Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake Book 4) by Rachel Caine – a BookReview

Bitter Falls by Rachel CaineBook Blurb:

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

My Review:

As if Gwen Proctor didn’t have enough problems with her own history and the tortured life she’s doggedly tried to leave behind, she accepts a cold case assignment regarding a young college man who disappeared without a trace.

Bitter Falls by Rachel CaineA new author and series to me, Gwen is apparently partnered with Sam (the two of them have a rather unbelievable history, and there is Gwen’s two kids, Lanny and Connor. These two kids might need more than a therapist to get them through life after understanding the PTSD inducing family history. The POVs alternate between the four, with protagonist Gwen spearheading her investigation and getting the whole family into one heckofa pickle.

While Gwen is a licensed concealed weapon carry, kick-ass PI, she tends to be just a little slow on the uptake a few times. And Sam might be just a tad too good to be true. The well-plotted thriller starts with a deadly hook after which you are sunk (read it–you’ll understand that double-entendre) and you must keep reading. It drives tension, pushes disbelief, but doesn’t drop the ball or slow the fast-moving storyline.

There is no love lost in the town nor the people who comprise her neighbors and most would just prefer that she leave. There is the backwoods mafia who could spearhead the move but hold to their code when push comes to shove and the deeper the investigation, the deeper the threat to Gwen’s family. It would seem she continues to be proclaimed guilty by association of the former glaring headlines while inviting further castigation with the present situation.

I had so many questions regarding Gwen and was never able to fully invest in her–she kept me off balance, never knowing which way she was going to flip. The kids didn’t help the situation any and the Sam/Gwen relationship didn’t feel plausible. Vi, where did she come from? Trust is spent. There is more than one unreliable narrator here, methinks, and I couldn’t invest in any.

I received this download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I read as a standalone, but there is obviously a lot of backstory here missed in coming in at Book 4. Recommended for those familiar with the series and author and any seeking a fast-paced action-packed and entertaining thriller.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

  • ISBN-10:154204233X
  • ISBN-13:978-1542042338
  • ASIN: B07NQDQ8JV

Print Length: 335 pages
Publication Date: To be released January 21, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Bitter Falls 

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Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars 3.5-stars

Rachel Caine - authorThe Author: Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the #1 smash hit bestselling thriller Stillhouse Lake, the internationally bestselling Morganville Vampires series, the Great Library series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, the Revivalist series, and the acclaimed YA novel Prince of Shadows.

The pilot for the crowdfunded show MORGANVILLE is now available on Amazon Prime as streaming video.

Rachel is very pleased to have participated in DEAD AIR, a new combined project from acclaimed producer/publisher Serial Box, cowriting episodes with Gwenda Bond and Carrie Ryan. The project launches in August 2018.

She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and ultimately a corporate management executive before leaving to write full time. She and her husband, comic historian/actor/artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Texas.

WWW.RACHELCAINE.COM

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Shattered Justice (A Bone Gap Travellers Novel Book 3) by Susan Furlong – a #BookReview #thriller

Gritty, raw, and unrelenting but war-damaged ex-Marine Irish Traveller. Where is the justice?

Shattered Justice by Susan FurlongBook Blurb:

In the Appalachian town of Bone Gap, Tennessee, backwoods justice is more than just blind. It’s swift, silent, and shockingly personal. Especially for Irish Traveller turned deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan . . .
 
“Hear No Evil.”

The first message is found in a playground. A few feet away, a  pair of human ears hang from the monkey bars. Deputy sheriff Brynn Callahan isn’t sure what to make of this grisly scene. Do the ears belong to a murder victim? And if so, where is the body? One thing Brynn is sure of: the earring on one of the earlobes belongs to a man she met at a party the previous night.  . .
 
“Speak No Evil.”

The second message is discovered next to a human tongue on a park pavilion. Once again, no body is found. Brynn can’t help but wonder if the crimes are rooted in the town’s long-simmering tensions between Bone Gap locals and the barely tolerated Travellers who’ve settled there.
 
“See No Evil.”

For Brynn, the investigation hits too close to home—forcing her to confront the demons of her own past. But time is running out. Brynn has to track down the culprit before a third message is delivered—and a third victim is claimed. Rich, atmospheric, and brilliantly chilling, Shattered Justice is the third Bone Gap Travellers novel from the acclaimed author of Splintered Silence and Fractured Truth.

My Thoughts

Shattered Justice by Susan FurlongAnother intense, book-hooking entry to the Bone Gap Travellers series that has you alternately cringing and then reading faster. Ex-Marine Brynn Callahan returned to her family home after an IED ended both her tours and that of her cadaver dog, Wilco. But it wasn’t easy to return to the Appalachians with her Irish Travellers (or Pavees) and assume a job with local law enforcement (the “settled”), straddling both sides from a community that keeps to themselves and wields their own sense of law enforcement.

Brynn is still suffering from PTSD, as is her dog, and daily struggles with staying clean of the relief she found in dealing with the pain and trauma of those horrific scars. Her first-person dialogue plops you squarely in her head and the fight is unrelenting. Brynn languishes on the fringe between the settled, answering to Pusser who directs her investigations as she deals at home with her own tight-knit neighbors.

Obviously, this novel sets the old saying on edge as ears are found followed by a severed tongue, but the plot won’t be that simple and soon revisits the closely held secret of her beloved Gran setting a strong distraction.  There must be two bodies, but they are missing. Are they connected to the Pavee brought in, Mo’s husband?

The author has an amazing writing style, often producing quotable moments, “…gray, that undefined color in between black and white, the color of limbo, the zone between life and death,” and

“Did you learn anything from your slip, Brynn?” My eyes snapped back to Margaret…Why, yes, Margaret, I learned that Black Label whiskey is worth every damn penny…”

“And when they surface, we suddenly know: we are all victims of our past and vulnerable in our present.”

Brynn is intelligent, flawed, and damaged but between her investigation and Wilco’s help, she’ll ferret out the truth, as deeply buried as it is. The well-developed support characters provide a graphic mindset along with descriptions of the deeply wooded mountains, foreboding and sinister, hides more than the Travellers. A profoundly disturbing depiction moves forefront along with some stomach-turning descriptions. The dialogue is brutal, many times raw, threatening, and the tension builds to a massively intricate conclusion and one you won’t guess. Actually, it could be assumed you stopped trying and just raced through to the heart-stopping climax.

I was given a digital download by the publisher and NetGalley and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to read and review my third book in this series–and looking forward to Book 4. Recommended to any looking for a unique premise and genuinely engaging mystery. This might standalone, but you’ll miss a lot of backstory if you don’t start at the beginning. 4.5/5 stars

His Thoughts

Justice in the backwoods of Tennessee. Can there be such a thing? Ms. Furlong writes a compelling novel about just such a query. This novel is fast moving and at times graphically gruesome. Add a war broken detective and a three-legged dog and you have a read hard to put down!

Brynn is the detective who is scarred from three tours with the US Marines. She has internal demons as well as the perpetrators she is working to bring to justice. She and her dog are both victims of an IED (improvised explosive device). Pain pills and other drugs as well as alcohol are also demons that must be defeated by our detective.

The perpetrators are a related family of women who work to bring justice to their part of the world. A moral code inherent in this society of misfits called Travellers or Pavees cloud the investigation. The women show extraordinary abilities to evade their pursuers.

The layout of the book and the end result left a little to be desired. The reason for the violence is a thread throughout the book which seems apparent. One suicide which was not a suicide, inept police work and inter-clan justice and you have a web full of holes.

Following the clues to the killer or killers is not easy. Ms. Furlong throws in the struggles that many returning military face trying to meld back into society. I found some of them to be red herrings that tended to leave my crime-solving forensic training yelling “WHAT?!”

As with many cozy type mysteries, I find the denigration of the males in the police force a little tedious. Certainly one would expect clashes between the male and female detectives, but not to the extent posed by Ms. Furlong and Harris. It is a common perception by society and the interaction of men and women in the work force. However, this seems a little gratuitous. As society evolves, the movement to have total equality in all areas seems contrived. The issue is well developed in Ms. Furlong’s plot.

The ending of the book is why I did not give it five stars. Out of nowhere another antagonist emerges. Again, a female who seems to be as bent on justice as the primary villain. This is a serious blindsiding in the development of the plot and its’ conclusion. The gruesome crimes seemed overdone and the end story left me asking the question, WHY? Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

Ms. Furlong’s discussion narrative at the end of the novel is a good planning tool. It certainly helps to develop the overall novel in the reader’s mind. I can see where a group discussion may very well lead to a better understanding of the issues and problems faced by veterans in general. My hat is off to her as a very good writer and an understanding human being. 4/5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ISBN-10:1496711726
  • ISBN-13:978-1496711724
  • ASIN: B07NX1X3HP

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! December 31, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Shattered Justice

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Susan Furlong - authorThe Author: Susan Furlong the author of several mystery series including the acclaimed Bone Gap Travellers series. She also contributes to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington. She has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, ghost writer, translator, high-school language arts teacher, and martial arts instructor. She and her family live in central Illinois. Visit her on Facebook or at http://www.susanfurlong.com.

©2019 V Williams V Williams

29 Seconds by T M Logan – a #BookReview

This may be old news and controversial but can still grab the headlines.

29 Seconds by T M LoganBook Blurb:

“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”

Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne. A renowned scholar and television host, Hawthorne rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.

When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, Sarah is left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No traces. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

My Review:

29 Seconds by T M LoganSometimes I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, battling against the fish ladder trying to get where the run will all be happily waiting for me. I see this one had good reviews. I was supposed to like it but I was a little more meh than ack! Or groan than eek? We are talking about Sarah, a young professor working hard to become permanent. Unfortunately, her boss is Alan Hawthorne (or Lovelock–I must have missed the explanation for the interchangeable name) and he’s made it plain there is only one way for her to achieve that goal. And the thing is, he’s left a trail of his conquests, not like this is new, only his latest.

He’s brilliant, manipulative, charming, successful, and powerful. He brings in the major bucks to the university and they like that. Well, guess that’s nothing new. So far, she’ been successful at rebuking his advances but he’s getting more worse, his last leaving her furious and impotent. She is fuming when a chance presents itself to DO something–anything (see synopsis), and she saves a young girl from an apparent kidnapping. The girl’s father is even more powerful–and very grateful.

The reader is positive she’d take the opportunity but suddenly she’s impotent again.

“You give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear. For you.”

“I don’t have a name to give you. There isn’t anyone.”

“Nonsense. Everyone has someone they would like to punish. To have just a little bit more just in the world.”

“Maybe I’m the exception.”

Uh huh, sure. But she has 72 hours and within that time things go from bad to worse with good old Dr. Hawthorne. Now she’s really, thoroughly, beyond pissed, and makes the call. Then wakes the next morning all “what have I done?” It was explained–there is no going back. But now it’s killing her. (And I suspect would be normal for most people.) In the meantime, her two young’un’s are still fighting and squabbling, her father is still patiently there for her, and her two close friends are yet to be determined. Hubby wasn’t in the picture as he’d had to go “find himself” with someone else. She’s totally not playing this with a full deck. You’d have to wonder how she’s gotten this far.

Sarah’s running through all the scenarios–what could she do? She isn’t the brightest and comes close to telling. Telling??!! (Gimmee a break! Seriously?) But then the super baddies mess up and Hawthorne is rescued. Oh yeah, now on top of everything else, he can blackmail her into playing because of course, he knows. HE’s not stupid. (Anybody remember what Clint Eastwood said in a mess up like this one? Yeah–it’s a CF.) Sarah is fleshed enough to be annoying, the support characters about the same, less annoying. Hawthorne is just nasty.

She develops a plan to take care of him once and for all and it’s also looking like a groaner. Okay, then there is a twist at the end–a pretty good one–and I’ll assume Sarah didn’t work that one out. Dialogue works well, but the reader can’t be sure who to trust, nor is the plot unique. Neat twist at the end, but in the meantime you have had to choke a lot back, including disbelief.

So I have to ask, did you read this? If so, how did you see it? Did it aggravate you?

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and always appreciate the opportunity to read and review a topical contemporary fiction. You may see this one in a whole nother light and if so, I’d love to hear about it.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

  • ISBN-10:1250182301
  • ISBN-13:978-1250182302
  • ASIN: B07NTQ8HP7

Print Length: 356 pages
Publication Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: 29 Seconds

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three of Five Stars 3-stars

T M Logan - authorThe Author: Bestselling author TM Logan was a national newspaper journalist before turning to novel-writing full time. His debut thriller LIES was one of Amazon UK’s biggest ebooks of 2017, selling 350,000 copies and gathering more than 1,400 5-star reviews so far. It was published in the USA in September 2018 and has also come out in South Korea, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands.

His next thriller, 29 SECONDS, is a psychological thriller set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement. What if someone offered you a solution to the biggest problem in your life – would you take it, if you knew you’d never be found out? Even if you knew it was wrong? What if a 29-second phone call could change your life forever?

29 SECONDS is due to be published in the USA by St Martin’s Press on September 10, 2019.

Tim lives in Nottinghamshire, UK, with his wife and two children.

For exclusive writing, new releases and a FREE deleted scene from Tim, sign up to the Readers’ Club: http://www.bit.ly/TMLogan. You can also follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor, find him on Facebook at /TMLoganAuthor or on his website at http://www.tmlogan.com

©2019 V Williams V Williams

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard – a #BookReview

Rewind by Catherine Ryan HowardTitle: Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense Thriller

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

  • ISBN-10:1538519704
  • ISBN-13:978-1538519707
  • ASIN: B07P925NB9

Print Length: 300 pages

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Rewind

Book Blurb:

From the bestselling, Edgar-nominated novelist Catherine Ryan Howard comes an explosive story about a twisted voyeur and a terrible crime …

PLAY

Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges on-screen, kills her, and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE

Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t—not until she’s found what she’s looking for …

REWIND

Psycho meets Fatal Attraction in this explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking …

My Review:

Rewind by Catherine Ryan HowardTaking a page from a couple of classic thrillers (see blurb), this one begins violently and was almost too graphic for this gentle bedtime reader. Still, intrigued, I proceeded.

Then the well-plotted thriller settles into another classic well-known timeline switchback, this one called play, pause, rewind, or fast forward, a play on words given the plot gimmick. Usually, that meant delving into the backstory of another of the main characters. That also means a switch of POV and really the storyline carries no major protagonist. The characters are well-developed, giving us more clues each switch back to the individual. The victim Natalie O’Connor becomes more sympathetic, and the Anthony (Psycho) character, Andrew more loathsome, creepy, and leaves you cringing, waiting for the shower scene. Audrey Coughlan is struggling to find a niché and determines that this is it. Sean, the newly installed, unseasoned garda of the village is appealing.

Indeed, the little Irish village outside of Cork becomes a character itself; dark, cold, the people tight and mistrusting, unwilling to share a pint but more than willing to share the latest gossip. Everyone knows everyone else, their history, their business, their secrets. Or, most of them. What they don’t know, they suspect. Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Villages, a failed development of exclusively odd cottages; Icky Dickie, who should have moved on–but is protecting his secret as well–better to be in tiny, quiet, frigid seaside Shanamore, especially during the off-tourist season than risk detection.

Natalie is a major Irish Instagram personality and she has disappeared. Audrey is working it–looking for the story and finds herself in the same unit as Natalie. Working through the timeline, the reader is gradually caught up to present day and conclusion, which has snuck in quietly and without a whimper. We knew who it was all along but needed the full explanation and reveal. And it was necessary to wait for Audrey and the police to ferret out the truth, dropping crumbs and red herrings along the way, to finally give a name to the heinous antagonist(s).

It’s a tale about the privacy given away, truth bent for stats, perhaps too freely in social media, and the following the media attracts. It is an intense and engaging, fast-paced suspense-filled thriller that gives the voyeur a peek into another world you may not have wanted to know.

I was given the ARC download by the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a disturbing thriller. Breathe–you are safe now.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Catherine Ryan Howard - authorThe Author: CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Her debut thriller, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger 2017. Before writing full-time, she was a campsite courier in France, a travel administrator in the Netherlands and a front desk agent at a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin and wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. Her second thriller, THE LIAR’S GIRL, will be published in March 2018.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

The Family Lie by Jake Cross – a #BookReview

The Family Lie by Jake CrossTitle: The Family Lie by Jake Cross

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN: B07N8VVHGF

Print Length: 305 pages

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: The Family Lie

Book Blurb:

You whispered goodnight to your daughter. You didn’t know that would be your last goodbye.

You wake up in the middle of the night.

Your five-year-old daughter is gone.

Your husband is nowhere to be seen.

Your family think he took her.

The police believe he’s guilty.

But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

He’s a loving father. A loving husband. Isn’t he?

My Review:

The Family Lie by Jake Cross

No, no, no! I definitely broke my own rules with this one. I saw the blurb, noted the cover. Would not usually entertain reading a book about a kidnapped child. But I did. And I’ll revert back to my own (personal) rules.

This novel sets a stage that looks promising. Hooks you in, gets you reading, but soon goes into left-center field. What happened?

Five-year-old Josie is kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Main character Anna wakes to find rain pelting the window, husband missing, patio door open and floor soaked as well as in Josie’s bedroom–open window–rain blowing in. But no Josie and no Nick. It doesn’t take long before she’s called in the police, but almost immediately they suspect something other than a kidnapping. For one, the husband is gone as well. Isn’t it more likely he took off with his child?

Now begins a long and tedious search, which goes on, and on, throughout which we are introduced to secondary characters, police, detectives, investigators, condescending and suspicious. And here’s where a few of my problems enter. I really don’t like any of them. Particularly the one who refers to Anna as “dear.” ARGH! Anna’s constant referral to her daughter as “my little lady.” (No clue why that annoyed me so much. Munchkin, I could understand, or??? We certainly had nicknames for our own.) And then they find Nick, apparently knocked over the head, drugged, and dragged along for the ride. But then, where was Josie?

The narrative begins introducing twists that throw you off the original scent, scatters the few ideas you might have held for the antagonist(s). And as the storyline plods along, gets further afield. Here are circumstances the reader could not have known about. Although I can appreciate that the parents might veer in the opposite direction in their effort to get to Josie, Nick comes off weak and largely ineffectual. Anna is unsympathetic, who later bemoans the fact that she hasn’t called her daughter by her name. Seems neither police nor parents make informed decisions.

The writing seems a bit awkward at times, the dialogue gawky, some of the scenes inappropriate (come on–he put his hands between her legs? And she accepted it? Not!) Must admit, this novel was not for me, although you may enjoy it. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three of Five Stars Three Stars of Five

Jake Cross - authorThe Author: Jake Cross lives in England and is the author of the standalone thrillers The Family Lie, now on preorder, and The Choice, which hit the top 5 in Australia and was a bestseller in the UK and Canada. And on Kobo, but we don’t talk about that here. He’s on Twitter as @JakeCrossAuthor, if you want to say hello. ©2019 V Williams

Blog author

The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne – a #BookReview

#Five Stars

The Second Wife by Sheryl BrowneTitle: The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Print Length: 349 pages

ASIN: B07KD6YS3R

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Second WifeSimple cover

Book Blurb:

She made her bed. You’ll lie in it.

Rebecca only wanted to help out – to be kind. Richard seemed so alone after his wife, Nicole, died, and Rebecca wanted to make sure he knew he had someone to rely on.

But now she’s in Nicole’s immaculate house. Drinking from her favourite crystal wine glass. Keeping shoes in her orderly closet. Comforting her sweet and grieving step-daughter. It feels like Rebecca is living another woman’s life.

And as she gets to know the neighbours, Rebecca hears stories that make her wonder: was free-spirited Nicole happy in this perfect life, or did she feel trapped? Did she feel, as Rebecca is beginning to, that something wasn’t quite right?

The book everyone’s talking about! If you loved The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and The Girl Before, you’ll be totally gripped and unable to put down this twisty page-turning psychological thriller. Continue reading “The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne – a #BookReview”

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall – a #BookReview

Love You Gone by Rona HalsallTitle: Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

Genre: Psychological Thriller-Suspense, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: November 15, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

288 Pages

Book Blurb:

‘Hello? Police? My husband and our children… they’re gone.’


When Mel arrives at the holiday cottage in the Lake District, she expects to find the heating on and her husband Luke and the two children waiting for her. Maybe a bottle of wine open…

Instead, there is just a note on the side, saying they’ve gone out for a walk.

But they aren’t back several hours later, and Mel knows something is wrong. Really wrong. When a search doesn’t find them, she has to confess to the police that her marriage isn’t all that it seems.

Even if that risks her own secrets being revealed…

My Review:

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know I am seldom at a loss for words. But this book…where do I even begin?

Okay, wait…

Love you Gone by Rona HalsallWe are talking about a psychological thriller that hooks you immediately, and whether or not you think you know where this is going, you’d be wrong. Oh yeah, I was burning some serious cell phone battery, because once you get started reading, it is very difficult to put down.

The thing is…it starts off with Luke’s POV and then switches to Mel’s and you’re left wondering what happened. First, she seems hopeful, excited even, then as the evening wears on emotional, wrought with anxious nerves over the lapse of time in which she’d fully expected her hubby and two children back to the holiday cottage they’d rented for a getaway and a chance to “sort” things out. Uh oh…Your first clue and maybe not a good sign? But is she really a reliable narrator?

Because. The book is divided into parts (there are always two sides to the story–right?), and it isn’t until you’re into the book that you really begin to get a glimmer that this may be a whole other scenario than the originally posed of a missing man and his kids. Off on a hike. Lost? Whoa! Maybe not and the rug has just been pulled out from under your feet.

In addition, to the change of narrators are jumps in time. Yes, you can buy that as it is a way to understand how we got to this point. And it isn’t pretty. It’s heart-wrenching. Luke is working on putting his life back together and the two kids are his. Mel is pushing her biological clock and Luke. The little girl and boy are at a very tender age. Young. Vulnerable.

Lies, misdirection, twists, changes of POV and time stamp. Little by little more secrets come out, dished in very small helpings. Support characters offer some hope, and most are sympathetic, engaging, well-developed. Luke’s parents are aging and their health is not the best. His mother, always a strong woman, is battling a debilitating disease. Cousin Ted just adds stress and tension. You want to volunteer to beat him up (or I could do it!). But then Luke; gees! is he ever going to man-up or not?

The pacing of the well-plotted narrative is swift. No commercial breaks–forget it. It’s a race to the conclusion, and it’s beginning to look like everything will work out. Maybe you can take a breath now. Or maybe not, but it does make sense, huh?

And then, WHAM! The final twist. Like a boxer, down for the count. Did NOT see that one coming! (But then I’d been playing catch up from the beginning.)

Loved the book, opened up a new premise for me, although several elements pushed some disbelief. Questionable activity and the argument for or against that one, a tough call. And I had a little problem with Luke’s mother’s attitude at the end. There were some edit misses, but really this is such a fast and furious read you tend to barrel right over those.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley after reading Shalini’s review. (Thank you, Shalini!) I really needed a good psychological thriller to get my reading excitement back on level. Totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review and can recommend for any reader looking for something off-track, fast, and thought-provoking. This is one that will resonate after the last page!

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

Rona Halsall - authorThe Author: Rona’s debut psychological thriller, Keep You Safe was released in August and her second novel, Love you Gone will be out on 15th November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs, and three guinea pigs and has been a bookworm since she was a child – now she’s actually creating stories of her own it feels like a dream come true.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim.

She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!

To find out more about Rona’s novels, go to http://www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor or follow @RonaHalsallAuth on Twitter.

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly – a #BookReview

Open Your Eyes by Paula DalyTitle: Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

Genre: Thriller and Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Noir

Publisher: Grove Press

Publication Date: October 9, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Open Your Eyes–great cover

This book grabs you almost immediately and doesn’t really let go the hold until the shocking but satisfying conclusion.

I can think of few scenarios more visually horrifying than that of being shot in the head. By a nail gun. Not once. Twice. Once that mental picture is captured in your own head, it’s awfully tough to get out. Left in the car with his two children in the back seat, they were momentarily stalled from leaving when the neighbor catches his attention and proceeds to vent yet another complaint about their cat. His wife, Jane, was just asked to run back in to retrieve some fortifying liquid to help Leon get through his forty-six birthday party with his mother–yet another he did not wish to attend. Jane may have stalled inside just a bit. She’s is not a person who enjoys confrontation and is tired of neighbor Lawrence’s tirades, but when Jane gets back to the car, something is wrong. Really, extremely wrong. Continue reading “Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly – a #BookReview”

Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview

Malice by Jennifer JaynesTitle: Malice by Jennifer Jaynes

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Murder, Women’s Fiction Contemporary

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: Happy Publication Day! September 25, 2018

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Malice – Dark subject matter

Book Blurb: The perfect life becomes the perfect nightmare in a twisting novel of psychological suspense from #1 USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes…

Dr. Daniel Winters is living a fairy-tale life. He has a beachfront home in Malibu, a career as a respected pediatrician at a thriving Los Angeles practice, and a gorgeous new wife, Mia. For a man whose past was rife with mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of suicide, it seems too good to be true.

Then Daniel learns that a fellow pediatrician and his family were found slaughtered in their home. It’s just the first chip in the facade of Daniel’s perfect life. Little by little, everything starts to fall away. At work, his career becomes at risk when he’s asked to remain silent about a dangerous new drug. At home, Mia has gone from an affectionate newlywed to a mysterious woman carefully hiding secrets—and possibly a lover.

Then, another doctor is found dead, and as Mia’s behavior becomes increasingly suspicious, Daniel begins to wonder: Is paranoia getting the best of him…or has his fairy-tale life become a nightmare worse than he could have ever imagined? Continue reading “Malice by Jennifer Jaynes – a #BookReview”

#TBR – What’s Up Next? Crypto-Currency and Crime – or Is That Redundant?

#TBR

Just a little respite from the cozies to get into some serious, intelligent reading. I’m as ignorant of crypto-currency as I am of the Amazon algorithms, but thinking I’d tackle that subject downloaded The Enigma Source by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E Burkey from NetGalley. Holy Moly Batman, what have I gotten myself into!? Because the blurb is almost as long as the book, I’ll just mention that so far I am greatly enjoying a very intriguing, intricate, and solid technothriller. The Enigma Sourcce by Breakfield and Burkey

The world is almost ready for fiat currency to be replaced by a superior digital currency.  The trouble is, which one and who will own it? The R-Group is back and trying to guide the players to a safe destination in the complex world of cryptocurrency.  The Global Bank has tasked Tonya to find and hire a cryptologist to create a new global cryptocurrency, though sometimes it seems she may not be up to the task. Along the way it appears she is the one getting played.

If you’ve heard the term and wondered what is going on with our greenbacks, you might tap into this, the tenth (yeah–the 10th!!–it’s possible I’ve missed something important in the first nine! Gees, always late to the party...) The Enigma Series Book 10 released August 11, 2018. Check it out.

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Malice by Jennifer JaynesAnd I was ready for a rollicking good psychological thriller again and chose Malice by Jennifer Jaynes also from NetGalley. This one will release on September 25th, which means I’ll have to switch books temporarily.

The perfect life becomes the perfect nightmare in a twisting novel of psychological suspense from #1 USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes…

Dr. Daniel Winters is living a fairy-tale life. He has a beachfront home in Malibu, a career as a respected pediatrician at a thriving Los Angeles practice, and a gorgeous new wife, Mia. For a man whose past was rife with mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of suicide, it seems too good to be true.

This little ditty has already gotten 85 reviews on Goodreads at 4.62 stars. That’s pretty good for Goodreads and I’m looking forward to tearing into it.

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High Crimes by Libby Fischer HellmannAnd just in case I haven’t had enough on the thriller side of political conspiracies, I also downloaded from NetGalley High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellman, the Georgia Davis PI Series Book 5. Oh good grief! When will I learn to start with Book 1? This one will be released on November 10, 2018. From the blurb…

How do you solve a murder when there are 42,000 suspects? 
That’s the task facing Chicago PI Georgia Davis, hired to hunt down those ultimately responsible for the assassination of Resistance leader Dena Baldwin at a demonstration fourteen months after the 2016 election. The gunman, on a nearby hotel rooftop, dies within minutes of the shooting.  As Georgia sifts through Dena’s 42,000 Facebook followers, she discovers that unknown enemies hiding behind fake profiles have infiltrated the group… 

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Reviews upcoming. After that, I’ll be ready to tackle those cozies I have lined up beginning in October. I’ll get back to you on those. Stay tuned…

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Tag – This Is My Genre Book Tag

This is My Genre Book Tag

I was tagged by Shalini at BOOKS, REVIEWS ET AL BY SHALINI to participate in the This Is My Genre Book Tag! Thank you so much! If you haven’t followed Shalini yet, you owe it to yourself to check out her blog and enjoy the biting wit and wisdom she bestows in her reviews, posts, and interviews.

The Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • Tag as many people as you want

The Questions

What is your favorite genre?

I don’t think I can pin that down to one genre. I tend to read all over the board. However, I do love thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, crime, police procedurals, yadda, yadda, yadda…hey, I list all that, including genres I won’t normally read on my “Submission” page.

Who is your favorite author from that genre?

The Forbidden Door by Dean KoontzArgh! Well, that could change, but right now I’m reading book 4 of the Jane Hawk series, The Forbidden Door, by Dean Koontz. Gees, can that man write!! (And, btw, I’ll be reviewing his book this Sunday, September 2nd, which is also my 56th anniversary with the CE. How the man has hung in this long is beyond me.)

What is it about that genre that keeps pulling you back?

Are you kidding? The nail-biting, edge of your seat, can’t put it down to fix a meal or go to the bathroom, glued to the page reading. These books leave you spent at the finish line and looking for the next one. They are the “crack” of books. And like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t read just one.

What is the book that started your love for the genre?

Blood Orchids by Toby NealUh huh, at my age, I can’t remember that far back. When I told my son I was reading a Dean Koontz book, he mentioned that Koontz wrote horror. (He knows I wouldn’t read that.) But I was hooked. Years ago I discovered Toby Neal and her Lei Crime series. After reading Blood Orchids, yeah, I was hooked.

If you have to recommend one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader–that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Just Add Salt by Jinx SchwartzYeah, no. I don’t generally recommend books, although I discovered that I had no problem recommending books to my recent visitor–an avid reader (who seems to prefer books of more than 300 pages). She also reads a fairly wide variety of genres. I introduced her to Toby Neal and Jinx Schwartz. If you don’t know that latter name, Jinx writes the kitschy Hetta Coffey Mysteries. I got started with her books because she writes sea stories (and you know where that interest stemmed from).

Why do you read?

I’ve always read. Books have the power to transport you to exotic places, exercise super powers, teach, empower, and write. Which I also wanted to do!

I tag –

Mischenko

Carla

And many of you don’t do tags, so anyone else who wants to do this tag, please do! I’d loved to read your answers!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Perfect Friend – a #BookReview

The Perfect Friend by Barbara CopperthwaiteTitle:  The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Currently #185 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: July 5, 2018, Happy Release Day!

Source:  Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Perfect FriendNot a real fan of the (yellow) cover

“…Still, I’m trying to decide how much truth to tell. This started as little white lies…”

Barbara Copperthwaite is a master of the psychological thriller model. The problem is, if you are like most people, you take on face value what you are told, and the narration is so simple, so natural, you don’t suspect anything is awry. But you’ve been set up immediately with a narrator who tells you up front she is a liar. Continue reading “The Perfect Friend – a #BookReview”

Last Night – a #BookReview

Last Night by Kerry WilkinsonTitle: Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

Genre: Currently #806 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: March 28, 2018

Source: Bookouture and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Last NightCover hints at remote field

Apparently not an English author new on the scene, my first read in one of his standalone books due out the end of this month. Rose Denton wakes behind the wheel, it’s two-something and she is apparently in the middle of a field with blood on her windshield and hood. She is confused, has no memory for how she might have gotten there, and after an inspection of her own body (nothing sore or broken), then around the car can find no apparent victim, animal or human. She has no explanation for her careen through the hedge or why she is here. Continue reading “Last Night – a #BookReview”

Rosepoint #Reviews – January Recap

Congratulations to you for surviving the holidays and making it through January! Isn’t that considered the worst of winter is over? We can only hope! It’s certainly been a frantic month for me, back to reading, reviewing, and concentrating on “stats.” (Yes, I know. I’m not supposed to think about those, but…)

I have achieved some goals: 

Books to Cell
Photo attribution: Shutterstock

Blog stats (hit 1,000 followers–Thank you all–again!), Goodreads stats (made my Book Challenge!), Amazon reviewer status (now down under 15K), and NetGalley stats achieved 80%–gonna keep it that way and pushing for my 50 reviews badge. (As a new reviewer on NetGalley, it’s easy to fall into that trap–BOOKS! All those BOOKS! I want them all–no, wait…oops!)

So, besides the ARC’s from NetGalley, there was #ThrowbackThursdays highlighting two of my favorite authors (Jodie Bailey and Linda McDonald). Spent some heavy time doing #AmReading posts, #TBR posts, and #Bookstagrams, the latter of which has fired up new ideas for “staging” books and that’s been fun.

Eleven January reads, most ARC’s through NetGalley and one read (#11) by my associate, the CE (If you haven’t caught his review yet, check it out!):

  1. January 02 – No Turning Back by Nancy Bush
  2. January 04 – The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot (author request)
  3. January 07 – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
  4. January 09 – Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
  5. January 10 – Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  6. January 14 – An Engineered Injustice by William L Myers Jr
  7. January 16 – Dark Ocean by Nick Elliott (author request)
  8. January 21 – Deep Zero by V S Kemanis
  9. January 23 – An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
  10. January 28 – Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall
  11. January 30 – The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney (author request)

See anything here that catches your eye? These run the gamut from historical fiction to psychological and legal thrillers and I know you’ve read at least one of them.

I’m having a tough time keeping up with reading and commenting on all your reviews! I comment when I can and I enjoy receiving all your comments here as well as the likes and comments on Bookstagram.

Photo attibution: lifewithdogsandcatsMaybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes us longer. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Her Last Day – a Book Review

Her Last Day by T R RaganTitle: Her Last Day by T. R. Ragan

Genre: Currently #608 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Private Investigators

Amazon Author Rank #7 in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Source: Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Her Last Day – Interesting cover, but I’m not sure how it conveys either the title or genre

Happy release day to Theresa Ragan! I love it when I am introduced to a new-to-me author and her first book in a new series! T. R. Ragan is an accomplished author with successful series publications already behind her. In Her Last Day Jessie Cole #1 we are introduced to capable, independent and responsible Jessie Cole. Yes, she’s a woman with issues. Who doesn’t have baggage? But her history does not define her. Continue reading “Her Last Day – a Book Review”

Bonfire – a Book Review

Bonfire by Krysten RitterTitle: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Genre: Currently #448 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers & Suspense, Psychological Thrillers

Publisher: Crown Publisher

Publication Date: To be released November 7, 2017

Source: Crown Publishing and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Bonfire – stock cover

Once again, I requested and was granted a book without knowing that the author, Krysten Ritter, had already made quite a name for herself, this time as an actress and producer. Of her screen credits, the one with which I was familiar was Breaking Bad, although I didn’t connect her name with the part. Continue reading “Bonfire – a Book Review”

Her Last Secret – a Book Review

Her Last Secret by Barbara CopperthwaiteTitle: Her Last Secret (a gripping psychological thriller) by Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Currently #586 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: To be released October 13, 2017

Source: Bookouture and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Her Last Secret I don’t think the cover reflects one of the characters, so…(?)

I loved little Mouse and held my breath. My favorite character, Mouse, so young, sweet, innocent of the drama going on around her and started holding my breath almost immediately, waiting to find out what happens to Amber. And the drama? Continue reading “Her Last Secret – a Book Review”

Hello Again – a Book Review

Hello Again by Brenda NovakTitle: Hello Again (Dr. Evelyn Talbot Novels)

Genre: Currently #639 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Women Sleuths

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publication Date: To be released October 3, 2017

Source: St Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Hello Again Nice cover, not sure it conveys the location or the genre

Apparently there is nowhere you can hide if someone really wants to find you. This book is textbook serial killer, psychological profiling at it’s best. Continue reading “Hello Again – a Book Review”

An American Cage – a Book Review

An American Cage by Ted GaldiTitle: An American Cage by Ted Galdi

Publisher: Precipice Books

Publication Date: To be released September 15, 2017

Source: Request from author and ARC from NetGalley

Title and Cover: An American Cage – Disturbing cover, Texas in red

Good grief, why isn’t this thing a subscription TV serial because there is NO WAY you could not go back each week to watch the explosive scenes from An American Cage, a sophomore release by Ted Galdi scheduled for September . Continue reading “An American Cage – a Book Review”

Mortom by Erik Therme-Review

Mortom by Erik ThermeMortom by Erik Therme

Genre: Currently #1555 on Best Seller’s Rank for Kindle eBooks, Mystery Thriller & Suspense

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: April 2015

Submitted by author for review

Mortom by Erik Therme – Cover hints at suspense

Maybe it was the discovery of the odiferous rat found under the refrigerator when the protagonist, Andy Crowl and his sister Kate, tentatively set foot in the house he has just inherited, but this one grabbed me from the beginning. The rat had a key wrapped in a note shoved into his rotting jaws. His unfortunate cousin, Craig Moore, had passed and left his entire estate, consisting of this old house and an empty bank account to Andy despite the lack of recent familial connection.

What he remembers of his cousin was the puzzles in which they both shared an interest. Craig wasn’t just good with puzzles, it was the one activity where he could actually best Andy. It doesn’t take Andy long to realize, however, this puzzle is a deadly one, but one that could also reap him some major bucks if successful–and heaven knows (given his current circumstance) he needs them! Unfortunately, the puzzle comes with a timeline. Continue reading “Mortom by Erik Therme-Review”