Deadly Little Lies: An utterly addictive psychological thriller by Stephanie DeCarolis –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

THE PERFECT LIFE

Deadly Little Lies by Stephanie DeCarolisJuliana Daniels finally has the life she’s always dreamed of. A loving husband, a career as an attorney, and a cozy apartment in Manhattan to call home.

But when she gets a message from an old college friend, her blood runs cold. Remember me?

ONE DEADLY LIE

Juliana drops her phone as though she’s been scalded. The name Jenny Teller shines out from the screen… but Jenny can’t have sent that message.

Because Jenny is dead.

Juliana’s other college friends have all received the same message. The four of them are the only ones who know the truth about the night Jenny died. It’s a secret they have kept buried for thirteen years.

WHO DO YOU TRUST?

With ‘Jenny’ now blackmailing them and threatening to expose their secret, only one thing is certain. Someone else knows the truth about that night… or one of them is lying. 

My Review:

Juliana Daniels (Jules) has managed to secure for herself a scholarship to a pretty exclusive university where she feels the deep divide between her middle class upbringing and that of her new monied classmates. It might have been a serious struggle had not Tori (her new roommate), Nessa, and Emily included her into their little clique.

Deadly Little Lies by Stephanie DeCarolisEmily is the obvious alpha, taking Jules on quietly as a “project” and grooms her to be as narcissistic as herself. With her new status, she feels important, looked up to, and just as quietly abandons old friends, counting the minutes when the holidays with her parents are over and she can return to campus life where she’s learned to party hardy.

“It wasn’t enough to just be desired; if I was going to keep up, I had to learn to desire nothing in return.”

The narrative settles into chapters alternating between “Now” and “Then.” The Now describes her inclusion as a successful attorney, a Manhattan apartment, and a loving, attentive, supportive husband, Jason.

Then swings us back to her university years where she experiences something that will haunt her during the intervening ten years until she gets the same taunting message as her so-called snobbish, titled friends, Remember me?” But it can’t be her—they all know that—because she’s dead.

UGH! I liked Jason. But Jules, Tori, and Nessa not so much. Emily was meant to be disliked and she was truly nasty, raising the blood pressure every time she had the focus. Their shared horrific event brought them together again, trying to discern who could possibly have sent the first and then additional messages, as well as intrusions into Jules home. And none of it shared with Jules’ husband. Oh, these deep, dark secrets!

As they are all summoned together for a tenth year reunion, matters come to a head, the pace escalates into the conclusion. There were twists and turns, some expected, some not, though I had not anticipated the final reveal.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Noir Crime, Domestic Thrillers
Publisher: HQ Digital
ASIN: B09HMNK836
Print Length: 378 pages
Publication Date: November 26, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Stephanie DeCarolis - authorThe Author:  Stephanie is the USA Today best-selling author of The Guilty Husband and Deadly Little Lies. She is a graduate of Binghamton University and St. John’s University School of Law, and she currently lives in New York with her husband, their two daughters, and their very spoiled cat.

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Moscow Embassy: The Angara Club by Thomas J Mitchell – #BookReview – #politicalfiction

2020 CIPA EVVY AWARD WINNER for Thrillers and Suspense.

Book Blurb:

Moscow Embassy by Thomas J MitchellINSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS—A POWERFUL PORTRAYAL OF ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL EMBASSY PROJECTS IN HISTORY—the construction of the US Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 2000. Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” BLENDS HISTORICAL FACTS, FAMOUS CELEBRITIES, AND VIVID IMAGERY to bring this novel to life. The story of American construction workers who are recruited by the Russian KGB to plant listening devices and engage in other espionage activities while the new Moscow Embassy is under construction—and while US intelligence agencies working in concert with Britain’s MI6 are going to great lengths to neutralize the Russian threat. It is also the story of the men and women in the public and private sectors—the nomads who go from one country to the next, building these beautiful facilities for the US government. With a cast of colorful characters and a plot filled with danger and political intrigue, Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is a fascinating novel about an industry most people never think about. The story of American construction workers who are recruited by the Russian KGB to plant listening devices and engage in other espionage activities while the new Moscow Embassy is under construction—and while US intelligence agencies working in concert with Britain’s MI6 are going to great lengths to neutralize the Russian threat. It is also the story of the men and women in the public and private sectors—the nomads who go from one country to the next, building these beautiful facilities for the US government. With a cast of colorful characters and a plot filled with danger and political intrigue, Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is a fascinating novel about an industry most people never think about.

His Review:

How do you protect an embassy and its’ personnel in a foreign country? Mitchell’s book explores this in detail. You cannot hire Russian Contractors because the primary mission would be to put listening devices all over the building. Therefore, the object is to build a structure without foreign assistance.

Moscow Embassy by Thomas J MitchellSteel needs to be purchased for the building. In the case of the U.S. Embassy the structure will be eight floors above ground. The costs are prohibitive to bring the steel by ship into Russian ports and then bring them by rail to the construction site. Therefore, locally sourced steel which met the building specifications was the answer.

Mother Russia is trying to figure out how to put listening devices into the steel during fabrication. The Americans tasked with maintaining the integrity of the building continually examined the beams and rejected those with listening devices. The Russians then developed very sophisticated methods of attaching the devices to the edifice.

A cat and mouse game was played throughout the construction period. Some of the devices were obviously detected and removed. The final solution was to allow the devices in selected locations in the building. Then by adding sound deadening devices or sound dampers the result was allowing the enemy to eavesdrop on those discussions the U.S. wanted the enemy to hear. False or misinformation is as important as no information against a foreign power.

The book explains very completely the means Russia used to compromise some of the contractors working on the project. Russia and her satellites have many very beautiful ladies they involve in information gathering. This makes for a very interesting back and forth between the two governments. The ladies were required to get to know the contractors and get them to fall in love with them.

CE WilliamsThe result is a very interesting mix of romance and intrigue. I could see the way that the ladies were used and some of them wound up marrying the guys and moving here to the states. I wonder if they are involved in information gathering even though they are now U.S. Citizens? A very interesting problem to contemplate! 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.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Political Fiction, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ASIN: B0829DLJ7Z
Print Length: 344 pages
Publication Date: December 2, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Moscow Embassy [Amazon] 
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Thomas J Mitchell - authorThe Author: Thomas J. Mitchell is a world traveler, writer, musician, and fitness enthusiast. He has been involved in construction management of embassy projects for over 20 years. Mr. Mitchell lived in Moscow and worked on the construction of the Moscow Embassy between 1996 and 1997 and again between 2013 and 2015. During his long career he has been involved with the construction of several other embassy projects located in the South Pacific, Africa, and Central and South America. He currently works as an embassy construction consultant from his home base in the Southwest. Moscow Embassy “The Angara Club” is his debut novel.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

 

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

13 ½: A Novel by Nevada Barr – #BookReview – @nevadabarr

Book Blurb:

In 1971, the state of Minnesota was rocked by the “Butcher Boy” incident, as coverage of a family brutally murdered by one of their own swept across newspapers and television screens nationwide.

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrNow, in present-day New Orleans, Polly Deschamps finds herself at yet another lonely crossroads in her life. No stranger to tragedy, Polly was a runaway at the age of fifteen, escaping a nightmarish Mississippi childhood.

Lonely, that is, until she encounters architect Marshall Marchand. Polly is immediately smitten. She finds him attractive, charming, and intelligent. Marshall, a lifelong bachelor, spends most of his time with his brother Danny. When Polly’s two young daughters from her previous marriage are likewise taken with Marshall, she marries him. However, as Polly begins to settle into her new life, she becomes uneasy about her husband’s increasing dark moods, fearing that Danny may be influencing Marshall in ways she cannot understand.

But what of the ominous prediction by a New Orleans tarot card reader, who proclaims that Polly will murder her husband? What, if any, is the Marchands’ connection to the infamous “Butcher Boy” multiple homicide? And could Marshall and his eccentric brother be keeping a dark secret from Polly, one that will shatter the happiness she has forever prayed for?

My Review:

Okay, I’m one of those caught up in the author’s name and just blindly grabbed the book written by Nevada Barr, too late to notice it was NOT part of the Anna Pigeon series. Oh, dear.

And I’m having a seriously difficult time trying to visualize that the same author who writes about Anna Pigeon and her experiences in the park service is the same beautiful lady whose author photo is shown below. I might be more inclined to believe the author might have been Dean Koontz, but come to think of it, I’ve not read a Koontz book quite so viciously, violently graphic (and with children as well?).

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrNot a book to undertake without some trigger warnings—it’s twisted, dark, and suspenseful and (perhaps just a King horror novel) difficult for me not to just DNF. This reader needed to see a meaningful conclusion, although I’d certainly predicted from the beginning the revelation. Not a big surprise at that point.

Then Polly comes along and with her two young daughters discovers a kindred spirit in Marshall, easy going, pleasant, loving, concerned. What more could a young mother need or want?

“Most had made lives they enjoyed and would only compromise for a very shiny white knight with a particularly breathtaking steed. And a very long lance…”

The setting in post-Katrina in New Orleans was interesting and lent an atmospheric touch, until Polly meets a tarot card reader who provides dark warnings that trigger her investigation. Noooo, you say… Don’t go down into the basement—or in this case—to the slum residence of the Woman in Red.

13 1/2 by Nevada BarrOh, and by the way, 13 ½ is a tat described as meaning “One judge, twelve jurors, half a chance.”

Predictable, yes, (see paragraph three above), an unusual read for me, yes, I would classify as horror. But you don’t have to take my word for it, if you are willing to take a chance. Granted, the author does have a rather poetic turn of phrase, descriptive prose, tension-building expertise. But this author also writes, as mentioned now several times, the Anna Pigeon series, including my last couple reviews Destroyer Angel and Track of the Cat, as well as several prior to those. I particularly enjoy the audiobooks narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (she’s awesome). This novel is a standalone—a good thing. However, as you’ve no doubt understood by now, I’d recommend her series.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Crossroad Press
ASIN: B07L19Y98Z
Print Length: 253 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.

Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bittersweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.

The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

©V Williams V Williams

Have a great week!

The Deathwatch Beetle (Ann Lindell Mysteries Book 9) by Kjell Eriksson –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Kjell Eriksson’s next Ann Lindell book, The Deathwatch Beetle is an atmospheric thriller and a tender depiction of the countryside and the people of Roslagen.

The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell ErikssonFour years have passed since Cecilia Karlsson disappeared from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen. When Ann Lindell receives a tip that she has been seen alive she cannot help getting involved, even though she is no longer with the police.

The black sheep of the island, Nils Lindberg, has never forgotten Cecilia Karlsson, with whom he was in love as a teenager. And he carries a secret. He may not be completely sober all the time, but he has no doubt of what he saw out on the bay just before Cecilia disappeared. Cecilia’s parents are desperate, not knowing what happened to their daughter. Yet their silent house contains many things that have been left unsaid.

While Ann struggles to put the jigsaw puzzle together, she is trying to establish herself in her new life together with her lover Edvard who, like herself, is marked by life. At the same time, someone is hiding in a cottage in a remote part of the island. Someone who is looking for revenge…

My Review:

Such an unusual title and a story that takes place in the country of one my ancestors, I thought this might be an interesting departure from the crime mysteries we typically pick up. Described as an atmospheric thriller, I could agree with one part of that characterization. It was atmospheric.

The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell ErikssonMy first experience with the series, in this particular episode (former?) protagonist Ann Lindell has retired from the police force and lives on the island of Gräsö off the eastern coast of Sweden. (My relatives still live on the western coast.) When Lindell gets a tip that Cecilia Karlsson was sighted alive, she can’t resist pursuing the lead.

It’s an island. People know each other and there are secrets. Some not meant to be revealed. The opening scene hooked the reader then basically foundered for the remaining portions of the book, introducing relatives and friends, chasing down little leads but at such a slow pace it was difficult to continue reading.

I’m not sure—is Ann still meant to be the main character? The narrative comes back to her often, but… It might have been helpful at the beginning of the chapters to explain who was up front and speaking that chapter. Not first person, but it often took me a couple pages to figure out who was making an appearance and his/her connection to the whole thing.

Ann didn’t come across in this episode as being a fully developed person, nor did I really engage in her boyfriend. I did come across, however, an explanation for the title.

“…something was scratching and gnawing in the wall, deathwatch beetle she thought it was called…”

Granted, I came in on Book 9 of the series, having lost, I’m sure a large part of setting the scene and characters as well as her earlier experience as a police person. But was something lost in translation? This one lost my interest fairly early on and it was never really regained.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Two point Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250766168
ASIN: B08R2KR132
Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Kjell Eriksson - authorThe Author: Karl Stig Kjell Eriksson is a Swedish crime-writer, author of the novels The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of the Night, the former of which was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2002. They have both recently been translated into English by Ebba Segerberg.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Night Thief (Jackman & Evans Book 8) by Joy Ellis – #BookReview – #noircrime

Book Blurb:

FROM #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOY ELLIS, A TOTALLY ABSORBING CRIME THRILLER FULL OF STUNNING TWISTS AND TURNS. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN.

The Night Thief by Joy EllisDiscover the author who’s sold over two million books globally.

When everyone is sleeping, he comes into their houses.

He takes one thing. A photo of their child.

A thief on a power trip or something even darker and more sinister?

Detectives Jackman and Evans find themselves on the hunt for a highly unusual burglar who seemingly only steals photographs. But then, late one night, an elderly woman falls to her death after seeing someone in her home.

Did she really fall, or was she murdered?

And just how many mysterious intruders are there on the Fens?

With the body count rising, Jackman and Evans have their work cut out for them to track down the night thief — before it’s too late.

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the shocking ending.

His Review:

Waking with a start and finding someone standing at the foot of your bed is one of life’s ongoing terrors. Usually, it is just a voyeur getting his jollies off without doing any harm. The opening chapter of this book shatters that illusion. A lonesome widow loses her life thinking her long dead husband has come back to her.

The Night Thief by Joy EllisA series of deaths of middle aged or senior ladies follows. There are no signs of entry into the houses. How could this have occurred? This author paints a graphic picture of a cat burglar who has left his usual non-violent mid-night wanderings to commit murders during his roaming.

Ms. Ellis has developed a very interesting psychological profile of a very disturbed younger individual. Her portrayal of the culprit is developed as a result of a very bad and tragic childhood. Certainly, mothers are integral to the education and experience of both young boys and young girls’ development. The youngsters in this case are mentally abused to the point of a total non-traditional approach to reality.

Life is a series of hardships to be overcome by these victims. Striking out is a defense mechanism that helps to cope with reality. The story developed a very engaging psychological profile of the voyeur/killer. One could have sympathy to some extent for the killer except for the lives the person has taken and shattered. Add to that a moral compass that was totally destroyed in childhood and this tale becomes extremely scary.

CE WilliamsI recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand some of the deviants in society. The criminology methods followed to find the killer or killers is very thorough and at times aggravatingly slow. As I read the book I continually hoped for some kind of resolution to this person’s mental deficiencies. Read the book and see if you have the same effect. 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: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Crime, Serial Killers, Murder
Publisher: Joffe Books
ASIN:  B09HCKJRST
Print Length: 371 pages
Publication Date: November 18, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Night Thief [Amazon]

 

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Joy Ellis - authorThe Author: Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.
Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Under Pressure (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 6) by Sara Driscoll –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Under Pressure by Sara DriscollFBI handler Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, are drawn into a case that involves a fortune in uncut gems, and an enemy whose power and ruthlessness know no bounds . . .

Diamonds are no one’s best friend when the jewels in question are smuggled conflict gems.  Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk, have undertaken many search-and-rescue missions, but this case has an unusual twist. A Philadelphia syndicate is importing diamonds from war-torn African nations and selling them with fake certificates to Stateside dealers. Agent Finn Pierce of the Organized Crime Program is embedded with the syndicate, but being caught with a wire or tracking device would mean instant execution. If Meg, her partner Brian Foster, and their dogs can track Pierce to a deal location, they can break the smuggling chain while maintaining Pierce’s cover.

With the syndicate monitoring every move, it’s a risky operation with more players than Meg and Brian first assumed—on both sides of the law. And when one of their own gets caught in the line of fire, the team embarks on a desperate rescue mission, knowing that mere seconds are all that separate life and death . . .

My Review:

Yes, I do love this series and thrilled to snag Book 6, Under Pressure. Each novel is unique but getting into the storyline with Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk, always brings a smile to my face as I get to greet an impressive, independent old friend once again and live vicariously the choreographed work between handler and K9. The support characters, including her sister Cara, are all smart, young professionals.

Under Pressure by Sara DriscollIn this well-plotted narrative, Meg and Hawk as well as their handler partner Brian and his K9 are asked to work outside their usual Search and Rescue team when they are requested to work a cross-division collaboration involving a Philadelphia syndicate. They’ve implanted an agent into the mob, but are having problems with logistics and timing without blowing his cover. They are hoping the dogs will be able to track the players responsible for the buys of conflict diamonds hitting the local market. (Each of the chapters provide a lesson in diamond jargon—fascinating tidbits of info.)

I love how the authors strike a perfect balance between the lives of the main characters and their service animals with that of the current operation. Their lives become immersive, real.

The operation is not wholly successful at first—trial and error. Timing is key. But Meg is made and she is attacked shortly thereafter. Maybe there is something more than the mob here and they’ll have to track the source. Then an unofficial member of their team goes missing.

The novel never flags, slows down, no sags in the middle. There are action packed scenes, the dogs are in the thick of it, and the tension ramps up as further discoveries are made and pieces come together.

The conclusion, gritty and gripping, is satisfying. There is more than one theme here, the bond between the handler and their canine, the amazing intelligence of a service K9, and that a family can be comprised not just of blood relatives but those closely bonded by circumstance. The novel is an easy one to fly through—you don’t want to put it down!

I’ve read Storm Rising (Book 3), No Man’s Land (Book 4), and most recently Leave No Trace (Book 5), and loved them all. Really, you can begin with Book 6, as this is a series you don’t have to start at the beginning, each can function as a standalone. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author(s) and Kensington Books (thank you!) through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order—go ahead and get on the list!

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B08Y65J3CG
Print Length: 267 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Jen J Danna - author
Jen J Danna – author

Sara Driscoll - author(s)
Sara Driscoll – author(s)

The Authors: Sara Driscoll is the pen name of Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan, authors of the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries. Jen is an infectious disease researcher at a cutting edge Canadian university near Toronto, but loves to spend her free time writing the thrilling and mysterious. Ann lives in central Texas

Ann Vanderlaan - author
Ann Vanderlaan

with five rescued pit bulls, including Kane, now a certified therapy dog. She also trains with Kane for competitive nose work. You can follow the latest news on the FBI K-9 Mysteries at saradriscollauthor.com.

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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Live with More Light & Faith by CM.

Tel-Aviv's feral cats

Videos of feral cats on the streets, and my own four feral felines at home, feline humor, advice, and gifts for your cat.

Life

You read it, you love it!

Let's Talk

Life is running,Time is running, So the power, Use it.

Tales of Origen

Monsters Are Real

Balladeer's Blog

Singing the praises of things that slip through the cultural cracks

The Chamber Magazine

Contemporary Dark Fiction and Poetry

Pattimouse

A glimpse into the mind of a half mad poet

Blogger's World!

Where creativity meets passion!

BOOKISH CORNERR

So many books, So little time

WilsonKatumba

Discipling,Empowering and Fostering Nations

Audaysciously

Digital chatters of an introvert

Pensieri Parole e Poesie

Sono una donna libera. Nel mio blog farete un viaggio lungo e profondo nei pensieri della mente del cuore e dell anima.

Rab's Bookish Planet

My Thoughts Are Here.

Cosmic Latte

Books, movies, life and everything in between...

You Lil Dickens

Words To Think On

Autoimmune-ptsd-stress-anxiety-depression-fibromyalgia-ms-wellbeing-natural-sleep..

Autism-spectrum-disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder.. autoimmune.

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

JennyLou's book reviews

My escape from reality reading books

pe blog

Travelling is a good way to make your life different as well as fitness and a balanced diet.

Wordy Witterings

On Reading and Writing... mostly.

San Gabriel Writers' League

Encouraging & Equipping Writers for Success

Roving Savant

Read Travel Hustle

Free Fonts

Fonts Download

Unclearer

Enjoyable Information. Focused or Not.

Annabelle Lewis

Yummy Revenge Served with Elegant Fury

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