Monday, March 12, 2018

"Let Me Lie" by Clare Mackintosh


"Suicide? Think again. Not suicide. Murder. Someone stole the life I had. Someone murdered my mother. And if they murdered Mum, it followed that dad didn't kill himself either. Both my parents were murdered."....

Anna has had a terrible year. The bright spot in it is her new baby girl. Her parents committed suicide during the past year. Now on the anniversary of her mothers death, a strange card is delivered to Anna. Her nightmare begins again.

What really happened to her parents? There are secrets to be uncovered that will alter Anna’s life forever. Anna enlists the aid of a semi retired police officer, Murray. Murray has his own personal tribulations at the moment, but wants to desperately help Anna find the truth.

Will Anna find the truth about their suicides from the cliffs of Beachy Head? How will the past affect Anna’s present? Was Anna’s fiancĂ© involved, does the neighbor know more than he’s telling? Maybe there are things Anna herself does not clearly remember.

This thriller was a page turner. Unexpected twists. Characters that compel you to the end. Unexpected ending!

Thank you Clare Mackintosh, Netgalley, and
Berkley Publishing Group.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lion On Fire by Ted Galdi

"Something just doesn't feel right about it. Kip got into this mess by selling drugs, by veering into the underworld. And now I, the good brother who never broke a rule in his life, am supposed to veer into the underworld myself to get him out of this mess."....

Brian is living the way he should be. Smart, reliable and moving up in life. A life with a plan. Until his younger brother, Kip, does something so stupid Brian almost has no choice but to step in. The money he owes a drug dealer will probably cost him his life. If Brian can’t figure out a way to help him get the money, more than Kips life will be at stake.

Brian is a limo driver. Trusted to do a little extra side work for the boss. Driving high rollers to an underground casino. When he gets with a friend and decides the quick fix is to rob the casino, everything quickly becomes a tangled mess.

You could feel the characters desperation, and the brothers desire to fix this as quick as they can. Can they get the money in time to save Kip’s life? Will Brian make it out of this in one piece? Brian will have to make a big choice to save his family. Did I mention dad is a state trooper? Getting this by him, without raising suspicions, isn’t going to be easy. He knows Brian is acting off. If dad interferes they could all end up dead.

This was a quick read. Well rounded characters. Immediately draws you in. Plenty of heart stopping moments, the kind that you can’t stop reading until you find out who makes it and who doesn’t, or if Brian can pull this off and save Kip. Brian is good at a lot of things, but he never planned to be a criminal.

Thank you, Ted Galdi.

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Player's Game" by Desirae Clark


"A part of me couldn't believe that three months already passed. I lived here for three months, and it only hit me now. The second part also acknowledged that Parker didn't stop trying to play me-whether his game was to annoy me, flirt with me, or befriend me. Each time, he failed. If anything his attempts became more frequent, yet I brushed them all off."......

Samantha Valentine and Parker Brady were once best friends. Life intervened and she moved away with her family. Now she’s returned, only to find Parker is not the same boy she left behind.

While Samantha was gone, Parker felt betrayed and alone. He took that out on as many girls as he could. Is his life about to change now that Sam is back? Can he get over his resentment at being left behind?

Is there a “happily ever after” for these two? They were childhood friends, but now they’re 18 and everything has changed. Or has it? A little predictable, but nothing too dramatic. Great ending with no cliff hanger.

This is first in the series of the “Valentine Sisters.” Sam has twin 14 year old sisters, so as they grow up, I can see a lot of possible story lines involving all three. This young adult story was a nice weekend read.

Thank you Desirae Clark, Netgalley, and BLVNP Incorporated

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Minetta Lane" (Slavery and Beyond Book 3)


"I learned a lot about myself with the thing with Nellie, Grandma, and I was ready to act. Uncle Marcus taught me what it takes to get what you want. He said part of winning is physical, but lots of it is strategy and what's in your head. What's been in my head has been bad for a long time, but not anymore. If I'm supposed to be protecting people and if this is what my dream is all about, I'll do my part-not afraid no more.".....

Bodee Rivers has gone to stay with his grandmother. The year is 1904. It brings him to the toughest neighborhood in the city. He isn’t used to this kind of life. Can he adapt? Will he change? His grandmother, Juba, is respected there. He has a lot to learn from her. He’s protected to some degree from the criminal element because of Juba, but first he will need a job.

Juba has a special gift and it appears it’s been passed onto Bodee. His dream, if he can understand it, may save or costs lives. The time will come when Bodee will need to make a choice.

He meets someone that he’d like to keep in his life. There are gangs, street thugs, and people to watch out for. Then there are people that you’ll least expect to be allies. I loved the mix of characters and how each played into Bodee’s story.

There is an understory of a young boy left to fend for himself. Eventually you see how he becomes a part of Bodee’s dream. This historical fiction did in fact contain some actual places, people, and events. The characters were well written. I found them to be interesting, and the story rather unique. I try to step outside my normal reading preferences occasionally. I’m never disappointed. Reading is the key to understanding ourselves and others in this world.

Thank you A. Robert Allen

Monday, February 19, 2018

"The Whisperer" by A. Ireland King

“I’m a whisperer,’ he says. “I speak to the living: in their thoughts, in their hearts, and in their dreams. “It’s like a whisper to them, so quiet it’s easily missed.”

This story is told in six parts. You could read each part separately, or all together as I did. Either way you will get the most from this new novel by reading all the parts. I loved it. I loved the way it was told. I thought I was reading one story, but then another emerged. Brilliant and cleverly woven. I wrote my review in an unusual way, in parts, the way the book was written. What follows were my thoughts and ideas as I read the book.

Part 1- Deaths Door
A murdered girl, a suicide. What do they have in common? A guardian angel perhaps? A ghost walking the earth with her escort, “The Whisperer,” Michael. What has Meredith's suicide done to her mother? What about Stan, the train conductor, she involved in her suicide? Maybe she too can be a whisperer in her next life.

Part 2: The Suicide Notes
We find how Stan is doing. Is his life moving forward? Is Meredith finding her place and strengthening her power to affect the living world? Fixing some wrongs? She’s watching over several people now. Whispering what she can to help them along in their life, help them to be happier.

Part 3: The Shadow Falls
Meredith is still honing her skills at being a "Whisperer." Trying to help family and friends. In this part we get a little deeper into everyone’s back story. We learn why Meredith’s mother was so hard on her. What happened to Titch? (read the short story entitled “Titch” by the same author) Is Meredith sorry she killed herself? People and connections are starting to be made. Now it has me wondering how everyone is connected to Meredith. Are they mostly strangers, or is there a closer tie? Onto the next section.

Part 4: Box of Secrets
Meredith continues her education in "Whispering." She makes a few mistakes, and meets a new friend. Her mother’s grief is coming along. I am beginning to suspect that people are more tied together then I first thought. Not everyone is as innocent as they appear.

Part 5: Seeds of Change

Meredith watches as secrets yet to be shared are discovered. People change, or try to. A funeral, and a long ago secret. The ties that bind these people together are being slowly unraveled to Meredith and us, the reader. She’s beginning to get a feel for what she is capable of in death, and what she can do for the living. Everything is changing for all those that Meredith watches over.

Part 6: The Whisperer
Wow! As everything comes together, I found this final part the most exciting. I didn’t realize in the beginning where the story was going. Surprise! I would have never guessed the final part. I had some suspicions in the last part that some weren’t as they appeared to be. Meredith’s life wasn’t what it should have been. Maybe in death she can find the things she’d been looking for.

I found the entire story line unique and fascinating. What if? What if this is what happens to us when we leave our life? What if this is the next place? The back story of the peoples lives that Meredith watched over, played an important part overall, but I’m still intrigued with the thought of “The Whisperer.”

Thank you A. Ireland King

Monday, February 5, 2018

"The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah


"Tenderfoot, Alaska isn't about who you were when you headed this way. It's about who you become. You are out here in the wild, girls. That isn't some fable or fairy tale. It's real. Hard. Winter will be here soon, and believe me, it's not like any winter you've ever experienced."......

Ernt is a former POW. Home from Vietnam, struggling to find his place in society again. Fighting the nightmares that make up his existence. Ernt has the love of his wife Cora and daughter Leni. Cora is willing to do whatever it takes to help keep Ernt stable, including his idea to leave the world behind and move to Alaska. Leni is thirteen and been in school after school, always the new girl and never fitting in. She never gives up on the hope her parents will find a way for them to all be happy again. That one day she will get her dad back.

Ernt moves them to an obsolete area, acreage and a run down cabin left to him by a soldier he served with. Without electricity, indoor plumbing, or any amenities, their lifestyle is about to make a drastic change.

Can Cora and Leni survive this hardship? Living off the land may be the answer that Ernt thinks will solve his problems, but what will it do to his family?

From the very beginning this book drew me in. A reminder of the past, and a time when our soldiers came home and we looked the other way, or worse disrespected them.

What they aren’t prepared for is the reality of the wild Alaskan lifestyle. The hours of darkness, and the cold and snow. Lack of resources, lack of outside contact. It can weaken an already weakened mind. Can Cora and Leni help Ernt, and help themselves? This is a place where one would experience the true meaning of being alone. You can either find yourself or lose yourself completely.

I loved the descriptive story. I felt like I was there. Kristin Hannah has a way of pulling you into her books. A few surprises, unexpected outcomes, and an ending I hoped for.

Thank you Kristin Hannah, Netgalley, and St. Martins Press

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"The Slowest Death" A Jack Murphy Thriller by Rick Reed


"See No Evil, Hear No Evil," Jack said. "That leaves Speak No Evil." Tunney said, "The killer isn't finished.".....

One of my favorite detectives is back in the 6th of the “Jack Murphy” series. Be prepared for dark humor and a gruesome story.

Life circumstances have changed for Jack. A new murder case hits close to home. A fellow cop has been murdered. The circumstances will make Jack search close to fellow law enforcement. More victims, more secrets. The killer may be closer than he thinks.

As always, a thrilling adventure. Details that will make you shudder. Written by a former police officer, expect a story that feels real. I’ve read the five previous books by this author and am never disappointed. Dark humor will make you smile.

With his partner, Liddell Blanchard, they are searching for this killer who tortured his victims in horrific ways. Jack won’t give up, Liddell will be there to back him up. Will the other officers be as forthcoming with them, or are some of them keeping secrets? Sometimes the biggest obstacles are people you work with. Some are downright annoying.

As the murders continue, an object connects the killings. Where the victims are from make it easier to lead in the right direction. When this case is behind them, there will be more life changes for Jack and Liddell. The next book in the series, “The Deadliest Sin,” is soon to follow. I look forward to more “Jack Murphy.”

Thank you Rick Reed, Netgalley, and Kensington Books

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Killer Choice" by Tom Hunt

          Buy "Killer Choice" Jan. 30th on Amazon: click here!

“He’d always wanted to get the hell out of this place. After getting released from prison two decades earlier, he’d come straight back to the old neighborhood because he had nowhere else to go, then started selling drugs because he didn’t know what else to do.”.....

Two men with life and death problems. One is a good guy, pregnant wife, and a business he runs with his brother. The other guy is a drug dealer being blackmailed. You wouldn’t expect their paths to cross, but oh how fate steps in.

Gary’s wife has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. A fast growing one that may soon take her life. There’s a clinical trial overseas, but Gary needs 200,000 to take Beth there.

Otto the pawn shop owner/drug dealer has a big problem. In order to make it go away he’d like to pay a total stranger 200,000 to make it happen.

When Beth’s plight is written about in the local paper Otto thinks he’s found a way to help himself, hoping the lure of the money will get Gary to do his dirty work.

Is Gary the kind of man who could break the law? For the money to save Beth’s life, how far is he willing to go?

The story was intriguing from the start. You can’t help but feel empathy for this couple who just want to have their baby and live their lives.

Otto, on the other hand. Not exactly your fine upstanding citizen. I had to see where this would go. Will Gary take Otto’s offer? Can they save Beth? Will she have her baby, or will all be lost?

The great pull here is the fact that you can’t be sure which way this story was going to go. So much at stake, so few choices. Right and wrong become a blurry line sometimes.
Suddenly things spiral into different directions. What should have been an obvious assumption escaped this reader. Clever twists, hard to put down.

Thank you Tom Hunt, Netgalley, and Berkley Publishing Group

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Sepultura" by Guy Portman

"Jeffrey Dahmer may have kept human body parts in his fridge, but he was a sick individual, unlike me. I keep pimiento stuffed olives in my fridge, various other Mediterranean style mixes, cheeses such as this manchego and brie, these in addition to cold meat selections, milk, mayonnaise, bottles of Chablis and Semillon Blanc- not body parts. The only reason 'his head' is in the salad tray is because there is no room in the freezer.".....

Dyson, like the vacuum cleaner, is state of the art. Think a high class British “Dexter,” from books and television. Dyson refers to others by inanimate object names. They are not people, they are referred to as “it,” or “Free Lunch.” The not so bright “Free Lunch,” happens to be his ex’s current boyfriend. No one is good enough, ask Dyson.

Even with a child of his own, Dyson makes no life adjustments. He’s cool, calm, and murderous. With a trail of questioning by the police, he’s unfazed. After all, he’s never been caught doing anything wrong. He has high end tastes, a strange job, and extremely strange social interactions.

He’s a creepy character, because I suspect there are the “Dysons” of the world roaming free. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like this book. I couldn’t stand Dyson. I’m not saying I liked him any better at the end, but he certainly held my interest.

Would he get caught? Will he raise his son to be a “Dyson Jr.?” Told from Dyson’s point of view. If you find yourself reflected in Dyson, whatever you do, please don’t contact me. It was definitely an interesting, suspenseful story. I wasn’t overly thrilled by the ending. That was me, you may be pleased with it.

Thank you Guy Portman

Monday, January 15, 2018

"Walking The Bones" by Randall Silvis


"Seven young females reduced to bone," Hoyle said. His eyes remained fixed on DeMarco's. "Seven skeletons in a four by fourteen by ten-foot space between walls. Each one cocooned in clear plastic sheeting. The kind painters use to cover a floor. Each cocoon sealed with silver duct tape."....

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco is back for the second book of this mystery series. We first met Ryan in “Two Days Gone,” a previous book I reviewed. I enjoyed that one, and looked forward to the next installment. It didn’t disappoint!

After events in the first book, Ryan is just trying to take some down time. With his new girlfriend, Jayme, Ryan finds himself drawn into another investigation. While visiting Jayme’s hometown he is made aware of an unsolved crime. Seven young girls gone, and nothing but their bones left behind.

Very descriptive, draws you in from the very first page. Well defined characters and a chilling story line make for a great suspense, mystery thriller.

Small town life, where everyone knows something about someone. Could it help Ryan solve these crimes? Even if he is a reluctant part of this, some things you just can’t walk away from.

While this book is a stand alone, I think it always helps to read the series. It’s interesting to see character development. You never know if a character in the first book is who you think they are. I like to see the life changes, and the roads they take.

Ryan has been through some tragedy and heartbreak. Is Jayme his saving grace? Will his down time bring him back to the state police department or take him permanently away?

Will Ryan and Jayme find justice for these young girls?

Thank you Randall Silvis, Netgalley, and Sourcebooks Landmark

About the Author:
Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. He lives in Pennsylvania and is the author of Two Days Gone.