Mystery/Suspense

#BookReview
Liar by K.L. Slater
@KimLSlater @bookouture

Synopsis:

How far would you go to protect your family?

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage.

Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.


Book Rating: 8/10

Menacing, intense and eerie!

This story focuses on the unique relationship between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws and highlights the friction, discontent, competition, and rivalry that can exist between the two.

It is, ultimately, a story about control, power, manipulation, deception, obsession, and revenge.

The writing is fluid and smooth. The characters are desperate, devious, damaged, and consumed. And the plot, although a little predictable, does a good job of creating tension, suspense and strife as it methodically unravels revealing all the personalities, complex relationships and dark motivations within it.

Overall, this is a compelling, entertaining psychological thriller by Slater with an opening that will make you think twice, a few twists, and a narration style that will have you rooted to your seat from the very first page.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for Slater’s previous novel, Safe With Me, be sure to check it out here:

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture 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 K.L. Slater, visit her website at: KLSlaterAuthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @KimLSlater

#BookReview
Find Her by Lisa Gardner
@LisaGarnderBks @DuttonBooks

 

Synopsis:

Flora Dane is a victim.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless.

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Thrilling, dark, and downright spine-chilling!

This is a gritty, police procedural that takes us on a hunt for a sadist and highlights the enduring psychological effects experienced by those who manage to survive.

The writing is fluid. The characterization is well done with the usual gang back including the stubborn, resilient, determined D. D. Warren whose greatest struggle is accepting and adhering to restricted duty when the clock is ticking and two women are missing. And the plot is an adrenaline-rushing mixture of disturbing violence, gruesome murder as well as some nice twists and turns that definitely keep you guessing.

Once again, Gardner has written a gripping, highly entertaining novel that showcases her exceptional ability to not only delve into the psychological and behavioural actions of the most depraved of society but also those of the victims who suffer by their hands.

About the Author:

 

LISA GARDNER is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of seventeen previous novels, including her most recent, Crash & Burn. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Fear NothingCatch MeLove You More, and The Neighbor, which won the International Thriller of the Year Award. She lives with her family in New England.

 

 

Thank you to Dutton Books (Penguin Random House) for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now in Trade Paperback

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

                                           

For more information on Lisa Gardner, visit her website at: lisagardner.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @LisaGardnerBks

#BookReview
Need You Dead by Peter James
@peterjamesuk @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award-winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.


Book Rating: 10/10

Intelligent, extremely fast-paced and wonderfully unpredictable!

This is a skillfully executed, perfectly crafted police procedural that sees Detective Superintendent Roy Grace leaving Temporary Detective Inspector Guy Batchelor in charge of the latest murder while he heads to Germany to meet the son he never knew he had, but as often is the case this investigation may not be as open-and-shut as first believed and may just get a little bit more complicated before the case is closed.

The writing is fluid, seamless and structured in an easy to follow timeline. The characters are well-developed, varied and realistic. And the plot is told from differing points-of-view and jam-packed with suspense, twists, suspects, violence, and murder that will keep you riveted from start to finish.

I have to admit I am probably one of the few people on the planet, or at least one in 18 million 😉, who hasn’t read a Peter James book before. And when you read as many books as I do in a year, close to 300, you tend to pick up on or at least guess the ending long before you get there and I thought that this book was no exception. After the first quarter I was pretty confident I had figured out where the story was going and as the story progressed I got more and more confident I had pegged it, but you know what Mr. Peter James, congratulations, YOU GOT ME! This is definitely one of my favourite mysteries of the year and you surely have a new fan in me. I not only devoured this book but loved it from beginning to end and if you haven’t guessed by now I highly recommend it!

About the Author:

Peter James is the international bestselling author of many award-winning novels. His Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, set in Brighton, has been translated into thirty-seven languages with worldwide sales of over eighteen million copies, and has given him eleven consecutive Sunday Times number ones. In 2015 WHSmith customers publicly voted him the Greatest Crime Author of All Time and in 2016 he became the recipient of the coveted CWA Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award for sustained excellence. Peter has also written a short story collection, A Twist of the Knife, and his standalone titles include Perfect People and The House on Cold Hill. He has also co-written a non-fiction account of Brighton’s toughest cases with former detective Graham Bartlett entitled Death Comes Knocking. The Perfect Murder, Dead Simple and Not Dead Enough have all been turned into smash-hit stage plays. All his novels reflect his deep interest in the world of the police. Three of his novels have been filmed and before becoming a full-time author he produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons. He divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London and near Brighton in Sussex.

Thank you to PGC Books and Peter James 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 Peter James, visit his website at: peterjames.com/youtube

or follow him on Twitter at: @peterjamesuk

#BookReview
Our Little Secret by Roz Nay
@roznay1 @SimonSchusterCA

Synopsis:

For fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood and All the Missing Girls comes Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.

The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.

Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective Novak is sure Angela knows something, despite her claim that she’s not involved.

At Novak’s prodding, Angela tells a story going back ten years, explaining how she met and fell in love with her high school friend HP. But as her past unfolds, she reveals a disconcerting love triangle and a dark, tangled web of betrayals. Is Angela a scorned ex-lover with criminal intent? Or a pawn in someone else’s revenge scheme? Who is she protecting? And why?

Twisty and suspenseful, Our Little Secret is an intense cat-and-mouse game and a riveting thriller about the lies we tell others—and ourselves.


Book Rating: 9/10

Mesmerizing, dark, and brilliantly clever!

This is a character-driven psychological thriller that illustrates just how fine the line between love and obsession can truly be and reminds us that every choice, good or bad, has a consequence.

The writing is crisp, polished and fluid. The characterization is spot on with a multitude of characters that are multi-faceted, insecure and vulnerable. And the plot is an intricately interwoven tale that unravels piece-by-piece creating tension, unease, and suspicion as it subtly reveals all the personalities, relationships, motivations and actions within it.

This is, ultimately, a story about deception, danger, competition, desperation, dependence, loneliness, manipulation and the fragility of young love and it’s hard to believe this is Nay’s debut novel. It’s sophisticated, highly entertaining, and a must-read that I guarantee you won’t be able to put down.

About the Author:

 

Roz Nay grew up in England and studied at Oxford University. She has been published in The Antigonish Review and the anthology Refuge. Roz has worked as an underwater fish counter in Africa, a snowboard videographer in Vermont, and a high school teacher in both the UK and Australia. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children. Our Little Secret is her first novel.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada 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 Roz Nay, visit her website at: roznay.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @roznay1

#BookReview
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
@ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

Synopsis:

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an Outward Bound center. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby. 2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivaled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.


Book Rating: 9/10

Creative, unique and unforgettably absorbing!

This a brilliantly crafted, character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 20-year-old murder and spotlights the physical and psychological effects and consequences of bullying.

The writing style is unconventional, with the narration being told completely through true-crime podcasts and internal musings. And the characterization is raw with a cast of teenage characters that are young, rebellious, impressionable, and impulsive. 

Overall, I have to say this is a short but incredibly gripping story with a whodunit plot that is modern, fresh, eerie, disturbing and wonderfully shocking.

Thank you to Orenda Books 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 Matt Wesolowski follow him on Twitter at: @ConcreteKraken

#BookReview
You Will Pay by Lisa Jackson
@readlisajackson @KensingtonBooks

Synopsis:

In a fast-paced, brilliantly twisted novel of suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson, the deadly secrets of a long-ago summer stir to life once more.

It starts as a prank a way to blow off steam after a long summer at Camp Horseshoe. Among the teen counselors, tensions and hormones are running high. No wonder the others agree when Jo-Beth Chancellor suggests they scare Monica O Neal a little or a lot. Monica has it coming, and no one will really get hurt. What could go wrong?

Everything.

Twenty years later, Lucas Dalton, a senior detective with the sheriff s department, is investigating the discovery of human remains in a cavern at what used to be Camp Horseshoe. Lucas knows the spot well. His father, a preacher, ran the camp, and Lucas worked there that infamous summer when two girls went missing. One is believed to have been killed by a convict on the loose. Monica O Neal is thought to have drowned and been washed out to sea.

Lucas knows he should step down from such a personal case. He s already jeopardized his career by removing evidence of his involvement. But maybe it s time to uncover the whole truth at last. That s why five former female counselors are coming back to the small Oregon town among them, Bernadette Warden, the woman Lucas has never forgotten. Each one knows something about that terrible night. Each promised not to tell. And as they reunite, a new horror unfolds. First come notes containing a personal memento and a simple, terrifying message: You will pay. Then, the murders begin.

It started years ago. But it will end here as a web of lust, greed, and betrayal is untangled to reveal a killer waiting to enact the perfect revenge.


Book Rating: 7/10

Dark, complex, and extremely suspenseful!

This is an action-packed novel that delves into how manipulative, oppressive and malicious teens can truly be and the extent to which they will go to try to fit in.

It is, ultimately, a story about secrets, friendship, coming-of-age, obsession, jealousy, adultery and murder.

The writing is well done. The characters are cunning, selfish and deceptive. And the plot is written in an alluring past/present, back-and-forth style that unravels piece-by piece all the personalities, relationships, motivations and actions within it.

When it comes to writing thrilling mysteries Lisa Jackson is one of the best. However, I do have to admit that even though I enjoyed this story and the surprise ending, I did find the characters to be somewhat unsympathetic and the plot to have a little too many twists and turns for me to fully connect and completely love it.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Kensington 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 Lisa Jackson, visit her website at: lisajackson.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @readlisajackson

 

#BookReview
Be My Killer by Richard Parker
@Bookwalter @bookouture

Synopsis:

You set the trap. Now you can’t escape.

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman, is the next victim and Hazel knows she has to find out what happened to her.

Is it one killer or more? Random acts of violence, or part of a bigger, twisted plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove – and she also has a film crew. She’ll make a documentary, catch the killer, and give Meredith justice.

Her stage is the abandoned amusement park where Meredith was found. 

Her cast are the family and friends the killer left behind. 

And her crew? They keep disappearing, one by one…


Book Rating: 8/10

Creepy, disturbing and exceptionally gory!

This is a gritty thriller full of sex, manipulation, emotional entanglements, carnage, and violence in an extremely fast-paced, suspenseful plot that is chocked full of murder and mayhem.

The writing is well done. The main heroine, Hazel is relentless, determined, strong and desperate; and the supporting characters are varied, troubled and vulnerable.

This story is definitely not for the squeamish, in fact it reminds me of those classic slasher films from the 80s that we all watched from the edge of our seat yelling “don’t go off on your own” and even though there may not be lots of depth to the characters you are still thoroughly entertained, horrified and engrossed by the maniacal killer, the naive victims, and of course the unexpected ending.

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

This novel is due to be published on May 26, 2017.

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

                                          

For more information on Richard Parker, visit her website at: richard-parker.com

or follow her on twitter at: @Bookwalter

#BookReview
It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
@MCampbellBooks @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?


Book Rating: 7/10

Complex, intriguing, and gloomy!

This is a character-driven novel that delves into just how much our friendships and relationships can define us and highlights just how parasitic some of them can really be.

The writing is well done. The characters are selfish, scheming and deceptive. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow as the author delves deeply into the different personalities and motivations of each character, the second half is definitely much more exciting, intense and action-packed with as many suspects as motives and an ending with a contemplative twist.

This is ultimately a novel about friendship, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, adultery and murder and a good debut for Campbell. In fact, some readers will love the dark, moody feel of the story and the cast of characters with no redeeming qualities between them. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any sort of moral or ethical conscience made it hard to connect and left me a little indifferent of the story overall.

About the Author:

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

 

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

This book is due to be published on May 16, 2017.

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

                                            

For more information on Michele Campbell, visit her website at: MicheleCampbellBooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MCampbellBooks

#BookReview
The Thirst by Jo Nesbo
@RealMrJoNesbo ‏@RandomHouseCA

Synopsis:

THERE’S A NEW KILLER ON THE STREETS…
A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

HE’S IN YOUR HOUSE… HE’S IN YOUR ROOM
Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOOD
When another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.


Book Rating: 10/10

Welcome back Harry Hole!

This a brilliantly crafted, dark, gritty thriller that takes us on a hunt for a sadistic serial killer with a taste for blood and causes Harry to come face-to-face with some of the demons that haunt him.

The writing is seamless, precise and vivid.  The characterization is spot on with characters that are driven, selfish and flawed, including the tough and tenacious Harry Hole whose greatest struggles persistently involve his own addictions and obsessions. And the plot is a twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning and will definitely leave you speechless by the end.

Once again Nesbo has proven that when it comes to writing clever, gripping, fast-paced police procedurals with exquisite character development and spine-chilling storylines he’s one of the best.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada 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 Jo Nesbo, visit his website at: jonesbo.com

or follow him on Facebook at: jonesboauthor

#BookReview
The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer @BelindaBauer @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

‘Call your mother.’
‘What do I say?’
‘Say goodbye.’

This is how it begins.

Lone women terrorized and their helpless families forced to watch – in a sick game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder.

Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce.

Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close.

As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first…


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Absorbing, gritty and exceptionally dark!

This is a compelling story set in North Devon, England and is told from the perspective of Ruby, an innocent 10-year-old girl who finds herself not only struggling with coming-of-age but with a family in turmoil and a village plagued by a serial killer.

The prose is direct and clear. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are troubled, raw and distinctive and a setting that is a character itself with its dreariness, history, rugged terrain and isolation.

This truly is an intelligent, atmospheric novel with a clever, meticulous plot filled with tension, danger, suspense, twists, intrigue and murder that delves into the murkiest corners of the human psyche and highlights how much rage and malice can actually exist in those you least expect.

Thank you to PGC Books 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 Belinda Bauer, visit her Facebook page at: Fans-of-Belinda-Bauer

or follow her on Twitter at: @BelindaBauer

 

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