Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

October 15, 2022

Blood Test (Alex Delaware #2) by Jonathan Kellerman

Synopsis

It is a case unlike any psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware has ever encountered. Five-year-old Woody Swope is ill, but the real problem is his parents. They refuse to agree to the one treatment that could save this boy's life. Alex sets out to convince Mr. and Mrs. Swope--only to find that the parents have left the hospital and taken their son with them. Worse, the sleazy motel room where the Swopes were staying is empty--except for the ominous bloodstain. The Swopes and their son have vanished into the sordid shadows of the city. Now Alex and his friend, homocide detective Milo Sturgis, have no choice but to push the law to the breaking point. They've entered an amoral underworld where drugs, dreams, and sex are all for sale...where fantasies are fulfilled at any price--even at the cost of a young boy's life.


Book number two in the Alex Delaware series, and it was definitely another thriller.  

There were a lot of complicated and layered characters, but it was easy to keep there straight and interested to uncover different parts of them. And, once again, Alex had to do some traveling in his attempt to get answers to a case he was interested in. 

Yet, the whole book, there is the underlying worry for the kid - Woody - because he's suffering from cancer and needs to be found so he can get treatment. 

I think this was a quicker read than the first book was, but it still dealt with a lot of rough topics. That seems to be the theme in this series. There are a lot of sex crimes. That wasn't what I was expecting going in. 

Overall, I enjoyed the read. I look forward to #3. 

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: "I'd long thought that a surfeit of sensitivity could be a killing thing, too much insight malignant in its own right. The best survivors -- there are studies that show it -- are those blessed with an inordinate ability to deny. And keep on marching."

"To trust someone is to take the greatest risk of all. Without trust nothing ever happens."



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October 1, 2022

Compulsion (Max Revere #2) by Allison Brennan

Synopsis

Investigative reporter Maxine Revere has a theory: that the five New York City murders for which Adam Bachman is being tried are just part of his killing spree. In probing the disappearance of a retired couple who vanished the prior summer, Max uncovers striking similarities to Bachman's MO and develops a theory that Bachman wasn't working alone.

Max wins a coveted pre-trial interview with the killer, whose disarming composure in the face of her questions is combined with uncomfortable knowledge of Max's own past. She leaves the room convinced, but unable to prove, that Bachman knows exactly what happened to the missing couple. The D.A. wants nothing to jeopardize his case against Bachman and refuses to consider Max's theory. With no physical evidence, Max has to rely on her own wits and investigative prowess to dig deep into Bachman's past. The picture that Max puts together is far darker and more deadly than she ever imagined.

As Max gets closer to the truth, she doesn't realize that she's walking down a road that has been paved just for her. That every step she takes brings her one step closer to a brilliant, methodical sociopath who has been waiting for her to make just one small mistake.

And when she does, he'll be there waiting.


When I started this book, I had no idea it was the second book in a series. That was unfortunate to me, because I hadn't read the first one. I don't like jumping into a series without reading the first book or reading them out of order in general. 

But, since I did it without knowing, I had to get over it and just pretend it was a standalone book. 

I will say, not having read the first book, I didn't feel like I had missed anything or that I was severely out of the know. So, Allison Brennan did a great job of welcoming new readers into the series if they were knew to her work like I was. 

I also found it interesting to read a crime novel from the POV of an investigative reporter. Usually they come from the POV of the detectives investigating the case. So this was a fresh change of pace to me. It was an interesting story, and it kept me hanging on until I finished it. 

I think I'll definitely be on the lookout for the other books in the series. I should probably read the first one so I can be all caught up. 

4/5 Stars


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When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware #1) by Jonathan Kellerman

Synopsis

In the first Alex Delaware novel, Dr. Morton Handler practiced a strange brand of psychiatry. Among his specialties were fraud, extortion, and sexual manipulation. Handler paid for his sins when he was brutally murdered in his luxurious Pacific Palisades apartment. The police have no leads, but they do have one possible witness: seven-year-old Melody Quinn.

It's psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware's job to try to unlock the terrible secret buried in Melody's memory. But as the sinister shadows in the girl's mind begin to take shape, Alex discovers that the mystery touches a shocking incident in his own past.

This connection is only the beginning, a single link in a forty-year-old conspiracy. And behind it lies an unspeakable evil that Alex Delaware must expose before it claims another innocent victim: Melody Quinn.


I read my first Jonathan Kellerman book awhile ago now, and I've had When the Bough Breaks sitting in my TBR pile for nearly as long. After finding a good chunk of the series at various book sales, it was finally time for me to dig in and read my way through it!

The good news is that I enjoyed the book. It'd be rather unfortunate if I had quite a few books In the series and ended up hating the first one. As someone who, obviously, enjoys mysteries and thrillers but is also a psychology nerd, this series appears to be a wonderful blend of those two interests. For those unfamiliar with the Alex Delaware series - Alex was a child psychologist. After being retired for a few, he becomes a consultant to the police. 

All of this was great and intriguing. What I wasn't expecting was just how graphic and vulgar some of the language was - especially since this novel deals with sexual abuse of children - another thing I was not prepared for. I usually keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible. But, I feel like that needed to be mentioned. Because it was rough. 

There are also some things about the writing that make it obvious this series was started in the 80's. It's not specific to the 80's, per se, but some of the racial words and phrases used to describe people are now very out of date. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written decades  ago as I was reading it. I can only hope that as the series goes along, the vocabulary becomes more modern. 

Sidenote - as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I absolutely love that Milos is gay. That warmed my little heart. 

4/5 Stars. I've already started the 2nd book, and I look forward to seeing how the series progresses. 


Memorable Quote: “It was shaping up as a beautiful morning. The last thing I wanted to hear about was murder.”



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September 20, 2022

U is For Undertow (Kinsey Millhone #21) by Sue Grafton

Synopsis

It's April 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office catching up on paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy a beer, but Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout.

He tells her a story. More than two decades ago, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent newspaper story about her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her secret burial and could identify the killers if he saw them again. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the men. It's way more than a long shot, but he's persistent and willing to pay cash up front. Reluctantly, Kinsey agrees to give him one day of her time.

It isn't long before she discovers Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his story true, or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Moving between the 1980s and the 1960s, and changing points of view as Kinsey pursues witnesses whose accounts often clash, Sue Grafton builds multiple subplots and memorable characters. Gradually we see how everything connects. And as always, at the heart of her fiction is Kinsey Millhone, a sharp-tongued, observant loner who never forgets that under the thin veneer of civility is often the roiling dark side of the soul.


U is For Undertow is another installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. But, if you weren't aware of that going in, I could see how it may fool you. Because it's a Kinsey Millhone novel . . . with a severe lack of Kinsey. 

This is due to the novel traveling back and forth in time between the 60's and the 80's and between points of view. You get the perspective of 4 different characters, including Kinsey. I had no idea how it was all going to come together in the end, because they all seemed like completely different stories. 

It was a strange book where a lot happened, and it was fairly long, but it didn't really go anywhere until the very end. I understand having to lay down the full background and what led up to Kinsey investigating the case of a missing child from about 20 years prior, but I just didn't care about most of it. 

I could have lived without McNally's perspective. Corso was interesting. Deboroah Unruh's was necessary to paint the story with how it played out. Had the novel just flipped back and forth between Kinsey and Jon Corso, I feel like it may have had some more life and would have been more interesting - much like for T is for Trespassing flipped between Kinsey and "Solana Rojas". And that book kept me on the edge of my seat, especially at the end. 

There were just too many peripheral characters in 'U' that I didn't care about. Some of the chapters became a chore. 

And again - there was a severe lack of Kinsey. 

3/5 stars



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September 13, 2022

The Wife by Alafair Burke

Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke, a stunning domestic thriller in the vein of Behind Closed Doors and The Woman in Cabin 10—in which a woman must make the impossible choice between defending her husband and saving herself.

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look—at both the man she married and the women she chose not to believe.

This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?

 

The Wife is a fun, quick thriller. It's a great afternoon read or a book to work your way through over a weekend. It's not super long and it's not super dense. 

It's a classic story of murder being committed and the questions surrounding who is responsible. Is it the man whose life is spiraling out of control? The wife who wants to believe him? Is something more sinister going on?

It didn't take very long for this book to grip me and suck me into the journey. I became invested in the characters and in the storyline. I had to see how it all ended. 

If you want a mystery that's easy and quick to read, give this one a shot. 

4/5 stars


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The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson

Synopsis

A detective and an FBI agent join forces on what seems like an open-and-shut case—but a new rash of killings sends them on a pulse-pounding race against time in this intense thriller.

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown—Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology—they trust each other before anyone else. They've had to. Their parents are public intellectuals, an Ivy League clinical psychologist and a renowned psychiatrist, and they brought up their adopted children in a rarefied, experimental environment. It sheltered them from the world's harsh realities, but it also forced secrets upon them, secrets they keep at all costs.

In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended—but then there's another killing just like the one they've been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles—the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators' attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss—if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?

From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer—one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.


This book is largely responsible for breaking me out of my reading slump early in the year. (Note: yes, I read this early in the year. I'm getting caught up on writing reviews. It's been a crazy year!) 

After I absolutely devoured this book, I NEEDED to jump into another novel immediately because I had such a great time on this journey. Luckily for me, the next book I read was The Family Across the Street by Nicole Trope and that was also an incredible read. So, suddenly I was out of my slump and enjoying reading again instead of not being able to focus. 

But it all started here. 

The Coast-to-Coast Murders is one of the best Patterson books I've read in a long time. It's a crazy journey that tells a story of how powerful the mind is and how insidious mental illness can be. Or how the mind can be warped into working against you. 

This book is full of action. It's full of mystery. It's full of suspense. And it had one of the most gruesome death scenes I've ever read. 

Plus, it truly had me shocked at the end when everything was wrapped up. I never saw the twist coming which was exhilarating to me. 

5/5 stars


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The Stories You Tell (Roxanne Weary #3) by Kristen Lepionka

Synopsis

A late-night phone call is never good news, especially when you’re Roxane Weary. This one is from her brother Andrew whose evening was interrupted by a visit from Addison, a hip young DJ he knows from the hotel bar where he works. She was drunk, bloody, and hysterical, but she wouldn’t say what was wrong. After using his phone, she left as quickly as she appeared, and Andrew is worried. That’s when he calls Roxane.

But another late-night call occurs as well: Addison’s father calls the police after getting a panicked voicemail from his daughter. The only thing he could understand is the address she gave in the message—Andrew’s. Before long, the police are asking Andrew all about why there’s blood in his apartment and what he did to Addison. Meanwhile, another cop is found dead on the opposite side of town, leading to a swirl of questions surrounding a dance club whose staff—which includes Addison—has suddenly gone AWOL.


When I started this book, I didn't realize it was part of a series. Not to mention - the third book in a series. Unfortunately, I haven't read the first two. So this was my first introduction to Roxanne as a protagonist. 

It was quite the interesting story to follow and there were twists and turns all over the place. I was never really sure where it was going to go. But I was invested, so I kept following it. 

Every attempt to get answers unlocked even more questions. And it ended up being more twisted than I imagined when I started it. But the end was sort of frustrating.

I'd be interested to read the first two books in the series one of these days. 

3/5 stars


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The Family Lawyer by James Patterson

Synopsis

THE FAMILY LAWYER with Robert Rotstein: Matthew Hovanes is living a parent's worst nightmare: his young daughter is accused of bullying another girl into suicide. But this loving father is also a skilled criminal defense attorney. And something here doesn't add up...

NIGHT SNIPER with Christopher Charles: Cheryl Mabern is the NYPD's most brilliant detective--and the most damaged. Now she must confront her darkest fears to stop a calculating killer committing random murders.

THE GOOD SISTER with Rachel Howzell Hall: Her beloved sister's cheating husband has been found dead. Now, Dani Lawrence must decide if she will help the investigation that could put her sister away...or obstruct it by any means necessary.


This book was three stories in one! It starts with The Family Lawyer which is a great thriller about family dynamics and the things that can go so wrong in high school. 

Then there is Night Sniper which shows the terrifying double life that some people can lead. 

It ends with The Good Sister which is also a winding and weaving tale about wild family dynamics and how far some people will go for revenge and loyalty.  

Each of these stories could have been their own full length novel, but they were great bite-sized thrillers all packed into one package. They were more well-rounded and enjoyable than the Bookshots that Patterson has released. So that was a plus in my book. As much as I wanted to love to Bookshots, they just seem forced and rushed. There's an art to forming a well-rounded shorter story. 

If I had to rate them individually, I'd say they're already in order from best to worst. I enjoyed The Family Lawyer the most and was actually bummed out when it ended. I wanted to know more about how the characters would progress. 

The Good Sister was the weakest of the trio, but it was still a fun read. 

I'd definitely recommend picking this one up and jumping into some thrilling stories. 

4/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "There's something I've learned during my years on the job: a broken man will let himself hear what he's always wanted to hear." - Night Sniper



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Fear No Evil (Alex Cross #29) by James Patterson

Synopsis

Alex Cross enters the final showdown with the relentless killer who has stalked him and his family for years.​

Dr. Alex Cross and Detective John Sampson venture into the rugged Montana wilderness—where they will be the prey. They’re not on the job, but on a personal mission. 

Until they’re attacked by two rival teams of assassins, controlled by the same mastermind who has stalked Alex and his family for years. 

Darkness falls. The river churns into rapids. Shots ring out through the forest. 

No backup. No way out. Fear no evil. 


Another installment in the Alex Cross series! Unfortunately, this one didn't really do it for me like most of the others have. 

The parts that were most interesting to me were when it flashed to Bree on her new job assignment in Paris. I love to see her character going down a different path from where she had been with DC Metro. 

Other than that, Alex and John were being hunted down by rival groups. But it didn't make much sense to me that they would be coming after them as hard as they were. And a lot of that storyline seemed to . . . out there and unrealistic to me. Even for a fiction novel. 

I was also angry that John's dream vacation got ruined. 

This was a book I just powered through because I care about the characters. It definitely wasn't a gem in the Alex Cross series. 

3/5 stars


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Deadly Cross (Alex Cross #28) by James Patterson

Synopsis

A scandalous double homicide in the nation's capital opens the psychological case files on . . . Detective Alex Cross.

Until Kay Willingham's shocking murder inside a luxury limousine, the Georgetown socialite, philanthropist, and ex-wife of the sitting vice-president led a public life. Yet few -- including her onetime psychologist -- had any inkling of Kay's troubled past in the Deep South.

Murdered alongside her is Randall Christopher, a respected educator whose political ambitions may have endangered both their lives. While John Sampson of DC Metro Police tracks Randall's final movements, Alex Cross and FBI Special Agent Ned Mahoney travel to Alabama to investigate Kay's early years.

They discover that although Kay had many enemies, all of them needed her alive. Alex is left without a viable suspect, and facing a desperate choice between breaking a trust and losing his way -- as a detective, and as the protector of his family.


A crime that reaches across so many different states with connections to many high-profile characters - including Alex Cross himself. 

Deadly Cross was one of those series installments that pulls you in right from the beginning and doesn't let go until you race through the pages. It featured a truly baffling crime that had so many potential suspects. And it kept me guessing until the very end. What a ride!

And we get a new level of character development for Bree Cross, which is always fun. If you enjoy the Alex Cross series, I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy this book. 

5/5 Stars



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Shine by Lauren Myracle

Synopsis

When her best guy friend falls victim to what seems like a vicious hate crime, 16-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.


Even after reading the synopsis for this book, I wasn't quite prepared for how dark and sad it got at times. It deals with some really harsh topics such as racism, addiction, sexual assault, LGBTQ hate crimes, and questions about sexuality, and more. All of that was packed into a relatively short novel. The fact that it didn't feel disjointed and forced speaks a lot to how well the book is written. 

There were times it made me feel uncomfortable. There were times it made me sad. There were times it got me to smile. Its definitely a story of the power of love and a coming-of-age story about the importance of family. It's a real look into how trauma can touch so many lives in so many different ways.

At first it kinda seemed like it was trying to be one of those young adult books where some kid or young teenager solves all the problems of a small town. But it ended up being so much deeper than that, and I really appreciated it in the end. 

It's not an easy read due to the topics, but it is written well and goes pretty fast. 

4/5 stars


Memorable Quote: "That was the problem with lying to yourself. Sometimes you got too good at it."



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T is For Trespass (Kinsey Millhone #20) by Sue Grafton

Synopsis

In what may be her most unsettling novel to date, Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass is also her most direct confrontation with the forces of evil. Beginning slowly with the day-to-day life of a private eye, Grafton suddenly shifts from the voice of Kinsey Millhone to that of Solana Rojas, introducing readers to a chilling sociopath. Rojas is not her birth name. It is an identity she cunningly stole, an identity that gives her access to private caregiving jobs. The true horror of the novel builds with excruciating tension as the reader foresees the awfulness that lies ahead. The suspense lies in whether Millhone will realize what is happening in time to intervene. Though set in the late eighties, T is for Trespass could not be more topical: identity theft; elder abuse; betrayal of trust; the breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the weak and the dependent. It reveals a terrifying but all-too-real rip in the social fabric. Once again, Grafton opens up new territory with startling results.


Kinsey Millhone is back again! I wasn't the biggest fan of the installment prior to this one. But, T is For Trespass was definitely a wild journey that kept me turning the page! It was great to be pulled into this one after it was so hard for me to get through S. 

T is for Trespass alternated voices between Kinsey and a newcomer to the neighborhood, Solana Rojas. The book being written this way gave us, as the reader, a different insight into knowing what was happening before and while Kinsey was figuring it all out. It was an interesting way to get into the story, but it also made the whole book SO frustrating. 

I was rooting for Kinsey to figure everything out sooner rather than later. But once the ball finally got rolling, it was an intense ride. The ending of the book had me on the edge of my seat and I was actually sweating as my heart was pounding as I raced to the end. 

I don't know about you, but I always love when a book can pull me in so much that it can get me worked up like that while reading. 'T' was definitely a great rebound  from 'S', in my opinion. I had to jump right in to reading 'U' when I finished it!

5/5 Stars


Memorable Quotes: 

"In reality, the place had stimulated my hopes for an early and sudden death."

"At the end of every day, I was exhausted from having to maintain such a tight grip on myself. Fear, like any other strong emotion, is difficult to hide. Much of my energy was devoted to denying it was there." 

"I don't want to think about predators. I know they exist, but I prefer to focus on the best in human nature: compassion, generosity, a willingness to come to the aid of those in need. The sentiment may seem absurd, given our daily ration of news stories detailing thievery, assault, rape, murder, and other treacheries. To the cynics among us, I must sound like an idiot, but I do hold to the good, working wherever possible to separate the wicked from that which profits them. There will always be someone poised to take advantage of the vulnerable: the very young, the very old, and the innocent of any age. Though I know this from long experience, I refuse to feel discouraged. In my own unassuming way, I know I can make a difference. You can as well."



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September 10, 2022

S is For Silence (Kinsey Millhone #19) by Sue Grafton

Synopsis

Just after Independence Day in July 1953 Violet Sullivan, a local good time girl living in Serena Station Southern California, drives off in her brand new Chevy and is never seen again. Left behind is her young daughter, Daisy, and Violet's impetuous husband, Foley, who had been persuaded to buy his errant wife the car only days before . . .

Now, thirty-five years later, Daisy wants closure.

Reluctant to open such an old cold case Kinsey Millhone agrees to spend five days investigating, believing at first that Violet simply moved on to pastures new. But very soon it becomes clear that a lot of people shared a past with Violet, a past that some are still desperate to keep hidden. And in a town as close-knit as Serena there aren't many places to hide when things turn vicious . . .


A small tight-knit town. A woman the whole town lusted over. A mysterious disappearance. 

S is For Silence was another installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. It time hops between 1953 and "current time" (the 80's in Kinsey's world) to tell the story of Violet and Kinsey's search for her. 

This was one of those books where, despite the intriguing story, it took me forever to get through it. I don't really know why. Perhaps I didn't feel connected to the characters when the book flashed back in time. So trying to get through those chapters was a lot more tough. 

But, I did need to know what happened to Violet. And Kinsey is always interesting. So I kept pushing through. I'm glad that it wrapped up and didn't leave any questions hanging. 

Maybe not the BEST book in the whole series, but it's worth the read. 

3/5 Stars



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I Don't Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

Synopsis

An accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie’s desperate to make a good first impression. Then she’s framed for murder.

It all starts at a neighborhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.

Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts between them. She learns quickly that she's been hacked and someone is impersonating her online. Her reputation—socially and professionally—is at stake; even her husband starts to doubt her. As the killer closes in, Allie must reach back into a past she vowed to forget in order to learn the shocking truth of who is destroying her life.


I Don't Forgive You follows the very popular trend of having a female protagonist trying to solve a mystery in a quiet neighborhood while everyone around her thinks she's crazy and has a drinking problem. So much so that once I finished it, it inspired to finally watch the satire show The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window on Netflix. Great show, by the way. Especially if you've read a few of these books that follow that trope. It made me chuckle quite a few times!

But, back to the book! 

Once I got over the fact that I was reading yet another novel following this recipe, the plot line was decent enough to keep me reading and keep me invested in finding out what really happened. Plus, I didn't guess the twist - so that's a plus in it's favor!

I Don't Forgive You also uses more digital media and social media as a plot device than some of the other related novels. That added an interesting wrinkle. It also made every single character in the book suspicious. That's probably why I didn't guess the big reveal before it happened. Plus Aggie Blum Thompson definitely tries to direct your suspicions from character to character and none of them become innocent or guilty until she's ready for them to. 

Would I have preferred the book to take on a different angle than a woman who drinks a lot with a husband that doesn't believe her? Yeah, probably. 

Would it have made for the same sort of intriguing plot line? Well, probably not. 

So - if you go into the book knowing what to expect about the plot devices, you'll likely enjoy the ride. OR, if you really enjoy this type of novel, you'll probably eat this one up!

It was interesting. It was an easy read. The "alcoholic" woman with rocky relationships is becoming tiresome though. 


3/5 Stars



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October 20, 2020

It Was You by Jade Lee Wright

 Synopsis:

"I don't understand. Everything I did, I did for her..."When Regan Pen discovers that her long-term boyfriend has been cheating on her with over eight women, she packs her bags and leaves the sunny island in Spain that she had called home for a year. She returns to South Africa where she is given the chance to start over in life. Reassemble herself. Now is her time to be selfish. Find a new career, get a home of her own. Become whoever she wants to be... but when her best friend, Peyton, is brutally murdered, Regan is forced to put her life on hold to take responsibility for her friends thirteen year old daughter, Harley. As the police battle to solve the murder of Peyton and her unborn child, Regan becomes convinced that her Godchild is not the sweet, innocent little girl everyone seems to think she is. Could Harley have been so consumed by her jealousy and fear of not being the epicenter of her mother's universe that it lead to murder? If so, is Regan safe in her own home?


This book was interesting as it felt like you, as the reader, were spiraling into insanity. I could never quite put my finger on what was happening. You think you figure it out, then something changes. Then changes again. Then changes again. 

Then you think the story is wrapped up. 

Then it changes again. And a huge bomb is thrown at the reader in the final page to try to make it all make sense.

I didn’t really care about any of the characters. They all kinda sucked in their own ways, but they were supposed to. 

It was a book that I just didn’t really connect with. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t connect with it. 

2/5 Stars



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April 8, 2020

Odd Interlude by Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas 4.5)

Synopsis
Nestled on a lonely stretch along the Pacific coast, quaint roadside outpost Harmony Corner offers everything a weary traveler needs—a cozy diner, a handy service station, a cluster of cottages . . . and the Harmony family homestead presiding over it all. But when Odd Thomas and company stop to spend the night, they discover that there’s more to this secluded haven than meets the eye—and that between life and death, there is something more frightening than either. 

Having read books 3 & 4 of the Odd Thomas series out of order, I had to call back to when I read Odd Hours upon picking this one up. It wasn’t too hard. The worst part was that Odd Hours was my least favorite book in the series so far. Because of that, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into Odd Interlude.

I’m sure glad Mr. Koontz proved me very wrong.

Interlude in a shorter book and initially was released in 3 small parts. What I loved about it was it never really slowed down. It was pretty action-packed right from the beginning, and the mystery behind the town he was in was rather intriguing. Then, for the fans of Dean Koontz’s monsters, there’s a pretty epic monster that Odd Thomas has to meet up with at the end.

For being so short, it really had a little bit of everything. Odd being Odd, a great new character, a strong mystery, and a wild monster.

Odd Interlude definitely redeemed the series from Odd Hours which kind of bored me. I can’t wait to read the next one.

5/5 Stars

Memorable quotes: “This broken world, however, breaks most of us, grinding relentlessly on its metaled tracks.”

“Darkness has its charms, and even in our own hometowns, the world at night can be as enchanting as any foreign port with its exotic architectures. Between dusk and dawn, the commonplace is full of visual delights that only the moon, the stars, and richly textured shadows can provide.”

“No doubt misery, like happiness and hope, is found throughout the stars.” 


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April 5, 2020

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas #3)

Synopsis:
Loop me in, odd one.
The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her. For this was a favorite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love, and Stormy is dead, gone forever from this world. In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature. 
Through two New York Times bestselling novels Odd Thomas has established himself as one of the most beloved and unique fictional heroes of our time. Now, wielding all the power and magic of a master storyteller at the pinnacle of his craft, Dean Koontz follows Odd into a singular new world where he hopes to make a fresh beginning—but where he will meet an adversary as old and inexorable as time itself. 
St. Bartholomew’s Abbey sits in majestic solitude amid the wild peaks of California’s high Sierra, a haven for children otherwise abandoned, and a sanctuary for those seeking insight. Odd Thomas has come here to learn to live fully again, and among the eccentric monks, their other guests, and the nuns and young students of the attached convent school, he has begun to find his way. The silent spirits of the dead who visited him in his earlier life are mercifully absent, save for the bell-ringing Brother Constantine and Odd’s steady companion, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. 
But trouble has a way of finding Odd Thomas, and it slinks back onto his path in the form of the sinister bodachs he has met previously, the black shades who herald death and disaster, and who come late one December night to hover above the abbey’s most precious charges. For Odd is about to face an enemy who eclipses any he has yet encountered, as he embarks on a journey of mystery, wonder, and sheer suspense that surpasses all that has come before.

Odd Thomas cannot seem to escape harm no matter where he goes – even a monastery in the mountains. This was maybe one of the more mysterious books in the series so far, but maybe that had more to do with the setting or the weather. Either way, it was interesting to dig into.

With the fantasy and science fiction elements aside, it was interesting how Brother Odd touched on how powerful the brain can be. It’s a mysterious computer that has more power than any of us really know. This book touched on that in its own way.

The supporting cast of Brother Odd were also interesting characters. I enjoyed reading about each of them and seeing how they played into the story. The monster creature itself was also rather intriguing as it definitely left a lot to the imagination.

I accidentally read the 4th book before reading this one, so I was a little out of order, but I worked it out in my head.

A solid installment in the Odd Thomas series.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes:
“I have less to live for than I once did, but my life still has purpose, and I struggle to find meaning in the days.”

“The only thing I know for sure is how much I do not know. Maybe there is wisdom in that recognition. Unfortunately, I have found no comfort in it.”

“When we hope, we usually hope for the wrong thing. We yearn for tomorrow and the progress that it represents. But yesterday was once tomorrow, and where was the progress in it? Or we yearn for yesterday, for what was or what might have been. But as we are yearning, the present is becoming the past, so the past is nothing but our yearning for second chances.”

“Life you can evade; death you cannot.”

“To know grief, we must be in the river of time, because grief thrives in the present and promises to be with us in the future until the end point. Only time conquers time and its burdens. There is no grief before or after time, which is all the consolation we should need.”

“Human beings not only can’t bear too much reality, we flee from reality when someone doesn’t force us close enough to the fire to feel the heat on our faces.”

“Money and beauty are defenses against the sorrows of this world, but neither can undo the past. Only time will conquer time. The way forward is the only way back to innocence and to peace.”


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April 1, 2020

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Synopsis:
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. 
Still Missing interweaves the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfold through sessions with her psychiatrist, with a second narrative following the events after her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Chevy Stevens is one of my favorite newer authors. Her books twist and turn while moving at a good pace. The characters are deep and developed. Each story cuts deep in its own way.

Still Missing is no different. Although, I guess I should say it set the tone for the rest of her work. I read that it was her first novel. I’m just the one reading her works out of order.

Still missing follows an absolutely heartbreaking yet incredibly strong heroine as she works through being kidnapped, abused, raped, and just so many more awful things. It’s told through her perspective as she’s recounting the tale to her therapist in different sessions. That makes things interesting. So, you know she survives, but you don’t know how she escapes until it plays out in her retelling.

I found myself totally sucked in to the book and I needed to see how she got free. I think I was even more drawn in once she actually was free. The parts with her interacting with The Freak were so dark. It was hard to take them in large chunks.

Still Missing is a crazy story of determination, strong will, and survival. If you like suspense novels and can handle some triggering subjects, I would highly recommend.

5/5 Stars

Memorable quote: “Like I said, I should feel proud of my progress, and I am, but that just adds another layer of guilt. Healing feels a lot like leaving my daughter behind and I already did that once.”


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November 13, 2019

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Synopsis
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...

This is the first book in awhile that I started and couldn’t put down until it was over. I read it in just over 24 hours – due to having to work during the day. I don’t know what about it really hooked me, but I needed to see what happened.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m into psychology and I wanted to know what was keeping Alicia silent, or if the writing was just good enough to keep me turning the page. Either way, I sped through this one and was not disappointed.

I can see why it’s one of the books of the year. It keeps you on your toes. The story winds and weaves and you never really know what’s going on. It had almost a Gone Girl feel (which I loved) but I’m guessing that’s due to the journal entries.

The ending and twist reveal actually got me. I think I was predicting everything except what actually happened. I’ve read some reviews where people said they saw it coming a mile away – I’m just glad that I didn’t. As the chapter was building up to the reveal, I could feel my eyes widening and my jaw actually dropped.

It was a fun ride! The writing was decent. I enjoyed the shorter chapters. I think I would pick up another of Alex’s books to see if I like more of his work. Alas, this was his first novel. I’m interested to see if his next work is also a hit.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quote: “I remember thinking, there’s no going back now. We were crashing through every last boundary between therapist and patient. Soon it would be impossible to tell who was who.”


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March 14, 2018

The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

Synopsis:
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

The Murderer’s Daughter was my first Jonathan Kellerman book, and I think I am going to have to invest in more of them.

Grace Blades is an interesting protagonist. Kellerman does a good job of making her a very deep character, using flashbacks from her past to paint the picture of what led to her life currently. I almost enjoyed the flashbacks more than the present time because it was a bit messy.

I felt like there were so many characters involved with the “present time” that it was hard to keep them straight. This also stems from them having a bunch of different names for one character. I still don’t know if I kept it straight in the end, but I got the point of the book and the story. I enjoyed it a lot; it was just a bit difficult to keep it all together at times.

One thing to really note about this book is the description of death and, later on, grief was really spot on. It was interesting to read, and I think people will be able to relate to what Grace saw and how she felt.

The Murderer’s daughter is a fast-paced mystery/thriller that will keep you turning pages until the very end.

3.5/5 Stars just for how difficult it was to keep some characters straight.

Memorable Quotes: "If people like you, maybe they won't hurt you."

"Whatever it took to survive. She'd always been driven to survive. Which is why she was still around. A bit of luck didn't hurt, either. Fate, karma, divine will, choose your delusion."

"Despite everything she told her patients about open communication, she craved the balm of ignorance. She supposed that could change. 
Meanwhile, she'd drive."



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