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review 2019-10-19 13:46
"Blood Moon" by Alexandra Sokoloff
Blood Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff






"Blood Moon" follows straight on from "Huntress Moon", continuing the dance between Special-Agent-I’m-so-straight-I’d-break-rather-than-bend Matthew Roarke and the Huntress, the woman who kills bad guys.


The writing in "Blood Moon" is just as strong as in the previous novel. The actions scenes are intense, the violence is vivid and repulsive and Roarke's introspective interludes are delivered with skill. This, together with a violence-soaked, tension-filled plot made for an engaging read.


Yet, I finished the book uncertain that I want to go on with this series. Two things bothered me: I felt I was being fed atrocities to keep my interest and I didn't believe in the development of Roarke's character.


This book is heavy on the gritty realism of human trafficking. It also vividly recounts the slaughter of families in their homes using a blade and splattering lots of blood. I know how big an evil modern slavery is. I was appalled to learn how many "familicides", usually the father shooting everyone and then suiciding, there are in the US in a year. I understand that the grim details of trafficking and slaughter are necessary to give the context within which the Huntress was created and continues to operate and to provide a reason for Roarke's slow slide away from the protocol. Nevertheless, I began to feel that these details were there to spice up the book and stoke my responses. Maybe that's what thrillers are for. If so, I don't want it.


The main thing I struggled with in "Blood Moon" was what Special Agent Roarke had become. He no longer follows protocol. He barely briefs his team. He and his retired-but-still-allowed-on-crime-scenes-and-stake-outs mentor have adopted a mystical approach to crime-solving that I thought was unlikely to work or to be tolerated.


I grew tired of how Roarke romanticised the main women in the book. For a guy who is supposed to be an expert in profiling people, I found his inability to see these woman clearly, hard to believe.


He can't look at the woman analyst in his team without being distracted by her "exotic" Indian looks and her calm (as in how-surprising-is-that-in-a-woman?) manner under stress. He sees her research as a form of magic. He seems to have no understanding of how he sees the world.


Then there's the social worker he has sex with. He can barely see her at all and sneaks away rather than be made to see her.


He's set the Huntress on a pedestal. He pays lip-service to the idea that her childhood trauma has arrested her development at a pre-rational stage but he shows no real understanding of what the woman is likely to do.


I felt Roarke was a hollow space at the centre of what should have been a character-driven book.



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review 2019-01-01 15:38
Great Story and Characters
Bitter Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

Cara wakes because of the moon. The moon always sends the rush of fight or flight chemicals in her blood, galvanates her body with a warning of danger , a command to wake and act. The mechanical scratching announces Its presence. The monster is after her again, coming for her. That had left her scratched and bleeding and almost dead. She had a few minutes because she knows. She knows the sound of It. It’s smell. The hoarse and grating breath, the stench of sweat and malevolence. She knows because she has been in a room with It before. But now she is bigger, stronger, and deadlier. Now she is angry. It stole her family, left her alone and scorned, and shunned. This time she will fight back. This time Cara will fight to kill. The creature slips stealthy into the locked room. The counselor has brought a fifteen year old bully for company or camouflage or maybe both. He tells the bully to hold her down but she jumps forward and It is caught unaware and she is punching, scratching, and kicking. She broke the boys nose and he is bleeding. The mans testicles are crushed. She brings her foot down on the man's knee to snap the joint. Both man and boy are unconscious. It will be back she knows it. For nw she waits for them to take her to jail. Cara is twelve years old. Two years later-Cara is in an ugly dark official transport van. The sun is blinding after two years of confinement. The feeling of movement is alien. She has only been transported a couple of times during her captivity. She feel the drugs in her blood, dulling her senses. She does not know where she is being taken. Since she was five she has not known where They will send her next or what she will have to face when she gets there. She had been at The Cage - low brick prison-maximum security juvenile detention prison. Than she realizes she is in Riverside County where her aunt lives. Where she had been arrested, convicted, and sentenced two years ago. Than she is in the desert which is better than the city, there are less people and you can see things coming and run. Than she sees the group home. She sees her new jailer Mrs Sharonda . Her mouth is in a hard line, a warning :Don’t mess with me. There will be no slipping past this one. Than Ms. Sharonda said they were on a levels system. The home was level five. Cara was an expert on group homes since she was nine years old. She is to be in the ninth grade and Ms. Sharonda asks if Cara can handle that and she said yes. Cara has not been in school since seventh grade, The Cage only had textbooks. Than Cara is told to read something and it was some poetry. It was a test. Her first instinct always is too hide any abilities from strangers until she knows what the test is for. She was told a mini bus would would take her back and forth to Las Piedras High. She was to start the next day. .Than Cara was told she’s t see the psychiatrist. Cara asked for a name change Maybe if she could be anyone else the monster will not be able to find her this time. She was told the school changed her name on the role, she will be Eden Ballard. It was a start. Than she seen Dr. Everhard and questioned. Every answer is Cara gives is made to make her appear normal. No matter how she answers she will get medications. She wish the medications would work. Since that night she sees and hears Them. She grabbed a pen from the psychiatrists desk. A pen can be a functional weapon. When in her room she checks the door. She has spent most of her life learning to pick locks and get out and into places.  At dinner Cara meets the other kids. A spectrum of psychiatric disorders. Monique was the largest girl and when given the chance she asks Cara /Eden had been sent to Y A. Cara had been the youngest in jail. There had not been such a thing as home since Cara had been five. Roarke has been dreaming but all he remembers is the glare of the moon. Roarke is an FBI agent. Than Roarke checks his phone and he has a message” Special Agent Roarke, I’ve been trying to get you for a long time.” Roarke is getting many voicemails by Sheriff Ortez taunting him on Cara’s disappearance. Cara had been captured but escaped. Roarke is obsessed with Cara. Roarke is on leave as he needed to step away he was shaken from his last interaction with Cara. Roarke is driven to investigate a cold case involving Cara- she had been fourteen. Roarke questions many of the rules he has lived by. Roarke goes to the place of Cara’s childhood where the sheriff works and lives. Roarke needs answers and it brings him to seeing the horror Cara experienced when so young. Roarke learns a human monster is troweling Cara’s old H S. Roarke goes back to Cara’s first group home and something wasn’t right there. Roarke was going to find out the truth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. But it was sad there can be such reality in a novel that is so horrendous . This was great writing with a great plot. This grabbed me right from the start  and didn’t let go until the end. You must read the books in this series in order. This was so realistic you can find a lot of these type events in our lives today. My heart went out to Cara and all she endured to become what she was a vigilante killer of what she saw as evil. Somehow the past and present being told didn’t annoy me like it usually does. The author did an excellent job on this story and handling of the horrible  at can and do happen. This book is fantastic and I highly recommend the whole series as well as this book.

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review 2018-12-25 02:12
Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Cold Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a fantastic addition to the series! This is a series that really needs to be read in order since each book builds on the events from the previous installments. I have really been enjoying myself over the past couple of months as I have been working my way through the series and I am happy to report that this book was just as good as I had hoped it would be.

Cara Lindstrom has been captured and is awaiting trial but her story is far from over. Agent Roarke is drawn to Cara and can't seem to stay away from her even though he knows that he should. Despite the fact that the team knows that Cara is responsible for a lot of deaths, they have only one case to move forward with which hinges on the testimony of a teenage sex worker. When their witness goes missing, a string of events begins that brings a lot of things into question.

This was a story that hooked me from the very beginning. I wondered where the story would go since Cara was in custody but I had nothing to worry about because Roake and the other agents had plenty on their agenda. I like the fact that this book really made me question who the criminals really were. Cara has committed crimes but the victims of her crimes are not innocents. All of the characters felt very authentic complete with their own unique set of flaws.

R.C. Bray does a fantastic job with this series. He does a great job with a large cast of varied characters. I think that his voice is really perfect for this type of book and I found that his delivery added to the excitement of the story. I found it very easy to listen to this book for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. It is an exciting series with great characters and an exciting mystery. I think that the profiling aspect of the story is extremely well done. I can't wait to get started on the next installment in this series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
This was a fantastic installment in the series. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since this book picks up just after the events of the previous books. Cara is in jail but Roarke is unable to feel like things are truly resolved. There are a few developments that put everything in question and soon Roarke and his team are trying to figure out what the killer's next step will be. This book will make you question who the bad guy really is. R.C. Bray did a fantastic job with the narration. I cannot wait to move on to the next book in the series.

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review 2018-11-14 13:06
Blood Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Blood Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was very well done. This is the second book in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers series which is a series that really does need to be read in order. This book picks up shortly after the events in the first installment in the series with Special Agent Roarke still trying to capture Cara. I was quickly pulled back into this ongoing story and had a really good time with it.

Cara Lindstrom was the only survivor of a murderer known as The Reaper when she was just a young child. She is now also a murderer and wanted by the FBI. Her crimes have been committed against those that have harmed or are in the process of harming others. It is next to impossible to feel regret over the lives she has taken but Roarke is determined to bring her in.

Roarke intends to set a trap for Cara and stumbles upon a crime much larger than he thought possible. I was completely pulled in by this story and had a great time trying to figure out how everything would work out and what the FBI's next move would be. There was a lot of action and the story moved at a pretty fast pace. I liked the profiling aspect of the story and thought it added a really interesting aspect to the story.

R.C. Bray did a fantastic job with the narration. For some reason, his voice just seems perfect for this kind of story. He was able to really bring the story to life and did a great job with all of the character voices. I really like the quality of his voice and found that I wanted to listen to this book for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. I think that this is a very well done mystery that kept me guessing paired with great characters and enough action to keep things interesting. I am looking forward to listening to the next book in the series very soon.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I got back to this series. This book was very well done. It picks up shortly after the events of the first book with Cara still on the loose. Roarke and the team are trying to find her and the stakes are high before the end of this story. I liked getting a chance to be with the agents as they worked to figure out how the criminal would act and process the evidence. R.C. Bray did a great job with the narration.

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review 2018-09-21 23:26
"Huntress Moon" by Alexandra Sokoloff
Huntress Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

I enjoyed "Huntress Moon" from beginning to end. It's original, genre-savvy, character-driven and kept me engaged and guessing all the way through.


The premise sounds conventional enough, a Joe Friday, tightly-buttoned up FBI agent leading a manhunt to find someone he thinks caused the death of one of his agents, except that this is a womanhunt and he's not entirely sure what she did to cause the man's death.


The FBI guy is so old-school noir that it took me a while to realise the story was set in this decade.  I thought Andrea Sokoloff did a great job in painting a picture of a man who sees himself as introspective, enlightened, skilled at reading people and dedicated to doing his job well, while still letting me see that the man has no awareness of how irrepressibly male his perceptions and assumptions are.


Twisting itself around the story of the male hunter, like ivy on a tree, is the story of a deadly, driven woman who kills men, sometimes subtly, sometimes with a great deal of blood and keeps moving. This woman, the Huntress of the title, isn't the typical step-inside-the-mind-of-a-killer-and-be-glad-you-don't-live-there kind of character. Even though we're right there when she does some of the killing, she remains much harder to read and much more intriguing than that.


As the Huntress follows her own blood-strewn path and the FBI man plays catch-up, what kept me reading was a desire to know two things: why the Huntress does what she does and what Special Agent I'm-so-straight-I'd-break-rather-than-bend will do when he finds out.


I won't go into the plot here other than to say that it's well constructed, full of surprises and grim without ever being exploitative.


The book works as a stand-alone novel, reaching a satisfying conclusion but leaves the door open for the dance between the straight-man and the woman-who-kills to continue. So far there have been four books in the series. I'll certainly be reading the next one.


Alexandra Sokoloff also writes supernatural novels and I'll be giving them a try as well.


I recommend listening to the audiobook. R. C. Bray's performance is close to perfect and his range of voices is impressive. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136693221" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]


I read "Huntress Moon" for the Modern Noir square in Halloween Bingo.

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