A Cold Trail – Robert Dugoni

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Tracy Crosswhite & husband Dan O’Leary have returned to Cedar Grove for a short stay while their Seattle home is renovated, with their two-month-old daughter, Daniella, in tow. While difficult for Tracy after the death of her sister, she and Dan do want their child to know her parent’s roots. With nanny, Therese, present as well, Tracy is still trying to decide if she wants to return to detective work or become a stay-at-home Mom. While police work is in her blood, she worries of the inherent danger of the job. Dan, meanwhile, is assisting a client with some legal issues pertaining to his business in Cedar Grove.

While out on a date night, Tracy runs into retired Cedar Grove police chief, Roy Calloway, who appears to be back in uniform. Puzzled, Tracy stops into to see him the next day and learns that active chief Finlay Armstrong has been sidelined after the house fire that had killed his wife, Kimberly. The fire has been ruled arson. An autopsy has revealed that Finlay’s wife died of blunt force trauma to the head. She also learns that Kimberly had been writing a book about the murder of teen-ager Heather Johansen, which had been attributed to the murderer that had killed Tracy’s sister Sarah all those years ago. This is complicated by the fact that Finlay Armstrong had dated Heather all those years ago. After a discussion about the case, Roy asks Tracy for her assistance with the murder investigation.

Torn between mothering and assisting, Tracy finds herself interested in the case, and agrees to assist, much to her husband’s dismay. It’s in reviewing her sisters old high school diaries that Tracy inadvertently finds her first clue. As Tracy begins her present day investigation, another murder is linked to the case – but how do these pieces fit together – and why? Meanwhile Dan’s case uncovers some pretty interesting information that may somehow tie his case into Tracy’s investigation. But the deeper Tracy digs, the more unsettled a killer gets – and that killer will do anything to keep his 25-year secret safe…

I have loved this series since I first discovered it, and this latest addition is no exception! Reminiscent of JT Ellison’s Taylor Jackson series, this series delivers with great characters, a believable mystery, plenty of suspense and a fabulous heroine in Tracy! I couldn’t put it down! Robert Dugoni has been added to my ‘must read’ author’s list!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. This review will also publish to my blog on its publication date of 4 Feb 2020.

Good Girls Lie – Karin Slaughter

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Ash Carlisle is a young girl traveling from England to Marchburg, VA to start her sophomore year of high school at the prestigious all female “Goode School”. Having recently lost her parents to suicide, she is fulfilling her father’s wishes for an appropriate education to meet the terms of her inheritance. Upon her arrival to the school, she is immediately singled out by Becca Curtis, a senior, despite her best efforts to keep a low profile.

As Ash slowly makes the acquaintance of her instructors and her roommate, she attempts to make herself a place at the school, all the while trying to keep a low profile. Her introspection as she settles in gives you snippets of information and clues into her past life – an abusive father, an emotionally absent mother, the death of her young brother when Ash was 6 years old. Then, a teacher dies of apparent natural causes – and shortly thereafter, Ash’s roommate is found dead after having fallen from the bell tower, but no one knows if it was suicide or murder…and Ash finds herself under scrutiny…

There is so much more I could relate to this review, but not without giving spoilers into a mind-blowing novel, with a jaw dropping finish.. In fact, now that I’ve reached the end, I feel compelled to go back and start again to see what nuances I might have missed! If you’ve ever read anything by Karin Slaughter, you already know that she delivers in spades, and this book is no exception! A MUST read!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Their Last Breath – Sibel Hodge

Since joining Netgalley, I’ve been given the opportunity to read more than a few British authors, and have much enjoyed these adventures ‘across the pond’. This newest one, by author Sibel Hodge, did not disappoint, and I will absolutely be reading her again!

It’s 0335 when retired Detective Sargeant Warren Carter answers his phone to hear a former supervisor in his ear, asking for an early morning meeting. Still fearful about his deception from another case being discovered, he’s sure he’s been found out, but the meeting is actually for something quite different.

Superintendent Caroline Barker advises him of a structure fire that had occurred earlier that AM. Inside the building were six women who had been found chained to the wall, and all but one was deceased. With one of the bodies was a warrant card that held the logo of their police department. She then asks him to come out of retirement to help her investigate the possible connection. He accepts and becomes the acting investigator for the Police Anti-Corruption Squad.

Flash to a refugee camp in Syria, where a young woman, Hayat, is hoping to barter for a trip to England where she can work and live in safety. She secures a ride out of the camp, but her journey is just beginning…

Meanwhile, DI Becky Harris is investigating the deaths of two people – seemingly random murders – stumbled upon by Gillian, the wife of the homeowner, returning unexpectedly. More interesting to Becky is that the killer chased Gillian into the street, where she was struck by a car – and who was Gillian’s husband with?

As each investigation continues, Becky begins to suspect that they are somehow connected. Her commanding officer, decorated DCI Munroe, disagrees and continually attempts to refocus Becky’s attention elsewhere. But Becky is not deterred and connects with DS Carter to share her concerns, and the two together bring down a house of police corruption and human trafficking that reaches to the highest level.

Told from the perspectives of Warren, Becky & Hayat, this is a novel of human trafficking, abuse and perseverance, and it will resonate with you long after the final page is turned. I loved it!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

The Shape Of Night – Tess Gerritsen

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Ava, a food writer, fleeing from a situation that shames her, has left Boston for the summer and has rented a home in Maine. The house, Brodie’s Watch, was built in 1861 by a sea captain, Jeremiah Brodie, who later perished in a shipwreck. But his home still stands as a sentinel to the sea, with renovations ongoing in hopes of an eventual sale.

Upon Ava’s arrival, she senses that the house has accepted her, and soon she thinks she sees someone standing on the deck of the widows walk. She searches the home for an intruder, but there isn’t one. She chalks up her sighting as a trick of the light but makes a mental note to research the background of Captain Brodie for her new book. After too much whiskey one evening, she heads to bed, and wakes suddenly after feeling something touch her breast and hears a voice say, “You are the one I’ve been waiting for…”. A search of the house again reveals no intruders. He again appears a few nights later, and Ava feels herself being drawn into his spell.

Curious about her experiences, but unsure who to talk to, Ava seeks out the advice of a ghost hunter named Maeve who. Listens attentively. She also assures Ava that she will research the news archives a bit to see if there is any history of tragic events that have occurred that could indicate a pattern, or a problem other than a ghost.

As Maeve digs deeper into Captain Brodie’s background, she learns some unsettling things – she also learns that all of the women who have entered and resided in the house have inexplicably died, and she fears Ava’s home may harbor a demon. Meanwhile, in Ava’s dreams, the Captain continues to visit, and the events that follow make him seem all too real, and Ava finds herself drawn to him and the house in ways she can’t explain.

Needing to know the truth about the ghost in the house, Ava turns to Maeve for help. Maeve assembles her team of ghost hunters in an effort to document Captain Brodie’s visits. Will they find a ghost or a demon? Or is it possible that a living killer in their midst may be responsible??

I was a bit curious to see how this stand-alone book would turn out after reading all of Tess Gerritsen’s early works. This seemed like a bit of a departure from the norm for her, so I was a bit ambivalent…that lasted only until the first few pages – then I was hooked!! I could not put the book down and read it in a day! I may have fallen under the Captain’s spell a bit myself! I really enjoyed this book, was sorry to see it end as I turned the last page, and I highly recommend it to any who love a good, paranormal who-dun-it!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Bomber’s Moon – Archer Mayor

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Under the cover of night, an intrepid private investigator follows her prey and captures her money shot before calling authorities. Meanwhile, a creative thief breaks into a vehicle, finds the home address of the owner, and steals a computer, uncovering a secret that’s been kept hidden for decades. But when he attempts to collect on his newfound information, things quickly go sour.

Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team are at the scene of a murder in the small town of Bellows Falls. A petty thief/drug dealer has been found stabbed to death, last heard arguing with his buddy, Brandon. But Brandon says he didn’t do it – and Joe believes him – but who would want a two bot drug dealer dead…and why?

Rachel Reiling, daughter of Joe Gunther’s current love interest Beverly, has taken on a role as reporter for the local newspaper and is on the scene taking pictures. As her boss’s best hope for helping to bring the paper back into the mainstream, she is tasked with finding a story worthy of publication. He’s also put her in touch with Sally Kravitz, a local PI, in hopes that they will find a way to work together.

Sally has accepted a job to evaluate the Thorndike Academy, a renowned prep school. One of its Board members hopes to contribute a large sum for further development of the school and its grounds, but he feels as if something is amiss and asks for her assistance. Sally goes in as a temp worker in an effort to discover the truth.

All are seemingly random acts, but as the investigations into each crime unfold, they all seem to have a single connection…Thorndike Academy. But, as Sally & Rachel dig to find answers, someone wants a long buried past secret to stay hidden…

I have only read a couple of titles in this series, thus far, and I’ve very much enjoyed each of them with this one being no exception. I love Joe Gunther’s character, although It seems as if Joe took a bit of a back seat to the girls in this novel, so I’m hoping that means that we’ll see a lot more of Sally & Rachel – perhaps a series of their own??!! I have to say that I discovered this series solely due to Netgalley (Thank you, NetGalley & St. Martin’s press!!!) and hope to find the time to read the series in its entirety soon! Great books!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

What Rose Forgot – Nevada Barr

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I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

As a big fan of The Anna Pigeon series, I was excited to receive a copy of this new novel for review, but fearful that I would not care for the book as I do her others. I needn’t have worried. While very different, this new character Rose Dennis, had me giggling, if not laughing out loud through her escapades and sheer will – she is the kind of Gram I hope to be one day!!

Rose Dennis greets us in this novel as she comes to consciousness while crawling through the autumn woods. She takes stock of the world around her, the track marks on her arms and the hospital gown she’s clothed in, and comes to realize that wherever she is, she has not been here before. She approaches a couple of boys playing, and they offer her water, and call for help. Rose is then returned to the Memory Care Center from which she escaped but has regained enough of her senses to overhear snippets of conversation that lead her to believe she is being drugged against her will. She begins pocketing her pills and saves enough to add them to the night nurse’s soda – and then escapes again.

Once again free she makes her way to her granddaughter’s home and hides in her fort. Eccentric on a good day, Rose is slowly regaining her strength and is determined to hide from family and the authorities until she, with the aid of her granddaughter ‘Grasshopper’, and her ‘not a hacker’ computer whiz sister, can discover how she came to be locked up and sedated in a nursing home. She returns to the home she once shared with her late husband, and soon, someone breaks in with the intent to kill her. Now on the run once more, she is moved to a friend’s home with a giant teepee in the back yard.

As Rose and Grasshopper investigate and follow each lead, they find themselves in perilous (and hilarious) situations and hiding from the law as they attempt to gain answers as to who is behind Rose’s captivity. Rose also takes the opportunity to attempt the rescue of another elderly gentleman whom she fears has undergone the same fate, breaking several more laws in the process. She makes one last stop to revise her will before she turns herself into the police with the information she’s found – and tips off a greedy killer in the process…

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting! Ms. Barr has created a unique and quirky character in Rose, and I really hope to see her and Grasshopper again in an encore novel, and I await the return of Anna Pigeon as well!

His Secret Family – Ali Mercer

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Jenny is a single Mom, divorced from an alcoholic husband, who struggles to raise her two girls, Ava & Ellie. Living in a second floor flat in the suburbs of London, Jenny barely scrapes by working as a hairdresser. Like most alcoholics, her ex, Sean, is largely absent and very unreliable, so it seems like a dream come true when Mark, a brief romance from the past, re-enters her life, with eyes only for her.

Mark, recently divorced after a lengthy marriage to Paula, has re-connected with Jenny, whom he had had a very brief relationship with many years ago. Wealthy, and now single, Mark brings Jenny and the girls on a whirlwind courtship, taking them to places they’ve never been, and he and Jenny quickly decide to marry. But sometimes things that seem too good to be true ARE too good to be true…

Told from the perspectives of Jenny, Paula, Ava & Ellie, we learn of Mark’s first marriage, its struggles, and of his daughter Daisy – a daughter his new family knows nothing about. Ava, Jenny’s oldest, a teen studying for exams before college, learns some stunning news that she struggles to accept. Ellie, meanwhile, is learning to cope with clairsentient ability as she discovers she can sense things about people, and Jenny revels in her newfound happiness and all that comes with it.

This story has all the feels, happiness and heartbreak, growth and renewal, betrayal and forgiveness – and hope…

I loved it!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.