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Archive for the ‘Suspense’ Category

Don’t Wake Up: A Novel by Liz Lawler

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Imagine waking up stripped of your clothes, strapped to an operating table, and threatened with unimaginable physical cruelty. This is what happens to Dr. Alex Taylor, who works at a hospital in Bath, England. After Alex’s terrifying experience, she is convinced that she was violated, however, no physical proof exists that supports her story. Alex’s life takes a downward spiral, as she tries to convince everyone the attack was real and not a delusion. She starts drinking too much. When a pregnant nurse dies, Alex is convinced the same person who tortured her is responsible. No one believes Alex’s allegation. It appears as if Alex needs psychological help, and deadly incidents involving her only make things worse. Relationships with her colleagues and boyfriend suffer, and Alex worries she is losing her grip on reality.

In Don’t Wake Up, Liz Lawler expertly utilizes multiple third person point of view. Lawler only switches character perspectives between chapters or scenes, and it is clear whose eyes readers are looking through. The majority of this engrossing story is told from Alex’s perspective, but readers are also shown the viewpoints of key characters and their reactions to Alex’s claim of an attack. The different viewpoints pull readers deeper into the heart of the story in which Lawler skillfully interweaves not only things such as criminal acts, police investigations, prejudice, disloyalty, jealousy, violence, and dedication but also the effects of psychological trauma, overindulgence in alcohol, and reliance on anxiety medication. Read the rest of this entry »

The Better Sister: A Novel by Alafair Burke

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve long since enjoyed her father’s mystery novels and Alafair measures up.

We first meet the younger sister Chloe who has the splashy life working for a popular magazine. Chloe is now married to Adam and they have a stepson Ethan; however, nothing is as it seems – the happy marriage is not so happy and the son is not a happy teen. Read the rest of this entry »

You Don’t Own Me (An Under Suspicion Novel) by Mary Higgins Clark

Reviewed by Allen Hott

You Don't Own MeThis is one in the series, Under Suspicion, written by Mary Higgins Clark and is a pretty good read overall. This is also my first read of any of Clark’s books.

Caroline Radcliffe is working as a nanny for Doctor Martin Bell and his wife, Kendra when she hears what she thinks to be fireworks being shot off outside as she watches over the two young Bell children. However as she goes out to check she finds the doctor shot to death in the driveway in his automobile.

Caroline runs into the house and tries to tell Kendra but Kendra is in one of her stupors or at least appears to be. Kendra has been suffering from some sort of postpartum depression for quite a while and she doesn’t always respond very quickly. The police are called and investigations are done but no one can be found to be responsible.

Five years later Kendra is doing much better and is taking care of the children with the help of Caroline. However the parents of Doctor Bell have never accepted the fact that (a) no one was found to be guilty and (b) they suspect Kendra of being involved plus they do not like having her take care of their grandchildren.

The Bell parents decide to contact Laurie Moran of a widely known television program called Under Suspicion. This program with Laurie and her staff do more in depth searching and investigating on cases that though worked on by law enforcement agencies they have never been solved. Laurie had looked into Martin Bell’s murder several years ago but really did not spend a lot of time with it nor did she find out anything of significant value. However now with the pressure of the Bells she agrees to take another in depth look at the situation.
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Strong As Steel (Caitlin Strong Novels) by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong As SteelThe tenth time is clearly the charm for the in dominatable Jon Land whose decennial effort in his Caitlin Strong series, Strong as Steel, cements his Texas Ranger’s status as the best female protagonist in thriller fiction today and maybe ever.

The high-octane plot features the classic thriller staple of a long buried, and of course deadly, secret being unearthed, this time from the Texas desert. Caitlin’s father Jim Strong, apparently, was somehow involved in burying three shipping crates there twenty-five years before as part of a case he was working on. Indeed, a particular staple of this series is the seamless intermixing of the past and the present, with Caitlin picking up on a trail left by one of her ancestors. It was William Faulkner who said, “The past isn’t dead, it’s not even past.” Well, nothing describes Strong as Steel better than that, with “dead” being the operative word.

But Caitlin isn’t the only one on the trail of the contents of those three crates; far from it, in fact. Hot on their trail, and hers, is Molinari, an especially maniacal head of an especially fanatical band of religious zealots out to safeguard a two-thousand-year-old secret at all costs. Being once set ablaze by his enemies has left Molinari almost literally faceless and he has long pursued his quest with a degree of violence and rage befitting the grotesque he’s become. Read the rest of this entry »

Wrong Light (The Rick Cahill Series) by Matt Coyle

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

Wrong LightThis was my first Rick Cahill novel – I really like the character – he is a no nonsense PI.

Rick is hired by a local radio station to find out who is stalking their late-night talent via her call-in line. After Rick meets Naomi, he begins the process of finding her stalker – when it walks the Russian Mafia – pulling him in another direction.

While trying to work both cases, Rick spends many sleepless nights which leads to mistakes and death for others. Rick enlists his PI friend Moria to help with Naomi’s case while he pursues the other trying to tie all the trails together toward the final end pulling in favors from the police and FBI.

I really liked the fast pace of the book and waiting to find out if Rick could pull off working two unrelated cases at the same time – lots of story plot to hold your interest.

Splinter in the A Novel Blood (Carver and Lake) by Ashley Dyer

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Splinter in the BloodHave you ever noticed that murderers who have a touch of creativity in their killings seem to be remembered by a particular nickname making them more infamous? The Son of Sam, The Zodiac Killer, and Jack the Ripper are only a few with this notorious distinction. Add to this list now is The Thorn Killer who slowly poisons his victims from a poisonous ink tattooed to their bodies with thorns, instead of needles. This unusual technique creates the Splinter in the Blood.

Imagine a murder where the hunter becomes the hunted. That is Splinter in the Blood.

Detective Greg Carver is in the sitting room of his home. He has blood on him, obviously from being shot in the chest. His partner, Detective Sergeant Ruth Lake is holding a 1911 Colt pistol. She quickly places the gun, files, posters about The Thorn Killer grabbing anything connected with the case and carrying it to the trunk of her car. All evidence is always left at the police station, not at the lead detective’s home. As she wipes the house of fingerprints, she notices that there seems to be some movement from Greg’s eyes. Could he be alive? Read the rest of this entry »

What Remains of Her: A Novel by Eric Rickstad

Reviewed by Teri Davis

What Remains of HerWhen a mother and her daughter disappear, who is the likely suspect? Naturally, most law enforcement would accuse the husband. There is a catch, the husband is a professor of poetry at a local college and seems to sincerely miss both every second of every day. No clues, no evidence, the two seemed to have disappeared from the planet.

Jonah Blum sees his world ripped from him when his beautiful wife, Rebecca and his daughter, Sally vanish. A family of three become a lonesome one. The community along with the media, immediately throw guilty verdicts at Jonah, but there is no evidence, just circumstances.

Jonah’s long-time friends, Maurice immediately enlisted the help of his deputies in the search. Also, questioned was Sally’s best friend, Lucinda, who also happens to be Maurice’s daughter.

Jonah leaves his home and lives as a hermit. For a quarter of a century, life for him is simply survival in a cabin in the nearby woods. Read the rest of this entry »

High Crimes: A Georgia Davis Novel of Suspense (The Georgia Davis PI Series Book 5)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

High CrimesAfter the 2016 election, America is a nation divided. The new president is a rash, outspoken individual who garnered support by refusing to follow normal presidential protocol. As a result, an active opposition movement is spreading across the country. It’s leader, Dena Baldwin, is scheduled to appear at a rally in Chicago. As Baldwin mounts the stage, gunshots ring out and panic ensues. An assassin has killed Baldwin. Local PI Georgia Davis is hired to try and determine the identity of the killer but it will be a daunting task. Baldwin had a large Facebook following and not all of them are genuine supporters of the Resistance movement. As Davis dives into the crime further, she begins to realize there is more to Baldwin than meets the eye. Read the rest of this entry »

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

Reviewed by Allen Hott

I Know a SecretQuite a story again from Tess Gerritsen! Not only are there murders but gruesome acts after these murders! Hard to believe that people could be capable of taking out a dead person’s eyes nor could they be capable of shooting arrows into a dead man’s chest!

But that is what has happened and now Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, police detective of Boston PD and county medical examiner respectively, have quite a job! But first off the reader needs to realize that Jane’s mother is about to leave her unfaithful father after many years and also that Maura’s real mother who is locked up for many vicious crimes is bugging Maura over and over. Maura was raised by a different woman and her husband but Maura still feels something for her homicidal physical mother and has some feelings. Gerritsen brings personal events into her heroines! Read the rest of this entry »

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

Reviewed by Allen Hott

FracturedQuite a story that illustrates not only how cops work but also how criminal minds work while they are plotting some of the terrible crimes that they perpetrate.

It begins with the Campano family being pretty well torn apart when the mother comes upon a crime scene and sees what she believes to be her daughter, Emma, in a horrible condition with a young man hovering over the girl. The mother, with tremendous force powered by her feelings for her daughter, overtakes the man and stabs him to death.

When the police come on the scene they find that the girl was not her daughter and the man was not the assailant! It turns out that the young man was a boyfriend of her daughter. He had earlier come into the house looking for the daughter, his girlfriend. Read the rest of this entry »