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

False Witness: A Novel by Karin Slaughter – #Audiobook Review – #legalthriller

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Book Blurb:

AN ORDINARY LIFE…

Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST…

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP…

On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm’s partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They’re scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.  

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice…

My Review:

Another author for whom I’ve seen tons of books, reviews, and accolades, I bit when I saw the massive selection of books, both ebooks and audiobooks listed at my favorite local library.  I’ll never understand why an author would pack what might otherwise be viewed as a well plotted, fast-paced five star contender with language that would make even a sailor blush. And this one was so blatantly graphic, violent, and brutal, I almost gave up on it several times.

False Witness by Karin SlaughterThe narrative crawled like a centipede up the back of my neck, raising hairs, and would not be swatted away.

The main character, Leigh, a defense attorney, may not be the most sympathetic character over that of her younger sister, Callie. Callie becomes a heroin addict following a catastrophic accident. A child gymnast and cheerleader, the resulting broken neck left her with unrelenting pain. Further, she was babysitting a boy whose father began abusing her. Callie finds herself in a life and death struggle with the father and ends up killing him. She calls her older sister and together they deal with it—the body, the scene, and the money which pays for Leigh’s college.

Neither of the two can escape the lingering trauma and Leigh is left with crushing guilt over the resulting spiral of her sister. It’s all her fault. All her fault! She’d given the babysitting job to her sister burying her experience with the boy’s father.

Now 20 years later, Leigh finds herself defending Andrew in a horrific rape case. Turns out, Andrew is Trevor, the son of the man they disposed of. He is now a very wealthy sexual predator, a vicious psychopath, a 33 year old following the path of dear ole dad.

The author has developed her characters so well, a reader might very well feel the skin crawl at the connection between he and Leigh. His delight in manipulating the trial, his hold over Leigh’s sixteen year old daughter. He drips with power, impunity, entitlement. He’s cold, calculating.

The novel also includes the contemporary atmosphere of the impact of the Covid pandemic while examining each piece of the puzzle, the exploitation, the cold disengagement of the accused. Juxtaposed against the court drama is the struggle of Callie, the desperation of Leigh, and the limitations of normal public function due to the virus.

The book examines some horrifically disturbing issues: drug addiction, rape, sexual deviation, domestic violence, and murder.

There are few emotional connections here, the two sisters kept at arm’s length by an extremely abusive background. One likeable character in the vet where Callie routinely returns to care for animals. One sister damaged psychologically and physically for life, one going the other way into intellectually unemotional detachment, driven together again for a shared solution. A story that does not, can not have, a happy ending.

I can honestly admit my old-fashioned mind was grossed out on more than one occasion and the language was abominable. While the story might be engrossing, the level of mayhem coupled with the language was over the top for me. This is probably my first and last book by this author. Have you the same experience or dulled by the constant hammering of the theme and language?

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
ASIN: B09239CX27
Listening Length: 18 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: False Witness [Amazon]

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

Karin Slaughter - authorThe Author: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

http://www.karinslaughter.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarinSlaughter/

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/karinslaughterauthor/

Twitter @SlaughterKarin

Kathleen Early - narrator, actressThe Narrator:  Kathleen Early was born on October 31, 1973 in Irving, Texas, USA. She is an actress, known for Across the Universe (2007), Trip in a Summer Dress (2004) and Grey’s Anatomy (2005).

 

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Necklace by Matt Witten – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse, Murder of a Child 

Book Blurb:

The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

The Necklace by Matt WittenSusan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?

My Review:

Susan Lentigo has spent twenty miserable years following the kidnap, rape, and murder of her seven year old daughter. The death of her daughter understandably changed her life and as much as she tried, and failed, to move on, she is finally to witness the execution on death row of the man convicted for the brutal murder.

The Necklace by Matt WittenAt the time, she carried a rage for the man convicted, and asked of the judge the death penalty. (Susan later harbors nagging doubts regarding the man she was sure responsible. Something just wasn’t right.) It was a heinous crime, a necklace homemade by Susan and her daughter still missing, thought to be a trophy.

Okay, back up.

She is still in the same house, the same waitressing job, and as broke as ever since her husband left her within the year of their daughter’s death. The little town kicked off a fundraiser to supply funds for the trip to North Dakota to witness the execution. She’ll take a bus and the fundraising covers the fare with some expense money left over.

Susan blew hot and cold for me—I could understand her anger, the emotionally charged forthcoming event, but some of her snap decisions left me wondering about her objective decision-making. The money given to her was stolen, leaving her broke and at the generosity of people, some of whom made for amazing support characters. I got tired of her alternate rude behavior, however, lashing out with foul language, or withdrawal. Her trip got sidetracked.

She begins to rack up some clues, flaming her doubts again about the condemned man, but the person of interest instead now is even more devastating. Susan determines she must prove her theory. Fortunately, she can ally with the former FBI agent involved in her daughter’s case and he’ll help with DNA analysis of her clue.

After a somewhat sullen, somber start, the pace revs up and by the time they arrive at the prison to witness the execution, the fast-pace swings into high gear and demands full on attention, gripping, and riveted to the conclusion.

Well, and then, the conclusion—while satisfying on the surface—neglected to complete a few minor details. That, along with a couple plot holes, contradictions, pushed me off a higher star rating. Yes, I was kept glued during the latter third (quarter?), but pushed just a bit beyond disbelief a couple times as well. 3.5 stars

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest opinions. Currently on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
ASIN: B08SR91BD4
Print Length: 259 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Matt Witten - authorThe Author: [Matt Witten] I’ve written in all kinds of genres: TV shows, stage plays, novels, and movies.

Novels: My thriller THE NECKLACE will come out in September, 2021, published by Oceanview Publishing. It’s optioned for film by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Cartel Pictures. Lee Child says: “This is as fast and tense as a great thriller should be, but it’s full of warmth and humanity too – one small-town woman’s quest for the most poignant kind of justice you could imagine. Buy it today and read it tonight!” For more info on the novel you can check my website, mattwittenwriter.com.

I’ve written four mystery novels starring amateur sleuth Jacob Burns. These books were all originally published by Signet; now they’re all available on Kindle. The first novel, BREAKFAST AT MADELINE’S, received the Malice Domestic Award. The Library Journal called BREAKFAST AT MADELINE’S “the perfect antidote for a rainy day.” Publishers Weekly, reviewing GRAND DELUSION, said “Witten delights with his charming characters, especially Burns himself.” The Romantic Times said, “Told with warmth and wit, STRANGE BEDFELLOWS is a wry story that packs a wallop of an ending.” Murder Express called THE KILLING BEE “a fast, witty, thoroughly engrossing novel that I was sorry to see end.”

TV: I’ve written for House, Law & Order, Pretty Little Liars, Medium, Homicide, CSI: Miami, Judging Amy, Supernatural, and other shows.

Plays: My published plays include The Deal, Washington Square Moves, and The Ties That Bind. They’ve been produced in theatres all over the world.

Movie: My movie DRONES, directed by Rick Rosenthal and starring Matt O’Leary and Eloise Mumford, premiered in 2014 at the London Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, and the AFI Fest. It’s available at Amazon.

So that’s my professional life in a nutshell! My wife Nancy Seid teaches at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, and our sons Zack and Jacob do machine learning, CRISPR, and all kinds of amazing stuff.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Forever Home by Sue Watson – #BookReview – #psychologicalfiction

Happy Release Day! 

Book Blurb:

The Forever Home - Sue WatsonCarly had thought they’d always live there. The beautiful Cornish cliffside house they’d taken on as a wreck, that Mark had obsessively re-designed and renovated – a project that had made him famous. It was where they’d raised their children, where they’d sat cosily on the sofa watching storms raging over the sea below. It was where they’d promised to keep each other’s secrets…

Until now. Because Mark has fallen in love. With someone he definitely shouldn’t have. Someone who isn’t Carly. And suddenly their family home doesn’t feel like so much of a safe haven.

Carly thinks forever should mean forever though: it’s her home and she’ll stay there. Even the dark family secrets it contains feel like they belong to her. But someone disagrees. And, as threats start to arrive at her front door, it becomes clear, someone will stop at nothing. Because someone wants to demolish every last thing that makes Carly feel safe. Forever.

My Review:

Mark chose the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary to announce he was seeing someone else—not that he had a choice. It was tell Carly or her best friend would. Okay, not a huge surprise, he’d been a womanizing the entire length of their marriage. A sham, really, because the brand they’d created together by redesigning and renovating houses would not allow for other than being a perfect family. Beautiful home, two gorgeous children, and finally enough money to live comfortably.

A lie.

Carly Anderson had tolerated…everything. They had secrets. Behind those closed doors, there were things not to be shared with the public. And Mark was crazy occupied with his public persona. This, too, would be spun. The public would get a version. Maybe not the truth, but a version.

A slow burn.

The Forever Home by Sue WatsonI had a problem getting into the family drama. The divorce back and forth turning ugly. Carly would keep the house. Her house. She’d inherited the one of a kind Cornish cliffside home from her mother, but his new girlfriend wanted it—had wanted it all her life. Carly had been the power behind the face that Mark put on for his adoring public. Now it was quietly being undermined. Would she lose the house to Mark and his pregnant girlfriend?

“…an interview in the Daily Mail with Gemma Hough, the lead groupie and yummy mummy who virtually accosted me at the hair salon.”

Lots of tell not show; stories from Carly regarding the characters surrounding she and the family, the building of the brand, the celebrity. Slow, with repetition of salient plot points. Mark is beyond narcissistic but I eventually got tired of Carly as well. Okay, okay. She’d worked just as hard. It was her house. She’d put up with him all those years. He held her secret, although threatening her with revealing it was getting old, and the secret easy to guess. She didn’t love him; hadn’t for a long time.

I’d have been happy with much of the repetition deleted, the chapters instead making progress toward the end reveal (which, btw, was also guessed well ahead of the conclusion), and Carly showing a little more of the gumption that it took to get both of them to the status. I needed more empathy in at least one of the characters and didn’t feel it for Carly.

The author has a large fan base and dedicated followers. While this may not have been my cup of tea, no doubt her fans will appreciate her new release. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Rating: Three stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Bookouture

  • ASIN : B08YDCN27S

Print Length: 391 pages
Publication Date: June 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

 Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo 

Sue Watson - authorThe Author: Sue Watson was a TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.

Now a USA Today bestselling author, Sue has written eighteen novels, many have been translated into several languages. Sue is now exploring the darker side of life with her thrillers OUR LITTLE LIES, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, THE EMPTY NEST, THE SISTER-IN-LAW, FIRST DATE and her latest, THE FOREVER HOME.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her family in Worcestershire where much of her day is spent writing – okay, procrastinating. Her hobby is eating cake, while watching diet and exercise programmes from the sofa, a skill she’s perfected after many years of practice.

more info visit Sue’s website; http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

Sue would love to meet you on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks

Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

©2021 V Williams

The Decagon House Murders (Pushkin Vertigo Book 32) by Yukito Ayatsuji – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito AyatsujiA hugely enjoyable, page-turning murder mystery with one of the best and most-satisfying conclusions you’ll ever read: clever enough that you’re unlikely to guess it, but simple enough that you’ll kick yourself when it’s revealed. That’s what has made it a classic in Japan, and what readers of this first ever English translation will love too.

The members of a university mystery club decide to visit an island which was the site of a grisly, unsolved multiple murder the year before. They’re looking forward to investigating the crime, putting their passion for solving mysteries to practical use, but before long there is a fresh murder, and soon the club-members realise they are being picked off one-by-one. The remaining amateur sleuths will have to use all of their murder-mystery expertise to find the killer before they end up dead too.

This is a playful, loving and fiendishly plotted homage to the best of golden age crime. It will delight any mystery fan looking to put their little grey cells to use.

His Review:

The island is a perfect getaway for 7 members of a murder solving group. Isolated from the mainland, accessible only by boat and uninhabited. A large blue mansion once stood on the island but was destroyed by fire. The only structure remaining is a decagon shaped building with seven bedding areas and a kitchen, store room and restrooms. It’s a perfect place for a group of university students to spend a week and solve some mysteries.

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito AyatsujiThe students have taken the names of famous English mystery writers; Poe, Ellery, Orczy, Carr, Agatha, Van Dine and Leroux. Two of the students are females including Agatha and Orczy and the remaining are males. Leroux prides himself as the best of the mystery solvers. They begin the task of solving some of the worlds’ great mystery crimes. They are all fairly competitive and set out on their tasks with gusto. Except their first problem is the death of one of them. Two deaths quickly follow.

I found the read entertaining but also a bit perplexing. Why would a group of students stay on the island when even one death occurred? Each of them work individually to try to figure out who is the culprit. This was my first problem with the writing. An isolated island with someone being murdered would be the last place where I would stay. Rather than work together they individually try to solve the crimes. Who would continue to act this way when people are dying around you?

They suspect each other and lock their doors and windows and yet the murders continue. Red herrings abound as the author leads the reader down false trails. I found the overall writing to be a bit frustrating in the way the group reacted. Self-preservation dictates that an immediate distrust of everyone would prevail, certainly as the murders are not all done in the same way. This adds to the complications of solving the mystery.

I can recommend the book to those who enjoy a good puzzle. 4 stars – CE Williams

 FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo
Print Length: 234 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
ASIN: B08H16VR2L
Hong-Li Wong (Translator)
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Decagon House Murders [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Yukito Ayatsuji - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Yukito Ayatsuji is the original creator of Another. He is a famous writer of mystery and Japanese detective fiction. He is also one of the writers that demands restoration of the classic rules of detective fiction and the use of more self reflective elements. He is married to Fuyumi Ono, author of The Twelve Kingdoms and creator of Ghost Hunt, Juuni Kokuki, and the author for a few other manga.

►●

The Decagon House Murders is a milestone in the history of detective fiction. Published in 1987, it is credited with launching the shinhonkaku movement which restored Golden Age style plotting and fair-play clues to the Japanese mystery scene, which had been dominated by the social school of mystery for several decades. It is also said to have influenced the development of the wildly popular anime movement.

This, the first English edition, contains a lengthy introduction by the maestro of Japanese mystery fiction, Soji Shimada.

©2021 – CE Williams – V Williams

Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

Book Blurb:

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanGaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.
Her public life Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

My Review:

My first book by this author, a domestic thriller standalone features two main characters. Greg is a well-to-do early fifty something, Harvard educated, and an architect. After only six months, he has invited Jade Thompson to a rental home they’ll share until they are married and have their baby in their new home. She is the product of the Caribbean and a strong social medial influencer who has managed to create a sufficient enough following that she makes her own living. She is also the May to his December.

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanUnfortunately, this is not his first marriage, nor his first child, and although he met Jade after he separated from his wife of twenty-five years, his soon to be ex and both of his children by her are more than a little unsettled at being replaced.

From the outset, there is the sin of omission between the two. Not lies. Not untruths. The failure of disclosure. And both harbor secrets—but perhaps more so on her side. So when they are attacked and he’s left with a serious brain injury and she loses their baby, it sets off a slow chain of events.

Greg’s recovery is slow and debilitating requiring further surgery and in the meantime, his daughter is planting more and more venom in his mind regarding Jade, adding to his insecurity and paranoia. He has wealth and added her to his insurance policy. Is it his money? She has hidden an appalling childhood. Does the attack stem from her father, his associates, or one of his victims?

The attacks on her character are vicious. Greg follows one theory then another. Watches her. She is trying to settle the doubts in her mind about her dad. But Greg and Jade don’t sit and talk. No honest heart-to-hearts here. Just suspicion. They aren’t well developed, so it’s difficult to walk in either shoes.

I had a problem getting into this one. It dragged a bit for me. Not so much as a thriller as a slow build of suspense. I had a couple little problems with the lack of sufficient research (Rikers? Nope—not going to happen). It gradually makes it to conclusion, but by then a matter of eliminating one or the either (not that many and a bit obvious). The relationship between the two is one you’d peg to fail. Communication being a major problem and then add the disparity in cultural and financial backgrounds.

His daughter is awful—no way you can get over that—or his quick lack of support for Jade in a crisis. Yes, I know, I know!!—he’d almost died from the head injury. Am I being too harsh on him? She’d also suffered loss—where was her sympathy? (Don’t get me started.) 3.5 stars

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

  • ASIN : B08F4ZJVN6

Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Cate Holahan - authorThe Author: Catherine “Cate” Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and One Little Secret (July 9, 2019). An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record newspaper, and on many web sites. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two young daughters, and sometimes-good dog.

©2021 V Williams

The Chain by Adrian McKinty – #Audiobook Review – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die.  “You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim , and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago. But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.

My Review:

Somehow I feel like I was tricked into listening to this audiobook by a beloved author and then just before I clicked on my speaker, the author got switched. Reading the reviews, everyone loves McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. Of course, I weighed in for Reading Ireland Reviews and this was not anything like I expected.

The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe premise here, of course, is the kidnapping of a thirteen year old girl, Kylie. Rachel Klein, the mother, however, is not a monied person, and in fact a single mother with a history of cancer. It doesn’t make sense she’d have been the target of a kidnapper—can you really get blood out of a turnip? Apparently so.

In this case, it’s a terrifyingly unique ransom. Not just the money—no—she has now been inducted into the “chain.” Her daughter can only survive by her abducting another child and jumping through the hoops as she’s done. And the chain can’t be broken. Remember all the admonitions when you got a chain letter? Terrible things would befall those who didn’t keep it going. Talk about a rock and a hard place!

There are subsequent parents as Rachel works to free her own daughter. Can the daughter be returned unscathed? What must something like this do to a child? There is the obvious exposition of laying one’s life open on social media. Gees, TOO EASY! Just pick someone. Or maybe not. Must be the right family, the right child to insure the chain continues.

Rachel becomes a mamma bear and will countenance no less in the other mothers or families. But mothers and families are different. And Rachel can’t do it alone—she brings in a brother-in-law, former Marine. He waxes strong and dependent with his own physical problems.

The plot gradually reveals in small dollops those behind the chain. But at this point even the parents have been forced into acts they’d have never dreamed of doing. The narrative goes darker and stretches disbelief. Are any of the characters sympathetic now?

A thriller at the beginning, a suspense, not a lot of sagging, but tilts in the end to disbelief. Still, I’m intrigued enough that I’ll try this author’s main series as this is apparently a standalone and veers substantially from his norm.

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Mulholland Books – Hachette Audio

  • ASIN: ASIN : B07K6HCYPY

 Print Length: 369 pages
Listening Length: 10 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: January LaVoy
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Chain [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Adrian McKinty - authorThe Author: Adrian McKinty is an Edgar Award winning crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Adrian studied philosophy at Oxford University on a full scholarship. In the early 90’s he emigrated to New York City where he worked in bars, building sites and bookstores for seven years before moving to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

His first crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award and was optioned by Universal Pictures. He has written a dozen novels since then. He has won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award and the Anthony Award. He has been shortlisted for the Dagger Award, Theakston Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Prix du Meilleurs Polar.

 

January LaVoy - narrator, actressThe Narrator: January LaVoy is an Atlanta-based actress, best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on the long-running ABC daytime drama ONE LIFE TO LIVE.  She has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the country, and guest starred on several prime time network series, including Elementary, Blue Bloods, and N0S4A2. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University.

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