Last Day Alive – J.R. Adler

Another great new series discovery for me, thanks to Netgalley & Bookouture.

Kimberley King is a former NYPD Homicide Detective, who’d had enough of seeing women killed, and has taken a job in small town Dead Woman Crossing, OK, where she has been working as Chief Deputy for the last year. She arrives to work to find a surprise gathering waiting to celebrate her birthday. As she and her colleagues enjoy cake and coffee, a phone call comes in about a missing child. 

Joviality quickly cast aside, Kimberley & Sheriff Sam Walker immediately head to the home of the missing child, a 10-year-old girl named Piper, where they learn that Piper has been missing for over 12 hours now.  Reportedly heading to her friend Miley’s house to spend the night, her grandparents had no clue that anything was amiss until Miley called looking for her this morning. Despite an immediate Amber Alert, and rapid mobilization of search parties, Piper is found dead the next evening. 

A heartbroken Kimberley and her team are determined to find the killer and leave no stone unturned in their search, digging up family drama and absent parents, but everyone has a verifiable alibi. Then, another call comes into the station – this time Miley is missing…

As the team re-doubles their efforts to find this child alive, Kimberley deals with some friction in her personal life, and also runs into (quite literally) a single father, with a toddler in tow. Intrigued by Caleb and his son Flynn, Kimberley accepts her first date since moving to Dead Woman Crossing, a date that has to wait until this investigation is over. But Kimberley is also conflicted about her feelings for Sam, which she’s barely begun to acknowledge. 

As Kimberley re-visits the search areas in hopes of finding something to lead their team to Miley, she stumbles across Piper’s missing bike, and promptly finds herself trapped at the mercy of a deranged killer. Can her team get to her in time? And will they find Miley?? 

I’m a first-time reader of J.R. Adler, and I am hooked! I am anxious to go back and read the first of this series to learn more about these characters. Some subtle background information provided in bits throughout the book make me think that the next book in the series is going to be every bit as good as this one, and that old ghosts may not be very far away. A great read!! 

Gone Too Far – Debra Webb

If you are a fan of mysteries & thrillers and prefer recurring characters, you’ll definitely want to give Webb’s Falco & Devlin team a try. 

Fresh off their first novel (which I have not yet read, but I certainly plan to), Birmingham Detectives Luke Falco & Kerri Devlin are called to the scene of a murder.  Two bodies, seated in chairs, hands bound behind them, and shot execution style. One of them is a bar owner, but the other is none other than Birmingham’s Deputy District Attorney Asher Walsh.  As they begin to assess the scene, Kerri gets a phone call from her daughter Tori’s school, asking to see her immediately. 

Leaving Falco to continue the murder investigation, Kerri goes to her daughter, only to find her being interrogated by colleagues, and learns that Tori was one of four young women standing on a staircase landing, when a classmate Brendal, either fell or was pushed, resulting in critical injury. None of the teens are able to state what happened, with Tori telling her mother that she doesn’t remember. 

Meanwhile, Sadie Cross, former BPD Detective turned private investigator, is slowly trying to put her life back together.  Sadie had been presumed lost on a deep undercover operation, only to re-appear a year later, with only scattered bits and pieces of memories of the events that lead to her disappearance, along with the haunting memory of a child lost. 

As the investigation commences, it quickly becomes apparent that DDA Walsh was looking into the Osorio drug cartel, the same cartel that Sadie had infiltrated on her undercover op, but what was his connection?  Falco, Devlin & Sadie become unlikely partners as they dig deep into the investigation, while Kerri also desperately tries to protect her daughter from an increasingly hostile situation…

Another great find, thanks to Thomas & Mercer Publishers & Netgalley.com.  I have always enjoyed mystery/suspense series with recurring characters and this duo does not disappoint! This is the second in a (so far) two book series, and alludes to events in the first book, so I’m off to find that for my next read – so, suggesting that they be read in order! The characters are very likeable, and there appears to be a deepening connection between Kerri & Luke that begs to be explored in future stories. Sadie is also a fascinating persona, with a brash, irascible, devil-may-care personality, which I suspect will also under-go great change in the next in the series. Honestly, I cannt wait to get me hands on it. There’s nothing better than a series, that has you desperate to get your hands on the next edition! Great read, great characters, great plot, great series!! Need I say more?? 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!

The Perfect Daughter – D.J. Palmer

Grace Francone has just returned home from a run to find that her sixteen-year-old daughter, Penny, has left the house and taken her father’s car without permission. With attempts to call her and texts sent with no response, Grave feels a wave of fear when the police show up at her home. Envisioning a horrible accident, Grace opens the door to hear even worse news – her daughter has been arrested for murder.

Penny is Grace’s adopted daughter – a gift from God in Grace’s mind after Grace found her crying, soaked to the bone and alone at a nearby park. When her mother was determined to be drug addicted and unfit, Grace and her family immediately started the proceedings to adopt her, and she became a full-fledged member of their family a year later, with a name change to Penny, a name given to her by her brothers. Penny also has been diagnoses with DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder, which began manifesting itself at the age of 12.  With four distinct personalities known to the family, Grace knows that she needs immediate legal assistance, and contacts an attorney she met by accident, literally, to see if he can help. 

When Grace arrives at the police station, she learns that Penny was found at the scene of the crime, knife and head, and covered in the victim’s blood. To Grace’s shock, the victim is none other than Penny’s birth mother, Rachel Boyd. With what appears to be a slam-dunk case, Penny is arraigned on murder charges and remanded to Edgewater Psychiatric Hospital until trial. It is there, that Penny comes into the care of Dr. Mitch McHugh, who works with Eve, one of Penny’s alternate personalities as they try to understand the demons that Penny carries and what lead to the events of that fateful night. 

With little clues that each of Penny’s persona’s provide, Mitch and Grace work to piece together a small child’s trauma, not realizing the past is very much a part of the present…

This was a fascinating look into the psychiatric disorder of multiple personality disorder, a topic that remains controversial in the psychology field today.  It was intriguing, easy to get lost in, yet had me scratching my head as more and more of Penny’s past was revealed. I kept looking for clues as to how the book would end, and I have to say, I was completely floored at the very unexpected outcome! If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that’s refreshingly different, this is the book for you!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from #Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an objective review. 

Complicit – Amy Rivers

A must-read!!

Kate Medina is a forensic psychologist, who’s returned home to small town Alamogordo, New Mexico after a jailhouse assault shook her to her core. Now, sharing her childhood home with her father, she is a counselor to teens at the local high school, where her biggest worry is how to get them to open up – and how to re-connect w/ Roman Aguilar, her best friend whom she left behind over 15 years ago. Now a detective with the local police department, Roman has maintained his distance, both physical and emotional, from Kate.

Kate’s latest concern is a student named Mandy, who has undergone a dramatic transformation in the few sessions she’s had with her, from a dramatic, angry teen to a mere shell of herself, slumped in a chair and not speaking.  With the recent disappearance of local teen Gabby Greene affecting all of the high school students in different ways, Kate suspects some type of trauma may have been responsible for the drastic change she has seen. 

When Kate returns to work the next day, she finds Roman in her office waiting for her, to tell her that Gabby’s body had been found that morning, with evidence of a brutal rape and torture; the scene similar to one that Roman & Kate had come across themselves many years ago. While Kate has nothing to add to the investigation, she had Roman form an uneasy alliance as they try to learn more about Gabby’s murder.  

Mandy finally shares a horrific story with Kate, which leaves Kate & Roman questioning everything they’ve ever known about the town and its people. As they work together to unravel the evil that has permeated the town for decades, those responsible will do anything to see them fail…

Wow! This book was fantastic!! It’s also the first book of a new series, which makes it that much better for me, because I was hooked right from the start! There is so much to this story, and so many things I left out so that I wouldn’t give the book away, but this book kept me in suspense right from the get-go, and I could not put it down! The characters were flawed, but likeable – even more so as you began to understand their motivations – and I cannot wait for the next installment to this sordid but thrilling story!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from #Netgalley & Compathy Press in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit Netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!