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review 2017-11-18 05:26
One of the better crime thrillers I've read
The Killing Lessons - Saul Black

Oh lord this book was a roller coaster ride. I’d have to say as of after reading this book, it’s been the best thriller/crime book I have read so far.

 

The pace of the book is pretty fast and you’re breezing through the book trying to figure out how this is going to come into play. There’s three different story arcs happening here in this book and it’s brilliant how it all came together in the end in one full circle. There plenty of moments where you’re saying to yourself; “Oh no...this is going to happen..” only something else will get in the way and you breathe a sigh in relief. This pretty much is a rinse repeat throughout the book but it doesn’t get tiring or boring. It enhances and makes the plot go faster and more exciting.

 

Hoo boy Xander/Leon. You are one pretty sad soul. Horrible childhood and all that is understandable but man oh man this is some brutal stuff you’re doing. Normally I cheer for the villains in most book but this one, I can’t. He’s horrible and twisted. You’re torn because you do feel pity for what he’s gone through as a child but he turned out so horribly wrong. This book is not for the squeamish for sure.

 

Valerie’s got my respect. She’s a total mess getting into the novel and has a lot on her plate. She faces a lot of overwhelming odds and constant pressure it’s no wonder she suffers from constant blackouts and physical reactions to stress. You almost wanted to beg her to stop and just take a breather, she’s a working machine that is endless even when her body is telling her it’s reaching the limit.

 

Actually you pretty much feel that way with all the characters in the book. They’re in constant emotional physical and mental anguish, they’re at their limit as to what their bodies can take but they all take it and go one step further it’s amazing how they’re still standing. I mentally begged Valerie to end it. I was just about to be in tears for all of them and the suffering they were going through.

 

The characters were great, the pace of the plot was excellent with a great ending to end things to a full stop. (A little weak on the explanation for Carla’s behavior, understandable but  a little extreme don’t you think?) In any case, I greatly recommend this book. It’s an excellent read.

 

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review 2017-11-02 22:20
Stillhouse Lake
Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake Series #1

By: Rachel Caine

ISBN: 978-1477848661

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 7/1/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

WOW! STILLHOUSE LAKE by Rachel Caine is A riveting heart-pounding psychological thriller . . . My first book by the author and anxiously awaiting #2! What an incredible writer - an addictive, deliciously evil new series. I can see this playing out on Amazon Video. 

Meet Gina Royal from Wichita, Kansas. 

Gina never asked about the garage. That thought would keep her awake every night for years. “I should have asked. Should have known. But she had never asked. She didn’t know. In the end, that was what destroyed her.

Her husband, Mel was charming. Their children Brady and Lily. That day, her husband called with an emergency. She needed to pick up the kids. Mel loved their family life. His second-favorite thing: wood-working in his shop. More than wood-working going down in the garage. 

“Normal life. Comfortable life. Not perfect, of course. Nobody had a perfect marriage, did they? But Gina was satisfied at least most of the time.”

However, that day when she arrived home there were police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck. Their mailbox. Their lawn. Their house. 

An SUV had crashed into their garage. (Mel’s workshop). Before she knew what was happening Detective Salazar was arresting her. 

They were victims. Someone had crashed into their home. Why were the cops mistreating her in front of her own children? This had to be a mistake. Embarrassing. The neighbors were taking videos. They would be uploaded to the internet.

Handcuffs. This could not be happening. She could not understand why someone was driving drunk and now she is being arrested.

The garage. The cops wondered if she knew about the garage. She does not park in the garage. Her husband was going to be upset.

However, the detective wants her to explain the life-size naked doll hanging from a hook in the center of the garage. Except, it was not a doll. It was real.

The day her life changed forever. Her husband was a serial killer.

Fast forward four years later. 

Gwen Proctor and her children are living at Stillhouse Lake in Tennessee. Since leaving Wichita, they have changed their identity four times. The weak creature she had left behind. One who had aided and abetted; however, unconsciously. That woman is long dead and she does not mourn her.

Her kids are now Connor and Atlanta (Lanny for short). She has tried to keep them safe from predators and all the hate mail. Their father was a monster. The “good” father with a mask. 

If it had not been for the drunk driver, their lives would have gone on the same. It was her fault his true depth of evil had been finally unmasked. He had taken out a storage locker in the name of her long-dead brother. The journal. Each victim had a section.

From abduction, torture, murder. The man will kill again. 

There had been a trial. All the women. Mel had infected her like a virus. Then there was the hacker which goes by the name of Absalom. But he helped with the false identities. Finding them safe havens. He controls the online harassment. Strictly business. She pays him. 

Ugly, cruel things about her and her children online. Like they had known was a monster Mel was. She keeps a gun. She will not let anyone hurt her kids or her ever again. Alarms, computers, security systems, burner phones. Their lives are spent looking over their shoulders. She is committed to their survival. 

Absalom communicates with them (computer guy). Her husband writes letters. There is a mailing address elsewhere. How does he know where she is?

He writes from prison. He describes what he will do to her if given the chance. He’s inventive. Descriptive. Repellently direct. Mel is a contagious, fatal disease.

People think she is guilty. His hobby. The garage. Little did she know what he was doing in the garage and what he was hiding. She knew he used bleach, but it was always a logical reason. She had believed every word. 

Then there is a murder at Stillhouse Lake. 

The rustic retreat. Upper-middle-class families. Second homes. A woman weighed down. The description sounds familiar to Mel’s victims. Does it have anything to do with Mel’s crimes? Murder practically at her front door? 

She owes her children a stable upbringing and safety. From trading cars to houses, always on the move. 

 




Mel had liked his stupid games. “Breath Play.” Cords around her neck. She hated it. She had seen something dark. She had refused. He had never choked her hard enough to pass out, but close. Little did she know while he was starving her for oxygen during sex, he was imagining his women in the garage, fighting the noose as he raised and lowered them off the ground. 

He was using her to play out his murders. Chilling and sickening. 

Now she had to protect her family with more than a gun. Mentally, emotionally, and logically. She cannot trust anyone. She must break the trail. 

Sam Cade. He is new to town. He is supposed to do some work on the house. They both have secrets.

She has money that was Mel’s escape money. The inheritance from his parents’ estate; in the storage shed. It had been a year before she was acquitted. She had spent it on their safety, shelter, and identities before Stillhouse Lake. For their new life. 

Slowly she learns to trust Sam Cade and her son likes him. Even Lanny (with her goth and edge). Her son wants to be an architect so he and Sam hit it off. She wants to fall for this guy, but she is cautious. However, does he have a hidden agenda? 

Gina has a mailing service. Mel writes her. He has seen her and Sam at the lake house. How is this possible?

She must go to the prison and confront the monster. 

From Javier, Sam, Absalom, Lance Graham, Detective Prester— who can she trust? Enemy or ally? 

“Mel is worse than a monster. He’s a smart monster. Mel disposed of women in the water. Now, one trusts her. 

Another dead girl found floating in the lake.

People are learning about her past. She will be arrested and she will lose her kids. Her murdering ex-husband. Who is doing this? Who else is keeping secrets? Does Gwen (Gina) have a stalker?Has she fallen for a serial killer twice? 

Now there are horrible words on their windows. A life she cannot escape. She has to fix it. But how. The safe room. Threats. Has Mel broken out of death row and someone made his way to Stillhouse Lake without a soul seeing him? 

Someone has her kids. . . She needs help, but who can she trust? 

 




The suspense is riveting! Nerve-racking, heart-pounding! Does Mel have followers? (Mel reminds me of Joe Carroll - The Following - when watching I have to keep one eye closed)

Highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith (Narrator) for an outstanding and entertaining performance. I purchased the book and audio version.

I can see why STILLHOUSE LAKE has received rave reviews and included in the Goodreads Opening Round of Best Mystery and Thriller as well as climbing the Amazon charts.

So excited to receive an ARC of #2 Stillhouse Lake, Killman Creek (currently reading), coming Dec 12, 2017. For fans of psychological thrillers—compelling, well-written, and twisty plots. Love the covers and titles. 

With #2, we catch up with Gwen. Mel has escaped from prison with the warning: “You’re not safe anywhere now.”

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

KILLMAN CREEK  

Stillhouse Lake Series #2

By: Rachel Caine

ISBN:  1542046416

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/12/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: Currently Reading (ARC)

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

 

You’re not safe anywhere now.

 

Pre-Order Now 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/06/01/Stillhouse-Lake
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review 2017-11-02 19:37
Review: A Wanted Man
A Wanted Man - Robert B. Parker

Truth be told, this book was a bit jumbled at first. We jump right into Ben's life and there's very little explanation. I would have preferred a little introduction but we do get a bit of history and context as the book progresses. Needless to say, there is some graphic violence discussed, so be wary of that.

By the middle of the book I was really enjoying it. I did figure out one of the plot twists pretty early on, but that didn't particularly deter from the story. There was, in my humble opinion, a bit too much discussion of the various settings Ben encounters. While I do enjoy knowing the world the characters are experiencing (especially since I've never been there), there was just a lot of unnecessary inclusions that made the story drag a bit at times.

However, I really enjoyed Ben as a character and the ending was an interesting outcome. Ben is a vigilante and lives by his own set of rules, which aren't clear at the beginning of the story. I found myself waiting to see what his next move might be, and I was consistently surprised. I'm definitely interested to read his next adventure.

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review 2017-11-01 07:41
The Late Show
The Late Show - Michael Connelly

Renée Ballard #1

By:  Michael Connelly 

ISBN: 978-0316225984

Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 

Publication Date: 7/18/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Master storyteller, Michael Connelly returns following (Harry BoschThe Wrong Side of Good-Bye landing on my Top Books of 2016 with THE LATE SHOW. 

 

While reading Connelly’s latest, Two Kinds of Truth realized I had read and failed to post my review of THE LATE SHOW (Renee Ballard #1) —his 30th novel; where we meet his newest and tough detective, Renee Ballard in this top-notch gritty LA cop procedural crime thriller with a perfect balance of drama and suspense. 

A brilliant new series with an unstoppable new female detective. 

LAPD Renee Ballard, a strong-willed complex female detective had previously filed a sexual harassment complaint against her former boss, Lt. Robert Olivas. 

The outcome, she has been handed the night shift (a definite downgrade) in Hollywood known as the Late Show. This is her punishment. This definitely will not be good for her career. However, she will give it her all. 

Her relentless refusal to back down, prompted (demoted) the move to the late show, by Olivas and her partner, Ken Chastain, who witnessed the incident but did not support her.

She is a bit of a loner with a bohemian flair (almost homeless); loves nature, the beach, and her rescue dog, Lola. 

Like a “dog with a bone”, Ballard is handed three assignments and she is more than willing to dive in full force. 

One, an elderly woman with credit card fraud. Second a transgender prostitute, brutally beaten and left for dead, and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. She works around the clock. She is relentless. Five people dead. 

However, while dealing with the cases, against orders and her partner’s advice, they continue to pull her closer to her own past and demons.

Do we have a dirty cop in the midst? Career suicide?

Ballard may be the sole witness and with her own personal history with the department and her creditability would come under withering assault, as well.

Will she be able to prove her worth? ? Will she remain on the late show or be allowed to go back to the team? 

Wow, an avid fan (have read every book and watched every movie and series), Connelly a master at creating crime fiction, well-developed plot and complex forensics. A pro at creating intriguing sharp characters with staying power— like Bosch and Haller, hoping we will see more of Renee Ballard for the long haul. 

Ballad is mysterious yet tenacious. Looking forward to seeing more of her character. THE LATE SHOW is fast-paced and non-stop action with a smart, driven and tough leading lady. Hope we see #2 Renee Ballard in 2018. 

“It’s like the laws of physics—for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. If you go into darkness, the darkness goes into you. You then have to decide what to do with it. How to keep yourself safe from it. How to keep it from hollowing you out.” ― Michael Connelly, The Late Show

Bosch fans (I am at the top of the list), you cannot miss, TWO KINDS OF TRUTH. Currently listening to the audiobook. I love Titus Welliver (so sexy) on screen and as a narrator. I would follow him anywhere. Bosch is back in the middle of prescription drug abuse, murder, and uncover with a Medicare card. (Yes, I have recently been awarded one too). 

Haller and Bosh have proven themselves and looks like we have a new kick-ass female to add to the list. Renee Ballard—there is much more to uncover for the future. 

Connelly just keeps getting better (if that is even possible). Love the Amazon Prime series. One of the main reasons for continuing the Prime subscription.

 

 


 
South Florida fans "love you", Mr. Connelly. Keep them coming. Never stop writing or producing. One of the best crime writers of today. No one does it better.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co. for an advanced reading copy. Also purchased the audiobook narrated by Katherine Moennig. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/07/The-Late-Show
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review 2017-10-28 22:45
Book Review of NEST: Retribution: An Alivia Morgan Story by David Antocci
NEST: Retribution - David J Antocci

The Rally for US was meant to be a day of camaraderie and awareness. Instead, that crisp October morning turned into the bloodiest terror attack to strike the city of Boston in more than a decade.

 

In the wake of the attack, the New England Special Terrorist Division—NEST—turned to their most senior and capable agent, Alivia Morgan. She was unwillingly ripped from her home and family, but didn’t have a choice. Though she had no idea just how deeply personal the fight would become.

 

Now, it was up to her to find the extremists and stop another catastrophic blow that would drive the death toll higher. She was captured, alone, and armed only with her years of training and experience in Special Ops and the elite Army Rangers. Alivia quickly realized she was in a race against time as she struggled to escape with her life and stop the impending attacks. Could she do both?

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in a new series which follows the New England Special Terrorist Division (NEST for short). I loved it!

 

Alivia Morgan is a fantastic character. She is capable, strong and determined. When a terrorist cell targets her in retribution for her killing one of their leaders in an earlier mission, Alivia finds herself in a fight to the death. Held hostage, but knowing her team is looking for her, she is determined to bring the cell down. As the danger increases and the threat to innocents rises, can she stop them in time?

 

Having read this author's previous Escape trilogy, when he contacted me with regards to reading a complimentary copy of this book, I eagerly accepted as I knew I would be taken on an amazing roller coaster ride of not only danger but emotion. However, I also purchased a copy of this book when it became available to pre-order and re-read it as soon as it was released. This review is based on my own opinion and have not received remuneration for it.

 

As I said previously, I knew I would be taken on an emotional journey. However, I wasn't expecting the intensity, though in hind-sight I should have anticipated it. The story is told through mainly Alivia's point of view, but other characters, including the bad guys also have their say. I was pulled in from the first page and didn't put the book down until I had finished it.

 

The reader is introduced to the NEST team. NEST is one of several anti-terrorist task forces set up after the 9/11 attacks. The leader of the group is Director Luis Huerta and he is hands-on in his approach to leading the team. An ex-sniper, he has lots of experience in war. Then there are several other operatives that work under him, including Alivia and JJ. There is a hint of romance to go along with the danger as Alivia and JJ are involved in a forbidden relationship.

 

Then there are the bad guys. They are not the most pleasant of people and have the intention of causing as much chaos and terror as they can. The leader of the terrorist cell, Syed Ashear, has a personal grudge against Alivia and is determined to use her as a pawn in his deadly game against those he sees as infidels and nonbelievers.

 

I found myself holding my breath several times when reading as the intensity was almost unrelenting. There are some lighter scenes to counteract some of the more gruesome aspects of the storyline, but the fast pace kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. Although this book has a fast pace, it is not rushed. The author has a talent for describing scenes in such vivid detail that it made it easy to picture and it ran like a movie in my mind's eye. In fact, I think this book would make a good movie thriller or TV series similar to NCIS. There are scenes of terror, as well as car chases, gun fights and explosions. Just when I reached the end of the book (or so I thought) with a feeling of happiness, the author throws a curve ball and ends the story on a chilling note in the epilogue. It doesn't quite end in a cliffhanger, but it's close and sets the reader up for the next book. I hope he's busy writing it because I am dying to read it!

 

David Antocci has written a thrilling first book to what looks to be a fantastic new series. His characters are extremely lifelike and this made the story feel incredibly real. I said in my review of Escape: Dead End that this is an author to watch, and I was right. I love his fast paced writing style, and the story flow is fantastic. I have already added this author to my favourite authors list, and will definitely read more of his books in the future.

 

Although there are no explicit scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to young readers, or those of a nervous disposition, or those who may be affected by a triggering event due to extreme violence and/or abuse and/or terrorism. I highly recommend this book if you love crime thrillers, suspense novels and/or military fiction. - Lynn Worton

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