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review 2017-02-18 13:27
I See You
I See You - Clare Mackintosh

By:  Clare Mackintosh 

ISBN: 9781101988299

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date:  2/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Clare Mackintosh returns following her smashing debut and international bestseller, (2016) I Let You Go, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a strong follow-up. A clever, gritty, dark and twisty psychological thriller, I SEE YOU.

Someone is watching when you least expect.

FindTheOne.com is more than a dating site. An online matchmaking service for more than dating. Find the victim, and go for the kill.

A commute to work. A dreaded task. The Tube. However, someone has hacked into the system and they are watching the daily routines of women. A devious dangerous plan. Cyber Crime, coffee shops, CCTV, money laundering, greed, stalking, adverts, a killer, FindTheOne.com, an ax to grind, payback, and murder. Trust no one.

Middle-class Zoe Walker, a mother of two teens (Katie and Justin) -divorced, and dating a guy named Simon- must take the train to work. The only jobs worth taking were in zone one; the only affordable mortgages in zone four. She could only dream of working close enough to her home to walk.

On her morning commute, she is shocked to discover in the London Gazette a photo of herself in the personal ads. FindtheOne.com. What the heck? She is looking at herself. A forty-year-old woman. The woman in the advert is none other than herself. Soon other women’s photos appear, and they end in a crime.

We also are introduced to Kelly Swift, the detective who has been disgraced and back on the scene with the latest murders. Her departure four years earlier from British Transport Police’s Sexual offenses Unit had been rapid and uncomfortable. She had spent nine months off sick returning to what had been presented to her as a clean slate but was really a punishment posting.

She had thrown herself into her shift work, quickly becoming one of the most respected officers on the Neighborhood Policing Team, pretending to herself she was a uniform cop through and through when every day she yearned to be dealing with serious investigations again. Will she lose control again?

The Underground Crime soars with the investigation into crime on public transport after record increases in reported sexual offenses, violent assaults, and thefts. Terrifying enough to make you stop using the Tube altogether. Kelly is back on the case full force.

With sprinkles of spine-chilling words in italics, from the mystery person throughout the novel (the best parts). Told from three POV: Zoe, the mom; Kelly the determined police officer, and the creepy mystery person.

“I see you. But you don’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills the girl. The irony isn’t lost on me . . . You’re still reading. And I’m still watching.”

Zoe is worried for all the women and girls out there as well as her daughter and herself. She feels the danger. She cannot see it, but she can feel it.
She knows it is getting close.

“Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine makes you feel safe. Routine will kill you.”

"You never know where you might meet The One. A way of introductions between London’s commuters on FindTheOne.com. A matchmaker. A broker. A go-between. To give coincidence a head start. . ."

Soon the adverts are all-consuming for Zoe, and Kelly is determined to find the killer. They work together and believe the adverts are at the heart of the series of crime against women. What is the motive and who is stalking and preparing information on each woman? Who are the buyers/subscribers? These customers come from all walks of life.

Who are these men?

“They’re your friends. Father. Brother. Best Friend. Neighbor. Boss. The people you see every day; the people you travel to and from work with. You think you know them better than that. You’re wrong.”

The ruthless psychopath is more than a matchmaker. “Someone could be downloading your profile right now. . . A facilitator for desires hidden so deep inside they’re barely acknowledged. The chance to kill someone.”

From making notes of everything from hair color, body size, duration, availability, employment, routines, timing, locations, and a rating of easy, moderate, difficult. A cost. Chilling!

As Zoe and Kelly plan an attack, they are in danger as well as Katie. Any woman on the train could be the next victim. Once the photo appears, are they worth the amount someone is willing to pay to kill?

With a cast of characters, the author leaves you in suspense as you doubt everyone close to Zoe. Who is the sinister mastermind behind this elaborate cybercrime – a deadly scheme of cat and mouse?

Mackintosh spins an elaborate set up with the slow burning background of Zoe and her family as well as Kelly. Two interesting women. The suspense builds to a fast-paced heart-pounding climax, with an array of red herrings. Readers will be mindful of their own daily routines and possibly be looking over their shoulders, or mixing up their daily grind. I know, I will. Take a different route, a different time.

In our world of identity theft, technology, social media, and cyber-crimes, a horrifying fictional account, and yet a believable one which makes it even scarier.

I See You, would make a great movie. You never know who is watching. Are we ever safe? Highly entertaining, suspenseful, and innovative.

For me, the mystery secret person and the words in italics— "the icing on the cake." The twisty finale will leave you spinning. The secret is finally revealed. I was reminded of the final episode of Season One TV Series, Secrets and Lies. Deliciously evil!

Well crafted, Mackintosh once again uses her cop procedural expertise mixed with her fine-tuned writing abilities, to keep readers glued to the pages for a strong and gritty second installment. Highly recommend both books.

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/04/I-See-You
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review 2017-01-31 20:25
Right Behind You
Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583‚Äč

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +

 

Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.

 

 




By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You
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review 2017-01-10 21:25
Two Days Gone
Two Days Gone: A Novel - Randall Silvis

By: Randall Silvis

A Ryan DeMarco Mystery

ISBN: 9781492639732

Publisher:   SOURCEBOOKS Landmark

Publication Date: 1/10/2017

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 

Author Spotlight Join Me, Blog Tour Jan 15 Giveaways, Excerpt, Author Interviews + More

Readers who take their novels strong and dark will savor Randall Silvia’s skillfully-written latest literary thriller-contemporary crime noir: TWO DAYS GONE with the introduction of his new series and intriguing character (Ryan DeMarco Mystery).

The best part is the connection and relationship between writer and reader. The Author’s Acknowledgement "Writer/Reader relationship" earns a 5 Star +. An added bonus following the book. For every author and reader.

If you’re seduced by the darker, deeper, grittier side of literature, with vivid descriptions, you will be drawn to the grisly, moody, atmospheric, graphic, disturbing, and unsettling tale, with a clever thought-provoking literary twist. A book within a book. Not for the faint hearted.

A bold powerhouse novel and author. The cover, copy and book description: A "bullseye." Right On. Gripping, taut, sensitive, and astute. Even the inner musings of the characters have a poetic power. A haunting character-driven study of two deeply flawed and troubled men protagonists (alternating narratives). Both solitary men in their own way.

DeMarco lived alone and of course Huston did not. Both had complicated relationships with others. DeMarco had no center. He ventured out to relationships from emptiness and to emptiness he returned. One case of tragedy after another, puzzle after morbid puzzle to solve. What if he had made better choices twelve years ago on that rainy night?

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police has seen his share of despair, violence, and malicious acts. From college students to strip clubs, the woods, the streets- there lies a murderer. Hiding. A man, gone mad in the blink of an eye. A man turned into a beast.

A murderer is in their midst. A community. One of their own. Someone they all trusted. a bestselling author. The education of sons and daughters. They had seen his smiling face in local bookstores and watched him with Katie on Good Morning America.

Claire Huston, one of the prettiest women in town is dead with a slash across her throat. Thomas, Jr, twelve, a sixth grader also dead, same way. Sister, Alyssa, fourth grade, also murdered. Little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib. A blade thrust in his heart. A second one. A chef’s knife.

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night. Why was the baby killed differently than the others in the family? Stabbed in the heart twice.

The bodies of the Huston family had been discovered. From family, neighbors, and friends. All stunned and grief-stricken. All eyes turned toward the husband, the father, the accomplished writer, the professor. He had fled.

DeMarco had met Thomas Huston previously. He had read all his books. A reader. He was a friend. He reminded him of a young Jack Kerouac. Thomas Huston was a professor. A writer. He loved his students. He was working on a new book. A trooper was one of the main characters. They had met on several occasions and connected on several levels.

There was Huston’s tragic past. The bungled robbery of the family hardware store. The blast that tore out his mother’s throat. His father’s suicide two weeks later from an overdose. The horrific images still haunted Thomas. The memories overwhelmed him. Now, his own family. Was he the murderer? Or someone else?

DeMarco had his own demons. A ruined marriage, his son’s death, his anger, his aggressive behavior, and the subsequent demotion. His drinking. The accident that took his son’s life. He and Huston had connected.

How could this man have killed his entire family? He loved them. He was a good and decent man. He spoke so fondly of them. He was not a violent man. Did something set him off? Now Huston was out there. He had fled. Maybe he is amnesic?

Ryan begins researching Thomas Huston and his parents, his books, his reviews, articles and his latest novel, The Desperate Summer. A book released three and half years after his parent’s death. Other profiles from Poets and Writers. Interviews. Characters.

It was clear that Thomas Huston, like his character, suffered some very dark moments. But dark enough to cause him to slaughter his own family? The rage and grief. What would have gone through his mind for him to do this to his family?

Huston was a writer, teacher, and student. It was his job to make order out of disorder. To find the meaning in metaphor.

DeMarco is on the hunt, digging for each piece of evidence. The woods, his students, and strip clubs (Whispers). Strippers, hookers, an abortion, dancers, bouncers. Research for his books. Did he have enemies? Were all the associations for his book, or personal?

Was Hutson’s life idyllic as it had seemed? He was the primary suspect and DeMarco took no pleasure in that discovery. Marco could drink himself into a stupor, but he needed a clear head. He had to figure out who murdered this family. He liked this man. He owes him to find out what happened. He goes back and forth with his suspicions.

The more he learns, he wonders if the writer had become the characters in his book? Had the murder and suicide of Huston’s parents loosened something in him or spawned a rage he struggled with, and finally lost?

Who was Annabel? Bonnie? Tex? Were these relationships an integral part of the slaughter at the Huston home? After the murder, Huston had been spotted wandering through the dawn in a daze. Where else would he go? Could he have been cheating on his wife?

DeMarco had to find him. As he digs deeper, with the homicide investigation, time is of the essence. Four people are dead and three of them are children. If Thomas is running because he is innocent, who is the guilty party? DeMarco wanted Hutson to be better than this. Someone he could admire. Had the equation changed? Was it infidelity, madness, lust, weakness? He had to know!

Who could Thomas trust? Who can he turn to for help?

Complex characters. It’s the contradictions in a personality that make for conflict. Did he take the qualities for each of these women to build his characters or was it something else?

In the meantime, we hear from Thomas hiding out. Like some character out of a Flannery O’Conner story. Hiding in a shed. A misfit. Hunted. Hates. Will his life ever get better? The events leading up to the murder. The book is in his head. Is this all a dream? The lines are blurred.

 



From literary references to Poe, Hemingway, Steinback, Faulkner, MacBeth, Wolfe, O'Connor, Nabokov and Poe’s Annabels, Poe’s poetry. A trinity of troubled men. A kinship. Misery. What parts are made up and what is real?

“To the casual observer, Huston’s life would have appeared blessed. But this was the illusion Huston had created and maintained. A man patient and generous with his students, a picture-perfect wife and family, shirts and chinos always neatly pressed, fame and financial success; a man respected envied; a man with a life each of his students longed for.

Was it all a construction meant to conceal in himself the same dark urges that drove Huston’s characters? His life had seemed a sunlit lagoon, but what currents made the blue water shimmer. A lifetime of struggle and ambition. Parents, taken away by violence. Professional jealousies. The stresses of fame the loss of anonymity. The pressure to live up to the hype, to always be better, brighter, more successful, more worthy of praise.

Was it as simple as that? The façade as thin and brittle as all facades are, shattered? Had Huston snapped? Was he deliriously happy in his insanity? Weightless and free? No shame, no remorse, no obligations, no sin?"



Does the life of novelists show up in fiction, thinly disguised as somebody else’s life? Portions of the journal were totally fiction; others not? Discerning the difference would be the hard part. Were the character’s desires actually Huston’s desires brought to the surface?

Did Thomas dream of these events, or did they actually occur? The knife. How could he go home? All is gone.

Entries:

“If a book is filled with love, it is because the writer longs for love? If the book drips of violence, it is because the writer burns to levy justice, to decimate his enemies? A means of survival. Otherwise, his psyche would unravel. Pitiful or disastrous.

Does a guilty man hide his deeds behind his words and hide his thoughts behind his smile? Others behind other deeds? Doesn’t the pedophile hide behind the Little League team he coaches or the school bus he drives or the Masses he conducts?

And doesn’t the wife beater hide behind the sidewalks he cleans for the old lady next door, and behind his punctuality and efficiency at work? The pornographer, the rapist, the serial killer; .the predatory stock broker, the ambulance chasers, the Medicare-bilking physician—the congressman, the senator, the president—don’t they all cloak their evil behind silk ties and thousand-dollar suits?



The man and woman he is referring to? DeMarco wonders as he is reading-desperate to solve this puzzle. Huston had reached out to him. Will he be so desperate to commit suicide or seek revenge, if, in fact, he was not the killer? He may have nothing to lose.

Between pressure at the station to find Huston and his need to help this man, the author keeps the suspense high, while readers slowly learn what went down that fatal tragic horrific night. His family had been butchered.

Did helping someone with a simple choice in life - set the stage; putting things in motion, for a string of deadly events to unfold, with devastating consequences?

TWO DAYS GONE is like no other book I have ever read and surely it will be at the top of the bestseller list. Silvis grabs you from the first page to the last, with the introduction of this new series, and anxiously awaiting the next!

Ferocious storytelling that makes you think, and feel with an array of emotions. From the dark and ugly pit of the human psyche. Sadness, pain, suffering, tragedy, love, and loss, sprinkled with a heavy literary flair. The relationship and narrative between the two men sealed the book. Both equally strong and powerful. The relationship between writer and reader, priceless.

Other readers have asked me about a similar author or book to compare. I can honestly say, this work is unique. In regards to the crime thriller genre, the one which comes to mind is possibly Paul Cleave (New Zealand), Of course, his Trust No One is a book within a book, as well. Cleave's crime writing is also gritty and dark, with twisted humor, and his cop leads, tend to become emotionally connected. Fans of David Bell and Dennis Lehane will also enjoy. With Silvis, you receive the crime + the literary fiction in one package, a rare find.

"The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past." -William Faulkner

This one will stay with you. Chilling. A murder mystery, both absorbing and entertaining, from an experienced author drawing from his own experience as a writer and academic.

 



Connecting with readers and writers: My favorite part: (Acknowledgements) this is only a small portion:

“A writer’s job is to love his readers and to want nothing more than to pilot them from experience to experience, emotion to emotion. The best fiction is a voyage of feeling, and the writer’s job is to generate sentipensante for his readers, those feelings that give rise, not to an intellectual kind of knowledge but an emotional knowledge, a deeper connection with what Faulkner called “the old verities and truths of the heart.” (love William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Speech Stockholm, Sweden 12/10/50).

“Another way of looking at this relationship between writer and readers is through its intimacy; the reader comes, to a story wanting to be wooed, desirous of seduction. If the writer’s inducements are successful, the voice sufficiently tempting, the promises sufficiently alluring, the reader gives herself over to the story not for minutes but hours, and for days at a time, melding her own imagination with the writer’s while falling into step with the characters, hoping for the best, giving them her heart. What greater gift can a writer receive than this?



A special thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Also purchased the audiobook, performed by Graham Winton; currently listening. (great)

"Next time someone asks you how you’re feeling, dig a little deeper, find that emotion, that story behind it."

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

A January Indie Next Great Read

 

“…a suspenseful, literary thriller that will resonate with readers long after the book is finished. A terrific choice for Dennis Lehane fans.”—Library Journal, STARRED review

 

“Beneath the momentum of the investigation lies a pervasive sadness that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

“…skillfully written thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“…impressive novel…an intriguing thriller.”—Booklist

 

“…this novel [will] linger in readers’ minds well after Two Days Gone.”—Shelf Awareness

 

“Two Days Gone is a quiet, intense, suspenseful mystery about a man who has lost everything. Rich with descriptions and atmosphere….Two Days Gone is relentless in its suspense, and the final twists in the novel are sure to not disappoint.”— Foreword Review 

 

 

"An absolute gem of literary suspense, pitting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and told in a smooth, assured, and often haunting voice, Two Days Gone is a terrific read." - Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

 

 

“Randall Silvis' Two Days Gone is a smart, twisting, vividly written thriller anchored by two deeply flawed yet fascinating protagonists. Yes, the novel provides cat-and-mouse suspense as a horrific murder in a college town is investigated, but it's also a deeply rewarding story about friendship, family, fame, and the complicated relationship between readers and writers. Anyone who wants to dismiss thrillers as mere genre fluff should read Two Days Gone.” - David Bell, author of Since She Went Away

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

 

 

 

About The Author

photo: Maddison Hodg  

 

Novelist, playwright, screenwriter and essayist..

 

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Pennsylvania.Read More 
Twitter 

 

Praised by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist as “a masterful storyteller,”

 

Silvis is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction. He is also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, a prolific essayist, and an occasional poet. As a multi-genre author, his books have appeared on Best of the Year lists from The New York Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail, SfSite.com, and the International Association of Crime Writers. He also co-hosts the popular bi-weekly podcast, The Writers Hangout, at www.thewritershangout.com. 

 

 

"Two Days Gone" Latest Book from Clarion County Native Gains
National Praise    Read More 
Sunday, December 18, 2016 @ 12:12 AM
Posted by Ron Wilshire

 

Randall Silvis: Life Is Research

Q & A with Randall Silvis   Read More 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/01/Two-Days-Gone
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review 2017-01-08 06:44
Everything You Want Me To Be
Everything You Want Me to Be - Mindy Mejia

By:  Mindy Mejia

ISBN: 9781501123429

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date:1/3/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Mindy Mejia’s EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO leads us to deadly dark secrets and lies of a small rural town. The good daughter, turns up murdered, leaving the town in shock. Haunting, twisty, and psychologically rich the author will keep you guessing until the end.

Hattie Hoffman is living in a small rural town in Minnesota. She attends a small high school, Pine Valley. Like most teens with ambition and dreams, they cannot wait to escape the small- town community for the big city.

In this case, Hattie has set her mind on New York City, for an acting career on Broadway. If she needs to use a few people along the way, she will manipulate to her advantage. She has played lots of parts, in her life trying to be what everyone wants her to be.

Told from three POVs, we hear from Del, Hattie, and Peter. A young girl’s dreams, loves, desires, and ambitions. Her secrets. Her last year of high school, which is to be special, turns into a deadly nightmare.

Peter Lund, her English teacher, is a bad marriage. His wife is not the nicest woman and too focused on other things to satisfy her hubby. Of course, an affair begins between Hattie and Peter. The two keep their secrets, and throw everyone off course, while Hattie begins dating the high school jock, Tommy.

However, she never truly warms up to Tommy (if you know what I mean), because she has her sights set on bigger things and getting action elsewhere. Hattie was going places and Tommy was not. We also are introduced to parents Bud and Mona and fishing buddy, Sherriff, Del.

As the book opens, Hattie is planning her escape. The play was finished and she has her bags packed. She has written her note and planned her meet up at the barn. On the night she plans her getaway, she has all her cards lined up perfectly. However, her well-laid plans do not go as intended.

She is stabbed to death in the Erickson barn. Brutally murdered. She also had sex before the murder, not rape. The town is shocked. Del, the family friend is leading the murder investigation and the suspicions point to Tommy and Peter. However, could it be someone else? What about Peter’s wife, or someone else? The parents are devastated. Did they really know their daughter?

Hattie had spent her entire life playing parts, being whatever “they” wanted her to be, focused on everyone around her while inside she felt like she was sitting in the exact same spot. She was her parent’s only daughter. Who could have murdered Hattie Hoffman?

The child who was going to succeed and make a new life away from Pine Valley and marry some hotshot lawyer and come home for the holidays with a kid or two. She was not supposed to the child who was going to die. They had worried more about their son Greg, who went to Afghanistan. A life cut short.

From the Dairy Queen to other small town characters, high school, a marriage, a farm, and three main characters with events leading up to the murder. From a girl who worked at the local CVS photo counter, a dangerous affair, to high school theatrics - a girl who wanted what she wanted. A man caught in the middle, and a Sherriff, father, and mother, seeking the truth.

A contemporary young adult suspense, ideal for those who enjoy a little Macbeth and Shakespeare mixed with mystery.

Depending on the reader, each person will have their own person they may have more sympathy for than others. I enjoyed the book version, much more than the audio version. Del’s narrator was very poorly done. However, recommend the book and ideal for book clubs and further discussions. An author to follow!

A special thank you to Atria/Emily Bestler Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy for review consideration.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/08/04/Everything-You-Want-Me-to-Be
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review 2017-01-03 05:52
The Twilight Wife
The Twilight Wife - A.J. Banner

By:  A.J. Banner

ISBN: 9781501152115

Publisher: Touchstone 

Publication Date: 12/27/2016 

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A.J. Banner returns following The Good Neighbor, with the powerfully evocative THE TWILIGHT WIFE —an intricate conundrum, a modern-age twisty domestic psychological mystery suspense puzzle of lies, secrets, deception and an intriguing past.

A heart-pounding adventure of one woman's desperate search for answers. Uncovering the truth about those we love. A story, the past, an obsession, a forgotten identity, and pieces of memories- just out of reach.

Kyra Winthrop is recovering from a harrowing diving accident. Her memory is still cluttered, and foggy. Her doting husband, Jacob, recounts her past to her, filling in the gaps left by an unusual form of memory loss.

When Kyra begins to remember details that don’t align with what she knows to be true, she must fight through her hazy memory, her isolation, and her own suspicions to discover what—and whom—she can trust.

What happened on the fateful dive on which a woman loses her memory and her life? She is desperate to learn the truth. Where nothing is as it seems. A constant state of perplexity and confusion. Lies, deception, and dark secrets are revealed slowly as the threads are unraveled.

Kyra is a thirty-four-year-old marine biologist currently recovering from a head injury. She taught at the Seattle University previously they say, and yet she has no memory of those times. Now she has only this secluded Mystic Island in the Pacific Northwest, where the wind blows in cold from the sea.

She has a husband, Jacob who sticks close by her side, follows her everywhere, her guardian angel. She also has a peculiar recurring dream. She fractured her skull in a diving accident near Deception Pass. The waters are supposedly gorgeous, but deadly.

The island haunts her, but she has no conscious memory of the area. Just like water, and things of the sea; they can be dangerous, but beautiful.

She has no memory of her decision to move here. Nor does she recognize the jagged scar on her right thumb, (from a dive) per her husband, Jacob. She barely even remembers her husband. Why does she forget only the four years she missed?

They say her name is Kyra Winthrop (she dropped her maiden name Munin). She has been married to Jacob for nearly three years. Who is this man? How did she end up here?

She is only a shadow of her former self. When she stops taking the meds to clear her mind, she begins a computer search. Jacob was a computer genius educated at MIT and founded his own software company. What else will she find? She had to keep things secret until she solves the mysteries of her past. She is grasping at any clue or person she can find, for answers.

Who is Aiden Finlay? She feels there is someone else. Her husband’s friend? She is disoriented. Does she have repressed memories? Could something bad have happened? Traumatic? Another diver?

What if her brain is choosing to block out not trauma, but something else altogether? Can she believe Jacob? She questions her marriage. What secrets is her husband hiding? Was there another man? What about Jacob’s past?

From fuzziness, the fog, to dreaming of a yellow house; where nothing is as it appears. From constant confusion, Kara sees herself kissing Aiden one minute and Jacob the next. Was there a third diver?

The more she learns, she becomes afraid for her life, and she had to figure a way out of this madness – a dark nagging cloud of doubt. What was Jacob holding back? A trail of cryptic clues, and a computer genius husband, who is holding all the cards.

Piece by piece, everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. Who can she trust? Why is Jacob lying to her? Who is this other man who thinks she looks like someone else? She wants her own grasp of memories, not what her husband has told her. She feels something is missing.

“I feel as though my memories stop short, before the storm, at the edge of a precipice leading down into darkness.”

In trying to make sense of her world, Kyra learns about anterograde amnesia (difficulty storing new memories) and retrograde amnesia (difficulty retrieving old ones).

She begins explores the island, in search for answers to evoke memories—seashells, the contents of her purse, photographs, and the local shops, the B&B inn, and coastal tide pools. (loved this part, which keeps your senses on high alert). In addition, she seeks out everyone she can to help her find answers.

A frighteningly cool portrait of a serious sadist, THE TWILIGHT WIFE is a gripping, claustrophobia-inducing thriller. Looks are deceiving. The most dangerous kind. Utterly compelling exploration through the darker side of the human psyche.

Banner creates a strong sense of ambiguity, darkness, confusion with a constant state of obscurity, a perplexing mystery, and an intriguing haunting puzzle.

Jacob and Kyra are both fascinating mysteries, and Banner knows how to maintain the tension from the first page to the last twisty turn. A nice addition with the secondary characters: Van and Nancy, as well as Doug (enjoyed his connection).

As a reader, you do not know who to trust, and who is dangerous. Compellingly hypnotic with a spellbinding seaside remote setting, adding to the ongoing strong sense of foreboding and mystery, combined with beautiful lyrical prose, well researched, and fascinating sea life, making this an absorbing read.

For fans of Kate Moretti, Kimberly S. Belle, Mary Kubica, Susan Crawford, and BA Paris. Looking forward to the next!

I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, my Top 2016 Audio Narrator for a mesmerizing performance! She has an ideal voice for the role, with her soothing voice to transport you.

Ideal for book clubs or discussions. Would make a great movie!

A special thank you to Touchstone & NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

A Conversation with A. J. Banner "What significance does the title hold to the narrative?"

"The word twilight suggests falling away into darkness, the strange, dreamlike in-between time, when day isn’t quite finished and night hasn’t quite begun. Kyra hovers in that limbo, not entirely herself without her memory and plunging into a terrifying night as her life unravels.

However, she also finds beauty and hope in twilight. She remembers magical nights, when she walked the beach and discovered unusual marine species beneath the moonlight. And night always becomes day again. Darkness leads to dawn. She discovers her own inner strength and reclaims her life."

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/01/The-Twilight-Wife
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