister
by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction
@bookouture @TheCrimeVault @littlebookcafe

cover87753-medium

Synopsis:

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend. 

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home. 

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger? 

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?


Book Rating: 8/10

Suspenseful, creepy and entertaining!

The Sister is a psychological thriller that reminds us of the mental and physical anguish that can be caused by abandonment, isolation, trauma, grief and revenge.

The main character, Grace, is a young woman struggling in her everyday life due to extreme levels of guilt, grief, and paranoia. And as the story unfolds, through a past/present style, we are introduced to all sorts of colourful characters that interact and intertwine to captivate and intrigue us until the last piece of the puzzle fits.

The story is well written. And the plot is fascinating and mysterious, with lots of twists and turns you won’t see coming.

Overall, this is a really sophisticated debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from Louise Jensen in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bookouture, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is now available in paperback.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                                 

For more information on Louise Jensen, visit her website at: louisejensen.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @Fab_fiction

#BookReview
Shattered by Allison Brennan
@Allison_Brennan @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Fast-paced, spine-chilling, and extremely disturbing!

In this latest novel by Brennan she gives us an exciting crossover thriller featuring Max, the tough and tenacious investigative journalist of this series, and Lucy the troubled, extremely clever FBI agent from her other series as they take on a 20-year-old cold case that highlights just how psychologically and emotionally devastating the loss of a loved one, especially a child, can be on the entire family and may not be quite as cold as first believed.

The writing is clear and tight. The characterization is well done. And the plot is a skillfully executed police procedural with twists, turns, emotion, family drama, heartbreak, lies, murder and an ending that will not only satisfy but leave you wanting more.

Shattered is a highly entertaining, harrowing whodunit that doesn’t disappoint and even though it’s the fourth book in the series it can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                       

For more information on Allison Brennan, visit her website at: allisonbrennan.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Allison_Brennan

#BookReview
Best Intentions by Erika Raskin
@erikaraskin @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Marti Trailor—social worker on hold, mother of three, wife of a successful obstetrician, daughter of a Congressman—is ready to go back to work. She’s thrilled when the perfect opportunity falls in her lap. The catch? The job is at her husband’s hospital and he seems not to share her enthusiasm. Undeterred, she takes the position counseling vulnerable young women as they prepare to give birth.

Marti quickly begins to feel like she is making a difference in the lives of her clients. Soon, though, she finds herself caught up in the dark side of the medical center—with its long hours, overworked doctors and entrenched practices. When she witnesses something she can’t unsee, Marti, who has always done her best to keep a low-profile, finds herself thrust under a dangerous spotlight with all of Richmond, Virginia watching.

In her captivating domestic suspense novel Best Intentions, Erika Raskin weaves together high stakes hospital politics, the pressures of family life, and the consequences of trying to do the right thing.


Book Rating: 8/10

Intense, ominous, and engrossing!

Best Intentions is a character-driven thriller that highlights how easily someone’s behaviour can be misconstrued, manipulated, and used against them.

It is, ultimately, a story about marriage, motherhood, friendship, social work, greed, deception, adultery, medical politics, and the legal process.

The writing is well done. The characters are complex and multilayered with some being loving, supportive, and kind and others being pompous and self-centered. And the plot, although sometimes a little hard to follow as it flips from the past to the present, has a nice balance of suspense, tension, character development, and surprises.

Overall I would have to say that Best Intentions is a compelling, well-written read that once started will keep you entertained and invested to the very end.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Erika Raskin, visit her website at: erikaraskin.net

or follow her on Twitter at: @erikaraskin


#BookReview
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
@katelizabee @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Complex, creative, and satisfying!

Are You Sleeping is a character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 10-year-old murder while delving into the intricacies and psychological effects homicide, deception, and abandonment have on surviving family members.

The writing is well done. The characters are scarred, leery, and emotionally distant. The plot has a good mix of mystery, intrigue, conflict, and drama. And the unconventional narration using true-crime podcasts and social media postings adds a unique touch.

Are You Sleeping is ultimately a novel about familial dynamics, twinship, friendship, secrets, lies, murder and the power of media and although it isn’t exceptionally fast-paced or unputdownable, it is certainly a strong debut for Barber.

 

About the Author:

 

Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband.

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kathleen Barber, visit her website at: kathleenbarber.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @katelizabee

#BookReview
The Late Show by Michael Connelly
@Connellybooks @littlebrown

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job no matter what the department throws at her.


Book Rating: 9/10

Extremely tense, highly suspenseful and masterfully paced!

The Late Show is a skillfully crafted, well-executed police procedural that introduces us to the feisty Detective Renée Ballard as she heads out on a shift that will have her hunting a burglar, a sadist, and a ruthless killer.

The writing is tight and seamless. The characterization is spot on with a gang of multi-layered, gritty characters including the gutsy, tenacious Ballard. And the plot is a thrill ride of twists, turns, surprises, corruption, violence, forensics, police politics and murder that will have you hooked from the very first page.

Connelly is a best-selling author, and with this new release it’s easy to see why. The Late Show is a raw, action-packed page turner that is compelling, entertaining and will leave you wanting more.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                       

For more information on Michael Connelly, visit his website at: michaelconnelly.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @Connellybooks

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