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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-04 10:43
Some Secrets just can't stay buried
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes

Have now read  You twice now  and have to say it is just as good and fun the second time around as it was the first.Have only read Hidden Bodies once so far but will be honest though and say  I am glad she changed to the third person point of view in the sequel.  I was both a fan and not a fan of the second person perspective in You.Though maybe she changed it because well the "You" is now dead  in the sequel so can't really use that "You" again now can she? Now don't get me wrong when done correctly, especially in You, is jarring and just makes you feel slightly weird reading it . Think the jarring nature of it was what made reading You so much fun. Thing is the jarring nature of it also takes you out of the story at times. That and well second person usually for me only works really well in choose your own adventure sort of novels . It works in those sort of novels because the YOU they are referring to there is actually you. Descriptions of the you in them is none existent because  well the point is  that the reader is supposed to be so lost in the story they actual feel they are along for the adventure and the second the writer adds any descriptions the more people that will not match that description and thus not be able to see the themselves in the story any longer. The thing that makes You different is that the You Joe describes is not you the reader but a character in the story and you are more or less sort of living in her body for the story I guess is the best way to put it. I think You works and is way creepier , least to me, when he does mention the character he is stalking by name. Course get why he does because well she is a character in the story so unless the you was actual the reader be strange if not mentioning her name but again the effect is way better when the character's name is not mentioned.


Then came to the sequel , which if anything I think is even better than the first one.I am a bit sad she changed the title from love to Hidden Bodies since I think Love is a far better title and just  feel would have been better if all the books in this series had one word titles. Just like the first  novel, the sequel makes you root for Joe even though he is a horrible person who does some really horrible things.Will mention if books have to have likeable characters that you can relate to in order for you to like them will say to stay far away from You and Hidden Bodies. I personally like unlikeable characters and have no issues liking characters even if certain things about their personalities or things they do are really messed up. Just found myself  tons of times while reading it found myself not wanting him to get caught even though by now he should clearly be in prison or if not on death row.

 

Will admit I took my ratings down a bit for both mostly for the fact I thought he fell into the just too damn lucky camp . Now I realize there are tons of real life serial killers who get away with horrible things , go uncaught even though when they are caught everyone is just confused how they were not caught earlier since when caught it seemed so obvious it was them or how could anyone believe the lies and shit they feed to them.  Realize too there are real life causes where strange luck or whatever you want to call it factors in and people go uncaught far longer then they should(Cops miss clues because they are human, witness don't want to come forward, etc).  Even with that in mind though I still thing there were a few cases especially in Hidden bodies where just he surpassed luck in my opinion. The most notable example is when he admits everything to Love, his now new obsession and love interest. Now we as the reader don't know if he actually told her everything thing that happened as it happened. We sort of have to take his word for it that he did.I for one think he told her his version of events , leaving out details and such. Then again he is also our eyes so who is to say we know all of the truth either.  Now Love is again not a completely likeable character and even if she was say one of the many women that fall in love with serial killers , who I think if faced with someone like that for real and not just in a fantasy would head for the hills since the fantasy of being in love and helping a killer is not as scary as the reality, I just don't think she would be able to process that as fast as she did and even go so far as being totally down to just go help him gather evidence that he left behind Not saying that she wouldn't help at some point since there are tons of examples of serial killer couples or least lovers that help out a spouse that kills I  just  still think she would have a bit more time to fully process all she told her and have more a reaction to what he had than she did. Now after saying that even if was sort of forced to further the plot still happy she did just so he stayed free for longer in the novel.

Can sadly also  see the way she helped him working in real life since so many people even now would be like Peach's parents and rather bury a gay child in secret(After Joe kills Peach on a beach and throws her body out to sea her parents now in this one believe it was not suicide . It is shown in the first book that most likely Peach is a lesbian in love with her best friend . In this book her parents have a feeling it was not suicide and  decide to reopen the case but when love burst in acting like her lesbian lover they tell the cops to close the case again to hide the fact that their daughter was a lesbian and avoid family scandal.) than admit to the public that their child was gay and start some sort of a family scandal, which as someone who lgbt myself I find fucked up to all hell but just like in real life it is still a sad reality for so many families. So again Joe is not the only messed up character since the people he kills, encounters , etc include a Psychologist who cheats on his wife with patients , well least the main character of You, Peach , a lesbian who comes on to her best when she is more or a bit passed out , Love's brother who is more or less a walking flesh suit pumped full every drug he can get his hands on, and course Love who has her own issues.Will say too if you dislike semigraphic sex scenes in your mystery/suspense novels would avoid these books as well.  I think though if you can get over the unlikable characters, if that is usually not your thing, the books are full with enough twists and turns to keep you reading.

For that fact alone would recommend them since they are probably some of the fastest reads. You keep wanting to flip the pages want to find out if Joe will get caught or what other messed up crap is going to happen. Then with much frustration, there is one hell of a cliff hanger for Hidden Bodies, which makes me want a third book like now even though have seen the author saying several times will be awhile til ten.Will admit was surprised when Joe walks out of the restaurant with the place surrounded by the cops  and Love is gone that she was not part of a set up to catch him. Was sure one of the cops got to her, fed her lies to give to Joe and that she lead him on til they could strike. Even Joe was certain of this for a bit. Now maybe she still is and it will be brought to light in the next  book of the series.Am still also on the fence whether her being pregnant is true on not so guess will have to see about that too. Think though it seems like so far she is not involved in helping him get caught and again it was just one of those terrible mistakes that got people questioning and digging too much. Course with the way Joe is able to pretty much talk himself out of anything and not sure he will face any jail time as of yet. Besides that is no fun for the killer , least to me, to get caught too early and have a feeling this is going to be more than a three book series. Had the same feeling when reading the first few Dexter books along with the Showtime show of the same name, a book series I would highly recommend if you at all enjoyed these books since those have very similar vibe to those .

So in short if you like high paced, readable books in which characters and most importantly a narrator are very very unlikeable , don't mind quite a bit of in semidetail sexual content in your mysteries , and books that have enough twists and turns to keep you guessing   would highly recommend both of these books. 

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2018-02-03 20:25
Weird murders, a London setting, a ticking clock, and a morally ambiguous hero.
Ragdoll: A Novel - Daniel H Cole

Thanks to NetGalley and to Trapeze for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

This novel had passed me by (my to be read list is getting longer and longer) when it was first published, but I have been reading quite a number of thrillers recently, saw this book mentioned, and remembered I had yet to read it.

The ARC copy I read includes a funny introduction by the author, which sets the tone for what is to come quite well, although I did not see it in the look inside feature at the front of the published e-book version. The novel is a hard thriller but with a considerable amount of dark humour thrown in (a very British version of it as well). The initial premise is gripping. We have a brief prologue that introduces us to a past case and a deranged detective, and then we discover that four years later he’s back at work, and he has to investigate a very bizarre case. The ragdoll of the title is the name given to the macabre discovery of a body composed of the parts of six different victims. Not happy with that, the killer also releases a list of names of people and the dates when he intends to kill them. And the said detective (Wolf) is the last one on the list. The methods the killer employs are also very imaginative, and there is plenty of violence (and pretty extreme at that).

This thriller, set in London, follows the format of a police procedural novel, but as some reviewers have noted, it does require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. The fact that somebody who was as disturbed as Wolf, and who very seriously assaulted a suspect in front of a whole courtroom, is allowed to go back to work, stretches the imagination. The way the team works, that seems confused and disorganised, also will surprise those who appreciate the attention to detail and authenticity. As a psychiatrist who has worked in the UK, I didn’t find the portrayal of the mental health secure unit where Wolf had spent time very realistic either (although one could query the fact that he was not well at the time, and other than a brief visit by one of the members of the team, we don’t have any objective accounts of it), and one hopes that news agencies will not be like the one depicted in the novel either (Wolf’s ex-wife works for a TV news station and becomes involved in the case also). But, if we accept the premises of the novel, and forget about how likely it is that this could happen in the real world, it is difficult to fault the book for its imagination, pace, energy, and for the way it grabs and keeps the reader’s attention.

This novel keeps taking us back to the past, and at some points it felt as if it should have been the second novel in the series, as it is evident that what happened four years earlier has a lot to do with the current events, and the way the narration is structured, around the previous case, is one of the strong points, in my opinion. It is as if the whole department had been affected by what happened to Wolf and it has become something of a dysfunctional family. Although there are things that seem far-fetched, on the other hand, the general feeling of pressure, desperation, media attention, cover-ups… felt very real. I have mentioned dark humour, and there is a very cynical undercurrent permeating the whole book, which suits it well and, perhaps, will be easier to appreciate by those who live in or are familiar with the UK, its politics, and its current social situation. I felt as if it was almost a caricature of the truth. Exaggerated and taken to the extreme but easily recognisable nonetheless.

Although it is not a psychologically complex story (and many of the characters play to stereotype: the older detective who is about to be retired, the young rookie who’s just been transferred from a different section and is a stickler for details and rules, the young attractive female detective who looks up to the lead investigator but whose feelings are unclear…), there is plenty of action and many twists and turns, characters, locations, and the ticking clock makes it a rather tense and intense read that will keep most readers guessing. There are a large number of characters, and although we get to know the members of the New Scotland Yard team fairly well over the novel (although quite a few of them keep secrets and are contradictory at best), victims, witnesses, characters from the personal lives of the detectives… all are given a bit of space, and it is important to pay attention not to get lost, especially because of the way the story is narrated.  The story is told in the third person but from quite a number of characters’ points of view, not always the main characters either, and although I did not find it difficult to follow and it is a good way to keep the intrigue (by switching points of view and giving us snippets of information only some characters have access to), it means readers should not miss a beat.

Notwithstanding the dark and sharp sense of humour, there are some introspective moments, guilty feelings, and characters wrestle with the morality of the situation, although I do not think it breaks new ground or is the most successful attempt at delving into such issues. At some point, the novel seems about to enter into paranormal territory, and it did remind me of Jekyll and Hyde, as there comes a moment when you have to wonder what it takes to make somebody step over the fine line between fighting a monster and becoming the monster. I don’t want to go into too much detail to avoid any spoilers, but let’s say that good and bad are not ultimately such clear-cut concepts as we would like to believe.

This is a very enjoyable page-turner, especially recommended for those who like a tense and gripping read and are not put off by some over-the-top characterisations and some stretching of the truth, and who don’t mind graphic violence and dark humour. And if you enjoy a London setting, even better.  

 

 

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review 2018-01-28 15:45
Dark Screams: Volume Nine
Dark Screams: Volume Nine - Kelley Armstrong,Richard Chizmar,Stewart O'Nan,Brian James Freeman,Peter Straub

DARK SCREAMS: VOLUME NINE was a ton of fun! I was most especially impressed with the last entry TORN by Lee Thomas.

 

I'm not even going to get into what TORN was about because I think it should be related exactly as the author intended. I will say that even though this is a longer story than I usually care for in an anthology, it kept me riveted, it was original and I LOVED it!

 

THE DEAD YEARS by Taylor Grant was another original entry and this one had a science fiction bent to it that I enjoyed. I would love to see this idea expanded to a full length novel.

 

SUMMER OF 07 by Stewart O'Nan. A super short story that reminded me of Ted Bundy.

 

THE BLACKOUT by Jonathan Moore was an unsettling tale mostly set at the morgue.

 

INVITATION TO THE GAME by Kelly Armstrong. This was another tale that had a science fiction bent to it, in my view. It's about a corporation that controls, (or attempts to control?) all aspects of its employees lives. When they send you an invitation, it is unwise to decline.

 

Lastly, there was a story from Peter Straub: VARIATIONS ON A THEME FROM SEINFELD. I admit that the reason I requested an ARC of this book was due to Straub. I have such love for him and for Seinfeld, for that matter, but this story didn't do much for me.

 

Overall, I had fun with this volume, (most especially the story TORN!), and I recommend it to dark fiction and science fiction lovers everywhere!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and to Hydra for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2018-01-23 20:51
Monsters Are Real!!! Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff @AlexSokoloff
Bitter Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

OMG..Alexandra Sokoloff did it again in Bitter Moon, Book IV in the Huntress/FBI Thriller series.

 

Bitter Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #4)

Goodreads  /  Amazon

 

MY REVIEW

 

I had received several books of this series and loved them so much, I binge read all three. So apt this book comes after the others. I think I got a lot more from it, because I am totally engrossed in how Cara came to be a vigilante.

 

In Bitter Moon, Cara relives her tragic past and it is brutal, horrifying, terrifying, and haunting. The insight into her motivation makes me see evil in its purest form. It’s no wonder she takes her revenge as a vigilante on all the users and abusers. The atrocities committed on defenseless children by family, friends, strangers, they need a guardian angel and Cara will fight to her dying breath for herself and for them.

 

Roarke has walked away from the FBI because of his conflicted feelings about her. He is lost, isolated, confused…As he tries to find answers for himself, Roarke tracks her past. He walks where she walked, meeting some people she knew, gaining insight. The nun simplified if for him, he is on a mission.

 

Can evil be drawn to a particular person? Can someone attract the bad through no fault of their own?

 

It is frightening and horrifying as I read of her past and know these things really happen, that the depravity of humans are going on right now. I am at a loss for words with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.

 

I love Cara and don’t know how she can have a happy ever after, but I so much want it for here. If any character I have ever read about deserves something good in her life, Cara does. She is dogged by evil, she never quits, never gives up, willing to take them out one by one.

 

She runs from IT, but IT follows here everywhere she goes.

Monsters are real!

 

Research? If half of what Alexandra Sokoloff has written about rape and trafficking, the women and children, throwaway kids, the predatory people out there is true, we should all be afraid. It may be easier to turn the other way, but you never know when EVIL might come for you.

 

I had wondered if there would be more, because the rest of Cara and Roarke’s story needs to be told, and I am so happy to know…there is.

 

There are so many great quotes, that I had to share a few of them.

 

“Look too long into the abyss and the abyss looks back into you.”

 

“Fear the wolf, or be the wolf.”

 

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” John Stuart Millshad

 

Alexandra Sokoloff had me wound so tight, I felt like I would explode. My emotions were all over the place and I did breathe a sigh of relief…and regret…when I was done. The characters have captured my heart and I miss them as soon as I close the ‘cover’. Stay safe everyone, I’ll be back.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff and these novels will be sitting on my reread shelf!!!!

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

MY REVIEW LINKS FOR ALEXANDRA SOKOLOF

 

 

I love these gorgeous covers.

 

Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #1)Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #2)Cold Moon (Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #3)Bitter Moon

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/monsters-are-real-bitter-moon-by-alexandra-sokoloff-alexsokoloff
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review 2017-12-28 21:45
Underground Tombs – A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham @heathergraham
A Perfect Obsession: A Novel of Romantic Suspense (New York Confidential) - Heather Graham

Uh oh. I don’t like tight spaces, but it looks like I will have to get over it in order to read A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham…and I will.

 

A Perfect Obsession (New York Confidential #2)

 

Goodreads  /  Amazon

 

MY REVIEW

 

There is never any doubt, when it comes to Heather Graham, that I will grab her book without hesitation. Even a bad book by Heather Graham is a good book and I would definitely recommend A Perfect Obsession.

 

Kieran Finnegan, a psychologist, also works at the family pub and shares a bed with her FBI guy, Craig Frasier. He knows to keep tabs on her because trouble seems to find her…or does she find it?

 

A model/actress was murdered just around the corner from Finnegan’s, but nobody thought it was connected to the family…until her brother, Kevin, told her his secret.

Someone wanted her found.

 

“Living art.”

 

It’s easy to figure out that Kieran is Irish. She has three brothers. They are quick to defend and protect her, since she’s prone to finding trouble to get into.

 

We have a headstrong woman, a hunky cop, mystery and dead bodies on display in mausoleums that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, but…

 

I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m just not getting into this like I do most of her work. Am I having an off day? Or is it because it’s an ARC and will be tidied up before publishing. I think it will get better. You’ll need to check out A Perfect Obsession to figure it out for yourself.

 

I feel on edge. I keep thinking…waiting…for “the moment”…when the monster reaches out from under the bed and grabs me.

Heather has created a sense of menace from the serial killer. I can’t put my finger on the villain. Have I met him?

 

 

Uh Oh. I think I know who it is and we have a big problem.

 

I started out having a hard time getting into the story. I don’t know why. It has all the elements I require for a thrilling read. I rarely give up on a book, and I sure wasn’t going to give up on a Heather Graham book. And it is worth sticking with. As usual, she leaves me wanting more and I can hardly wait to pick up another one of her stories.

 

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

Read more here

 

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