Tag: thriller

Book Review: Tracking Game, by Margaret Mizushima

tracking game
Image belongs to Crooked Lane Books.

Title:  Tracking Game
Author: Margaret Mizushima
Genre:  Mystery/thriller
Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Mattie Cobb is a K-9 officer in Timber Creek, Cole Walker is the town veterinarian. Their romance may be blossoming, but secrets still threaten to keep them apart. When an explosion outside a community dance send them racing outside, they find a burning van and the dead body of Nate Fletcher, a local outfitter. But it wasn’t the explosion that killed Nate, it was two gunshots to the head.

When their only suspect winds up dead and Mattie searches for his body, she hears the growl of a predator—but not one of the cougars native to the area. Soon she realizes that they know nothing of what Nate Fletcher was truly up to—and what they’re up against.

Tracking Game wasn’t a bad read. I was interested enough to keep reading, but some of the details of Robo (Mattie’s K-9), instead of being worked seamlessly into the story, were highlighted to the reader, as if the author were pointing out her knowledge. I’m not really a fan of author intrusion, so that was a detractor for me. This is the first book I’ve read in this series, and Mattie’s reactions to things felt a little…unrealistic to me as well.

Margaret Mizushima  is an award-winning author. Tracking Game is her newest novel, Number five in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series.

(Galley courtesy of Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

 

Book Review: The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

the family upstairs
Image belongs to Atria Books.

Title:  The Family Upstairs
AuthorLisa Jewell
Genre:  Mystery/Thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

When Libby Jones turned 25, she received the letter she’d been waiting on her whole life, the letter telling her who she really was and who her parents were. She wasn’t expecting to find out she is the sole inheritor of an abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames worth millions of dollars. She wasn’t expecting the story of how she was found, either.

Twenty-five years ago, neighbors called the cops to report a crying baby. The officers found Libby—called Serenity then—a happy, healthy 10-month old, in her crib. In the kitchen they found three dead bodies starting to decay and a hasty note. There was no trace of the other two adults, or the four kids rumored to live there. Nor was there any trace of whoever had been caring for the baby.

Libby has been waiting her whole life find out who she is—but she’s not the only one who’s been waiting. And asking questions about the past just might draw more than answers out of the dark.

This was a creepy tale of family suspense—not to mention dark manipulation and the growth of a cult. Weird family. Weird kids. Weird situation. But I was completely intrigued with the tale and finished it in one sitting.

Lisa Jewell is a New York Times-bestselling author. The Family Upstairs is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski

one night gone
Image belongs to Harlequin/Graydon House.

Title:  One Night Gone
Author:    Tara Laskowski
Genre:  Thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

When Maureen Haddaway arrives in Opal Beach, she’s a Summer Girl:  working at the carnival that sets up at the beach town during the tourist season. She makes her first real friends and decides that her destiny—and her future—is in the seaside town. But some of the people Maureen has met are hiding things, and before the summer is over, Maureen disappears.

Years later, Allison Simpson arrives in Opal Beach to housesit in the off-season as she recovers from a very messy—and very public—divorce. Soon she finds herself drawn into the details of Maureen’s disappearance thirty years before. But Opal Beach still hides secrets, and Maureen’s fate isn’t even the most surprising one.

The setting in One Night Gone is such an integral part of this novel! The beach in the winter is something I have no desire to experience and reading this novel did not change that perception at all. I enjoyed reading the dual perspectives as Maureen’s and Allison’s stories unfolded, and the intricate connections in them kept me reading a little too late at night. I definitely recommend this read!

Tara Laskowski is an award-winning author. One Night Gone is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Graydon House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Pretty Guilty Women, by Gina LaManna

pretty guilty women
Image belongs to Sourcebooks Landmark.

Title:  Pretty Guilty Women
Author:    Gina LaManna
Genre:  Mystery, thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

At the exclusive spa where the Banks wedding is about to take place, the luxurious surroundings promise a peaceful, posh vacation where old friends can catch up and relaxation is key. Until a man ends up dead—and four different women claim they murdered him.

Kate is used to excess and luxury—but not to being dumped at the front desk by her wealthy boyfriend. She’s used to being envied, but she is the one feeling jealous on this trip as she meets up with her college roommates and sees the lives they have.

Ginger has just about had it with the chaos of family life. Her kids won’t listen, her husband is oblivious, and everyone depends on mom to hold things together. Ginger just wishes she were a bit more carefree—like her college days before her best friend betrayed her.

Emily just wants the pain to stop. She’ll eventually drown it in a bottle, like always, but seeing her old friends dredges up secrets she’d prefer to keep hidden.

Lulu’s used to love being easy-come, easy-go, but she really loves her fifth husband. Now he’s hiding something, and she’s determined to find out the truth—or else.

This book was well-written and engrossing from the first page. All these women are fascinating, and I was drawn into their stories immediately. I love how the story is told in bits and pieces from each of their viewpoints, while drawing out the mystery of what really happened. Entirely binge-worthy, this is a book that will keep you hooked as you race to find out what really happened.

Gina LaManna lives near the beach. Pretty Guilty Women is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Stranger Inside, by Lisa Unger

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Image belongs to Harlequin/Park Row.

Title:  The Stranger Inside
Author:  Lisa Unger
Genre:   Thriller
Rating:   4 out of 5

When Rain Winter was 12, she barely escaped the clutches of a murderous madman with her life. Her two best friends, Hank and Tessa, were not so lucky. Hank was forever scarred by his experiences that day, and Tessa never came home. When the killer was released, Rain lived in fear—until someone killed him.

Now Rain is a stay-at-home mom who does her best not to think about those dark days, although she misses her time as an investigative journalist. Then another man who got away with murder ends up dead, and Rain starts to wonder if there’s any connection between this case—and the one from her own past.

The Stranger Inside had quite the twist I never saw coming. Rain is a nuanced character, both longing for her journalist days and yearning to give herself completely to motherhood. I found Hank fascinating—and likable—despite his issues, and I enjoyed the twining of past and present to show the reader the rest of the story.

Lisa Unger is a bestselling author. The Stranger Inside is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Harlequin/Park Row in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: 29 Seconds, by TM Logan

 

29seconds
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:  29 Seconds
Author:  TM Logan
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

Sarah is a mother trying to adapt to being a single parent. She’s also a young professor fighting to earn a permanent place at the university she works at. A university controlled by Alan Hawthorne—charming, famous, and powerful, and therefore untouchable. Sarah has heard the rumors about his treatment of women behind closed doors, but now she’s become his next target.

Hawthorne pulls in million-dollar grants for the university, so no one will listen to a word Sarah says. She has nowhere to turn and no way to keep away from Hawthorne. Until one night she rescues a young girl from would-be kidnappers and the girl’s father turns out to be a businessman with powerful connections. He offers Sarah a burner phone and a choice.

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

This book centers around moral grey areas, and that’s a hard subject for me, as I’m a black-and-white kind of person. It’s either wrong or right, there are no grey areas to me. But Sarah is stuck between a rock and a hard place and she makes the best choice she can. What comes next is more than she ever expected.

TM Logan is an award-winning, bestselling author. 29 Seconds is his newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: State of Lies, by Siri Mitchell

 

state of lies
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Title:   State of Lies
Author:   Siri Mitchell
Genre:   Mystery, thriller
Rating:   4 out of 5

Georgie Brennan is a physicist, a mother, a wife, and the daughter of the next possible secretary of defense. Then her husband Sean is killed by a hit-and-run driver, and she can barely make it through each day. Her son is struggling to cope with his father’s death. Her parents are consumed with their ambitions for her father’s career. And getting out of bed sometimes just seems like too much effort.

Then Georgie discovers that Sean was lying to her about where he was going the day he died. She realizes his computer—and his knife—is missing. She hears strange noises under the house and starts seeing strange faces in the neighborhood. Soon Georgie realizes she can’t trust a soul:  not her parents, not her friends, and, as the mysteries pile up, maybe not even herself.

I liked Georgie from the first page of State of Lies. She’s smart—very smart, which is always a plus in a protagonist—and even when dealt a crippling blow, she keeps moving forward. The writing is tight, and the plotting kept me guessing what was really going on up until the end—and there were several surprises I never saw coming. This will keep you reading even if you’re supposed to be doing something else.

Siri Mitchell has a business degree and experience working in the government. State of Lies is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Never Have I Ever, by Joshilyn Jackson

never have i ever
Image belongs to HarperCollins/William Morrow.

Title:   Never Have I Ever
Author:  Joshilyn Jackson
Genre:   Domestic suspense
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

Amy Whey is happy with her life:  professor husband, fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, baby son, best friend Charlotte. Sure, she doesn’t get to dive as much as she used to since the baby was born, but she wouldn’t trade her family for anything. She’s helping Charlotte with the neighborhood book club when new neighbor Roux shows up.

Roux charms the neighborhood women, and soon they’re drinking wine and spilling secrets. They all think it’s innocent fun, but Amy knows better. She sees the darkness in Roux’s eyes  and sees the first tiny ripples of hurt she causes. When Roux tells Amy she knows the truth about what Amy did years ago—and she’ll tell that horrible secret if Amy doesn’t give her exactly what she wants—Amy wonders if she can beat the devil at her own game.

Secrets upon secrets unravel as Amy races to find out the truth about Roux before the women spills Amy’s secrets and ruins her life for good.

I do love Joshilyn Jackson’s writing, and, while I’m disappointed this one isn’t Southern fiction (my favorite), Never Have I Ever is an excellent, engrossing book. Amy’s been running from the truth for a long time, and she’s desperate to keep her secret and the life she loves safe. Roux is a terrifying kind of evil—if only she’d used her powers for good!—and Amy will do whatever is necessary to keep her family—and her secret—safe. Highly readable, and I cannot recommend this enough.

Joshilyn Jackson is an award-winning author. Never Have I Ever is her newest novel.

Book Review: The Seekers, by Heather Graham

The Seekers
Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

Title:   The Seekers
Author:   Heather Graham
Genre:   Mystery, suspense, paranormal
Rating:   4 out of 5

Kerri Wolfe writes meticulously researched books about crimes of the past, but she’s been invited to join The Seekers, a team of paranormal investigators, as they investigate a supposedly haunted old inn. In the 1920s, the inn was the site of brutal ax murders—and that investigation uncovered even more ghastly crimes.

Kerri wants to find out the truth about the old murders. She’s not there for ghosts. But when the team discovers a horrifying—and recent—murder scene in the basement of the inn, she finds herself involved in a murder investigation in the present. What she really wants is an explanation for the apparition she keeps seeing.

Joe Dunhill knows how she feels. As the newest member of the Krewe of Hunters, he’s still adjusting to being able to see and talk to the dead. The small town where the inn is located is full of old rumors, legends, and superstition, and he’s not sure how to find the murderer without knowing the truth of the past.

I rarely read anything creepy or scary—because I’m a chicken—and the beginning of The Seekers is a bit of both…but I made it through. The setting was fascinating, although I’ve no plans to stay in a haunted inn anytime soon (or ever).  Lots of threads tangled together here, past and present, and this was an engrossing, thrilling read.

Heather Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. The Seekers is her newest novel, #28 in the Krewe of Hunters series.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Justice Makes a Killing, by Ed Rucker

justice makes a killing
Image belongs to Chickadee Prince Books.

Title:  Justice Makes a Killing
Author:   Ed Rucker
Genre:   Legal thriller
Rating:   4 out of 5

Kate Carlson is an L.A. lawyer who’s been accused of murder in a small town, so Bobby Lee thinks he knows what to expect when he takes the case:  as a criminal defense lawyer, his job is to negotiate a plea deal for his client, get paid, and go on with his life.

But Kate insists she’s been set-up. Her supposed crime happened in a prison which supports most of the small town’s economy. The billion-dollar private prison industry is no joke—nor is the prison guard’s union. As Bobby Lee starts asking questions, he soon finds his reputation and his very life is in danger as he fights against a conspiracy no one wants to talk about in a battle for Kate’s life—and his own.

I know of the private prison industry, and that’s about it—like all businesses, it exists to make a profit—so I had no preconceived ideas going into this. I have lived in a small town—and one dependent on a single employer—so the people’s loyalty to the prison worked for me. It seemed like every time I thought things couldn’t get worse for Kate, I was wrong. This book also made it seem like basically everyone was a horrible person willing to lie, cheat, and kill for their own personal interests.

Ed Rucker is a former criminal defense lawyer. Justice Makes a Killing is the second book in the Bobby Lee series.

(Galley courtesy of Chickadee Prince Books  in exchange for an honest review.)