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review 2017-09-25 12:52
Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb
Judgment in Death (In Death, #11) - J.D. Robb

A cop moonlighting as a bartender, is bludgeoned to death with a metal bat in an upscale club. Lieutenant Eve Dallas isn't pleased; not with the fact she has no motive, no suspect, and not with the idea that the owner of the club is her own husband.

Then another cop, who also proves to also have a secret bank account, is found sliced open in his own car and the motive starts to crystalize—someone is killing off dirty cops. But who...And who is the guy gunning for Roarke and how can she thwart his plans?


Another intense read with two seemingly unconnected investigations that end up merging into one single, reverberating case. I loved the suspense and the mystery, it was chilling and gory, and it kept me guessing for a little more than half the book before I pinpointed the killer. Good job in making it twisty and just convoluted enough to keep it interesting without skirting the "overdone" line.

Beside the good, solid mystery/suspense plot, we get the usual plethora of characters, relationship, and interactions between them...And the first major marital spat between our two intrepid leads.
I'm all for quick conflict solving, but I didn't mind the length this one took. It wasn't overdone, it was realistic in how both parties were right (both times, might I add), but let pride and hurt intrude before reason and true feelings could kick in to try and reach a compromise. Not all fights are solved quickly and easily and this one proved it, but it also proved that communication is always the key once tempers are cooled and people actually start to think and try to see the other's point of view.
I loved this little hiccup in Eve and Roarke's marriage, because it actually made the relationship stronger...And provided some great (and humorous) moments of female bonding (loved Mira's reaction and questions regarding Roarke's possible diet).

Intense, fast-paced, with an intriguing mystery, a crazy baddie with a grudge, and wonderful character development.

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review 2017-09-24 20:17
The Blackbird Season
The Blackbird Season - Kate Moretti

By:  Kate Moretti 

ISBN: 9781501118456

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/26/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars 

 
Kate Moretti returns following The Vanishing Year, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with her latest THE BLACKBIRD SEASON – a scandal rocks a town with dark chilling secrets. An emotionally charged exploration of a family and community in crisis.

Haunting, complex, twisty, mysterious, and suspenseful — Moretti style. 

The whodunit suspense will keep you glued to the pages. The excellent writing, well-developed characters, and crafty plot will keep you entertained and absorbed. 

“The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying." —from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, Wallace Stevens

Nate Winters and his wife Alecia are well respected in the small quiet town of Mount Oanoke, Pennsylvania. A dying mill town, the people living in this small community have their struggles. Baseball is one highlight of their town.

Nate is a math teacher and baseball coach, well loved by all. A hero to many. Alecia, a former career woman, is now a stay at home mom with their 5-year-old autistic son, Gabe.

Things are quite tense in their relationship, marriage, and household. Of course, with Gabe, her plate is full. Alecia is consumed with his care and often resentful of her husband who spends time at school and on the ballfield helping others. 

She is miserable, bitter, angry, and sad. She has little time left over for her husband with a special needs child. Her only friend is Bridget. 

Told from alternating points of view: Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget. 
 

Bridget is a creative writing teacher at the school and a co-worker of Nate. She believes in him. She lost her husband to cancer the previous year. They had all been good friends. Of course, as teachers of high school students, a difficult task; there is always drama—they are self-absorbed glued to their phones, or bullying someone. 

Lucia is a senior at the high school. She is an eccentric teen, loner and everyone thinks is weird. A witch? A difficult childhood. She is in a writing class led by Bridget. Bridget feels uncomfortable with Lucia. She has no friends. She writes of death and dying. 

“Lucia tackled pain and death clinically, a biology lab dissection. She sees birds. She says they come to her and she knows bad things will happen.” Entries in her journal.

She is exotic with unsettling beauty. Crazy white hair, black-rimmed eyes, and red lips. She has a brother, Lenny, and dropout and a father Jimmy who had skipped town. Is she evil? She has obsessions with blackbirds, ravens, and crows. She reaches out to Nate for help.

How could this pillar of the community— father, husband, teacher, leader, and friend —Nate, find himself in trouble? He would be fired. Everyone would call him a murderer. They would accuse him of an affair. OR a student who came on to Nate and he rejected her —set out for revenge?

A thousand starlings fell from the sky. Not fluttering to the earth, but plummeting. Hard and fast in the middle of the third inning of the opening day at Mt. Oaknoke High field. 

Then the pandemonium. A cloud of blackbirds, thousands of them. The entire thing lasted less than three minutes. 911 was called, and everyone wondered where they came from. Why did they fall? What did it mean? 

After the falling which everyone thinks is a bad omen, everything bad begins happening. Nate is accused of having an affair. A motel. A reporter. He is fired. Did Nate have a flair for girls in need or was he innocent? A girl goes missing. Fingers are pointed.

A marriage and a town are torn apart. However, is Nate to blame or someone else? Is he being set up and if so whom? Is Lucia a victim or menace? An intriguing character. 

A slow-burning gripping tale, both haunting, spellbinding, and disturbing. 

A cautionary suburban crime story sprinkled with supernatural elements. The unsettling atmosphere gives a strong sense of fearful apprehension or darkness lurking. Foreboding, suspicion, and unease —a feeling that something bad will happen; a dark cloud. 

What lies beneath those dark clouds? 

Moretti delves deep into the lives of these flawed characters. Loss and danger—an ongoing theme. From the loss of a spouse, marriage, love, job, trust, and a town. From teens to adults. Bullying. Everyone has an opinion. With an array of emotions. Jealousy and obsession. 

Marriage, parenting, infidelity. Expectations. The wide variation in challenges, strains, and strengths of a special needs child with autism; the complex developmental disability, and the caregivers. The strains it can bring to a marriage. 

Guilt or Innocence. Good or Evil. Black and white magic. From malicious acts to loyalty and friendship. Self-discovery or destruction. Denial or obsession. A compelling complex book of contrasts, relationships, and expectations with shades of gray. 

The symbolic meaning of blackbirds is eternally linked to the "dark vs light" phases of the moon similar to the character’s lives. Blackbirds and birds of black or dark colors are special among their airy clan as they are symbolic of mystery, magic, secrets, and the unknown. 

The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest. While the crow or blackbird can play the trickster, they are usually benevolent and bring news of good passage and protection.

The condition of the town with its ups and downs and tragedy, as well as the claustrophobic, toxic, bleak, and creepy outlook— also parallels to the character’s lives. Would make for an ideal selection for book clubs and further discussions. 

Fans of Jodi Picoult, Heather Gudenkauf, Paula Treick Deboard, T. Greenwood, and Lisa Scottoline’s One Perfect Life(also set in Pennsylvania), will enjoy this emotional thriller. 

THE BLACKBIRD SEASON also gave me the chills (psychologically) as so, when watching The Birds, (a 1963 American horror-thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock) as a child—this one did give me nightmares for weeks. 

Would love to learn more about the author’s inspiration for this unique book. Hats off to the author for courageously tackling this storyline with so many moving parts. Hint: (an interview Q&A is in order). 

A very special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 4.5 Stars 

Have also pre-ordered the Audiobook narrated by Cassandra Campbell (My favorite narrator), Gibson Frazier, Joy Osmanski, Rebekah Ross. Look forward to listening!

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Kate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of  Thought I Knew You, While You Were Gone, and Binds That Tie. Her newest novel, The Vanishing Year will be available fall 2016. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life. 

She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.

Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway. Read More  

 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/02/The-Blackbird-Season
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review 2017-09-24 15:44
Witness in Death by J.D. Robb
Witness in Death - J. D. Robb

In the last act of a sold-out play, the lead actor is executed in front of the eyes of the entire theater with a knife that was supposed to be a prop, but ends up being real. One of the thousands of witnesses in the theater is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who, despite her dislike of the victim, thanks to what is uncovered during the investigation, finds death even more distasteful...Justified or not.


Yet another great addition to this series with an intriguing mystery, and although I knew who the killer was from the start, the motive eluded me until the end.
Unlike its predecessors, this wasn't heavy on the suspense, but focused straight on the mystery, with quite an Agatha Christie feel, filled with misdirection, suspects, possible motives, and red herrings.

The thick mystery didn't allow for much else, but there still was enough space for some evolution in the friendship between Eve and Peabody, and the budding relationship between Peabody and McNab...And space enough for some sexy and sensual alone time between Eve and Roarke. I absolutely loved that scene.

The pacing was spot-on (as pretty much always), the mystery intriguing, the procedural intense, the cast of characters even more expanded than usual...A great book.

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review 2017-09-24 05:33
Don't Let Go
Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben

By:  Harlan Coben 

ISBN: 978-0525955115

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: 9/26/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 
Master storyteller, Harlan Coben returns following (2016) Fool Me Once and Home (Myron Bolitar #11) –both 5 stars; with his latest . . . Drumroll . . . His 31st novel! DON’T LET GO. Fans keep coming back for more; and the author consistently delivers, every time with another twisty explosive suspense thriller. 

Vigilante justice . . .

Note: — Have no clue how this author cranks out so many books and TV shows I suspect he may have a few clones. They definitely possess his fine talent for signature twists and suspense (oh and did I mention “emotional” as well). 

DON’T LET GO, most definitely will "not let you go" until this mystery is solved. Missing persons have always been intriguing. What led them to go missing? The circumstances. Where have they been? Dead or alive?

Coben excels with dramas surrounding this topic. His crime thrillers are more than just murders. Rich in character. Not just action. Motives, thoughts, fears, desperation. From the victims to the family members. They are desperate for answers. For any clues to provide answers.

Meet New Jersey detective Napoleon "Nap" Dumas. Is there more to this character than meets the eye.? An unreliable narrator? Dark and mysterious with a dual role. 

He is haunted by events of the past some fifteen years earlier. He is still mourning his twin brother, Leo, and Leo's girlfriend, Diana (cheerleader). They were found dead on the town's railroad tracks one night during their senior year. Accidental or suicide? 

Soon after, Nap's own girlfriend, Maura Wells, disappeared. Was this a coincidence? Why did she choose this night to disappear? Were the events connected? It was nearing the last few weeks of high school in the suburban Westbridge when the events occurred. Booze, sex, drugs? 
 
 



Now Nap’s past connects with the present when Maura’s fingerprints are discovered in a car driven by a murdered Pennsylvania cop. Rex Canton was shot.

To further complicate matters. Leo, Diana, Maura, and Rex were all members of Westbrook High’s Conspiracy Club (a secret society for goofballs and like-minded nerds). 

Then, Hank, another member of the club is murdered. Leo, Diana, Rex, Hank and where is Beth? 

Nap is obsessed with connecting the dots. He soon learns Beth Lashley (the last of the surviving members of the former club), is missing. 

An old abandoned military base in town the club members were investigating. The Conspiracy Club (all geek geniuses) wanted to find out what happened after it closed.

Someone is killing off the old Conspiracy Club members. They have been killed before their thirty-fifth birthday. 

After meeting with Augie, (Diane’s father) a police captain and mentor, he soon suspects none of these incidents were accidental. The denial. He lost a beautiful vibrant seventeen-year-old daughter. She had been his life. 

What secrets could the Conspiracy Club have discovered?What did they see? Who is out to get the club members? What did (do) they know? 

Rumors were: a secret lab, experiments, Nazi scientist, mind control, LSD, UFOs, nuclear weapons? A government conspiracy, a teen prank gone wrong, or something more sadistic? The big question . . . Why would they wait fifteen years to kill the remainder?

Wow, this was once again a gripping page-turner. Coben is a master at churning up the past. The past does not stay buried. Regretable actions. If only we could get a do-over.

I enjoy how Coben always gives readers an inside view of the inspiration behind his novels. (legend -a Nike missile control center with nuclear capabilities near a school)

In addition to his award-winning books (if this is not enough), Netflix subscribers can now stream Coben’s first TV drama, "The Five." A 10-part series starring a group of friends who made a tragic mistake in 1995. A five-year-old Jesse gets in the way. Twenty years later at a crime scene and his DNA shows up. The dark secrets are unraveled. Read More 

Subscribed: currently binge-watching while multi-tasking: INTRIGUING! Something else to keep us in suspense and to look forward to: "Safe" his next project due next year. 

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

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/02/Dont-Let-Go
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review 2017-09-23 05:41
Dawn Girl by Leslie Wolfe
Dawn Girl - Leslie Wolfe Dawn Girl - Leslie Wolfe

Dawn Girl: A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller by Leslie Wolfe is a chilling suspense-filled book. While it did have disturbing scenes, they advanced the storyline. I gave it five stars.

 

FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett searches for who she believes to be a serial killer. She has secrets of her own.

 

Detective Gary Michowsky is assigned to the murder of the young woman found on the beach. "'We're not concerned with footprints, I guess,' Michowsky muttered, looking at the foot-print covered sand. He watched for a few seconds how the ocean breeze carried specks of sand to and from their crime scene, eroding, altering everything. Nature was the perfect forensic countermeasure, especially there, on the beach."

 

Doc Rizza was the coroner who arrived to determine time and cause of death. After scanning her fingerprints, they learned she was not in the system. Her name was Sonya Weaver and they found her from a "missing person" report filed five days earlier.

 

"The killer was a psychopath, no doubt, but even for a psychopath, what kind of brain would concoct such an elevated recipe for torture?"

 

In meeting with the family of a missing girl, Tess and Detective Michowsky witnessed an exchange between the parents and the one girl remaining at home. "A moment of silence developed, one of those uncomfortable, disturbing scenes quite common for troubled, dysfunctional families."

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Girl-Gripping-Serial-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01I0X2YR0

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