Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza (#5 Erika Foster)

Cold Blood (Detective Erika Foster, #5)

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

 Published: September 2017

5Stars

 

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza is the 5th in the Detective Erika Foster Series.

They just keep getting better!

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When the dismembered bodies of two people are found in suitcases floating in the river within two weeks, Erika and the team are hard-pressed to determine identity and a motive.  The male has a large quantity of drugs in his stomach.  If this was drug smuggling gone wrong, someone has to be looking for the stash.  But Erika suspects this is not about drugs, and fights to keep the murder squad on the case.  She fears a serial murderer is on the loose, maybe a pair.  When the twin daughters of Commander Marsh are kidnapped, evidence suggests that the murderers are to blame.  It will be a race to find these two children before they become just another statistic.

On the matter of Erika’s personal life, not only is she is betrayed by someone she thought of as a friend, her love life is suffering as well.  Bruised and battered, physically and emotionally, Erika is determined to keep her mind on the case.  (Perhaps Mr. Bryndza could cut her a little slack from time to time.)

It was interesting to see things from the prospective of the “bad guys”.  How a young insecure woman can fall for a tough guy, and be willing to do almost anything to keep him.  How the tough guy became that guy, and his thought processes.   How roles can be reversed, again and again.

This is a high action, quick-paced book.  Bryndza continues to develop each character, and some are becoming even more loved.  As well, although you know who the culprits are, the reasoning behind the killings and the twists keep this book gripping.

These books can be read as stand-alone novels, but really, why would you want to?

Already looking forward to the next installment!

 

Read: September 2017

 

About the Author:  Robert Bryndza (1979 – ) is the British author of the best-selling Erika Foster series.  His books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages.  He has also published a series of romantic comedy novels.  He has lived in the US and Canada, but currently lives in Slovakia with his husband Ján.  

Advertisements

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (#10 Armand Gamache)

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)

 The Long Way Home by Louise Penny

 Published: August 2014

5Stars

 

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny is the 10th in the Armand Gamache (Three Pines) Mystery series.

Former Homicide Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie have retired to Three Pines to finally escape the pressures of his job.  Too much has happened, it is time to rest.  But rest does not come easily to Armand.  As much as he wants to sit back and enjoy the peace and solitude that the small village offers, the residents have become family.  So when one of them has a problem, Armand cannot sit idly by.  Although his own wounds are still healing, he cannot let another suffer.

Clara’s one-year trial separation from Peter has come to an end.  She prepares a special meal and waits for his return.  Much to her surprise, Peter does not return.  Although worried, she gives him a few more weeks.  Even though she was the one who kicked him out, his absence is concerning.  Clara finally approaches Armand.  And so begins the hunt for Peter.  Clara, with Myrna by her side, will lead this investigation.  Armand and his one-time second Jean-Guy Beauvoir will assist.  A change in routine for all of them.

Their journey to find Peter takes them deep into Quebec, and deep into the tortured soul of Peter, who seems to be trying to re-create his fame and artistry by starting from square one.  Perhaps by the time they find him, he will have set his jealousy aside, and accepted Clara’s talent.  However, that assumes Peter wants to return, and can return.  He seems to have gotten himself involved with some very strange people.

Meanwhile, Reine-Marie’s fear that Armand will return to work seems to be coming true, and her worries for his safety intensify.

As always, Louise Penny takes us on both a geographical and emotional journey. Although I have never cared for the character of Peter, Clara is beloved.  The fact that I have an emotional preference for one over the other shows the talent Penny has in creating these characters.  They are deep.  She is a wonderful author, and I love this series, and I can honestly say that the ending was a surprise.

 

Re-Read: July 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from The Long Way Home:

“I think the story isn’t so much about death as fate.  We all have an appointment in Samarra.”

“If love was compass enough,” said Armand quietly, “there would be no missing children.”

“Mens rea. The difference between manslaughter and murder. Intent. Mens rea. A guilty mind.  A sin-sick soul.”

“Fear lives in the head.  And courage lives in the heart. The job is to get from one to the other.”

 

 

About the Author:  (July 1, 1958 –  ) Louise Penny is a Canadian author.  Once a journalist with CBC, she now devotes most of her time to writing.   She is the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has been awarded the John Creasey Dagger, Nero, Macavity, and Barry Awards, as well as two each of the Arthur Ellis and Dilys Awards. Additionally, Louise has won five Agatha Awards and four Anthony Awards. 

 

 

 

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Are You Sleeping

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

 Published: August 2017

4stars

 

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is her debut mystery novel.  I am sure we will be hearing more from this author.  She shows real promise!

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Has the wrong person spent 12 years in jail for a crime he did not commit?  When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell delves into the cold case murder of Chuck Buhrman, her podcast will bring out the worst in some.  In others, it will bring back nightmares.  It will also bring back horrific memories for Lanie and Josie, Chuck’s twin daughters, not only of their fathers murder, but of the loss of their mother as well.  For Erin Buhrman did not handle the murder of her husband well.  She left her 16 year old daughters in the hands of their aunt, and ran off to join a cult.  In their own ways, both girls tried to bury the past.  Lanie struggled through high school, and got in with the wrong crowd.  Then she ruined her relationship with her sister Josie.  Josie ran from the small town and her troubles, not really knowing what she was searching for.  Now Josie is in a loving relationship, living in New York, and relatively happy.  But she lied.  Her boyfriend, Caleb doesn’t know her about her past, or even her real name.  This podcast is going to shine a light on a lot of secrets.  The past never really stays buried.  Neither do lies.

This was a really entertaining, fast read. I liked how the author told the story from Josie’s point of view, but threw in the podcasts, and some twitter feeds.  It kept the whole story fresh.  I felt that the characters showed depth, and I loved them all, well, except Poppy, but you aren’t supposed to like her.  From the first page, it grabbed you, and you had to hold on for the ride.  Even though I had my suspicions, it wasn’t until the end that they were confirmed. 

Great book!

p.s.  The inspiration for this book was a real podcast called “Serial”.  Its goal is to tell one story in a serialized format over each season.  Its first season investigated the murder of a Baltimore high school student, whose boyfriend was tried and convicted of the crime, but has always maintained his innocence.   Hmmm….

Read: September 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from Are You Sleeping:

“After years of solo travel followed by cohabitation with a man whose moods could easily be controlled by food and sex, my skills at consoling other women were tepid at best.”

“The truth is never complicated.  It’s just the truth.  Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white.”

“The benefit, though, of not sleeping is that you have plenty of time to think.  The world is awfully quiet at three a.m., and that makes it easier to hear yourself.”

 

Kathleen  Barber

 

About the Author:  Kathleen Barber was raised in Illinois.  Before writing, she practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York.  She is also a registered yoga teacher.  When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband.  

Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill

Under a Watchful Eye

Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill

 Published 2017

3stars

 

Under A Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill is a horror novel.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher (Publishers Group Canada), and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have read other books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Nevill has his own style of writing, which is quite good, but can be a little intense.  Not sure why, but I had problems getting into this one.  The first quarter was long, and just didn’t excite me.  Then it started clicking.

Sebastian Logan is a successful author of horror/supernatural books, living his life in relative luxury, in a house by the sea. He has a “part-time” girlfriend, but prefers his solitude.  He seems to be at an impasse with his next novel, can’t quite get going on it. Part of the problem seems to be this shadowy figure which is stalking him.  When his old university room-mate storms back into his life, Seb is not happy.  He couldn’t wait to get rid of him at school, and almost ended up with him again a few years later.  Looks like Ewan is planning on taking up residence with Seb yet again.  It isn’t long until this manipulative man will send Seb into a tailspin.  It turns out that Ewan’s drunkenness, antagonistic attitude and lack of cleanliness are the least of Seb’s concerns.  Ewan has spent years researching the paranormal, particularly astral projection, and is about to involve a very unwilling Sebastian Logan.

As stated earlier, I almost put this book down.  Although this is still not my favorite Nevill book, it ended up being fairly entertaining.  The characters were not necessarily likeable, but they were different.  Part of my problem is that I really disliked the main character.  Even when he found his voice, I found Seb to be too spineless.  It was always a tad too late when he stood up for himself.  It is hard to truly enjoy a book when you can’t find anything to like about the protagonist.  As well, I really didn’t find this book to be true horror.  Creepy, yes, but not horror, but again, that may be due to the fact that I struggled with it.   I did, however, really like the way Nevill ended it. 

Overall, if you are a true Nevill fan, it is a must read.

 

Read: September 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from Under A Watchful Eye:

“Seb’s vision flickered. ‘You solipsistic moron. I have a life!  What do you know about anything?  Look at yourself.  When was the last time you even washed your clothes?’”

“But worst of all, he had become incurious.”

“Something insidious had placed itself between his life and the sun. A minor writer and cult leader who had been dead for over thirty years.”

 

Adam Nevill

 

About the Author:  Adam Nevill (1969 – ) was born in England, and was raised in both England and New Zealand.   His novels have won him a number of Best Horror Novel awards from the British Fantasy Awards and RUSA.  Six of his novels are currently in development for film and television.

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (#9 Ruth Galloway)

The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway, #9)

 The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

 Published: 2017

5Stars

 

 

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths is the 9th book in the Ruth Galloway Series.

Ruth is a forensic archeologist in England, who not only teaches, attends digs, and raises a daughter on her own, but also seems to help the police department solve crimes.  She usually gets involved accidentally.  I love this series. 

When bones are discovered in a chalk tunnel beneath the city by an architect planning on building an underground restaurant, Ruth is called to collect and age them.  She learns about a supposed “underground” society of homeless people, and wonders where these bones will lead.  She will soon be working with the police again, but it is her daughter who may point them all in the right direction.

Meanwhile, a young girl tells DCI Harry Nelson, that a man that looked like Jesus appeared and disappeared right in front of them when she and her friends were driving home from the bar.  When it becomes evident that the location of the missing Jesus coincides with a sink hole, Nelson thinks there may be something more to her story. Then, a homeless man (Aftershave Eddie) informs Nelson that he is worried about his friend Babs, also a homeless person, who seems to be missing from the streets.  When Eddie next appears, he is dead in front of the police station, the victim of a stabbing.  As the team investigates further, another homeless man ends up dead, and there are more missing women.  Is there really an underground society? 

This was an interesting story about “rough sleepers”, otherwise known as the homeless. It delved a little into why some of them prefer to stay on the streets, and the troubles they face.  I wish it had delved a little deeper, as I found this really interesting.  As well, without it being blatant, Griffiths showed how the investigative procedure is amped up for someone who goes missing if they are not among the lower class.

I loved how Elly Griffiths expanded on the roles of her existing characters, and added a brand new boss to the mix.  Each character continues to grow.  On the family issues, I’m not real happy with the Ruth/Nelson/Michelle/Tim situation, but it looks like there will be another twist.  Cathbad unfortunately played a very small role in this one, and he is one of my favorite characters.  Ruth, with all her insecurities and problems, is wonderful.

Can’t wait for the next one!

 

Read: July 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from The Chalk Pit:

‘‘I want doesn’t get,’ is the phrase that comes to Nelson’s mind.  It’s always a bad sign when he starts quoting his mother, even silently.”

“Tanya loves liaising, it sounds so much more important than keeping in touch.”

 

Elly Griffiths

 

About the Author:  (1963 –  )  Elly Griffiths was born in London England and now lives in Brighton.  Born Domenica de Rosa, she wrote four books under that name.  As Elly Griffiths she is best known for the Ruth Galloway novels, which were inspired by her husband who trained as an archaeologist, and her aunt who filled her head with myths of the Norfolk coast.  

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins (#1 King & Lane)

The Girls in the Water (Detectives King and Lane, #1)

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins

 Published: 2017

4stars

 

 

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins is the 1st in the King and Lane Detective series. 

First, let me thank Netgalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Detective Inspector Alex King is called in when the body of a young woman is found floating at the edge of a park pond.  She had been tortured.  A few days later, another girl goes missing.  King and her protégé Chloe Lane must find the link that ties the girls together. 

Unfortunately, Chloe has her own problems.  It may be time to come clean with Alex, and share the real reason she became a policewoman.  She has her own case she wants to solve.  However, now may not be the best time to lay out her secrets.  She realizes she is distracted and should be focused on the current case, but how can she set aside something so close to her heart, especially now that she knows there is someone else out there that has an answer she desperately needs.

When a second body is found, and Alex dashes Chloe’s hopes of re-opening an old case, Chloe takes matters into her own hands.  She may end up being a victim herself.

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a very easy read, with enough suspense and twists to keep things moving.  The characters are quite engaging, and although I sort of wanted to smack Chloe and tell her to grow up, at one point I wanted to do the same to Alex. Jenkins created two strong female characters that will eventually make good partners.  They will have to learn to trust each other.   As they both fill a need that is missing in the other, it could be an interesting journey.

For a debut novel, this author shows real talent. If this is any indication of the next book in the series….I’m looking forward to reading more.

 

Read: September 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from The Girls in The Water:

“She might have a weak stomach, but Alex refused to walk away from someone in need, and quite often the dead needed her help more than the living.”

“They all professed to honesty, but the real truth was that they all kept their darkest secrets hidden, buried in their own heads. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t need the support group.”

 

Victoria Jenkins 

About the Author:  Victoria Jenkins lives in South Wales.  (I have to find out more)

 

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

 Published: 1996

4stars

 

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is the fictionalized story of a true crime.

Facts.  Grace Martin and James McDermott were found guilty of murdering Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper/mistress Nancy Montgomery in Canada in 1843.  James McDermott was hanged for the crime.  Grace, then 16, was sentenced to life in prison in Kingston Ontario, and sent to an insane asylum in Toronto for a time.  Her lawyer had argued that because of her youth and weak gender (being female), not to mention her lack of intelligence (close to being a complete idiot- or so it was said), Grace should not be so harshly punished.  Atwood first read about the crime in a book written by Susanna Moodie, who retold the story from a third hand account, and Atwood questioned some (but not all) of the details.  After much research into the available records, newspaper accounts and the overall political and social era, she wrote Alias Grace.

Atwood combines fact and fiction to tell Grace’s story by developing the character of Dr. Simon Jordan, who is researching mental illness and insane asylums, and who ends up visiting Grace eight years after her incarceration.  Her story slowly (very slowly) comes out, and whether fact or fiction, is quite entertaining.  Some think her innocent (or just naïve), and some think Grace is insane.  Grace says she cannot remember what happened, and Dr. Jordan tries to bring back her memories.  What he finds sends him into his own nightmare.

Atwood takes us on a journey through Grace’s memories, but also through the mind of her doctor, who is slowly losing both his morals and perhaps a bit of his mind.

Although I am not a “historical fiction” reader, I found this book very interesting, probably because it is centered in Ontario, where I live, and I recognized the towns, cities and political names mentioned.

But whatever you believe, Grace is a strong woman, who has seen much, and whose thoughts are quite deep.  As usual, Margaret Atwood wrote a strong character.  It is left up to the reader to determine what to believe.  Victim or fiend?

While I enjoyed the book, I did find it long!

 

Read: August 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from Alias Grace:

“Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess.”

“I am fond of animals as a rule but this one took an effort.”

“Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a direction, like west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country entirely. But when you go mad you don’t go any other place, you stay where you are. And somebody else comes in.”

“Those who have been in trouble themselves are alert to it in others, Sir.”

“If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.”

 

Margaret Atwood

About the Author:  Margaret Atwood (1939- ) is a renowned Canadian author.  She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels – including The Handmaid’s Tale.  She currently lives in Toronto.  (p.s.  If nothing else, we share a birthday)

The 8th Confession by James Patterson (#8 – Women’s Murder Club)

The 8th Confession (Women's Murder Club #8)

The 8th Confession by James Patterson (with Maxine Paetro)

  Published: 2009

StarStarStar

 

The 8th Confession by James Patterson (and Maxine Paetro) is the 8th in the Women’s Murder Club Mystery Series.

The Women – Homicide Detector Lindsay Boxer , Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, Reporter Cindy Thomas and Lawyer Yuki Castellano, come together to solve crimes in San Francisco.  There isn’t actually too much interaction between them in this book. Perhaps if there had been….

There are two active crimes in this book.  The murder of the rich and famous, and the murder of a street person.  Needless to say, the police are looking into the case of the rich and famous.  The street person, who goes by “Bagman Jesus”, is getting lost in the shuffle. Cindy, however, is not going to let this go.  She quickly convinces Lindsay and her partner Rich Conklin, to investigate in their off hours.  Meanwhile, Claire is stumped (for the first time ever), in determining the cause of death in the rich and famous cases.  Yuki is on a losing streak in court, but has a new possibility in the romance department.

Nothing is as it seems in this one.  The rich and famous case has a surprise twist, and so does Bagman Jesus. 

I was not overly impressed with this book.  Actually, a lot of it pissed me off.  I didn’t like the turn-around of the homeless person’s character.  I have not (and still do not like) Lindsay’s cavalier attitude between her boyfriend (who she supposedly loves deeply), and the possibility of sleeping with her partner (where she seems pleased with herself from holding back), and then jealousy when Cindy gets involved.  These women are supposed to be a little more mature than Patterson is portraying them.  Patterson’s excuse of Cindy’s for jumping in and notifying next of kin is not acceptable.  I particularly disliked Yuki’s attitude toward Doc.  This seemed totally out of character.  I still like Claire.

On the good side, Patterson’s short chapters lead to a quick read.

Re-Read: July 2017

 

Favorite Quote from The 8th Confession:

“So why, I asked myself, driving away from Rich—speeding away, as a matter of fact—does doing the right thing feel so bad?”

 

About the Authors:

Image result for James Patterson

 

James Patterson is an American author who is one of the most prolific writers world-wide. 

 

 

 

 

Maxine Paetro is an American author who has been publishing books since 1979.  She has teamed up with James Patterson on numerous occasions 

Cross Fire by James Patterson (#17 Alex Cross)

Cross Fire (Alex Cross, #17)

Cross Fire by James Patterson

 Published: 2010

3stars

 

 

Cross Fire by James Patterson is the 17th in the Alex Cross mystery series.

First, I am very happy that a few things finally get resolved in this book.  On the other hand, certain things are coming back to haunt Alex.  If you are an Alex Cross fan, this one is a must-read.

Okay, there is a lot going on in this book.  Alex and Bree are planning for their wedding, which of course ends up taking back stage when some high-profile murders occur.  Apparently someone (with very good aim) is taking matters into their own hands when the corrupt of Washington are not being properly punished.  Alex is assigned to the case, and will be working with a new field agent, Max Siegel, whom Alex instantly dislikes.  Max is certainly not making life easy for him.  They just don’t quite see eye-to-eye.  Wonder why? 

Kyle Craig, “The Mastermind”, is back to make Alex’s life miserable, and of course, he is threatening the Cross family.  Not a wise decision. 

Alex is also helping John Sampson track down a killer who is carving numbers in the corpses he leaves behind.  (I actually really liked this part).

Christine is also back in the picture, showing up at the Cross home without an invitation. No one except Ali (her son) is excited with this turn of events.

This was a typical James Patterson novel.  His short chapters lead to a fast-paced, action-packed thriller.  Although generally predictable, this one did have a few plot twists.

Every time I think I am finished with this series, I decide, one more book.  I am not so sure that it is because I am enjoying them, or due to the fact that I know what to expect. Sometimes I think I need a shot of the familiar, and that is what this series has become to me.  Not great, but familiar.

Read: July 2017

 

 

About the Author:  James Patterson is one of the bestselling writers of all time, with more than 170 million books sold worldwide.  His lifelong passion for books and reading led him to launch a new website, ReadKiddoRead.com, which helps parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians find the very best children’s books for their kids.

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler

The Other Girl

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler

 Published: 2017

4stars

 

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler is a mystery novel.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher St. Martin’s Press, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Small-town police officer Miranda Rader is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of one of the town’s most beloved professors, and the son of that school’s president.  But something isn’t right.  In his papers Miranda finds an old newspaper clipping, about herself.  Something that she thought she had left behind.  Her boss starts questioning her motives, and the victim’s father seems to be running the show.  Miranda is starting to think that the victim may not be the saint that people thought.  But no one is listening.

As more clues surface, and another body is found, it is obvious that Miranda is now at the center of the investigation.  No one believed her 14 years ago, and it looks like no one believes her now.  Even her partner questions her judgement. 

Sometimes you can’t escape the past.  Miranda is going to have to figure out what happened 14 years ago if she has any hope of solving these recent crimes, and of staying out of jail.

Miranda’s background is told through flashbacks, and it worked really well to tell the story.  This was a really fast read.  The action kept it going, and although I could predict the ending, it was very entertaining.  Erica Spindler created characters with enough depth to be real, and the dialogue was spot on. I will definitely be reading more of her books.

Highly recommended.

 

Read: August 2017

 

Favorite Quotes from The Other Girl:

The other girl would believe her. She had been real—despite the fact that nothing ever appeared in the local media, not news of a missing girl, not a reported rape or homicide. No Jane Doe.”

“I think you need to figure out why this is happening to you.”

 

 

About the Author:  Erica Spindler has a BFA and MFA in visual arts, and her intention to become an artist was waylaid in 1982 by a cold and a romance novel.  After reading everything she could, she took pen in hand, and the rest is history.   Since that time she has published over 20 novels and they’ve been published world-wide.  Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in the New Orleans area.