The Perfect Ending by Rob Kaufman–#BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Rosepoint Rating: Five stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Perfect Ending by Rob KaufmanParalyzed by writer’s block, Scott Atwood’s career is over, and so, he’s decided, is his life. He just has to figure out the perfect ending befitting a popular, award-winning thriller-suspense author who always gives his fans a mind-blowing finale.

But just as Scott resolves to jump in front of a train, he conceives the ideal plot for his next bestseller — a writer of psychological thrillers who decides to wreak havoc in other people’s lives in order to help him come up with ideas for his next book.

Looking for inspiration, he exposes his neighbor’s affair with devastating and far-reaching repercussions, and his plan soon begins to spiral wildly out of control. But what is fiction? And what is reality? The lines blur in this twisted and masterful Hitchcockian thriller with the perfect ending. The question is… to what?

My Review:

Wow! I love it when I stumble on a psychological thriller totally unique in concept, twisty plot, amazing characters and then delivers on an equally delicious conclusion catching the reader in a stunning twist you’ll never see coming.

You think you get a good concept of the plot by the Prologue. You are sooo having the wool pulled over your eyes and then you get into the story.

The Perfect Ending by Rob KaufmanThen you are introduced to Scott Atwood, a famous award-winning author. He’s just short of loathsome. This is the main character? I didn’t like him from the beginning. He’s hit the wall with the famous writer’s block for months. His agent, his publisher is breathing down his neck. He’s promised them another bestseller and can’t figure out anything to write about and is missing deadlines. He needs something spectacular. What to do?

One last ditch effort: he’ll take his laptop to the train station.
Write his next book or jump in front of a train.

Perfect ending in view of those thrillers he’s written. Nothing mundane for him!

Then he sees something that sparks an idea. It’s brilliant! He’s thrilled. And with a little encouragement, a slight push, he can force the story from his neighbors and watch them as they literally unfold his new bestselling thriller in front of him.

This storyline fires the imagination from the get-go. Hook, line, and you must finish the book. Can he really create this much misery? This much havoc? His neighbors all have stories and he paints them in full color realism. My heart ached for Brad, weeped for Joel. They are so well-fleshed. You believe it all.

It’s dark, delightfully deceiving, and emotionally wringing. The author tweaks his main character with just a slight amount of humor and moral justification. It’s so wrong. Twisted mystery, suspense. I released more than one audible groan…omg. This one is a must read!

I received a complimentary review ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts. I loved this one. It’s short but powerful and highly recommended.

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thrillers, Suspense Thrillers

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097LVL54P

Print Length: 238 pages
Publication Date: June 19, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble 

 

Rob Kaufman - authorThe Author: Rob‘s Psychology degree has helped him create characters with whom people can relate, while at the same time bringing them on a journey from which most would crumble. Making sure he keeps his readers in suspense from the very start, Rob’s three books have made him a 5-star contender in the psychological thriller genre. His fourth book, “The Perfect Ending” will be released in July of 2021.

Catch Rob at http://AuthorRobKaufman.com/.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

His & Hers: A Novel by Alice Feeney – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and hers. Which means someone is always lying.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown, a quintessentially British village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Detective Jack Harper is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

His & Hers is a twisty, smart psychological thriller. A gripping tale of suspense, told by expertly drawn narrators that will keep listeners guessing until the very end. 

My Review:

OMG, does this grip and hang on or what? Related in three POVs, Anna Andrews is the “her.” She’s been a fixture on the BBC news as a lunchtime anchor, always dreaming of her next big break. The old anchor returned, however, beloved, well-known, and still under contract after maternity leave and Anna is unceremoniously returned to the position of news correspondent.  Oh groan.

His and Hers by Alice FeeneyJack Harper is the “his” working on the police force in Blackdown. He was called to investigate a body found in the woods and is shocked to see it is someone he knows—and knows very well, btw. But he keeps that part to himself.

And then there is the perp, the killer, whose dialogue is skewed by a voice changer. Very creepy and creepy enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Insult to injury, now Anna is asked to cover the murder in the little town of Blackdown and no, she doesn’t want to go—she grew up there, not particularly happily. Of course, she, too, recognizes the victim.

Once in, the listener doesn’t get a bathroom break. You must listen to the next chapter, whether it is her or him—or that other one.

“There are always two sides to every story, yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and her. I always prefer my own.”

Fast paced, well-plotted, creepy narrative spiced with hometown-childhood secrets, adult secrets. Twists and turns leave the listener spinning. No getting a breath now—are you figuring it out? The tension ramps up another notch.

Jack came off as highly engaging, approachable. Anna not so much—she’s narcissistic and scheming. Her career is her life. She just wants back in the anchor spot and she can detach her emotions from the scene.

This novel-audiobook totally envelopes the listener, sinister, gripping, full of suspense. And, oh yeah, that one last gotcha at the end? Brilliant! Storytelling genius. You don’t want to miss this one!

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Police Procedurals Mysteries
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07TFLWV4H
Listening Length: 10 hrs 39 mins
Narrators: Richard ArmitageStephanie Racine
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: His and Hers [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Alice Feeney - authorThe Author: Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His & Hers is also being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown. It will be published around the world in 2021.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Money Bear: A Nick Tanner Crime Thriller by Kerry K cox – #BookReview – #crimethriller

Rosepoint Rating: Five stars5 stars

“…the lowest branch on a big redwood is higher than the tallest branch of almost any other tree, in any other forest, on the planet?” 

Book Blurb:

Money Bear by Kerry K CoxWhen Redwoods Park Enforcement Ranger Kathleen Shepherd finds a third dead bear in the forest, its paws and gallbladder harvested, she contacts U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for assistance. They send Nick Tanner, one of an elite cadre of undercover USFWS Special Agents.

Highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine, bear gallbladders fetch the type of money that attracts dangerous and desperate criminals. When the killing of bears escalates to a series of equally macabre human murders, Nick and Kathleen follow the clues that lead them into a lethal trap—all under the darkly surreal canopy of the world’s oldest known living organisms, the old-growth redwoods.

My Review:

Money Bear by Kerry K CoxOrick Enforcement Ranger Kathleen Shepherd gets in over her head when she finds the third bear killed for its gallbladder and paws. It’s obvious they have poachers harvesting bears for their valuable gallbladders used in TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine. Unfortunately, the killing has extended into human murders and Shepherd contacts the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They send Nick Tanner, a USFWS Special Agent.

Love the location of Northern California, the redwoods, the coast, such a gorgeous, uniquely wild area. The atmosphere is palpable; the well developed characters (both sides of the law) are engaging.

Gripping out of the gate, the author introduces information woven through the well-plotted narrative that is both fascinating and startling leading to the underbelly of Chinese medicine in Hollywood. The primary characters are super and I loved Tanner’s “kitty,” a blind bobcat he named Ray Charles. The prose is crafty, strongly masculine appropriate to the wild area of California, mules, wild animals. There is action, humor that lightens just a bit of the gravity, suspense, and an immersive storyline right to the conclusion. A great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to Book 2!

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Level Best Books
ASIN: B08WBXGHKT
Print Length: 323 pages
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Kerry K Cox - authorThe Author: [Kerry K Cox] When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be a policeman, or fireman, or astronaut, or major league third baseman. I wanted to be a forest ranger.

Okay, also a major league third baseman. Y’know, as a summer job.

But it turned out my inability to comprehend biochem made a career in wildlife management as realistic as my chances of starting for the Dodgers.

So, after four years at Oregon State University I declared myself graduated, and returned home to Southern California. There I taught swimming, karate, and pre-school while I sold articles to various magazines, wrote children’s shows for The Disney Channel, and eventually became a full-time writer.

And because one of my childhood dreams lives on, I now write novels focused on the dark underworld of wildlife trafficking, and work with various wildlife, marine mammal, and feral cat/kitten groups as a rescue volunteer along California’s Central Coast.

I’m still waiting on that call from the Dodgers.

I live by the ocean in Cambria, California with my wife and a clowder of cats.

©2021 V Williams – 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]

Add to Goodreads

 

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.

©2021 V Williams

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent – An #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthriller – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Reading Ireland Month 2021 (Amazon) Editors Pick – Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

From the international best-selling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it*. 

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life – wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. 

My Review:

OMG! This book is crazy twisted. The narrative is a psychological thriller-suspense but that doesn’t really classify a novel that reaches for and secures the devastingly dark, gasp-inducing hyperventilating novel this produces.

Doesn’t that line hook you in the blurb?* It did me and like a horror film you carefully sneak peaks through your fingers, you must…need to…finish. This is a family drama. No, not drama, noir, so dark it’s causing disbelieving, disturbing waves as you read it.

Lying in Wait by Liz NugentThe storyline is set in Dublin. A woman so narcissistic that no loved one is beyond sacrificing and it would appear that’s essentially what she does either directly or indirectly.

It’s beyond this normal reader’s fathom to wrap my head around the plot line—a woman who feels justified in pushing her husband to find a surrogate. She MUST have another baby. Her son, poor innocent Laurence, is growing up, getting older. She is a smother mother and there is a cruelly unhealthy connection between mother and son. But really, her husband Andrew, the judge, isn’t the first casualty. The surrogate, Annie Doyle (a prostitute and junkie now buried in their backyard) is not either. What extended family can look at this perverse situation and continue to make excuses?

There are few characters in the book and several have their own POV’s. My heart wept for Karen (sister of Annie), ached for Laurence, raged at Lydia Fitzsimmons. So easy to go from one POV to the other, filling in little voids, little thoughts or questions, mini-contradictions. The author smoothly develops her characters, adds the tension, gravitas, that the reader doesn’t realize how darkly and deeply ugly the plot has become. It’s sick. My heart was sinking and I kept waiting for that tiny spark, the pinpoint of light. Surely it was coming.

The well-plotted pace was full of twists and turns. The conclusion hurts—does nothing go the way you hoped or predicted? And then the final blow—the fatal punch to the gut. I woke my husband sleeping peacefully beside me with a plaintive cry—NOOOO! What did I just read?! I couldn’t believe it—it CAN’T end this way—but it did? No no no

I look at the author’s picture and think she looks so normal but from where in her mind did this come? And the narrator? Nailed it!

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN: B07BHTQPXW
 Print Length:
Listening Length: 8 hrs 33 min
Narrator: Caoilfhionn DunneDavid McFetridgeLesley McGuire
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Lying in Wait [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

 

Liz Nugent - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally before writing extensively for radio and television drama.

Unravelling Oliver was published in 2014, hit the number 1 spot for several weeks and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Liz Nugent - author witth awardLying in Wait, published in 2016, went straight to number 1 and was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. It won the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listeners Choice Award at the Irish Book Awards.

In October 2017, Liz won the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award in Literature.

Skin Deep was published in 2018. It also went straight to number 1 in the bestsellers charts and scooped two awards at the An Post Irish Book Awards in Nov ’18: Crime Novel of the Year AND the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listener’s Choice Award. Catch her at her website or her Twitter account @lizzienugent.

The Narrator: Caoilfhionn Dunne is an actress, known for Love/Hate (2010), In View (2016) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). Born in Dublin, Ireland.

©2021 V Williams

Blue Moon: Jack Reacher, Book 24 by Lee Child – An #Audiobook Review – Thriller & Suspense – #TBT

 

Blue Moon by Lee Child

 

Rosepoint Pub CrawlEditors' pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Number one New York Times best seller

Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an elderly couple…and confronts his most dangerous opponents yet.

“Jack Reacher is today’s James Bond, a thriller hero we can’t get enough of.” (Ken Follett)

“This is a random universe”, Reacher says. “Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.”

This isn’t one of those times.

Reacher is on a Greyhound bus, minding his own business, with no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there. Then, he steps off the bus to help an old man who is obviously just a victim waiting to happen. But you know what they say about good deeds. Now, Reacher wants to make it right.

An elderly couple have made a few well-meaning mistakes, and now they owe big money to some very bad people. One brazen move leads to another, and suddenly Reacher finds himself a wanted man in the middle of a brutal turf war between rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.

Reacher has to stay one step ahead of the loan sharks, the thugs, and the assassins. He teams up with a fed-up waitress who knows a little more than she’s letting on, and sets out to take down the powerful and make the greedy pay. It’s a long shot. The odds are against him. But Reacher believes in a certain kind of justice…the kind that comes along once in a blue moon. 

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Evening Standard 

My Review:

Well, I’ve certainly been here before—swimming upstream. How is this an Editor’s Pick? My first encounter with Child and Jack Reacher.

Blue Moon by Lee ChildWhat I found was that the beginning of the narrative begins with a rather gratifying example of an ex-badass who noted something imminently obvious that he felt needed his intervention.

But then the plot goes totally off the rails. Absolutely no backstory, the old guy, and the reason for Reacher’s intervention, refused to tell him the whole story, which when revealed was, like, uh huh, heard that one before.

In the meantime, Reacher subjects an old couple and a waitress to outrageous danger with the heavy-handed threat of the Ukrainians and Albanians and any other “ians” he can pull out of the hat.

Suddenly, Reacher’s gone extreme quasi-military, vigilante, kill’em all. Didn’t like the answer? Kill’em. Take no prisoners. These are all nasty gang members anyway, huh?

I know little about Reacher and if I had any warm and fuzzies immediately it was just as quickly swept away. All this murder, mayhem, violence, and high body count—I’ve almost forgotten the original reason he wouldn’t just say buh-bye. No developed characters, a blurry undefined town—somewhere—slow pace…step over the body and proceed to the next. Destruction everywhere.

Wait—let’s go back. He was on a Greyhound bus and noted a possible mugging going to happen. Then he continued to pursue the old guy after his rescue. Ad nauseum. Violence for shock value. The plot is lost. The characters lost. The time listening lost.

I know there is a conclusion—I think it is after everyone died—but at some point, and particularly being an audiobook, I could just “turn off” (*click*) the narrative—skip over the ucky parts. I think somewhere in the past Reacher might have been a good guy, an admirable protagonist—that Reacher didn’t make it to Book 24.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Action Fiction, Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery Action and Adventure, Men’s Adventure, War & Military Action Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07QYWMKVJ
ASIN : B07NCNVZ5P
Print Length: 377 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs 21 mins
Narrator: Scott Brick
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Blue Moon [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Two point Five of Five Stars Two and one-half Stars

Lee Child - authorThe Author: Lee Child is one of the world’s leading thriller writers. He was born in Coventry, raised in Birmingham, and now lives in New York. It is said one of his novels featuring his hero Jack Reacher is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. His books consistently achieve the number-one slot on bestseller lists around the world and have sold over one hundred million copies. Two blockbusting Jack Reacher movies have been made so far. He is the recipient of many awards, most recently Author of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. He was appointed CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Narrator: In 1999, (Scott) Brick began narrating audiobooks and found himself a popular choice for top publishers and authors. After recording some 250 titles in five years, AudioFile magazine named Brick “one of the fastest-rising stars in the audiobook galaxy”, and proclaimed him a “Golden Voice”, a reputation solidified by a November 2004 article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Publishers Weekly then went on to honor Brick as Narrator of the Year in 2007 and 2011. To date, he has won over 50 Earphone Awards, two Audie Awards and a nomination for a Grammy Award.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Welcome 2021

The Keepers: A Mystery (Mace Reid K-9 Mystery Book 2) by Jeffrey B Burton – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” – Will Rogers

Book Blurb:

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonJeffrey B. Burton’s The Keepers is the next installment of the Mace Reid K9 series, featuring golden retriever cadaver dog Vira and her handler, Mason Reid.

Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection—that is, he trains dogs to hunt for dead bodies. He calls his pack of cadaver dogs The Finders, and his prize pupil is a golden retriever named Vira.

When Mace Reid and Vira are called in to search Washington Park at three o’clock in the morning, what they find has them running for their very lives. The trail of murder and mayhem Mace and CPD Officer Kippy Gimm have been following leads them to uncover treachery and corruption at the highest level, and their discoveries do not bode well for them . . . nor for the Windy City itself.

The Keepers is an exciting, fast-paced mystery filled with courageous dogs you’ll want to root for.

My Review:

Progagonist Mace Reid lives near Chicago and specializes in training cadaver dogs. Human Remains Detection. His alpha right now is a golden retriever he named Elvira—Vira for short. He is often called to Chicago for searches and that is what brought him to Washington Park in the middle of the night. (Living near Chicago and still finding it a fascinating city with such a reputation for dishonest government, and finding these books are loaded with smart, intuitive dogs pulls me in. This series doesn’t disappoint.)

“Many question whether ours is a city that can be saved. Others question whether it deserves to be.”

“…you either run Chicago…or Chicago runs you.”

I actually got to start with Book 1, The Finders, and was hooked immediately. Main characters and support characters alike, including the canine variety, all have well developed three-dimensional personalities. I love Vira, but still feel bad about Sam (Samantha—a GSD) from Book 1, now recuperating from injuries. And, by-the-way, this could function fine as a standalone, you’ll get info along the way that will catch you up if you missed Book 1.

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonNot too much “cozy” (in the classic genre sense) about this cozy animal mystery—it’s a solid, hard-hitting action thriller from the first chapter. These are well-plotted and fast-paced narratives. Mace is not your ideal hero—he’s divorced, drinks some, swears, and tends to vomit when extremely scared. Not damaged—just not Superman material—but he loves his dogs. Five of them. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Must love dogs.” His new “just friends only” girl is CPD officer Kippy Gimm.

“There is honor in being a dog.” – Aristotle

The thing is, Vira is “gifted.” Or perhaps Mace is just so well tuned in to his alpha now, he knows when she is signaling more than just a dead body. Vira is also very protective. Which is good, because Mace and Kippy quickly get in well over their heads in this one with the systemic corruption of the government providing a powerful catalyst to flee the Windy City. NOW!

A complex two-level plot, the first of which is put to bed fairly easily while the second simmers into an explosive boil. I like that the dogs aren’t just background—their training and senses are explored and explained. Their specialized talents clarified and they have jobs to do and do them.  

This entry to the series is hard-hitting, serious, and at times raw, profane, with eye-popping comprehension. There are murders, description of torture, and language. There is some weakness in Mace this time that I don’t remember in the first book. He is now more likely “every” man—real, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes exhibiting a sense of humor. But he is definitely emerging as a real person. Sometimes I like him—sometimes I don’t. But I do love those dogs and my heart lurched at Maggie’s injury.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary uncorrected digital galley of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts. This book will be released next year. You can get place a pre-order now through your favorite retailer.

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

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08FZB2D45

Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: To be released June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, came out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Press). THE KEEPERS, the second in his K-9 series, comes out in June of 2021.

Novels in Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series include: THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines.

Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat