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The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White

The Drowned Girls (Angie Pallorino #1)The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t even know what to say about this book. It’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish – and I loved every minute of it!

If you break down the story, there’s three separate storylines going on, and each of them is intriguing and had me begging for more. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself seeking out the love scenes, having fallen madly in “shipping” with the main characters.

Before I get further: this book deals with graphic sexual assault. People wishing to avoid this topic should pick another novel.

Angie Pallorino is at a bad place in her personal life: her mother has just been institutionalized with schizophrenia, and Angie fears she may be be showing symptoms herself; Angie seeks release in dangerous, anonymous sexual encounters she describes as “hunting”; and she has some serious questions about her childhood. Then at work, where she’s still recovering from an incident which shook her to her core and claimed her partners life, a violent serial rapist has escalated to serial murderer and is leaving a string of dead, mutilated girls across the city. And Angie’s partner in this new investigation? A guy she slept with at the club, thinking it was completely anonymous.

Each of these storylines: the killer, the romance and the personal issues, all were so good I found myself waiting for the next installment in each – especially the romance. It was HOT. I seriously loved Angie and Maddocks together, I couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out.

The ending is so nuanced and well thought out – I didn’t see it coming, and I don’t know how you could. But it was satisfying and it fit. There were enough layers to keep things interesting and enough clues to make you say “oh yeahhhhh.”

This is apparently the first book in a new series, and I can’t wait for the next one! Things were wrapped up with the main storylines, but enough was left open to keep things interesting!

Mark me down for number two – STAT!

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The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

The Lucky OnesThe Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I’ve said before, when I see that Mark Edwards has a new book out, I know to clear my schedule for the next few days. No ones better at crafting a chilling, eerie thriller that will stay with you for weeks afterward.

“The Lucky Ones” is no different.

It’s Edwards’ take on a police procedural, and it is a great twisty ride that you won’t be able to put down until the last page – which is a good thing because it doesn’t all finish up until then.

The book follows two people: Detective Imogen Evans who is chasing a serial killer who just claimed his third victim, and Ben, a single dad who is struggling in the wake of his separation from his wife. The two will cross paths as they both realize they are in the crosshairs of the most dangerous criminal to shake up their sleepy English town.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details because it’s fun to see everything unfold. Edwards has a talent for creating unique stories that will both fascinate and scare you. And this guy – “The Viper” as he’s known in the book – is very creepy indeed. There’s a feeling of something being “off” throughout the entire novel, casting a dark, suspenseful shadow over the book, which is delicious as it grows and grows.

At certain points, I thought I knew where things were headed, but the ending proved me wrong. It’s really all in the details here, and putting them together is how you can figure out this puzzle.

I still think my favorite Edwards novel is “Follow You Home,” but “The Lucky Ones” is certainly a great addition to anyone’s library.

Highly recommended.

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Goodreads Monday: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!
My selection this week is a recent purchase of mine that looks great, you know, if I can ever start to make a dent in my TBR pile, which seems to grow every day. 

This book gives me a distinct vibe similar to “The Keepers,” a documentary on Netflix which also involves a long-ago crime in Baltimore which seemed to occur out of thin air. 

Now I can’t wait to get to this one.


What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? 

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household. 
In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth? 

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Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Sweet Little LiesSweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. A solid mystery, with a bang-up ending that caught me entirely by surprise!

Cat Kinsella hasn’t quite been the same since the summer of 1998, when her family visited her Gran in Ireland and a local girl disappeared. Cat always suspected her father had something to do with it. Now a police detective, Cat is suddenly drawn into a case with echoes of the past when a body turns up near her father’s bar. Cat tries to remain emotionally distant from the case, but finds she can’t as more information comes to light.

This book was like a roller coaster ride. Things start slowly, but then speed up, only to have the case stall and then *BOOM*, things fall into place. And the ending is quite a big one – almost impossible to guess, I’d say. But it is satisfying and makes sense based on the rest of the book.

There’s also a lot of moral ambiguity in this book, really blurring the lines on conduct and honesty. I still don’t know how I feel about all the decisions Cat made in the book, but it seems to all work out in the end. It gives some complexity to Cat’s character, though her character was already well developed and had me hooked from the beginning.

I really hope we see more of Cat because I’d like to explore some of that complexity and see how she handles other cases. She seems to really care, without the dispassion that can seem to permeate other police procedurals. Hopefully, this will be the start of a series.

I really enjoyed this book. It has family drama, mystery and some mayhem.

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The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

The Weight of LiesThe Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What makes an amazing thriller? Creepy characters, family secrets, a surreal setting, a touch of romance, an intriguing mystery you just can’t seem to figure out?

Emily Carpenter packs it all into “The Weight of Lies,” a beautifully crafted mystery/thriller which pulls you in from the first pages and doesn’t let up until the very end. I enjoyed every minute of this book, and am wondering how I’m going to possibly follow it up.

Megan Ashley is a trust fund kid trying to find her own calling and her own identity after living in the shadow of her famous mother her entire life. Her mother wrote a phenomenally popular bestseller as a young woman (think the “50 Shades” type success), based loosely on the tragic events of a summer she spent at a hotel on a remote Georgia coastal island. Now, Megan decides to solve the decades-old mystery once and for all, visiting the now shuttered hotel and writing her own book. But she can’t shake the bad feelings that engulf her as she spends time on the island. What happened all those years ago? And how will it all come to a head now, 40 years later?

The atmosphere of this book is tremendous. You can’t quite get a grip on the characters as you meet them. Everyone seems to have something to hide and something to gain from the situation so it creates an atmosphere of miss trust and tension that ripples deliciously throughout the book.

That ambiguity and the multiple layers of the story really make the central mystery so compelling and just out of reach. You think you have it solved several times throughout the novel, but then something else throws you in a new direction. I didn’t guess the ending ahead of time.

I enjoyed the excerpts of Frances’ famous book, “Kitten” throughout the novel, but would have enjoyed a book summary or something to clear up exactly what happened. We just get glimpses, but no the total picture explained. Like, I wish the CliffNotes summary of “Kitten” was the last chapter, lol.

Bottom line: Anyone who enjoys a good mystery/thriller in the vein of “Girl on the Train” or Gillian Flynn’s novel should go get this book right away. You won’t regret it.

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Secrets of the Dead by Carol Wyer

Secrets of the DeadSecrets of the Dead by Carol Wyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get ready for a fast-paced, suspense-packed adventure with DI Robyn Carter, in the new thriller from Carol Wyer. The book is second in a series but works as a standalone.

I loved it. Full stop.

Carter is pulled into a seemingly straightforward investigation when a colleague asks her to look into the death of a hotel manager. Soon more bodies begin to show up each under strange circumstances and with ties to the same hotel. Carter and her team struggle to understand what is going on before more people die.

This book creates a villain who is stunningly creepy and could give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money. Seriously, he’s scary. Wyer is excellent at creating characters and worlds that will transport you and make you double check your locks at the same time. His backstory was well developed and created a vivid picture while satisfying the “thriller” aspect of the novel.

The mystery is also very good and very multi-layered. I had some hints about what was going to happen but did not solve the mystery before the reveal. That was fun, getting some small clues before the author revealed the big picture. In the end everything came together neatly and to my satisfaction.

Robyn Carter was also a well-done character, she was relatable and interesting. Her struggles to perform her job while obeying the rules was a great added supply that really added to the story. It’s something we’ve all been through.

I’m thinking I need to go pick up the first book in the series because if it’s as good as this one I will love it. I’m looking forward to more in the series and from this author. Highly recommended

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Watching The Bodies by Graham Smith

Watching The Bodies: a Jake Boulder ThrillerWatching The Bodies: a Jake Boulder Thriller by Graham Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fans of classic detective stories will love this twisted serial killer saga that pits a madman against an amateur sleuth who gets in over his head when asked to look into a local girl’s murder.

The novel has a distinct Agatha Christie feel and delivers on the classic suspense, just like the legendary author.

The town of Casperton is rocked when a girl is found murdered, quite brutally. Her rich parents enlist the help of the local PI, Alphonse, who pulls his friend, Jake Boulder into the investigation. While this looks like a “straightforward” killing as details of the victim’s life emerge, soon more bodies are found and it becomes apparent that the town is in the grip of a madman, who will do anything for one more kill.

I liked Jake as a character, he was quirky and flawed, but very sharp and good-natured. He makes a great “hero” for the story and I’m interested to see more of him and where he goes throughout the series. The other characters were great too – Jake’s mother, Alphonse and Kira (the victim) were all really interesting.

The mystery was solid – not too twisty as has been the recent trend, but really a battle of wits between the detectives and the killer, to see who wins. And it’s quite a ride. The “action” isn’t what’s important, it’s the game of wits between the parties.

There were a couple of interesting subplots that I wish had gotten more time (like, Kira’s, um, fixation on Jake or the killer’s past) but i think that’s fairly typical for series debuts, as authors try out and see what works for the blend of characters.

Overall, I’m excited to see where this series goes in the future.

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