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Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books are full of action, thrills and big explosions – others are subtle as they twist your mind and make you question everything. “Emma in the Night,” is definitely the latter. And it’s amazingly good.

The story begins when Cass Tanner returns home. Her and her older sister Emma went missing three years ago. With no clues and no bodies, the case went cold. When only Cass returns, she begs for help finding Emma and she weaves an elaborate tale about being forcibly kept on an island with Emma, an older couple and a baby Emma gave birth to. All the evidence points to her telling the truth. But FBI investigator Dr. Abby Winters senses something is off – and that hunch three years earlier about there being trouble in the Tanner home is correct. Where is Emma and what really happened three years ago. It’s all going to come to a head.

This book involves a lot of psychology and exit stench of questions about the truth and importance – it’s really interesting because it creates a possible where you’re constantly questioning what you think you know. You don’t know which characters you can trust and which you can’t. And since the ultimate truth is not revealed until the very end of the book you are kept guessing.

I love trying to piece together what all was happening. I didn’t guess the ending, and I think it was done really well and in a way that was very satisfying.

I’d really like to see more of Abby in future novels. Her personal story is very interesting and her job as an FBI psychological analyst has a lot of possibilities for future stories. I hope we see her again soon.

I’d recommend this novel for anyone looking for a good psychological thriller that will keep me reading into the night.

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Flashback Friday Review: Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo

I didn’t realize until a couple days ago when I was planning out my reading week that I hadn’t posted the last Kate Burkholder novel review! I read it prior to starting up my re-launch of this blog, so it only made it to Goodreads. So, now that I’m starting the next in the series (the ninth total!), here’s my take on the eighth Kate Burkholder novel, “Among the Wicked.” The Amish have never been so spooky!

Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8)Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off: This book can be read as a stand-alone novel. I am reviewing it as such. I liked it so much I may buy the others in the series!

I’m a little breathless after finishing this one. It’s an intense ride that doesn’t let up for a second. And I NEVER saw the end twist coming. Not for a second.

So. The basics: Kate Burkholder is a police chief in Ohio who used to be Amish. She’s summoned to work undercover in New York when a young woman is found frozen to death under weird circumstances. She quickly discovers that the town’s charismatic leader may be up to some bad things – including murder.

As the story unfolds, it just keeps adding questions: Who, why, how?! Most of it was good. It kept me reading. But the four stars come in because some of those threads did not get tied up. I’m still not exactly sure what happened with some of the characters. It’s sometimes implied, but never confirmed.( I don’t want to give anything away because it’s really good and you’ll want to read it for yourself. Afterward, I’d be interested to hear some other’s opinions.)

That doesn’t keep me from recommending the book, because I really do, I just want to be upfront about it.

I also loved the authenticity of the Amish portrayal. It was interesting and very accurate based on my interactions with plain people.

Overall, HIGHLY recommend.

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Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh

Say You're Sorry (Morgan Dane #1)Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Melinda Leigh – author of the “Midnight” series – has started another thrilling, suspense-filled series with “Say You’re Sorry,” which is filled with suspects, and little romance too.

Morgan Dane has taken time off since the death of her husband two years ago. But just as she is about to go back to work for the District Attorney’s office, her teenaged neighbor is accused of murdering his girlfriend, also a family friend. Morgan agrees to defend him, and finds that a case that looked open-and-shut is anything but. Working with her high school sweetheart to investigate the case, can Morgan figure out what’s going on in a town that seems to have secrets around every turn?

This book was very twisty and had several subplots which added to the bigger picture of the mystery. There are points when it seems clear what happened, but then you’re thrown in another direction. However the subplots did not take away from the main mystery, which is the murder of a young girl at the town’s party spot. Leigh is very good at maintaining that balance.

I’m interested to see more from this town in the future, based on some of these threads.

And the central mystery gets dark. It’s not for the faint of heart. Not that most murder stories are cheerful, but this one involves sexual assault in various forms. But nothing seemed gratuitous, and it was handled well. Morgan’s determination to get justice also adds a great balance to these aspects, showing that there are people who care about making sure victims of crime get justice and are taken seriously.

I did not guess this ending.

The romance was a little cheesy, but it was still enjoyable. Hopefully in later books will see the characters’ relationship developed more.

Overall, I’m looking to more from Morgan Dane and Scartlett Falls.

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The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel

The Lost WomanThe Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t know if I’d like this novel from the description. It seemed interesting, by more focused on characters than plot.

But I am so glad to say that I was wrong. This novel was incredibly intriguing and I loved every page.

The story begins with the murder of a woman in England, Who turns out to be a Danish woman reported missing nearly 20 years earlier. Louise Rick is plunged into the case when it turns out the dead woman is her new boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. As they dig into her pass it becomes apparent that her murder may not be random, The culmination of nearly 20 years of events.

Don’t want to give away too much because the reveal is very good but this novel is so much deeper than just a police procedural. The background is explained along side of the modern case story; we learn about Sophie’s background and what led to her actions, and therefore the actions of her killer, as police investigate her murder.

It’s really good because it involves a modern-day issue that is complex and nuanced and the story is too. Even the ending is incredibly complex and makes you think. It’s not a black-and-white story and that makes the novel even better.

Some of the danish names were hard to keep straight but the main characters have fairly simple, Anglicized names, which made it a tad easier.

This is a novel in a series but I read it as a standalone. It certainly can’t be read as a standalone and I had no problems picking up the storylines. The only thing I didn’t like about this book being part of a series is the fact that I feel bad that I missed such great novels – I’ll be going back and looking up the rest of the Louise Rick series.

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Looking ahead to 2017!

Looking back, 2016 was a big year for ebooknerd Reviews! I’m so proud of how far this blog has come and am proud of the connections I’ve been able to make with all of you.

Now, it’s time to look forward to 2017, and I’m kicking around some ideas to make this next year even better. Here’s some ideas, please let me know what you’d like to see and what you think is a good idea or bad idea.

In-depth book discussions via video. Like a video review, but with much more discussion of the plot, characters, etc.

  • Guest posts/reviews
  • More author interviews
  • Book previews

Cheers to a fabulous new year!

Posted in Reviews

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

The Girls Next Door (Detective Eden Berrisford, #1)The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For fans of good old-fashioned action thrillers, this book will be a delight to crack open. It’s got nonstop action from page one, with more and more events unfolding as each page passes – though it’s relatively light on “mystery,” making it more of a suspense novel.

The story centers on the murder of a young girl, who some friends mistook for one of her ne’er-do-well brothers. While the participants wait in jail for their trials, their remaining friends are attacked one by one. It culminates in the kidnap of Jess, whose aunt Eden (the main character) is a police detective, and is determined to see her niece home safely. She begins putting together the pieces which show that the young people of the city are hard at work in some serious things.

I enjoyed this book and it kept me reading to find out what happens next. As I said, it’s not necessarily a true “whodunnits,” its more like a Vin Diesel movie that just starts and never stops. Or like a Dan Brown novel, where they start running at the beginning, and never stop; It really takes off from the first chapters and hits the ground running.

The reveals are OK, though some of the overall actions/incidents got written off as “teenage angst,” when I think I would have liked to see some consequences. (You’ll know what I mean when you read the book.) But the main characters are indeed teenagers, so.

The web of people who are involved in all the hoopla is big, and that can make it hard to distinguish who’s who and why one person may be mad at another, etc. But once you cut through to the main part of the story things become clearer. But I struggled the first couple of chapters.

Overall, it’s a great read for action-lovers and anyone looking for a light, fast read for the winter season.

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Stone Coffin by Knell Eriksson

Stone CoffinStone Coffin by Kjell Eriksson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has great potential, but doesn’t to the exciting action promised in the description. It’s more a crawl through an intriguing-enough mystery, rather than an action-packed escapade.

The book follows Ann Lindell, who is investigating the murder of a woman and her young daughter soon be husband is tracked down, and his fate leaves more questions than answers. Why would a successful young man on the brink of taking in some big money run down his family? Or if he didn’t do it, who did?

Sounds good right? This book had so much potential but gets bogged down in the personal trials of the investigative team and action that unfolds fairly slowly. The action never really gets going and the mystery just ends up….solved. They figure it out and move on, I guess.

I wasn’t too worried about who the culprit was by the end of the novel – but I was interested to see how it all fit together. More because I did like the idea of the novel, and wanted to see it through. But I wasn’t turning pages frenetically or anything.

And there is an interesting twist, don’t get me wrong. But the pace of the novel is so slow. It really takes away from the excitement that you get from most thrillers and police procedurals.

Plus, because it’s a series, the personal issues presented in the novel don’t get solved. They’re left for the next installment – boo!

So, I don’t know what to say about this one. It has the potential, but it’s not there yet. Not my cup of tea.

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