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Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza - Feature and Review

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the iceShe is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?



The Girl In The Ice (DCI Erika Foster, #1)The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza is a 2016 Bookouture publication.

A few months back, it seemed nearly every one of my Goodreads friends was reading this book. The cover pops and I was intensely curious, and maybe a little envious because I was missing out. However, my plate was full just then, but I was determined to catch up with the series as quickly as possible.

The story grabbed my attention immediately and from there the pacing was relentless, and kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

When Andrea, a beautiful, wealthy young woman is found dead, DCI Ericka Foster is assigned the case. This is her first major case after a lengthy leave of absence and she quickly finds herself in hot water when her boss insists she color inside the lines due to the power and wealth of the victim’s family. The revelations and twists are well timed and the story took me in a direction I would never have guessed it would.

The characters are interesting, and Ericka carries some heavy burdens and baggage, but she’s not too dark or moody, a current trend that could burn itself out if used too often, so the author did a wonderful balancing act with Ericka and her colleagues.

I love it when a story stays on track, keeps the personal drama from overpowering the case at hand, and I give extra credit if I don’t guess who the bad guy was. While I do love quick pacing and hate deliberate filler, this one might have benefited from that tactic just a little, in order to build suspense and create a more sinister atmosphere.

However, I think this is an excellent thriller, and a terrific way to start off a new series. I keep hearing good things about the new releases from this series and am really excited about reading them in the future.





Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first in the new Detective Erika Foster series. 

The second book in the series, The Night Stalker, is a Wall Street Journal no.1 bestseller, and the third book, Dark Water has just been published.

Robert's books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 21 languages.

In addition to writing Crime Fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Lost Girls by Allison Brennan- Feature and Review


Photojournalist Siobhan Walsh has been searching for two sisters who disappeared two years ago in Mexico, so when she receives a call from a priest in Texas about an abandoned baby holding a locket with her name, she calls her friends in the FBI for help. The infant obviously belongs to one of the sisters, but how did she end up in Texas? And why did she abandon her newborn?

Lucy Kincaid and her mentor, Supervisory Special Agent Noah Armstrong, track the missing girls and uncover a human-trafficking organization that leads to a seedy underworld in which nothing is as it seems. The bad guys seem to stay two steps ahead of them, leaving behind a trail of dead bodies and Lucy with more questions than answers.

Meanwhile Lucy’s fiance Sean Rogan has a crisis of his own. An old girlfriend returns with shocking news: not only does Sean have a son, but Jesse and his step-father have disappeared. The last thing Sean wants to do is leave Lucy when she’s investigating a horrific case, but his son is in grave danger. Torn between an impossible choice, he makes a decision that has far-reaching consequences for Sean, Lucy, and everything they hold dear.



The Lost Girls (Lucy Kincaid, #11)The Lost Girls by Allison Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lost Girls by Allison Brennan is a 2016 St. Martin’s Press publication.

This eleventh installment in the Lucy Kincaid series is a tough, gut wrenching, and gripping crime novel.

When photojournalist, Siobhan Walsh thinks she may have gotten a lead on the two friends she’s been searching for the past two years, she calls in her FBI friend for help, introducing her to Lucy and her partner, Noah.

In the meantime, Sean gets a call from an old college flame desperately needing help locating her husband and son. Kane agrees to help Sean as they dive into the dangerous world of cartels and money laundering.

Although it seems unlikely in the beginning, Lucy and Sean’s cases merge with cataclysmic results, and had me on the edge of my seat.

This novel definitely has some dark moments while addressing sex trafficking and black market baby selling. Lucy deals with these sensitive subjects, but must manage to keep her emotions in check in the race against the clock to save the lives of Siobhan’s friends.

There are a few huge shockers in this installment

and some tension between Lucy and Sean as they deal with the fallout of this emotionally draining case. I do advise reading this one carefully, as there is a lot going on and the two cases do alternate back and forth and you don’t want to miss out on any nuances or small clues or details.

This is a very well written novel, with plenty of heart wrenching situations, but also intrigue, danger and suspense. I was absorbed from the start, and the story held my attention all the way through to the climactic conclusion.

The next book promises to be just as exciting, so I'm planning to be the first in line to get a copy!





New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes that life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year.

Allison has penned more than two dozen thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” RT also said that "The Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books are getting better and better!"

COLD SNAP, was a finalist for Best Thriller in the Thriller Awards (ITW) and FEAR NO EVIL (2007) and COMPULSION (2015) won the Daphne du Maurier award. Allison has been nominated multiple times for RWA's Best Romantic Suspense award, and the Kiss of Death's Daphne award.

Allison lives in Northern California with her husband, five children, and assorted pets. Her current release is THE LOST GIRLS, a romantic thriller. MAKE THEM PAY will be out in March, 2017

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Trespasser, by Tana French- Feature and Review


A brilliant new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, whom Gillian Flynn calls "mesmerizing" and Stephen King calls "incandescent."

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. 

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette's road. Aislinn's friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?




The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)The Trespasser by Tana French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Trespasser by Tana French is a 2016 Viking publication.

Sophisticated, breathlessly paced, and absolutely riveting!

Antoinette Conway and her partner Steve Moran are tossed a case involving a young woman named Aislinn, whose body was found after a punch to the face caused her to fall and hit her head, killing her.

Initially believing they’ve been assigned yet another routine case, they soon find themselves burdened with another, more seasoned detective, called in to help them work the case.
If that weren’t frustrating enough, they are also hounded by a dirty journalist who will stop at nothing to get the lowdown on their case.

As the pair begin to investigate, Aislinn’s boyfriend, Rory, soon becomes their prime suspect. However, Conway and Moran have a few alternate theories, they are batting around and want to hold off on arresting ‘lover boy’, to see what falls to earth after they ‘shake a few trees.’
However, the murder squad seems to be in an all fired hurry to lock Rory up and throw away the key, which raises Conway’s suspicions, but then again, she is normally suspicious and paranoid, due to the chronic harassment she is subjected to.

The only way to survive this will be to get the case solved and find out why the brass is so keen on pinning the murder on Rory, but with Rory falling right into their hands, and the powers that be riding their tale and playing psychological games, it will take all the interrogating skills Conway has in her whole body to uncover the truth.

When I read ‘In the Woods’ I became an instant fan of Tana French. I had never encountered a crime novel written with such a profound literary prose. From that point on, I couldn’t wait for the next book in the series to come out.

The plot is tightly woven and tense, with some of the best interrogation scenes I’ve encountered in crime fiction. I think the partnership between Conway and Moran is interesting and they seem to have a certain uneasy chemistry between them, that adds an element of tension and sizzle to the story.

" We sit there, drinking, while the stuff we should probably be saying out loud get itself done in the silence."

Conway’s internal monologues are dark and edgy, the dialogue is razor sharp, as Conway’s paranoia literally leaps off the page, but she is also darkly humorous at times, and I came away with a few chuckles and some terrific phrases and colorful metaphors to try out.

" It was about the same thing as everything else humans have done to to each other since before history began: power. It was about deciding who would be the alpha dogs and who would be at the bottom of the pile."

The pacing is one of the biggest assets in this novel, which was little longer than most thrillers, but trust me, that is a good thing! The way French baited me in, time and again, toyed with my mind, slowly luring me in, until I finally took the bait – hook, line and sinker, was like a cat and mouse game between author and reader.

The characters are so well drawn, and are given ample time to flourish, to think things out, as the case is worked like a true procedural with lots of interviews and leg work, plus the added pressure of abnormal office politics, which we all know plays a big part in police work, with everyone jockeying for position or trying to cover their own butt.

I absolutely loved this book and rank it right up there with the first novel, which has remained my personal favorite. I love gritty, hard as nails characters and deep, twisty plots, with a climactic ending in which the irony is just divine. Simply amazing!!

After reading a Tana French novel I always feel like I’ve ingested a highly addictive drug because I immediately begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. French does not chuck out novels at the speed of light and sound, so the wait times in between releases can feel like an eternity, so be sure to enjoy and slowly savor every last drop of this novel… I know I did!!


Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker- Feature and Review


A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.





He Will Be My RuinHe Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker is a 2016 Atria Books publication.

He Will Be My Ruin is a dark and shadowy psychological novel of suspense, told in a unique and original style that kept me turning pages, way past my bed time.

Maggie and Celine were best friends growing up, but were polar opposites. Maggie came from vast wealth, while Celine’s mother did domestic work for Maggie’s parents. The girls remained close well into adulthood, where their paths separated. But, now Maggie is back in New York to box up Celine’s belongings after her untimely death, which has been ruled a suicide.

In the process, Maggie discovers Celine led a double life, harbored intense resentments, and Celine was often a ball of contradictions. But, when she finds a photo of a man hidden in a secret place, with an odd passage written across it, Maggie begins to wonder if Celine committed suicide or if something far more sinister happened to her.

I love it when authors drop the traditional formula most often used in novels, because the story becomes more of a challenge, forcing me to slow down and absorb those tiny details I may have glossed over otherwise.
This story is very atmospheric, with an understated quality that drew me in and held my attention from start to finish. Every character is complex, shrouded in a fog -like cloak making it impossible to penetrate the barriers surrounding them.

The story almost has a noir feel to it at times, keeping the suspense level rising, deepening the mystery, leading me down dark passageways and tunnels, not sure which way to turn.

The story is intense, but the atmosphere keeps the pace from spiraling out of control, despite those ominous warning bells you hear ringing.

I think the effort here is interesting, and certainly left me impressed with the style, the writing, and the way the threads were woven together.

Overall, this is a novel fans of psychological thrillers should try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.





Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons.

She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Shark by Mary Burton- Feature and Review


At the grisly murder scene of a teen prostitute, Virginia state trooper Riley Tatum’s past roars back to haunt her. When she was a teenage runaway, she was kidnapped, drugged, and left unconscious on the streets. She has no memories of what happened, only strange recurring dreams of two men playing cards.

Former FBI agent Clay Bowman, Riley’s old flame, is Shield Security’s newest member. He’s plagued by the unsolved case of a serial killer nicknamed the Shark who murdered girls as part of a sadistic poker game. Only one girl survived. With the Shark now bent on evening that score, Clay has a chilling suspicion: Riley is the girl who escaped the Shark’s deadly amusement—and she is his next prey.

As the Shark gets ready to play his hand, can Riley and Clay stop him—or will this killer finally claim the one who got away?


The Shark (Forgotten Files, #1)The Shark by Mary Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The Shark” by Mary Burton

I believe romantic suspense lovers are going to be thrilled with Mary Burton’s new series, The Forgotten Files.
The first installment, “The Shark,” is centered around Riley Tatum, a Virginia State Trooper, who has worked exceedingly hard to get her life back on track after running away from home as a teenager and getting herself into a nightmarish situation she was lucky to have survived.
She now specializes in ‘tracking,’ with her faithful dog, Cooper, and is adopting a troubled teen named Hannah. Her life has finally stabilized, until she finds a murdered prostitute with a hand of playing cards on her person, who also happens to bear a striking resemblance to Riley.

To complicate matters, Clay Bowman, a man Riley once had tender feelings for, has insinuated himself into her investigation, believing Riley is the target of a serial killer known as “The Shark.”

Hoping to keep her troubled past from becoming public knowledge, Riley reluctantly teams up with Bowman to discover who it is playing high-stakes poker games with the lives of young women.

This story is a traditional romantic suspense novel, but will also appeal to thriller fans too. The plot is very disturbing, featuring some of the most depraved bad guys I’ve encountered in recent memory. The plot twists shocked me so hard I nearly lost my breath!

This one may not be for the faint of heart, as there are forensic details and the story is pretty dark. However, Riley is a fantastic character and her tenacity is inspiring. I enjoyed Bowman’s more low key approach, but bristled on occasion when he made decisions without consulting Riley. However, the two ended up working together quite well, and made a good team.

The romance is slow to build, and while it is not the prominent thread in the story, it is a nice second-chance-at-love story which gave me hope that Riley will finally have a chance at having a real family and some long overdue happiness. “4-stars”!

Reviewed by Julie Whiteley for Suspense Magazine




Dr. Tessa McGowan had never seen anything quite like it. But the mutilated bodies on her exam table tell a stunningly macabre tale: someone with a twisted mind is kidnapping women and altering their faces to resemble real, life-size dolls. As a forensic pathologist, it’s her job to aid the agent leading the case—even if that agent is her estranged husband.
Twelve years ago an unspeakable tragedy destroyed Dakota Sharp’s world. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’s devoted himself to capturing killers. His only regret is that it cost him Tessa. Now, as the Dollmaker case brings them together—and raises his suspicions that he’s crossed paths with this deranged psychopath before—they may just have their second chance. But it seems Dakota’s not the only one who wants to make Tessa his own…
She may be the Dollmaker’s next target, but Tessa has no intention of winding up as another toy on his shelf. Can she and Dakota stop this ghastly killer before his next deadly playdate?




Mary Burton loves writing suspense, researching forensic and law enforcement procedure, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. Not necessarily in that order.

She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. She’s tracked them down in stories set in her hometown of Richmond, Alexandria, Austin and Nashville that have been praised by readers and reviewers. Her work has been compared to that of James Patterson*, Lisa Gardner** and Lisa Jackson***.

Research is a favorite part of Mary’s work day. She never tires of learning more about police work, evidence collection and analysis, and doesn’t hesitate to take a hands-on approach, whether it means interviews with those working in the field, forensic seminars or lessons at the firing range.

A Richmond native, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She is a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and worked in marketing before she began writing full time. Her first book was published in 2000 and now she’s the author of thirty-one novels and five novellas, including her contemporary women’s fiction written as Mary Ellen Taylor.

Her new book, The Dollmaker is the second of her The Forgotten Files novels, which began with The Shark in May 2016. The third, The Hangman, will be published in spring 2017. Her recent bestsellers, the popular Morgan Family novels Vulnerable, I’ll Never Let You Go, Cover Your Eyes and Be Afraid, feature Nashville’s preeminent law enforcement family.

When not traveling for research or visiting with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary is very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their newly empty nest and spoiling their four legged babies Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

*Fresh Fiction **Library Journal ***Library Journal

Friday, October 28, 2016

Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell- Feature and Review


A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone - vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened.

It was all too real. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD's Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun's body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing.
Like Jonah, the police are blind. Unknown to them, he is with a stone killer, and though he has unexpected resources of his own, his would-be saviors have no suspect, no useful evidence, and no clue - except for Detective Mallory's suspicions of things not said and her penchant for getting to the truth beneath lies. Behind her back, the squad's name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself... and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.



Blind Sight (Kathleen Mallory, #12)Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell is a 2016 Headline publication.

‘Mallory the Machine’ might be the most interesting female protagonist in crime fiction.

This twelfth installment in the Kathy Mallory series showcases Mallory’s .., er… unique personality as she plows through a grisly crime scene in which several bodies have been dumped at the mayor’s residence, with their hearts removed. To make matters even more perplexing, a nun with a very colorful past and her blind nephew disappear, possibly kidnap victims, who could be in the clutches of a cold blooded killer.

This dark crime story, told with O’Connell’s razor sharp dark humor, compliments Malloy’s odd investigative techniques, as a lurid and political crime story unfolds. There is certainly a human element to the story with a young blind boy at risk, and the race against time is palpable.

Mallory is in a particularly nasty mood this time around, toying with people for fun, exhibiting a level of rudeness that went beyond her usual impatience and stoicism. Newcomers to the series may not know what to make of her, so reading this one as a stand alone might not be the best idea.

I liked the realistic portrayal of a blind person, which did not fall back on stereotypes, and following Jonah’s thoughts as he duels it out with his captor was intense, but made him the star of the show.

I enjoyed catching up with Mallory, after what has seemed like a pretty long pause between releases,
But,  if you are thinking of trying this novel without having read at least a couple of the previous chapters in the series, I would suggest waiting until you can catch up a bit before tackling this one.

If you are following the series, or at least familiar enough with it to understand the characterizations, and so forth, then, you will not want to pass up the chance to see what Mallory is up to and what kind of mood she might be in this time around.





Born in 1947, Carol O'Connell studied at the California Institute or Arts/Chouinard and the Arizona State University. She lives in New York City.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Forgive Me by Daniel Palmer- Feature and Review

In a heart-pounding thriller from one of the most innovative voices in contemporary suspense, a woman unravels the shocking truth about her parents, her past, and a life built upon an unthinkable lie. 

At DeRose & Associates Private Investigators in Virginia, Angie DeRose strives to find and rescue endangered runaways--work that stands in stark contrast to her own safe, idyllic childhood. But in the wake of her mother's sudden death, Angie makes a life-altering discovery. Hidden among the mementos in her parents' attic is a photograph of a little girl, with a code and a hand-written message on the back: "May God forgive me." 

Angie has no idea what it means or how to explain other questionable items among her mother's possessions. Her father claims to know nothing. Could Angie have a sister or other relative she was never told about? Bryce Taggart, the US Marshal working with her agency, agrees to help Angie learn the fate of the girl in the photograph. But the lies she and Bryce unearth will bring her past and present together with terrifying force. And everything she cherishes will be threatened by the repercussions of one long-ago choice--and an enemy who will kill to keep a secret hidden forever.



Forgive MeForgive Me by Daniel Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Forgive Me by Daniel Palmer is a 2016 Kensington publication.

Angie DeRose is a dedicated PI, who has devoted her life to helping find runaway and missing children. When Nadine, a teenager with a troubled home life runs away, her mother hires Angie to find her.

But things become more complicated than usual when Angie’s mother dies suddenly and she discovers an old photograph her mother had hidden away. The photo is of a young girl with a deformity, with “May God Forgive Me’ written on the back in her mother’s handwriting, along with a what appears to be a code of some kind.

The picture haunts Angie and prompts her to investigate, never imagining the secrets she would unearth or the danger she would awaken in the process.

This vivid portrait of a runaway who falls prey to sex trafficking and slavery is so tense and at times difficult to read, as it is told with such authenticity and realism, it's almost as if I going through the experience with Nadine.

Based on the synopsis, I get the impression that of the two separate threads, the story concerning Angie’s mother was supposed to be the predominant story line. However, I could have taken or left this part of the story, as it didn’t provoke the same sense of dread that Nadine’s story did, nor did it evoke an emotional response from me, other than one of incredulity. It was just a bit too over the top in terms of plausibility and the last minute addition of characters muddied the waters, with the entire thread more or less falling to pieces, and then clumsily and hastily pasted back together.

This story would have been terrific if it had simply focused on the runaway angle, which was the saving grace of the novel.

The gritty details of being held prisoner, the slow degradation, the devaluing of human life, and the sad and mind blowing statistics involving the underground sex trade and slavery was written exceptionally well and if for no other reason, makes this novel worth your time.

Overall, both storylines were ambitious, and both could have been the main focus of a novel, with just a bit more fleshing out, but put together in one story, one outshines the other, thus creating an imbalance, but the one plotline was so well done, I still recommend this book to anyone looking for a taut crime story.




DANIEL PALMER is the author of four critically-acclaimed suspense novels. After receiving his master’s degree from Boston University, he spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer. A recording artist, accomplished blues harmonica player, and lifelong Red Sox fan, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children where he is currently at work on his next novel.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Home- by Harlan Coben- Feature and Review


Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s next gripping thriller, to be published in September 2016.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.



Home (Myron Bolitar, #11)Home by Harlan Coben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Home by Harlan Coben is a 2016 Dutton publication.

Get ready for one of my rare gushing reviews!

Wow! Just… Wow! This may be the best Myron Bolitar mystery ever.

A year has passed since Myron has seen Win. So, when out of the blue, Win phones from London asking for help, Myron drops everything to help his old friend.

This should be your first clue that things are slightly different now, because, when has Win ever asked for help? Never. But, this situation is personal.

Ten years ago, Win’s nephew, Rhys, and his friend, Patrick, were kidnapped. Win receives an email suggesting Patrick has been spotted, so he takes the bait. Sure enough, a teenage boy who bears a striking resemblance to Patrick appears to be a street hustler. But before Win can grab him, a confrontation with some real baddies, sends the kid running. Is this really Patrick? If so, where is Rhys?

The thing that grabbed my attention right away was Win’s voice! Yes, he articulates, actually narrating whole chapters.

I was also pleased to see the whole gang was back, including Esperanza and Big Cindi, as well as Myron’s parents and the gang from the Mickey Bolitar series, which is pretty cool, and has me thinking about giving that series a try someday, although I’m not usually one for YA novels.

The banter between Win and Myron is as sharp as ever, with that trademark humor offsetting the darker edges of the novel.

The story explores that fuzzy realm of missing and exploited children, the return of a child that had been gone for a decade and the trauma they may have endured while they were gone, as well as the agonizing pain the parents have endured, never knowing if their child is alive out there somewhere or dead. The hope mixed with dread they lived with every day for a decade, and having to relive the nightmare all over again, in hopes of locating their child.

The mystery centers around Patrick, and what he may or may not know about his still missing friend, and whether or not he is who he claims to be. The drama and suspense is thick with tension, and had me absolutely riveted.

But, if you are a fan of Coben’s you should know there will be a stunning and shocking twist somewhere along the way, and should prepare for it. But, despite knowing this, I was literally taken off guard by it when it came. It was a ‘ betcha’ didn’t see THAT coming’ moment, and I was totally gobsmacked by it. I got chills! This is why I read books by Harlan Coben!!

But, just when you thought it was safe….

The ending blindsided me, and left me with my mouth hanging open! OMG!! No freaking way!! The best moment in this series to date, hands down.

This book is an absolute must for fans of this series and the author! I promise you will not be disappointed! Highly recommend!




With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications. 

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sting by Sandra Brown- Feature and Review


When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn't belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her. 

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother's ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive. 

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie's only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn't entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother's scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.

#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown jolts the reader from the first page of this heart-pounding story of corruption, treachery, and ceaseless deception . . .where nothing is what it seems and every truth brought to light exposes a darker lie.





StingSting by Sandra Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sting by Sandra Brown in a 2016 Grand Central Publication.

You gotta love Sandra Brown’s consistency! Sting is another solid and quintessential romantic suspense novel from Brown, whose stories have kept me on the edge of my seat for decades.

Jordie Bennett is a successful business woman, but is still living in the dark shadow cast by her brother, Josh, which is how she winds up being kidnapped by Shaw Kinnard, a man hired by a powerful criminal to kill Jordie.

But, before he completes his mission, he needs vital information from Jordie concerning Josh’s whereabouts, which of course all centers around an incredibly large amount of money only Josh has access to. But, Jordie is one tough nut to crack, refusing to budge, always looking for a way to escape, giving the hardened Shaw a workout of epic proportions, and sparking a weird, twisted, and smoking hot chemistry between them in the process.

Will Shaw kill Jordie and collect his 2 million dollars, not passing go, or will he try to outsmart Josh, and earn a much larger booty…. Or is there more going on here than meets the eye?

Going solely on the book title, I knew going in this was going to be a complex tale and that nothing would be as it appeared on the surface, and I was not surprised, or disappointed, in how things played out. I loved the sharp dialogue between Jordie and Shaw, and the non-stop action, Brown’s trademark plot twists, and of course the steamy romance, but I thought the family drama was the most thought provoking aspects of the novel, and certainly gave me something to mull over and chew on for a while. I thought it made an interesting character study and added a great deal of depth to the standard romantic suspense story, that would have passed muster without the juxtaposition between Jordie and Josh.

So, overall, this is yet another wildly entertaining thriller by one of the best RS authors out there, and frankly, I don’t think you can go wrong here.





Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including FRICTION (2015), MEAN STREAK (2014), DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), & TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

In 2009 Brown detoured from romantic suspense to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving historical fiction story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley- Feature and Review


On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. 

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.



Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is a 2016 Grand Central publication.

This is a very original novel, atmospheric and mysterious, multi-layered and suspenseful, but is also a scathing look at the media, which is clever, but caustically, woven into the story.

When a passenger plane, carrying nine adults and two children, crashes in the ocean, the only survivors are Scott, an artist, and a last minute addition to the flight, and J.J. the son of a prominent media mogul. Scott saves the child, miraculously swimming to shore, thus becoming a media sensation and labeled a hero.

The author introduces us to each passenger on the plane via flashbacks, while we watch the FBI try to determine the cause of the crash. On a more poignant note, we look on as poor, orphaned, J.J. is sent to live with his aunt and the adjustments she must make, and how Scott suddenly finds himself a media darling, and also the object of much scrutiny by the FBI and others who are chomping at the bit to make him a scapegoat, examining every tiny inch of his life, hoping to dig up any dirt they can find.

Determining the cause of a plane crash is always tedious, and leaves us all feeling disquieted and concerned. Was it mechanical? Pilot error? Was there an altercation during the flight? An act of terrorism? The search for remains and wreckage is harrowing and very tense, as well as emotional.

I enjoyed this story, and all the various insights into human nature, the various walks of life each person involved came from, their way of dealing with the cards they were dealt. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, which makes this novel more than just a mystery or crime drama, but perhaps it falls more into a literary position, as well.

I can’t say too much more, but I can say I really loved the last bit, even if the story ended too abruptly.

Overall, this is a very compelling mystery, is sad, emotional, but also has it’s uplifting moments, which, despite the horrible expose’ on the dark side of humanity, gives one hope, knowing there are good people out there, and hopefully those characters will inspire a little something in all of us.





Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics' Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as showrunner for ABC's My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX's award-winning series, Fargo.