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review 2018-01-19 16:31
Walking the Bones
Walking the Bones (Ryan DeMarco Mystery) - Randall Silvis

Ryan DeMarco Mystery #2

By: Randall Silvis 

ISBN: 9781492646914

Publisher: Sourcebooks 

Publication Date:  1/23/2018 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Blog Tour Jan 23

Book Giveaway Contest

Jan 15-Feb 1, 2018 

When long-buried secrets come back to the surface..

 

Ryan DeMarco returns following Two Days Gone landing on my Top Books of 2017 with a gripping follow-up from the acclaimed author, Randall Silvis — WALKING THE BONES. 

Join me Blog Tour Host Jan 23. Enter to Win Book Giveaway Contest Jan 15-Feb 1. 

The continuation of Ryan DeMarco leads Marco and his partner to an unsolved murder case of seven African American girls who went missing from 1998 and 2004. A story of things buried―memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies.

Dark hidden secrets are unraveled and exposed in this gripping psychological suspense crime mystery thriller (procedural) with a strong literary twist. The shocking conclusion will leave you gasping, with thoughts of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic Lolita. 

“The past is never past, she thought. Every second of their pasts lay gathered inside them. Every incident of their pasts had constructed their present, every cell interlocking, layer upon layer. The past is omnipresent." 

Picking up from Two Days Gone, Sergeant (49 yrs. old) Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police is still suffering from the loss of his best friend, Thomas Hutson, his son, Ryan Jr. and the demise of his marriage. Guilt-ridden, he continues to wrestle with his demons spending time at the cemetery. 

They were all gone. Only Jayme remained. He hopes he will not ruin her life. 

Currently, he is dating Jayme Matson (fellow Trooper), and she is quite concerned about his well-being. She has convinced Ryan to take a medical leave of absence for three months rather than retire. She decides to join him. They rent an RV and hit the road to visit her sick grandmother in Kentucky, her hometown. 

However, when they arrive, they become involved in a murder mystery. Seven young females reduced to bone. Seven skeletons found in a four by fourteen by ten-foot space between the walls of a local church. 

Each of the girls — are between fifteen to nineteen years of age. All light-skinned African American girls. Not a single Caucasian. Each cocooned in a clear plastic sheeting and sealed with silver duct tape. Each meticulously, obsessively cleaned and stripped. 

One per year from 1998 to 2004. A fetish for girls of color, or a hatred of them? Cause of death? 

"Sometimes the bones talk, and sometimes they hoard their secrets."

Who was the killer? It had to be someone who knew about the false wall in the church and how to access it. A regular visitor, the pastor, or someone well-known in the community? Later the church was torched. 

Flashing back and forth from Ryan’s childhood to the present –we learn more about his earlier childhood. The one which still haunts him. 

Between Ryan’s internal struggle, his grief and guilt, emotions, insecurities, disturbing dreams, regrets, his troubled ex-wife Laraine, and his current relationship with Jayne – he has his hands full. The tensions and drama run high. Will he screw up his second chance at happiness? 

“Unless you have chaos inside, you cannot give birth to a dancing star.”—Freidrich Nietzche 

Neither Ryan nor Jayne knows where their relationship may be going, but they are along for the rocky ride. (Mixed with a few family members and locals). Plus we learn about both their pasts.

In the midst of their personal affairs, they are drawn into this old mystery. 

From a senior amateur group of six concerned citizens (Da Vinci Cave Irregulars). Determined to solve this case and help in any way they can —to a registered pedophile, minister, Mennonite, a groundskeeper, a foreman, a tarot-car-reading librarian, a retired coroner, a reclusive chiropractor millionaire, among others.

They have folders for the players: Suspects: Chad McGintey (statutory rape), Lucas McGintey (drug possession), Aaron Henry (teacher), Virgil Helm (caretaker), Eli Royce (pastor & narcissist), and the victims. 

Each of the victims had circumstances and were reported missing in the Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. The all were between five feet and five four. Petite. The cause, date, time, and place of death were undetermined. Runaways. Had their families given up on them long before their bones ended up in Aberdeen? 

In addition to Ryan’s haunted past, afraid he was becoming his father—now the seven girls are starting to haunt him as well. Will the cemetery, a bear cage, or being trapped in the woods give him the answers they are desperately seeking?

"History never really says good-bye. History says, see you later.” — Eduardo Galeano

With rich, evocative language, a twisty plot, and well-developed characters, Silvis once again delivers an extraordinary piece of art. Not only is WALKING THE BONESa phenomenal suspense crime mystery, but it also possesses an intense character study. I loved Two Days Gone; however, the followup further delves into the heart and soul of DeMarco and his tormented childhood as well as adulthood. 

Both parts of the story (Ryan’s) and the (murder mystery) are equally as gripping. The secret behind the girl’s death was unpredictable and a clever twist. Silvis lyrical prose is spellbinding. Beautifully written, and profoundly moving, an emotional and haunting meditation of acceptance, love, trust, and survival. (an intriguing character). 

I enjoyed Jayme’s personality — a strong sassy and witty female counterpart to Ryan’s complicated, moody, emotional, deep, and grief-stricken side, at times. A delicate balance of humor. Enjoying Silvis’ writing and look forward to reading his backlist. 

Highly Recommend both Two Days Gone and WALKING THE BONES. For fans of intelligent well-plotted literary mystery suspense thrillers. Looking forward to seeing what is coming next!

Also, recommend Only the Rain. (2018) 

A special thank you to Sourcebooks and #NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Enter to win!

A post shared by Judith D Collins (@judithdcollins) on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:10am PST

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/07/Walking-Bones
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review 2018-01-09 10:35
Look for Me
Look for Me (D. D. Warren) - Lisa Gardner

Detective D.D. Warren #9

By: Lisa Gardner

ISBN: 1524742058

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date:  2/6/2018

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Crime thriller queen Lisa Gardner returns following Right Behind You, (2017) landing on my Top Books of 2017 with her latest twisty suspense thriller —LOOK FOR ME. 

Two favorite characters, Detective D. D. Warren and Flora Dane work together to solve a crime. A brutal family murder with one remaining girl missing. 

The last time we caught up with D. D. Warren and Flora Dane (2016) Find Her (Detective D.D. Warren, #8). 

Flora Dane, a former kidnapping victim, turned survivor— held in a coffin box by a sadistic monster for 472 days — on a mission to save other victims from predators, holding on to an obsession of REVENGE, or something else?

In LOOK FOR ME, Boston Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren returns with crime scene expert husband, Alex and five-year-old son, Jack. D. D.’s family outing to find a dog for Jack gets sidetracked with a brutal crime. 

A family of five. Two adults, three kids, and two dogs (Blaze and Rosie). Shots were fired. A brutal murder. The responding officers found four bodies. The oldest daughter, a sixteen-year-old female, and two dogs are still unaccounted for. 

The girl’s name Roxanna Baez, Hispanic with two elderly Brittany spaniels and both reported blind. 

D D’s job was to access and strategize. However, has the girl escaped, been kidnapped, victim or murderer? Or was she just not home at the time? 

Juanita Baez and Charlie were the parents. Lola – age thirteen, Manny age nine. Did the father murder the wife and kids and shoot himself? However, the way the shots were fired, they had to rule out the guy as a suicide. 

The mom had a history of DUIs over five years earlier; however, the father had a clean record. No drugs, alcohol, or any high-risk lifestyle. An ordinary family. A family of secrets? Was the daughter the perpetrator? 

They had to find her. 

 



Flora Dane is a survivor. It has been a year, and now she is teaching others how to live again. Abduction at the hands of Jacob Ness, a serial rapist, and murderer. Flora is a fighter. She had gone from victim to vigilante. 

Mixed with personal and troubling narratives from Roxanna about the perfect family. She was writing after a teacher posed the question about family. 

“A perfect family has to be made. Mistakes. Regret. Repair. You have to work at it.”

We also meet other survivors from trauma and the support group. Flora teaches them that bad people do not want to deal with the powerful. They prey on the weak. Sarah recalls this girl coming to discuss help for a friend.

Gardner skillfully weaves an intricate tale of a family sent away to live at Mother Del’s (abuse, neglect, rape, assault) before coming back to live with their mother and Charlie. Until the mom cleaned up her act. What went on while they were away?

“Where are these perfect families? Can there even be such a thing? One where everything goes so right where no one ever hurts each other? Or is there just me and my family and all of the lessons we’re still learning the hard way?”

After protecting her siblings, from all the abuse while in foster care, Roxanna could not possibly hurt her family? No longer foster kids after three years, they were reunited family in a real house with two dogs. A family ripped apart and brought back together. 

What happened to this family? Motive? In one moment. That’s all it took. Destroyed. Over, Finished. Done. 

Someone is protecting a friend. 

Wow, this was one complex, intense, emotional, multi-layered and twisty roller coaster ride! Gardner keeps you guessing while exploring the dark evil within the foster care system. 

I enjoyed catching with DD and hubby as they try and balance work and family life. Flora, a vigilante, is kick ass and hilarious. (thanks for bringing her back). Two different women. Both with their own demons. 

“Revenge must be revenge, or it isn’t sweet.”

Highly recommend; however, while I always enjoy Lisa Gardner’s books, this one was not as strong as last year’s Right Behind You, in my opinion. 

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/07/01/Look-For-Me
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review 2018-01-07 17:02
Review: "Zero at the Bone" by Jane Seville
Zero at the Bone - Jane Seville

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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review 2017-12-25 05:50
Killman Creek
Killman Creek - Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake Series #2

By: Rachel Caine

ISBN:  1542046416

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/12/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Rachel Caine returns following Stillhouse Lake with the highly anticipated follow-up, KILLMAN CREEK — a woman, is trying to save herself and her children from her monster sadistic ex-husband serial killer, Melvin Royal. 

"I am twelve days out from rescuing my children from a murderer. I am exhausted, sore, and plagued with headaches. I am heartsick and tired and anxious and most of all —most of all —I am angry. I need to be angry. Being angry will keep us all alive."

This time around we hear from multiple POV: Gwen, Lanny, Sam, and Connor. The fallout of everything that has occurred and to come from each perspective. 

Lance Graham is dead. A partner was a killer. Her husband had turned a cop into a murderer. He had abducted her children. 

Connor nor Lanny will talk about it. They have been traumatized. There is psychological damage. She is unsure how it will play out in the future. She will get them the care they need. She has to make them whole again.

Melvin Royal wants to keep them guessing. He has escaped. Melvin is free to stalk and kill more women. He will murder again. He will want to go out in a grandstanding manner. The FBI is after him as well as the police. No one is safe. Especially his family. 

He is coming for her. He always has a plan. 

Gina has a new identity. The woman who was known as Gina Royal, wife of the horrible serial killer is gone. She is now Gwen. She is not taking any more shit.

Her kids are brave and had been forced to face the ugly truths about their dad. She has to find someone she can trust to look after her kids and keep them safe. Her mom is not a fighter. 

She turns to Javier Esparza and Kezia Claremont to guard her kids. Javier is a retired marine and runs a gun range. Kezia is a police officer - tough, smart, and capable. She has to trust them.

Gwen and Sam must find him. They both have baggage. She is the ex-wife of a serial killer, under threat from Melvin's groupies, his allies, and the internet vigilantes. His followers. 

Sam is the brother of her ex-husband's victim (his last victim), she found strung up in her garage. Tortured and murdered for sadistic pleasure.

Even though Sam had stalked her in the first book, he knows she is not guilty. They must work together. They have one common goal. To take down Melvin Royal.

Gwen Proctor is ready for him. She has left the weak Gina behind. It comes down to Mr. and Mrs. Royal.

As Sam and Gwen are on the run putting themselves in the middle of danger, the kids are worried they may never see their mother again. 

The day all their lives changed. Their dad became a monster. He had taken a piece of their lives and made it part of something awful. 

 



The intensity heats up in this installment. Mel is one sick and sadistic serial killer. The constant impending danger. No one is safe from this monster until someone stops him. 

They are survivors. 

This riveting series must be turned into a film or at least Amazon Video series. Even though this book was not quite as exciting as the first, it was a superb followup.

Now we have to wait until Oct 2, 2018— for the third (3 of 3) Stillhouse Lake Series Wolfhunter River. As I mentioned in my first review, this series reminds me of Joe Carroll in The Following. 

Loved the ending, the covers, and the soundtrack selections by the author. If you adore good well-written crime thrillers, this series is for you!

A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer for an advanced reading copy. Also purchased the audiobook narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith, Lauren Ezzo, Will Ropp, and Dan John Miller for a suspenseful and chilling performance.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/03/Killman-Creek
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review 2017-12-17 16:47
Mississippi Blood
Mississippi Blood: A Novel (Natchez Burning) - Greg Iles

By: Greg Iles

Natchez Burning #3

ISBN: 9780062311153

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 

Format:  Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

 

The 30 Best Books of 2017

EPIC! 10 stars — Secrets of Mississipi’s violent past and a KKK group called Double Eagles are revealed. At the heart, the big question: Who killed Viola Turner?

Natchez Burning The first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage, whose quest for the truth sends him deep into his father’s past. Top Books of 2014 

The Bone Tree In this second volume, Penn is caught in the darkest maelstrom of his life, as he fights his way out of the war he unwittingly started with a violent offshoot of the KKK, the Double Eagles, and continues to hunt for the truth about dark deeds from the 1960s. Top Books of 2015 

MISSISSIPPI BLOOD The endgame is at hand for Penn, his family, and the enemies working to destroy them. Featuring a trial scene that Publishers Weekly calls “among the most exciting ever written in the genre,” this novel delivers the shocking resolution Greg Iles’s fans have eagerly awaited.Top Books of 2017

The King of Southern Fiction, Greg Iles returns with his highly anticipated Natchez Burning trilogy, with his finale: MISSISSIPPI BLOOD – where we pick up following the murder of Viola Turner and the high profile trial of Dr. Tom Cage. 

The Penn family is in crisis. Sins of the past still haunt the present. 

Greg Iles is a master Southern storyteller and no one can compare! Skillfully crafted, a brilliant mix of Southern, historic, crime thriller, suspense, and classic literary fiction at its finest. He uncovers the moral outrage of racism, corruption, and hatred which has been a part of our history and still exists today- years after the Civil Rights era. 

“Mississippi blood is different. It’s got some river in it. Delta soil, turpentine, asbestos, cotton poison. But there’s strength in it, too. Strength that’s been beaten but not broke.” ― Greg Iles, Mississippi Blood 

 


Picking up from The Bone Tree, the Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, former Houston prosecutor, and novelist Penn Cage is still grieving the loss of his fiancée Caitlin Masters. He still wonders if ghosts exist. He spends time visiting graves. Henry Sexton is dead. Caitlin is dead. Annie’s mother is gone —cancer took her to her death. 

Presently, Penn is dealing with his dad’s upcoming murder trial. Local physician, Thomas J. Cage is being held in protective custody in Louisiana by the FBI for the murder of Viola Turner, his former black nurse, and mistress. He was not even allowed to attend Caitlin’s funeral. Penn has not spoken to his dad, Tom since Caitlin’s death. 

The case has drawn national attention. Dr. Cage is accused of murdering his former 65-year-old black nurse in the wake of a pact that would have required him to euthanize the terminally ill woman who had been his employee thirty-eight years earlier.

In the final stages of lung cancer, she had returned to Natchez to die from Chicago. Being Cage is white and Nurse Turner was black, also complicated matters. In addition, it was recently revealed she had a child (Lincoln Turner) by Dr. Cage in 1968 while he was married. She was a widow at the time after her husband had been killed in the Vietnam War. 

Assisted suicide? Or if administers the drugs, it is murder. A mercy killing? He was charged with first-degree murder.

However, what really happened that night? Did he administer drugs, or when he left, who came in next? Did Viola inject herself or something more sinister at play? A botched injection? A heart attack? An overdose or the wrong drug? So many questions and few answers. 

What about the Double Eagles? Are they to blame? They have a history. Viola’s family wants justice. Lincoln set the investigation in motion. Does he have his own agenda? 

There is John Kaiser of the FBI. Cage is being held in protective custody because he is a material witness in a major federal investigation and his life is in danger. He is being represented by African-American civil rights attorney Quentin Avery of Jefferson County, Mississippi, and Washington, DC. 

Dr. Cage is keeping quiet. Avery his African American attorney in a wheelchair cannot discuss his case with Penn. What does Snake have to do with Viola’s murder? A recording of that night? Who are they protecting? 

The civil rights era of the 1960s remains present. Viola Turner’s brother (a civil rights activist) was murdered by the Double Eagle in 1968. She was also raped repeatedly by the same group and the KKK. Upon returning to Natchez, this brought fear to the group. They want her dead. They had warned her. 

Penn’s family is still under attack by Snake Knox and Double Eagles and the FBI cannot be counted on to protect them even though they live surrounded by bodyguards. Penn is raising his 11-yr. old daughter, Annie and his mom is staying near the prison in a motel, so he brings in the babysitter, Mia who has worked with them previously. His mom wants him to forgive his Dad enough to visit him in prison. 

However, if his father had not hidden the truth of what inspired on the night Viola Turner died, Caitlin would never have become obsessed with Henry Sexton’s quest or picked up his torch after he martyred himself to save them, or followed a bloody trail to the abomination called The Bone Tree. She would be alive. They would be together in Edelweiss, their dream home with Annie and well on their way to a child together. 

Penn’s work is suffering, and he is questioning his own sanity. Who is Quinton trying to protect? His family has imploded. 

His father had two sons and one of them was doomed to be an orphan. The happiness of his childhood was bought with the pain of a black boy who had hurt no one. He had a brother and long after his father passes his blood will flow through both their veins.

. . . “A man who has known love and grief and understands that one is the price of the other.”

 



An upstanding physician and friend to many. A man, not perfect. Dr. Cage is self-destructing and has every puzzled. Penn’s half-brother, Lincoln Turner, is hell-bent on destroying the Cages. Race relations, violence, corruption, evil, and those with hatred. Even though Lincoln and Penn have the same blood running through them, they grew up differently. 

To Lincoln, he had nothing growing up and Penn had it all. They are opposites. When Penn was striving for a baseball championship, with a highly respected physician and mother, Lincoln was scrapping in the streets and running from the Chicago PD. His stepfather was in and out of prison or gambling away his wife’s salary. 

All along while Penn was moving from a successful legal career to an author of legal thrillers, Lincoln was slaving in a small firm, chasing small-time cases until he was finally busted for embezzling escrow funds from a client trust fund. Doing so in a desperate attempt to save his stepfather (which he thought was his father), from a long prison term and had his license suspended. 

Penn can only image Lincoln’s rage. Now his mother is dead, and he wants someone to pay. Justice. Payback. Lincoln is the living symbol of his father’s sin. Perhaps, his crime. After all, it was Lincoln who set in motion the murder investigation. And now Lincoln haunts his city, his family like some dark, retributive spirit. 

Yet, Penn is resilient. Family and friendships are important. He must find a way to help. He can only hope that Lincoln can free himself from the lies that shrouded his youth and become what Viola dreamed he would be. A man who embodies the best of both his parents. 

Can the two brothers join forces and work together to solve this horrible wrong, to find the truth and attain justice for both father and mother? Time is running out for Dr. Cage. Unless Penn is successful at exposing the past to exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. 

“ . . .Right meant more than might; that being faithful and good meant more than being rich; that honor superseded all.” 

Readers are introduced to a new character, Serenity Butler,(love her), a famous writer (light-skinned African American), and former army officer who steps in to tackle the Double Eagles. The beautiful and talented writer in Atlanta, from Mississippi originally. He cannot trust anyone, even his mother. However, he joins up with a young black author and former soldier named who has come to Natchez to write about Dr. Cage’s case. She may be his best ally. To help expose the dark secrets. 

Formed in the 1960s, the group’s mission is terrorizing and murdering African-Americans, and they are still at it today. The Double Eagles have reasons to want Viola Turner dead, and if their involvement can be proved, it will save Tom. Penn has to find a way. 

Heartwrenching, raw, emotional, complex, intelligent – Penn Cage desperately wants to believe in his father, the family martyr. The decisions his dad makes have terrible consequences for the entire family. Penn is tested. He wants to believe in truth and justice, but his beliefs and values are threatened and shaken to the core. 

No one can rest until the last of the Knoxes have been jailed, and the Double Eagles smashed for all time. 

Rich in Southern history, –From crusading journalists, racism, half-brothers, old lovers, old grudges, corruption, blacks-whites, fathers/sons, sons/mothers, strong family ties, protecting others, revenge, power, justice, and survival – Iles is at the top of his game with this extraordinary trilogy. 

Superb character development, action-packed with page-turning suspense —bringing the saga to a satisfying conclusion. While at the same time exposing the ugliness, cruelty and shameful episodes of our past. Unfortunately, not only does it exist in the American South - it is widespread. 

In 2011 the author was badly injured in an automobile accident and almost died, losing his right leg below the knee. Afterwards, he chose to go deeper with the story about family, race, prejudice, and secrets. His work is commendable! 

Of course, we fans are delighted with the news: Sony Pictures TV is developing a cable series based on the books, with producers Tobey Maguire and David Hudgins (a Dallas native) and director John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”) attached. Can't wait! Let's hope they film it where it all took place, due to the author being an expert. Would not have the same impact, filmed elsewhere. 

If you have reviewed Iles' website you know (house/office) property is for rent in Mississippi, due to the steps. One of these days, my wish is to visit and experience the journey, while touring the places and landmarks in the book. Enjoyed reviewing The Map. 

“Mississippi Blood” is the capstone to what could legitimately be called a magnum opus. Iles has emerged from an excruciating ordeal to create a superb entertainment that is a work of power, distinction and high seriousness. These are angry novels, filled with a sense of deeply-considered moral outrage. They are also prime examples of what the thriller— and other forms of “genre” fiction — can accomplish when pushed beyond traditional limits. 

Often grim and frequently horrifying, these Natchez Burning novels set their larger historical concerns against the credibly detailed backdrop of a family in crisis. As the Cage family endures its own trial by fire, Iles shows us both the weaknesses and strength of people tested by extreme circumstances and by secrets and lies that have festered for too long. In successfully illuminating both the inner life of a family in peril and “the troubled borderland between black and white,” he has created something memorable and true.” – Washington Post



Well said. 

As always, with Greg Iles books in this series, you need to experience MISSISSIPPI BLOOD in all formats. The audiobook is a must (narrated by Scott Brick) for an amazing performance (have listened several times). Then of course, you "must" purchase the Kindle format in order to highlight the beautiful lyrics; and last but not least, the print copy is a given, to add to your personal library collection. 

USA Today: Greg Iles has his first-ever No. 1 USA TODAY best seller with Mississippi Blood the final book in his searing Natchez Burning trilogy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/08/Mississippi-Blood
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