Saturday, July 14, 2018

"Crime" 7 Short story and novellas by Michael Smith

“Welcome to Kake, Alaska, home to 557 year-round residents and a hundred thousand visitors in summer-well technically 558 if we count you. You are now living adjacent to the Tebekof Bay Wilderness Area where the most exciting things to happen are fishing, whale watching, and the occasional animal mauling.”....

This is the first in a series of seven short story, novellas, by author Michael Smith. I agreed to read and review all seven of these “Crime” stories. I’ll write and publish separate reviews for each story. They all look interesting, and I’m looking forward to each story.

In this crime thriller short we meet Zane Perelli. A city cop that has up and moved to Alaska with only as much of his belongings as he could check through at the airport. What adventures await him? Moving to “Bear Country” may not be as peaceful as one might think.

A body is discovered, and Zane, now a new deputy in this small town, is involved. He moved away from this kind of thing didn’t he? Or did he. I was actually surprised at the story line. It wasn’t the one I predicted as I started reading.

A quick read, with all the right crime enticing elements. Different characters, but “Crime” is the theme of each. Enjoyed this story! Onto the next, “Crime: Full Circle.”

On a Hawaiian beach Inspector Ralph Houston approaches a man he’s been seeking. 15 years of searching has come to an end. Why?Ralph approaches the man, letting him know he’s there, but allowing him to walk away. What’s a little more time after 15 years? Inspector Ralph has a plan in place though.
The back story takes place in a small Alabama town. A personal tragedy influences Inspector Ralph’s life and future, including the last 15 years leading up to the meeting on the beach.

Who is the man on the beach? Will Inspector Ralph get what he came for? Another “Crime” novella by this author. The only thing I found slightly off, were words used that would not normally be used in a story taking place in the United States. We don’t refer to “department stores” as “departmental stores.” Inspectors are usually referred to as “detectives.” Still a decent story. Now onto the third, “Crime”: A Story of Betrayal.

This is the 3rd book of author Michael Smith’s “Crime” series short story and novellas.

Captain Ben Churchinoff of the Juneau, Alaska police force is investigating a missing woman case. Unusual in this quiet area of town for a missing person. Usually it’s a hiking incident or a bear encounter. This time, Adrienne Gregor, may have met her fate, and not by natural causes.

Churchinoff decides to handle this case himself. His deputy is sure it’s a bear attack, Ben not so much. With little to go on, Ben thinks Adrienne’s sister may be able to help them.

Is Adrienne dead already or is their time to save her? Is the killer watching Ben? This one in the “Crime” series was the best one so far. Really liked this novella.

Sheriff Bill McCallum over sees the small town of Pine Ridge. Considered an outsider by the residents, they may need to put their faith in him now. A dismembered body is found, and the rumors are running rampant.

This is the 4th book in the “Crime” series by this author. I think the writing is also improving as I go along. I like seeing progress. All the stories are good so far, but I see them getting better. I think this author might consider putting them all into a single book. Would make a great read. Either way, nice short enjoyable story lines.

Bob’s case is winding down, with no answers as to how the dead body ended up at the edge of town. Suddenly, an event sparks the town and the gossip all over again. Will it lead to a killer?

Something is just on the edge of Bob’s memory. Will it lead to the   answers? A great short “Crime” story. 

“She had suffered a prolonged and viscous attack. All her fingers were broken and one of her arms was cut several times and quite deeply. She had been tortured slowly before..”...

The scene of this “Crime” short story takes place in a town called Shalgrove, Yorkshire England. This is the 5th in this series. Even better than the previous stories. You can see the author progressing in technique.

This small town is shocked by the murder of a young woman. Everyone involved is badly shaken by the death of 18 year old Melanie.

DI Preston and Maltby are investigating this case. Gruesome details come to light about how Melanie died. Will the details lead them to a clue about who is responsible?

More bodies? More young girls? Keep you guessing until the end.

"Crime" part 2 with the last 2 reviews follows this post....

"Crime" Part 2 of the 7 part novella series by Michael Smith

The King family has moved from across the pond to America. Believing they need a new start, Alex and Linz, bring their children, Gemma and Jack, to what will hopefully be a new beginning.

The only problem, there was a murder just before they left. A classmate of Gemma's was brutally killed. Now there’s been a murder in their new town. Is this a coincidence? Is someone after the family? This town isn't used to dealing with murder in their midst.

So many secrets. Not everyone is sharing what they know. This family appears close, but what they're keeping from each other may be their undoing. This is the 6th book in the “Crime” short story, novellas by this author.

Another page turner. You’ll be surprised by the ending. Entertaining thriller.

Alice’s sister went missing a long time ago. Alice and her boyfriend, Edward, return to her hometown in North Carolina for a short vacation, when there is news of her long lost sister. Trying to help the detectives get to the bottom of this may cost Alice.

Alice wasn’t fond of her sister’s behavior, and is caught between wanting answers, the truth, and vengeance. When facts about her sister’s disappearance come to light, is Alice somehow involved? Why would someone try to hurt Alice all these years later? Are their clues to Jennifer’s last night before she went missing? Alice does her best with the detectives to find the answers.

The authors writing has certainly progressed in a positive manner. This is the 7th book in his “Crime” series. Love the short, finish in one night stories. Looking forward to reading more work from Michael Smith.

Thank you Michael Smith

Look for Michael Smith's work on Amazon: click here!

Monday, June 25, 2018

"The Other Woman" A Novel by Sandie Jones

“I knew it didn’t, but nothing made sense anymore. After everything she’d done, I’d given Pammie the benefit of the doubt, and was fully prepared to put everything behind us and get through her treatment together, as a family. But this?”.......

Emily and Adam. A match made in heaven? Soul mates? Maybe, but not if “The Other Woman” has anything to say about their relationship.

Unfortunately, while planning their future it’s Adams mother, Pammie, who is planning the very worst for Emily. Emily will not be taking her son away from her if she has her way. She’s willing to go to any lengths to see that happen.

With some unexpected twists and turns, I couldn’t put this book down. Surprise ending! Love the characters. I wouldn’t wish that mother in law on anyone, or would I? Temptations, life events, manipulation from every direction. What could come between Emily and Adam? 

Will they make it as a couple? Will the wedding take place? Is it worth all the trouble Pammie is causing? A riveting psychological thriller.

Thank you Sandie Jones, Netgalley, and St. Martin’s Press

Buy "The Other Woman" August 21, 2018 on Amazon: click here

Saturday, June 23, 2018

"Toxic Blonde" A Johnny Delarosa Thriller (Delarosa Series Book 2) by David Stever


The drinks broke the ice and she relaxed and gave me the story. She explained how the company did win the approvals and contracts were signed between BST and the Department of Defense. The new cash infusion improved Tom's mood but their home life also changed. Tom had brought on a new employee. a woman who was some sort of expert in aerospace technologies."....

Private Investigator, Johnny Delarosa, is back for the second story in this series. With the help of his friend and waitress Katie and Mike the co-owner of the bar they work out of, Johnny takes on a case he thinks is typical. A cheating husband and a mad wife looking for payback.

Things turn when the cheating husband turns out to be the owner of a aerospace technology firm with government ties. Enter Kiera, the “Toxic Blonde,” bent on husband stealing, or is it technology stealing she’s after?

A good story line otherwise, well written characters. I’m usually lost though when we start talking Russian spy’s. Just feel it doesn’t fit with the characters lifestyle. I enjoyed the characters otherwise, but couldn’t feel attached to Kiera or her friends.

Still a great series, and I would definitely continue reading “Johnny Delarosa,” and his friends. Lots of action, easy to fall into the story. There was an open ended question about a main character and I am looking forward to finding out what became of that person.

Thank you David Stever.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Plea For Justice" by Liz Lazarus

"I expected my anger at Aaron to resurface, along with the buried resentment from his decade-long silence. I thought I'd feel repulsed by him-after all, he'd killed a girl and admitted to it. But somehow that didn't happen. Instead, all I felt was overwhelming pity at how diminished he looked. To my surprise, it felt like no time had passed at all, and that I was reunited with my long-lost friend."...

Jackie and Aaron. A couple of friends through high school. Not your usual couple. He drew the girls in with his good looks. She wasn’t quite as popular, or attractive. Then one day he’s just gone from her life.

Gone until the day he reaches out to her ten years later. Now known as the infamous “Snapchat Killer.” Aaron is seeking Jackie’s help. He claims he’s innocent. Yet the victim was seen with him, DNA matched him, and the body was found behind his art studio. Who is he kidding?

Is it even possible Aaron is innocent? Is Jackie that naive to believe that her job as a paralegal might be of some use to a convicted killer? What could possibly be left to uncover? Why did he disappear from her life all those years ago?

I love how the story line took a naive Jackie and what it brought out in her. Can she really do anything useful for Aaron, or is he just using her as a last ditch attempt? The story is told back and forth between the main characters. They were carefully intertwined and you’ll be shocked when you realize what is happening!

A thrilling read! Couldn’t wait to see how it ended and what became of Jackie and Aaron. I’ve read the authors previous work,
“Free of Malice.” I highly recommend her work if you want to sink into a good read!

Thank you Liz Lazarus for another great book!

Buy "Plea for Justice" by Liz Lazarus now on Amazon: click here!

"Lying in Wait" by Liz Nugent

"It is a terrible, terrible thing to live with, this knowledge of a murder-and the evidence right here-but now it is too late for us to do anything. It is five years since I discovered it. Since it can be established that I am the person who paved it and put the birdbath on top, I am now implicated in the cover-up.".....

A murder by someone the police would least suspect. Told from two sides. The family of the dead girl, a girl with a questionable history of drug abuse and possibly prostitution. The other side, a well to do family, consisting of a judge, his wife, and son.

When this young girl is murdered, Lydia, the judges wife, feels she deserved it. Their son, Laurence, slowly pieces together his parents secret. A shocking tale of blind love and loyalty. What happens when the truth unravels before his eyes?

An innocent family torn to shreds. Will there ever be justice for the dead girl, Annie Doyle? I was so engrossed by this tale. Unusual story line, well written. Full of twists and page turning surprises. An ending you’d least expect.

Thank you Liz Nugent, Netgalley, and Gallery Scout Press

Buy "Lying in Wait" on Amazon- available June 12: click here!

Monday, May 28, 2018

"Grave Testimony" A Jessie Black Legal Thriller by Larry A.Winters

This is the prequel to the “Jessica Black Legal Thrillers.” We get to meet Jessie when she wins a big case that will make her a star lawyer. Unfortunately, while celebrating that night, she makes a bad choice that will haunt her.

A 14 year old murder of a 7 year old child has been a cold case. A sudden break gives Jessie a chance to redeem that night in the eyes of her peers, and give peace to a torn family. A family that splintered and never recovered.

I enjoyed the story line and the look at what the Jessie character could possibly become. At this time there are four books in the series. If you’ve read them, this is a nice short look at what was her beginning story. I’d definitely pick up this series. I’d like to see where Jessie is going. There were a few open relationships that could either die out or become future storylines. Only one way to find out!

Thank you Larry A. Winters

"The Dream Daughter" by Diane Chamberlain

"As I dialed the phone, I walked into the isolation room where Joanna lay on her back, sound asleep. I rested my palm against her temple while I was on hold. She was warm, but not hot. Her cheeks had the ghost of the blotchy redness she'd get when she was feverish. They were right to keep her Right to observe her. But I couldn't let her stay."......

It’s 1970, before there were advances in neo natal care. Carly is pregnant with a baby that has a heart defect. Carly’s brother-in-law, Hunter, is a physicist. He came into Carly’s life as a patient at her job. Soon he was in love with her sister, and became part of the family.

Next came something that I wasn’t sure I’d believe in. I wasn’t even sure it made a credible storyline. The author completely won me over. Hunter has a way to send Carly into the future. 2001 to be exact. A time and place Carly can save her baby.

Unfortunate events cause Carly to have to go back home without her baby. When she tries to time travel back she lands in a time none of us will ever forget. She can no longer take her baby back in time. Should she stay in the future or go home without her heart?

I was so intrigued that I couldn’t stop until the end. I believed in the story, and time travel didn’t seem so far fetched after all. There were some heartbreaking situations and some very surprising heartwarming moments. I ended up loving this story.

Thank you Diane Chamberlain, St. Martin’s Press, Netgalley.

Monday, April 23, 2018

"Baby Teeth" by Zoje Stage


"There were lots of pictures on the Creepy Photos website, but she'd rejected the ones where the people might be mistaken for alive. She liked the one of the women in their coffins. Or lying stiff as a board on white fabric with lacy edges. In truth, she liked the dead children best, held in their mothers arms, or in tiny coffins, or surrounded by living siblings who looked merely bored, not scared-as if death were so every-day-not-again-here's-another-one. But she wanted Mommy to see other ladies, the other mommies.

Hanna is a silent little girl. Her daddy thinks she’s perfect. Mommy knows something is wrong.

Years of trying to figure out her daughters problems are taking a toll. Hanna has a whole world going on inside her head. She’d have a perfect life, just her and her daddy, if only mommy would just go away.

Suzette is becoming worn down. She has health issues of her own. Will anyone believe that her little girl wants her dead? She’s home schooled her. She’s taken her for tests. No progress is being made. Suzette is paying the price. Maybe another special school will help Hanna.

This young child scared me. She’s like a female version of the demon child, “Damien.” Who will win this tug of war? Daddy is the prize. Hanna wants him to herself, and Suzette would like the life she had with her husband, before Hanna came along.

Just when the parents think they have the upper hand, 7 year old Hanna becomes even more clever, more evil. I’d love to see a sequel to this book. The end is open enough for another story, perhaps when Hanna is older.

Thank you Zoje Stage, Netgalley, and St. Martin’s Press.

Friday, April 13, 2018

"Jar of Hearts" by Jennifer Hillier

"He stops. Makes a show of looking right at Geo, and then at Calvin, and then at the jurors. When he speaks again, his voice is a few decibels above a whisper, so that everyone in the courtroom has to strain to hear him. "You left your best friend buried in the woods, a mere hundred yards from the house you lived in, after your boyfriend cut her up into pieces.".......

This chilling thriller starts 14 years after 16 year old Angela went missing. Three close friends, Angela, Georgina (Geo for short) and Kaiser, were in high school when Angela disappeared.

Angela’s body has been found in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. Geo knew all those years what happened but never told. Kaiser became a police detective. Believing Angela was killed by serial killer, Calvin James, who knows what really happened? Geo and Calvin had their own connection. “Jar of Hearts” could also have been called “Jar of Secrets.” Now that Geo admits to things at Calvin’s trial, she will be heading to prison.

Now as Geo is on the verge of release it’s happening again. Maybe the truth everyone thinks they know isn’t real. Kaiser is now investigating more murders, similar to Calvin James previous ones. Who and why?

This creepy thriller is scary enough to keep you awake at night. Gruesome story line. One dark surprise after another. The quotes before each part of the book I really liked. Caught my attention, which is unusual. I read them, but they rarely sink in before I move on.

Can Kai find out who has started these similar killings? What are the connections? Does Geo still possibly have untold secrets?

In truth I picked to read this book because of the authors past work. I read books by Jennifer Hillier years ago. Her “Creep” two book series was just that, creepy! As was this one. If you’re looking for something terrifying, realistic and thrilling pick up any of her books.

Thank you Jennifer Hillier, Netgalley, and
Macmillan Publishers