Category Archives: Suspense

Review: Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

Title: Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

Review:

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt is an intriguing mystery about two best friends and the suspicious death of one their husbands.

Alice Campbell’s normal day with her husband, Todd, and their two children Liam and Bridget, is quickly interrupted  when the police take Alice in for questioning about the death of her best friend Katherine “Kat” Grant’s husband, Howard.  Three days earlier, while Kat was out of town, Howard fell from their balcony to his death. Despite the fact he was extremely drunk at the time of the fall, a new witness casts doubt his death was accidental.  The police want to know very intimate details of Kat and Howard’s marriage that only her closet friend might know and Alice is the logical person to answer their probing questions.

Alice is a former math professor turned stay at home mom who met the very wealthy Kat three years earlier and despite their very different socioeconomic backgrounds, she considers Kat her best friend.  Alice is slightly uncomfortable with Kat’s wealth but their connection easily outweighs her misgivings.  Both women are slightly unhappy in their marriages but for very different reasons.  Alice and Todd are always one unexpected emergency away from financial ruin since they are living well beyond their means. Kat’s unhappiness stems from her Howard’s infidelities and she is somewhat trapped in her marriage due to the lack of a prenup.

As the police investigation gains traction, Alice has very good reason to wonder whether or not she knows Kat as well as she thought especially since her friend has not responded to any of Alice’s phone calls or texts.  She is further thrown off balance when Kat’s family hires a lawyer for her, and  Alice soon realizes, her new attorney might not be acting in her best interest. With one of the detectives on the case convinced she killed Howard, Alice begins to look back on her friendship with Kat with new eyes and quickly becomes convinced that she might not be able to trust anything her friend has told her.

Weaving seamlessly weaving back and forth in time, Best Friends Forever is a riveting psychological mystery. The glimpses of  Alice and Kat’s three year friendship are quite insightful and Margot Hunt effortlessly keeps the tension high with cliffhanger endings to the chapters.  A chilling portrait of manipulation begins to emerge but readers will be completely stunned by the jaw-dropping revelations at the novel’s conclusions. An absolutely brilliant debut that fans of the genre are sure to love.

1 Comment

Filed under Best Friends Forever, Harlequin, Margot Hunt, Mira, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense

Review: Light It Up by Nick Petrie

Title: Light It Up by Nick Petrie
Peter Ash Series Book Three
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 399 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

In this action-packed thriller starring war veteran Peter Ash, a well-planned and flawlessly executed hijacking reveals the hidden dangers of Colorado’s mellowest business, but Ash may find there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Combat veteran Peter Ash leaves a simple life rebuilding hiking trails in Oregon to help his good friend Henry Nygaard, whose daughter runs a Denver security company that protects cash-rich cannabis entrepreneurs from modern-day highwaymen. Henry’s son-in-law and the company’s operations manager were carrying a large sum of client money when their vehicle vanished without a trace, leaving Henry’s daughter and her company vulnerable.

When Peter is riding shotgun on another cash run, the cargo he’s guarding comes under attack and he narrowly escapes with his life. As the assaults escalate, Peter has to wonder: for criminals this sophisticated, is it really just about the cash?

After finding himself on the defensive for too long, Peter marshals his resources and begins to dig for the truth in a scheme that is bigger—and far more lucrative—than he’d ever anticipated. With so much on the line, his enemy will not give up quietly…and now he has Peter directly in his sights.

Review:

Light It Up by Nick Petrie is an action-packed, edge of the seat thrill ride from start to finish. This third installment in the Peter Ash series easily stands on its own but I HIGHLY recommend the entire series.

Combat veteran and former Marine Peter Ash is still working to overcome his post-traumatic stress disorder which causes severe claustrophobia and anxiety attacks when he is indoors.  After meeting June Cassidy several months ago, he has been getting help for his PTSD in hopes of turning their long distance relationship into a lasting romance. On his way to see June, Peter is sidetracked when his friend, Vietnam veteran Henry Nygaard, asks for his assistance when his son-in-law Randy goes missing during a cash run for legalized marijuana businesses in Denver. Peter teams up with Henry and two other vets to make the same cash run in hopes of locating Randy, but he barely escapes with his life after the security detail is hijacked.  Under suspicion by the local authorities, he, June and his close friend Lewis are hot on the trail of the hijackers but the case becomes personal when someone close to Peter becomes a target of the ruthless criminals.

Peter is intensely loyal to the people he cares about and he will do anything to help them when they are in trouble. So of course he is more than willing to help Henry try to figure out what happened to Randy but they don’t have any idea how dangerous this endeavor will become.  In the aftermath, Peter wants answers and he quickly deduces there is much more to the hijacking than just robbery since the payout to the robbers is rather insignificant. Digging deeper into the company whose money was stolen, Peter stumbles across some very troubling information. Little does he know, his path is about to cross with someone from his distant past, a sociopath and a diabolical businessman who are determined to ensure Peter does not catch them. Their final showdown turns deadly and Peter must outsmart a vicious and extremely dangerous killer in order to prevent further murder and mayhem.

With an adrenaline-fueled storyline, a brilliant lead protagonist and an outstanding cast of supporting characters, Light It Up is a fast-paced, suspense-laden thriller. The novel is well-written with a cleverly-executed plot and a puzzling mystery to solve. Peter Ash is a formidable hero with a sharp mind whose combat skills make him a force to be reckoned with as he tries to uncover the truth about the hijacking.  With exciting plot twists, plenty of action and a few unexpected turns, Nick Petrie brings the novel to a breathtaking, spectacular finale. Another exhilarating addition to the Peter Ash series that fans of the genre are going to LOVE.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, GP Putnams Sons, Light It Up, Nick Petrie, Peter Ash Series, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Thriller

Review: Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Title: Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program

Summary:

From the bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife, a new thriller featuring three girls, one accident, and a lifetime of lies.

Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty can’t speak and has no memory of the accident that’s to blame. She lives in an institution, unlikely ever to leave. But that doesn’t keep her from being frightened when she encounters an eerily familiar face.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. She’s struggling to make ends meet and to forget the past. When a teaching job at a prison opens up, she takes it, despite her fears. Maybe this is her chance to set things right. Then she starts to receive alarming notes; next, her classroom erupts in violence.

Meanwhile, someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who never forgot what happened that day. Someone who wants revenge. And only another life will do.

Review:

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry is a suspenseful mystery that is filled with secrets and lies from a childhood car accident that occurred fifteen years ago.

Allison Baker is in her thirties but she is still haunted by the car accident that left her younger half-sister Kitty James with severe brain damage. An artist who teaches at several colleges, she is barely making rent since she is helping her mom pay for Kitty’s care. When she learns about an artist in residence job at a local minimum security prison, Allison applies for the position. With much trepidation, she begins working there three times a week but she is rather nervous due to some threatening letters and phone calls she has been receiving. Beginning an unexpected romance with Clive Black, Allison is cautiously optimistic about her future when she forced to deal with her unresolved past.

Allison is wracked with guilt over the circumstances surrounding the car accident. Her relationship with her Kitty was never easy and she is unable to allow herself to do the things her sister will never get to do. Her entire life changed irrevocably after the accident and Allison cannot seem to put the incident behind her.  Instinctively knowing the threatening notes and phone calls are somehow linked to the accident, Allison avoids dealing with them as she begins her job at the prison.

Kitty was extremely spoiled and her childhood friendship with Vanessa turned her into  cruel, spiteful young girl. She deliberately sabotaged some of Allison’s school projects and never let her social outcast sister forget she was unpopular. In the days leading up to the tragic car accident, Kitty and Vanessa were on the outs but her friend picked that day to try to salvage their friendship.

The chapters primarily alternate between Allison and Kitty’s points of view. Allison is a sympathetic character who cannot seem to give herself permission to be happy. Kitty is trapped in her mind, unable to verbalize her thoughts and prone to violent outbursts when she is unhappy. She does enter into a relationship with a young man from the group home and their relationship has many unintended consequences.

With a slow building storyline and a sympathetic but sometimes frustrating lead character, Blood Sisters is an engrossing mystery. Who is responsible for the threatening notes and phone calls to Kitty? Is it possible someone knows the truth about the car accident? With breathtaking plot twists, Jane Corry provides a stunning array of answers to these very intriguing questions. The novel ends with a jaw-dropping revelation that is guaranteed to shock readers. An outstanding read that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.

1 Comment

Filed under Blood Sisters, Contemporary, Jane Corry, Mystery, Pamela Dorman Books, Rated B, Review, Suspense

Review: Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis

Title: Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis
Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

When long-buried secrets come back to the surface…

The bones of seven young girls, picked clean and carefully preserved, discovered years ago… that’s all Sergeant Ryan DeMarco knows about the unsolved crime he has unwittingly been roped into investigating during what is supposed to be a healing road trip with his new love, Jayme.

DeMarco is still reeling from the case that led to death of his best friend months ago and wants nothing more than to lay low. Unfortunately, the small southern town of Jayme’s idyllic youth is not exactly a place that lets strangers go unnoticed—especially strangers who have a history of solving violent crimes. And if there’s anything DeMarco knows, it’s that a killer always leaves clues behind, just waiting for the right person to come along and put all the pieces together…

Walking the Bones is a story about things buried—memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies. Acclaimed author Randall Silvis delivers another heart-stopping investigation as DeMarco finds himself once again drawn into a case that will demand more of himself than he may be willing to give.

Review:

In Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis, the discovery of the bones of seven murdered young women is a fascinating mystery that has been impossible to solve for the past few years. In this second installment in the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series, Ryan and his girlfriend (and fellow state trooper) Jayme Matson agree to give the case a second look during their stay in Aberdeen, KY.

Still haunted by the death of his baby son several years earlier and struggling to cope with the death of his close friend, Thomas Huston, Ryan is ready to retire from Pennsylvania State Troopers.  Jayme and their boss know he will regret the decision, so they come up with a plan for Ryan to take some time off before his retirement becomes official. While traveling together in their recently purchased RV, Jayme receives word her beloved grandmother has passed away so the couple heads to Aberdeen for her funeral. Not long after their arrival, Dr. Hoyle, Rosemary Toomey and David Vicente appeal to DeMarco to investigate the still unsolved murders of the girls whose remains were found behind a false wall in a local church. Will Ryan and Jayme be able to uncover the identity of their killer?

Hoyle, Rosemary and David have worked hard to solve the murders but they have run into dead ends at every turn. Their main suspects are Eli Royce, Aaron Henry, Chad McGintey and Virgil Helm. Royce is the pastor of the church where they remains were discovered and he has since moved out of state and now leads a mega church that is quite prosperous. Aaron is a former teacher who is a convicted child molester. Chad is a white supremacist who was once employed as handyman at the church where the remains  were found. Virgil also worked at the church and no one has seen him since he disappeared right before the bones were discovered.  With high hopes that Ryan and Jayme can figure out which of the four is the young women’s killer, Holye, Rosemary and David turn all of their files over to the couple.

Although they have their doubts they can achieve what no other law enforcement agency has yet to accomplish, DeMarco and Matson methodically review the information and then proceed with their investigation. They re-interview Royce, McGintey and Henry and begin searching the still missing Helm. Their investigation yields a few new clues but will these discoveries be enough to unmask the killer? Can Ryan and Jayme track down Virgil? And if so, will he have new information that will help them crack the case?

Interspersed with the chapters detailing the investigation are flashbacks to Ryan’s childhood. These memories are quite informative and provide valuable insight into what shaped him into the man he is today. As he becomes more aware of how deeply the events of his childhood continue to affect him, he gradually realizes he is in danger of repeating the past. DeMarco also continues to wrestle with the longstanding guilt from his son’s death and by novel’s end, he is much closer to coming to terms with his loss. Ryan also begins to admit the depth of his emotions for Jayme but before their relationship can move forward, he must deal with his still unresolved marriage to his son’s mother, Laraine.

Despite the confusing weaving back and forth in time in the first several chapters, Walking the Bones is a fast-paced and compelling murder investigation. Jayme and Ryan are complex characters with realistic and easy to relate to strengths and weaknesses. Their investigation into who might have murdered the seven young women is interesting but readers will have to be patient as DeMarco and Matson meticulously unravel the threads of the perplexing case. Randall Silvis takes the story in a very unexpected direction and the truth about who killed the girls and how their remains ended up in the church is somewhat shocking. Old and new fans of the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series will enjoy this newest installment which features a very intrepid crime solving duo.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Randall Silvis, Rated B+, Review, Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series, Sourcebooks Landmark, Suspense, Walking the Bones

Review: Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner

Title: Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
UNSUB Series Book Two
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program

Summary:

In this exhilarating thriller inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer.

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

Review:

In the second installment of Meg Gardiner’s UNSUB  series, Into the Black Nowhere, rookie FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix matches wits with a suspected serial killer.  This latest release works well as a standalone, but I highly recommend the first book in the series as well.

After another young, blond woman is abducted from her home, the Solace, TX police call on the FBI to help catch the person responsible for a total of six missing women. The kidnapper is brazen and snatches women not only from their homes, but public places as well. Caitlin, along with fellow agent Brianne Rainey and their boss Special Agent in Charge C.J. Emmerich, travel to the small town where they hope to glean enough information to form a profile of the suspect. Following a grisly discovery, the agents now know the kidnapped women are being murdered and even worse, they are not the killer’s first victims.  With the help of a former soldier, Caitlin is certain she has found the serial killer. However, with no evidence to support her theory, the police are unable to make an arrest. Caitlin hopes to force the suspect into making a mistake, but will she arrest him before he strikes again?

Caitlyn has settled into her new job at Quantico and although she is new to profiling, she is an experienced cop.  She is meticulous and insightful with keen instincts that rarely steer her wrong. She loves her career, but she and her ATF boyfriend Sean Rawlins are quickly discovering the downside to their long distance relationship as their busy careers conspire to keep them apart.

The investigation into the missing women is intense and Caitlin and her fellow agents feel the pressure to find the person responsible. Caitlin has no doubt she has located the killer, but he is quite clever and rather adroitly and arrogantly evades surveillance. The suspect knows how to get to under her skin which shakes her confidence, but she quickly recovers from the momentary slip. Trying to stay one step ahead of her confident and  supercilious suspect, Caitlin manages to trap her quarry, but once again, he out plans and outmaneuvers the FBI.

Into the Black Nowhere is an incredibly well-written and quite clever police procedural.  The plot closely mirrors the Ted Bundy case but Meg Gardiner keeps the storyline fresh and interesting. The novel comes to a nail-biting, edge of the seat conclusion.  While the current case is completely wrapped up, this latest addition to the UNSUB  series ends with a shocking cliff-hanger that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Dutton, Into the Black Nowhere, Meg Gardiner, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, UNSUB Series

Review: A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland

Title: A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland
Victorian Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

A photographer in 1889 London, Miss Sarah Bain runs a private detective agency with her friends, Lord Hugh Staunton and former street urchin Mick O’Reilly. Their sole credential is that they solved the Jack the Ripper case, a secret they can never tell because they did it outside the boundaries of the law. Their new big case arises when a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant. All of London joins in the search. But Sarah has an advantage—a photograph she took during a routine surveillance job, which unexpectedly reveals a clue about the kidnapping.

After Sir Gerald hires Sarah, Hugh, and Mick to find his son, they move into his opulent mansion and discover a photograph of baby Robin. It eerily resembles postmortem photographs taken of deceased children posed to look as if they’re alive. Was the kidnapping real, or a cover-up for a murder? Is the perpetrator a stranger, or someone inside the troubled Mariner family? The case hits close to home for Sarah as it intertwines with her search for her father, who disappeared after he became the prime suspect in a murder twenty-three years ago. She finds herself on the wrong side of the law, which threatens her budding romance with Police Constable Barrett. But Sarah must uncover the truth about Robin’s kidnapping, and her own family, before her past catches up to her in A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to award-winning author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow.

Review:

A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland is a twisty turny historical mystery. This second installment in the Victorian Mystery series easily stands on its own, but I highly recommend book one, The Ripper’s Shadow, as well.

Photographer Sarah Bain and her close friend Lord Hugh Staunton are attempting to get their private inquiry business up and running. Their current case involves suspected adultery and while attempting to obtain photographic proof, Sarah and Hugh inadvertently stumble into the middle of a double homicide and a kidnapping case involving a baby. Sir Gerald Mariner, whose son Robin is missing, suspects the kidnapper is someone close to the family so he hires them to investigate. Will Sarah and Hugh uncover the kidnapper’s identity? Will they find Robin before harm befalls the missing boy? And what will the personal fallout be once Sarah’s Police Constable boyfriend, Thomas Barrett, discovers she has not been completely honest with him about her involvement in the case?

Upon their arrival at Sir Gerald’s estate, Hugh and Sarah must investigate a rather large pool of suspects. Robin’s mother, Lady Alexandra is keeping to herself with only her sister Tabitha Jenkins by her side. They also discover Gerald has a bit of a strained relationship with his children from his previous marriages. Oldest son Tristan is a member of the clergy and he is no longer in line to inherit his father’s vast wealth. Seventeen year old daughter Olivia is rather volatile, impetuous and angry with her father for shipping her off to boarding school. Non family members include bodyguard John Pierce who resents Hugh and Sarah’s presence and their investigation. Sarah is deeply suspicious of medium Raphael DeQuincey but just because she believes he is a charlatan does not necessarily mean he is involved in Robin’s disappearance.

Then there is the matter of baby Robin’s last photograph which was taken about six months before his disappearance. Sarah picks up on a bit of an irregularity in the picture that deeply troubles her.  She and Hugh learn some rather disquieting information from the servants that might support Sarah’s suspicions. However, this theory is just one of many they consider throughout their investigation.

A Mortal Likeness is an intriguing mystery with a very perplexing crime to solve. Sarah and Hugh are extremely close but they find themselves at odds throughout their investigation and their friendship becomes precarious as they search for the truth. Sarah is dismayed when her romance with Thomas is threatened when he discovers her involvement in Robin’s case.  Laura Joh Rowland brilliantly keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a dazzling array of stunning twists and turns.  While the current case is completely wrapped up by the novel’s end, Sarah’s discoveries about her long missing father will leave fans breathlessly awaiting the next installment in the Victorian Mystery series.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

1 Comment

Filed under A Mortal Likeness, Crooked Lane Books, Historical, Laura Joh Rowland, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Vickie McDonough, Victorian Mystery Series