Darkness Falls: A Kate Marshall Thriller by Robert Bryndza – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

Darkness Falls by Robert BryndzaKate Marshall’s investigation into a journalist’s disappearance sends her down an unexpectedly twisted path in a riveting thriller by the author of Shadow Sands.

Kate Marshall’s fledgling PI agency takes off when she and her partner, Tristan Harper, are hired for their first big case. It’s a cold one. Twelve years before, journalist Joanna Duncan disappeared after exposing a political scandal. Most people have moved on. Joanna’s mother refuses to let go.

When Kate and Tristan gain access to the original case files, they revisit the same suspects and follow the same leads—but not to the same dead ends. Among Joanna’s personal effects, Kate discovers the names of two young men who also vanished without a trace.

As she connects the last days of three missing persons, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer hiding in plain sight. The closer Kate comes to finding him, the darker it’s going to get.

His Review:

Joanna Duncan, a promising town reporter is missing. A twenty year old cold case because there is nothing but her old cell phone left. Kate Marshall and her brother Tristan are hired as private investigators to solve the mystery. Joanna’s mother could get nothing but condescending lip service for her daughter’s disappearance.

Darkness Falls by Robert BryndzaMr. Bryndza spins an interesting tale which includes some exploration into the male sex scene in rural England. The main focus of the story is to actually find out the reason for the disappearance. Why would an investigative reporter have disappeared in rural England? The police had finally thrown up their hands.

The investigation exposes the ugly truth of the plight of young male exploitation by well to do citizens. One of these winds up as the focus of the investigation. The author seems to turn over each clue with a more onerous one being under the last. I found it hard to set this book down.

Starting an investigation agency in rural England has many pitfalls. Most of the cases include philandering wives or husbands and catching them in ill advised deeds.

CE WilliamsA cold disappearance is a whole other endeavor. The tenacity required to delve into a 20 year old case is intriguing. The author handled the case with clever feints and dodges that kept me reading until the end. The ending was particularly unexpected–very clever twist. Read this book and see if you do not agree! 4.5 stars – CE Williams 

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Currently on pre-order

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Serial Killer Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: ‎ 1542005736
ASIN: B08KQ1Z155
Print Length: 303 pages
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(S): Darkness Falls [Amazon] 
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Robert Bryndza - authorThe Author: Robert Bryndza is an international bestselling author, best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over four million copies in the English language.

His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).

Robert has released a further five novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, all of which have been global bestsellers, and in 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 15 countries. The second book, Shadow Sands was published in November 2020.

Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University, and the Guildford School of Acting, and was an actor for several years, but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. He self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels, before switching to writing crime. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia, and is lucky enough to write full-time.

You can find out more about Robert and his books at http://www.robertbryndza.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz and Kirsten Kairos (Narrator) – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Book Blurb:

With each of his number-one New York Times best-sellers, Dean Koontz has displayed an unparalleled ability to entertain and enlighten listeners with novels that capture the essence of our times, even as they bring us to the edge of our seats. Now he delivers a heart-gripping tour de force he’s been waiting years to write – at once a love story, a thrilling adventure, and a masterwork of suspense that redefines the boundaries of primal fear and of enduring devotion.

Amy Redwing has dedicated her life to the Southern California organization she founded to rescue abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Among dog lovers, she’s a legend for the risks she’ll take to save an animal from abuse. Among her friends, Amy’s heedless devotion is often cause for concern. To widower Brian McCarthy, whose commitment she can’t allow herself to return, Amy’s behavior is far more puzzling and hides a shattering secret.

No one is surprised when Amy risks her life to save Nickie, nor when she takes the female golden into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents: An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion. And the unmistakable sense that someone is watching Amy’s every move, and that, whoever it is, he’s not alone.

Someone has come back to turn Amy into the desperate, hunted creature she’s always been there to save. But now there’s no one to save Amy and those she loves.

From its breathtaking opening scene to its shocking climax, The Darkest Evening of the Year is Dean Koontz at his finest. 

My Review:

When I first told my son I was reading a book by Dean Koontz, he said, “but Koontz is a horror writer, mom.” I explained to him that I was reading his new Jane Hawk series (including The Night Window, the fifth and final in the series) and that it was more action thriller, techno thriller. Indeed, I read the whole series, and another suspense standalone, The Good Guy. To be honest, I hadn’t read a horror book by him as I don’t read horror books.

The Darkest Evening of the YearThe one filament common to most of his books is that little edge of the supernatural and this one is no exception. That said, this one is a surprise for me but of course I was drawn to the dog on the cover with promise that it might include a canine in the storyline. It does.

Amy is apparently wealthy. She spends her time in the rescue of golden retrievers and she’s developed quite the rep—and certainly the mastery in rescue of the animals in some of the most dire situations. This time Amy rescues Nickie. Her boyfriend is horrified by the circumstances, but she successfully manages the retrieval of the dog. She has no idea she is part of a dark plan, but she does share some of her feelings regarding Nickie to her boyfriend, Brian. (Is it possible Nickie has been here before?)

What starts as eerie incidents escalate into a darker and darker chain of events that introduces Hope. POV’s switch to the head of Hope as she coyly manages her mother, something the ten year old Down’s syndrome daughter has learned to deal with. 

The antagonist charges head long into some of the cruelest, most despicable scenes of a mother imagined. The worst kind of depraved person a human can be posed against the most innocent, decent. Good versus evil personified.

While Amy separately deals with demons, they plan their perverse scheme, and it’s revealed there is more to Hope than conceived of. Indeed, if at first your heart broke for her, it just as quickly rose in pride for her astute management of the situation.

Nickie, the golden, did indeed prove herself a stout-hearted canine, more than just a beautiful companion.

Scratching my head. This is one devil of a narrative. Stomach-churning scenes at odds with triumph. My problem is the conclusion. Both the main characters as well as support barrel into the climax in one swooping, crashing plot crunch. And then it ends just as quickly. You can turn another page if you want, but the story ended. Just like that.

I’m a Koontz fan. Not a horror story fan. Most of my positive experience with this writer is the subtle, descriptive way he delivers the prose, so beautiful you can almost (almost!) forget the horrific circumstances. It’s hypnotic. And I’m compelled to look for the next Dean Koontz book.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Suspense Thrillers
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B0010BA81O
Listening Length: 9 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: Kirsten Kairos
Publication Date: November 27, 2007
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Darkest Evening of the Year [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Dean Koontz - authorThe Author: Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

The Narrator: Kristen Kairos is a New York/LA-based voice-over technician, singer, songwriter, and percussionist who has toured worldwide and recorded with a variety of artists including Julio Iglesias, INXS, and David Lee Roth. While her speaking voice can be heard on numerous radio and television commercials, as well as character voices for animation and narration for audio books, she is currently singing, writing, arranging, and playing percussion with individual musicians and bands in the New York area.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

A Christmas Legacy: A Novel by Anne Perry – #BookReview – Historical Mystery

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Thomas and Charlotte Pitt’s former maid takes a new job as Christmas approaches—but not everyone in the household may survive the holidays in this tension-filled novel from bestselling author Anne Perry.

A Christmas Legacy by Anne PerryAfter leaving her position with Charlotte and Thomas Pitt to get married, Gracie thought her days as a maid were behind her. But when her good friend’s daughter, Millie, turns up on her doorstep just before the holidays, frantic because things are going missing from the kitchen in the household she serves, Gracie knows she has to find out what is happening. Millie, whose mother died years before, can’t risk being accused of theft and getting thrown out on the street, with no character references for a new position.

So Gracie takes on Millie’s job herself, claiming Millie is sick and needs a few days to recuperate. At first, it seems that all is normal in the household, even if the couple’s elderly granny keeps entirely to her bedroom upstairs. But Gracie begins to realize that Granny is suffering from neglect—and rather than helping her, the husband and wife have decided she isn’t dying fast enough.

His Review:

A Christmas Legacy by Anne PerryOrphans and runaways lived a very difficult life in big cities at the turn of the century. Either they are placed in strict government-run children’s homes or are left to fend for themselves on the streets. Many freeze to death or die of malnutrition. The very wealthy take them in and provide room and board and little if any compensation. They are given specific jobs and are expected always to be available.

A young lady knocks on Gracie Tallman’s door and asks for help. She is sick with a cold and cannot accomplish her work. Gracie replaces her and helps in the job while she recuperates. Without a reference from another family or maintaining her job, however, all will be lost. I found the life in the city to be extremely eye opening. How could people have such little regard for the health of young orphaned children?

Every aspect of life in the rich person’s manor is closely monitored by the wife of the landlord. How dare the people living in livery expect more than a warm bed and a paltry diet! The offspring of the very wealthy expect everyone to provide all luxuries for them without recompense or even a simple thank you. Just being allowed to live in the luxury in which they are born should command total loyalty.

CE WilliamsThe end result of Ms. Perry’s writing is a glimpse into a totally different world of excess and poverty, the entitled and their servants. Even an older person may be hidden away while the family hopes for a quick death to speed the execution of the will and acquisition of the properties. The heirs themselves then quickly become objects of disdain and hate. Currently on pre-order. 5 stars – CE Williams

It’s been some time since we’ve read an Anne Perry book. Back in 2017, I enjoyed An Echo of Murder. This time I thought the CE might enjoy the historical aspect of her writing style. He did. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mysteries, Historical Mystery, Historical British Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: ‎ 059315939X
ASIN: B08VSKGJG3
Print Length: 192 pages
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: A Christmas Legacy [Amazon]
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Add to GoodreadsAnne Perry - AuthorAnne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Assassin and The Shifting Tide, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including The Cater Street Hangman, Calandar Square, Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane. She is also the author of the World War I novels No Graves As Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep, as well as six holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Grace. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

Keep Me Close: An utterly gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist by Jane Holland – #BookReview – #medicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Someone is hurting the most vulnerable person in your life, but they can’t tell you who it is. What would you do?

Keep Me Close by Jane HollandWhen shy publisher Kate Kinley finds mysterious bruises on her mother’s arms she assumes the worst. Suffering with early onset dementia, her mother insists that nothing is wrong; it was just a clumsy accident. But was it an accident, or has her mother’s illness made her forget what really happened?

In desperate need of someone she can trust, her isolation and paranoia grow as the closest people in her life become key suspects.

With each heart-stopping revelation, Kate begins to realise that the perpetrator is no longer interested in inflicting bruises; they want blood.

Keep Me Close is a compelling story of gross immorality, a cautionary tale of how easily wicked people can take advantage of the vulnerable elderly people in your life.

His Review:

Caring for a parent with dementia is never easy. Kate has had a number of people taking care of her mother who is rapidly deteriorating. Mysterious bruising and other problems indicate someone is mistreating her. Who would do such a thing to an elderly frail woman?

Keep Me Close by Jane HollandAfter her longtime care giver disappears, Kate is pleased to find Ruby. She is the perfect answer and is given a room in the house to help compensate for the many hours she spends with Kates’ mom. Signs of abuse point to Kate and letters appear under her door claiming she is a terrible person and unworthy.

Kate desperately works to keep her mother at home and under loving care and protection. Her job as a publishing editor is continually at risk because of a uncaring employer and a punk writer. She is assigned to correct the proof for the writer and finds many problems. Conflicts arise as her mother gets worse and her boss threatens to fire her.

Logan is a handsome suitor and Kate allows herself to date two years after her husband’s suicide. She is very tenuous and careful in allowing any relationships because of the loss of not only a husband but her father as well. A solicitor clouds the care issue because he is “her mothers’” solicitor and not hers. This relationship clouds the overall tension and Kate’s good intensions.

The main character is portrayed as a very tenuous personality whose relationships are always under scrutiny by her boss. He is a true self-centered narcissist who does not like women. His response to most of them is smiling wickedness. One would like to accidentally run over him in a dark alley.

CE WilliamsI enjoyed the novel but got a little tired of Kate’s inability to stand up for herself. She also tends to procrastinate in reporting events that scare and concern her. The police are a day or two behind each event. Rather than report the abuse of her mother to the police she hesitates because she feels that they will think she is the perpetrator. Wallowing in self doubt and letting others push her around got a bit tiresome and allowed some interest to wane. 4 stars – CE Williams 

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Vigilante Justice Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Lume Books
ASIN: B096W81Y6Q
Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: September 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Keep Me Close [Amazon]
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Jane Holland - authorThe Author: Jane Holland is a Gregory Award-winning poet and bestselling novelist (Twitter @janeholland1). Her psychological thriller GIRL NUMBER ONE hit #1 in the UK Kindle store in 2015 and 2018. Latest novel: KEEP ME CLOSE. Her debut novel KISSING THE PINK was inspired by the Women’s Pro Snooker circuit, where Jane was once a champion player ranked 24th in the world before being banned for life for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. Since turning from sport to writing, she’s published dozens of novels with major publishing houses under various pseudonyms, including: Betty Walker (Avon Books: World War II saga series ‘The Cornish Girls’) Beth Good (contemporary romcoms), Victoria Lamb (historical fiction and YA fantasy), Elizabeth Moss (historical romance), Hannah Coates (feel-good doggy fiction), and JJ Holland (action thrillers featuring disillusioned peer Aubrey Savage).

She also writes practical writing manuals such as Writing Prompts for Thriller Writers, along with a sister book for Romance Writers, and other non-fiction books, including a new ‘Dreams Journal’ for complex dream interpretation.

Photograph credit: Anand Chhabra

©2021 V Williams – V Williams

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