The Newcomer – Mary Kay Andrews

Letty Carnahan is on the run with nothing more than the clothes on her back after finding her sister Tanya dead and her young niece, Maya, alone in her sister’s townhouse, with Tanya’s warning burning in her mind. “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”  Fleeing with nothing but the clothes on her back and some money in a jump bag that Tanya had stashed away, Letty heads south with her niece, leaving New York and her sister’s murderer behind. With no real plan as to where she’ll go, Letty opts on a small hotel that Tanya had circled in a magazine tucked in with the cash – a small motel on the coast of Florida. 

Arriving at the Murmuring Surf motel, Letty learns there’s no vacancy at the moment. With all of the long termers down for the winter, there’ll be nothing available anytime in the hear future either. But the motel owner Ava DeCurtis, sensing Letty’s distress, offers her a small efficiency, primarily used as a storeroom, if she’s willing to clean it out.  But Ava’s son is not so sure. A member of the local police force, Joe is a bit suspicious of Letty and her seeming arrival from nowhere.  

As Letty & Maya settle in, they start to meet some of the motel’s long term winter tenants, who are none-too-happy to have a small child wandering in their midst. Miss Ruth & Miss Billie are quick to let her know that that they’ve been hotel visitors for years and expect things a certain way, Mr. Jensen who likes to sneak his smokes right outside of Letty’s door, and a comical cast of other octogenarians who make Letty’s life interesting. Meanwhile, Joe is increasingly attracted to Letty, who remains fearful of being discovered. 

Back in New York, Evan’s investigator is getting ever closer to finding Letty & Maya. Can Letty count on Joe and his family to keep her safe? 

This was a sweet, nostalgic story, and most definitely a sit-by-the-pool, or day-at-the-beach kind of read! It also brought back many fond memories of a time long ago when my grandparents would bring me to The Florida Gulf Coast for the winter and we’d stay in a place much like the motel depicted here. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I know you will too!! 

No Going Back – TR Ragan

Sawyer Brooks returns in another thriller, and this story picks up on the heels of where the second book ended. 

For those unfamiliar with this series, Sawyer is a crime reporter for the ‘Sacramento Independent’ and in the last novel, she had just begun to investigate an attack and slaying of a man by a group of women vigilantes known as the ‘Black Wigs’.  This novel opens with a murder taking place, and a nearby security camera that catches a slender intruder leaving the house. An impromptu meeting with the deceased’s ex-wife leads her to believe that this man was not a victim of the Black Wigs, but if not them, then who?  A copycat killer?

The Black Wigs, with two attacks to their credit and another suspect individual missing, appear to be targeting rapists. A victim of incestual rape herself, Sawyer has been captivated by this case from the beginning. As she digs into the new victims’ background, she can find no evidence that he was ever accused of rape. But via an impromptu interview with his ex-wife, she learns that he was abandoned as a child and grew up in an orphanage that has since burned down. Intrigued by the possibility of a copycat, Sawyer begins to dig into his past, aided by her younger sister, Aria.

Meanwhile, a co-worker at the paper wants ‘in’ to Sawyer’s Black Wigs investigation after her niece and her friends are caught mimicking the actions of the Wigs and assault a teenaged boy.   Forming an uneasy alliance, Sawyer & Lexi begin to work together and share their resources. But unbeknownst to Sawyer, her sister Harper – code name Malice – is an active Black Wigs team member…and they have just selected their next trio of victims… 

As the bodies pile up, Sawyer & Lexi remain determined to find the answers – is this one group of killers? Or are there quite possibly two? 

If it’s even possible, this book was even better than the last! I adore Sawyer’s character, she’s feisty, she’s lovable and, like most of us, she’s flawed, and she struggles within her own present relationships as a result of her past. This can be easily read as a stand-alone novel, but if read as a series you get a full flavor for character development and the situations that have made each character who they are today.  Fabulous read and series from TR Ragan!! 

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!!

Risk Factor – Michael Brandman

Sheriff’s Deputy Buddy Steel is on a long vacation, contemplating life and what comes next, when he’s summarily summoned home by his father, after a bold robbery of his father’s home. Somehow, these thieves had managed to bypass an alarm system, gain access, and by all appearances, knew the exact layout of the house and where to strike. As Buddy attempts to familiarize himself with the robbery, he learns that there have been many other home invasions of a similar nature in Southern California. And no one seems to have any idea as to how the perpetrators are gaining access.  

Meanwhile, an old school friend comes to Buddy with a different problem. Andrew Snyder, owner of a financial services company, has just discovered all of his accounts have been hacked into and emptied in a cybercrime. Buddy hires Quinn Anthony to assist in that investigation, a young millennial computer wizard with a sharp wit and a disdain for the older generation. But Quinn quickly finds a trail and a possible link to the local branch of a well-known cartel. Then other local businesses are similarly drained, to a total sum in the millions. 

As the investigations into both crimes escalate, the home invaders remain just out of reach, but the danger heats up as Buddy & Quinn as they take on the cartel, and net their prey, while attempting to recover the missing millions. But the cartel strikes back, in a desperate move for revenge, putting Buddy in grave danger…

This was a great read! Full of suspense, snappy dialogue and laugh-out-loud moments, I picked it up yesterday afternoon and couldn’t put it down until the final page was turned! Buddy Steel and his exploits are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Another great series to add to my ever growing list of favorites! 

Available today from your favorite bookseller!

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

Hurricane Summer – Asha Bromfield

I have to preface this review by remarking on a journey to Jamaica that I took several years ago. We flew into Sangster Airport in Montego Bay and then took a bus from the airport for the hour plus ride to our all-inclusive resort in Negril.  As we drove out of the city and into the countryside, I saw many of the scenes that are depicted in this novel. The free ranging livestock, the men on the sides of the roads selling their wares, the homes – cozy appearing, but so much less than what many of us are accustomed to. But, being on the outside looking in briefly, I had no clue about what I was missing from their lives and culture – this book delivered it in such a mesmerizing, yet frank way…it is a story full of rich characters and experiences that I will not soon forget…

Tilla and her younger sister Mia are flying to Jamaica to spend two months of their summer with their father. For much of her life Tilla’s father has spent half of the year with her family in Toronto, and the other half with his extended family in Jamaica. While Tilla does not want to make the trip, a part of her is anxious to see her father, his family – and cousins that she hasn’t seen in years. 

Upon their arrival to Mnachester the girls are re-acquainted with their extended family and many of their cousins, including Diana & Andre, and Aunts Adele & Herma and Uncles Wayne & Junior. There’s some jovial banter as the girls are referred to as ‘foreigna’s’ as they settle in to the house. These few pages were a bit tedious as all the introductions were made and I struggled with the Patois dialect more than a bit – but keep reading – you’ll not be able to turn the pages fast enough shortly!!  I promise! 

Shortly after the girls settle into the room they’ve been provided, their dad lets it slip that they’ll likely be staying here for a few weeks, and that he’ll be going back to Kingston for work. When Tilla attempts to interject, he shuts her down and basically leaves the two girls in the company of their family, of perfect strangers. As Tilla struggles to fit in and get to know her extended family, she is randomly subjected to many themes – hostility, discrimination, racism among her family members, love, jealousy, complacency, abuse, subservience and more. It is a sobering, sad and sometimes frightening look into a culture that I, personally, had no idea ever existed – or never thought twice about. 

Very aptly named Hurricane Summer, not only for the storms that batter the island each year, but for the storm in Tilla’s heart as well. A wonderful read that will resonate long after the final page is turned… 

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