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review 2017-03-14 12:58
Never Let You Go
Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens
ISBN: 9781250034564
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  3/14/2017 
Format:  Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Chevy Stevens returns following Those Girls (2015), with yet another top notch Sleeping with the Enemy psychological domestic suspense thriller on steroids!

A long-time Stevens fan, reading every book she creatively crafts, and anxiously awaiting the next — Stevens once again showcases her highly creative plotting skills, an engrossing narrative, and her "signature ingredient" of keeping readers surprised, with her famous twists, while moving seamlessly between timelines.

Starting in November 2005, we meet Lindsey, married to Andrew and daughter Sophie. She knows one thing: She had to leave her husband. There was no more time. No matter what it took, no matter how risky it was, she had to get Sophie away from him. She needed to protect her daughter. She is terrified.

As with all domestic abusers, they remove all their victim's friends and financial resources, to keep them under their thumb.

Flash forward to 2016. Lindsey and Sophie are now living in Dogwood Bay. She has started a new life. She hopes the past is in the past. Or is it? Andrew has spent time in prison. He wants her to suffer. He was going to make her pay for every year he spent behind bars. He was now a free man and he was going to find her.

Is someone watching? Is Andrew back to act out his revenge?

Stevens flashes back and forth from between these two timelines and even further back to 1997 when the couple met. We hear from Lindsey and Sophie’s POV. The master manipulator. Is there more than one? Who can be trusted?

When she left him years ago, after drugging him, to enable their escape—there was a car accident. A young woman was dead. Someone had to pay.

From Sleeping with the Enemy, The Perfect Guy, Fatal Attraction and more, we always love the intensity of unfortunate protagonists finding themselves stuck with Mr, Crazy. Intense. The man masked behind the chilling monster inside. Unfortunately, not until too late, does he reveal his true self. Then the victim finds themselves risking their lives and others to escape.

As always, a master storyteller, Stevens adds her own clever twist. There is nothing ordinary or similar to this tale. A cautionary tale screaming “Do not trust anyone.” When you least expect someone, crosses your path. When you are most vulnerable, most trusting. They may seek you out for their own revenge.

Stevens delivers her most riveting grip-lit yet. The brutality of domestic violence. Frighteningly real, and all too familiar for many. In addition, it is among the hardest to witness, as for why many are free to continue on their destructive path, until it is often, too late.

The author knows how to build suspense, and keep readers on the edge of their seat From the darkest obsessions, the entrapment, control, and evil.

By adding Sophie’s POV, she reaches outside the couple to hear the fear of a child, a sense of loyalty, the consequences, and strong pull between the troubled parent's abusive relationship.

If you enjoy the TV series, Big Little Lies —you will be thinking of Celeste (Nichole Kidman) and Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård). This guy totally gives me the creeps. He reminds me of my ex-husband. Rich, powerful, and crazy.

Highly recommend. For all my Chevy Stevens' GR Book Reviews. Trust me, you will want to read this one. Mark out the time. Unputdownable.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/30/Never-Let-You-Go
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review 2017-03-06 13:22
The Trophy Child
The Trophy Child: A Novel - Paula Daly

By:  Paula Daly

ISBN: 9780802125941

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Publication Date: 3/7/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

Paula Daly returns following The Mistake I Made landing on my Top Books of 2015, with her fourth and latest domestic suspense THE TROPHY CHILD with an array of dysfunction and madness, mixed with mystery.

Our favorite DS Joanne Aspinall (from previous books), revisits—always finding herself in the middle of trouble and mischief.

Karen Bloom (achievement-obsessed) is a tiger mom to ten- year-old Bonte. Karen is married to womanizer Noel and does not pay much attention to her stoner son, Ewan, and her teenage stepdaughter, Verity (drug possession). She had to agree to weekly onsite drug tests and counseling sessions.

Of course, Karen compares the other two children, to her precious Bonte. Brontë goes missing, and Karen is, of course, crazy with worry, since her daughter is her life.

Karen did not care that people called her a tiger mom. She was proud of it “It was an easy way to justify their own lazy lives, their own acceptance of mediocrity.”

And Karen was very sorry, but she wasn’t having that for Bronte. It was her duty to prepare her daughter for the life ahead of her in the best way she knew how.

Life was a competition. Only the best and the brightest succeeded, and if that meant Karen had to put her own hopes and dreams on the back burner, while she invested everything she had in Bronte’s future, so be it.

In the meantime, we catch up with Joanne, joining secondchance.com and her share of bad men and dating. She is always good for a few laughs.

Joanne is called in to investigate when Bronte goes missing from Windermere. She soon learns and is shocked to find a connection to Noel. (Seamus-whom she had gone to bed with six nights previously). She had no idea he was married. She had sex with the father of a missing child. Not cool.

Noel is a small-town GP. He had to be careful so as not to run into his patients. There was his first wife, then Karen. Second marriage problems, and stepchildren.

The child returns unhurt, (where was she), but not before Karen has stirred up all sorts of problems and outrage. Then Karen turns up murdered. Not liked by many, did Noel kill his wife? Was she sleeping around? There is a long line of suspects.

Now Joanne must find the killer and figure out what happened to Bronte. Was the same person involved?

A crazy bunch, this was my least favorite of all Daly’s books. I have read all her books and each has been 5-star, except for this one. Too much drama and not enough likable characters, except for Joanne (she is always a spark); however, beginning to question even her choices.

Fans of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies may enjoy the dysfunction, drama and dark humor.

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

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/The-Trophy-Child
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text 2017-03-01 06:00
The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens Blog Tour and Giveaway
 
The Empty Room
by Sarah J Clemens
 
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Mystery
 
Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery hoped would fulfill their dreams of a new start in life, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was nestled under a constant blanket of fog.
The first neighbor the couple meets dashes those hopes when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? A cryptic question, but nothing to worry about. At least not until the couple looked under the floorboards inside the house.
Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, the town, and their neighbors. When the couple discovers what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.
What happened inside The Empty Room is a mystery until the last page. A gripping psychological suspense, the story takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.
 
 
Sarah J. Clemens is the author of the debut mystery novel, The Empty Room. She started writing The Empty Room in 2008 and formed her own imprint in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing.
She started out her professional career working as a news assistant for her local newspaper before finding a passion for the law and pursued an education in criminal justice. In addition to writing fiction, she is also a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Human Services.
 
Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She has the same sarcastic sense of humor as the characters in her books, and she has an unparalleled love for animals.
 
 
 
You may find us here !
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
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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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