The Wrong Bones – Melinda Leigh 

It’s late evening on Widow’s Island in Washington and Deputy Tessa Black is heading home from patrol when she sees a small figure dart across the road, seemingly coming from the nearby cemetery.  She stops to assess the situation and finds three local kids, who, while playing hide and seek, spotted a ghostly figure digging a grave.  Tess heads in to see for herself, and catches a darkly cloaked figure with a shovel, who turns and runs as she approaches.  She chases him to a fence line where he climbs the fence and takes off, but not before leaving a box on the ground.  Much to Tess’s shock, the box contains human remains…

A quick examination by the medical examiner determines that the bones belonged to a young woman – and that she was murdered. A unique feature makes her easily identifiable – and it’s determined that she disappeared from nearby Bainbridge Island less than a year ago…but how did she wind up here, in a box, with someone trying to bury her bones? A killer’s remorse? Or something more.  Tess, and fiancé Logan, a State Forest Ranger, are determined to find out. 

This may be a ‘novella’, but it’s a fast-paced, who-dun-it and delivers all of the ingredients you’d expect from a full sized novel – suspense, murder, intrigue, dysfunctional characters, and a sweet ending – from two of my favorite authors! Great read – great series! If you enjoy murder and mayhem, you’ll love these authors and this series! 

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

A Hard Day for a Hangover – Darynda Jones

Police Chief Sunshine Vicram and the colorful residents of Del Sol, New Mexico are back once more in another hilarious and unforgettable read! 

It’s just another day in Del Sol when Sunshine and her 2nd in command Quincy find themselves assessing an assault victim in the ED, a telltale knitting needle buried deep in his neck. But this isn’t any assault victim – it’s Doug the Flasher – and Sunshine figures that he finally flashed his pride and joy to the wrong person.  As Sunshine questions the victim,  Quincy sees that she is distracted, and calls her on it, allowing her to reflect (and update potential new readers) on the recent events that occurred between her and the town’s bad boy, Levi Ravinder – like his complete silence when she revealed to him that he was the father of her daughter, Auri, followed by his sudden disappearance when she tried to place him in protective custody for his safety, and taking Quincy’s police cruiser with him, to boot! 

As the duo finishes their interview with Doug, they head back to the Station, where they soon learn that a hunter has spotted a body, somewhere in Copper Canyon. As she and Quincy arrive on scene, they learn that the young female is alive, and group together to plan their rescue. Out of the blue, the aforementioned cruiser thief, Levi, walks up like he never left, and assists with getting the girl to safety. But now Sunshine has a real mystery on her hands – who harmed this girl and why? Have there been other victims? 

As Sunshine and Levi rekindle past feelings, she and her crew work to solve this latest mystery, while Auri – and every bit a chip off the old block, much to Sunshine’s delight and dismay – starts her own investigation into the going’s on around town, coming surprisingly close to the truth in doing so – and drawing a killer’s attention.  As a field trip gone awry becomes a game of cat and mouse, Auri must use her wits to outmaneuver the killer until her Mom and the rest of the force can arrive…

This was the third and final installment of a delightfully funny series, and I am so sad to see these characters and their exploits end.  I can only hope that somehow, the author and publisher will re-consider extending these characters, and the colorful townspeople of Del Sol for some more laugh-out-loud action and suspense!  I don’t think I could ever get enough.  In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for some of her older works – these novels were that good!!

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

Vanished On Vacation – Jenifer Ruff

A trio of college students head to Mexico for a vacation, including Avery, the niece of FBI Special Agent Victoria Heslin.  While preparing for their return home, Avery learns she’s tested positive for COVID, which means she’ll need to remain behind in quarantine until she’s virus free – a possibility they’d been prepared for.  But instead, she disappears… 

Victoria and her partner Rivera immediately head to the resort where the girls were staying and connect with the local law enforcement, who appear to have done a competent job, and seem willing to share resources.  As the agents do their own reconnaissance, by connecting with resort visitors, as well as conversations with Avery’s travel friends, they learn that the male employee who escorted Avery to quarantine was seen in other places about the resort and is even captured in some pictures the girls took.  But he’s nowhere to be found and is it quickly determined that he is not resort staff. So, who was he – and why take Avery?

As Victoria digs deeper, an apparent drowning victim is found on the beach, and the Mexican police quickly and inexplicably become much less cooperative. Determined to find her niece with or without their help, she continues her search for this mysterious man – but the wrong question, directed at the wrong person, at the wrong time lands Victoria in a world of trouble, requiring every ounce of strength she possesses to get herself, and her niece to safety…

This was my first foray into the world of Jennifer Ruff and her Victoria Heslin series (Another series!! Yay!!) but most assuredly, it will not be my last.  This book had me hooked from the start – the characters are engaging, the plot is well orchestrated and suspenseful – the pages practically turn themselves, and I love me a strong female protagonist!  A great read for the beach or a rainy day! I can’t wait to catch up on this series!! 

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

Will be available via all major booksellers on October 7th, 2022 😊

Righteous Prey – John Sanford

They call themselves The Five – a group of individuals who have decided on a list of persons who need to be killed.  They describe themselves as doing a service for the American people and acknowledge the thrill in hunting – and being hunted themselves for the crimes. With the first murder comes a press release…” We are pleased to announce the death of…” along with their rationale for the selection, a donation made to a charitable organization, in Bitcoin, and a hint of who their Number 2 victim will be – a politician.  A week later, another body, and press release, and shortly after that, The Five make their first mistake – they commit a murder in Minnesota…

Virgil Flowers, of the Minnesota BCA, is putting the finishing touches on his third novel – this one he hopes to sell – when the phone rings. His boss is ordering him to a homicide scene – but not just any scene – this is victim Number 3 – in nearby Minnetonka – and the ‘press release’ is already out. As Virgil arrives on scene, he sees none other than his old buddy Lucas Davenport, now a US Marshall, already on scene.  As they investigate, they find little to work with, other than an incidental sighting of a Subaru in a neighborhood known for its upscale tastes.  

With little else to go on, Lucas & Virgil dive headfirst into the investigation, as they assist the FBI who has now commandeered the case.  As they follow a lead, however slim, they somehow manage to ID one of the killers, sending her on the run.  With these two hot on her trail, it’s only a matter of time…  From one end of the country to the other, they’ll stop at nothing to being this slick group of killers down. 

I’ve been a long-time fan of John Sandford and both the Lucas Davenport & Virgil Flowers series, and I am never disappointed – they just keep getting better and better! It was a real treat to have both characters get equal billing in this novel! I never tire of the witty repartee between these characters and the overall laugh-out-load commentary courtesy of Lucas! A Prey book is like having a great friend stop by for a visit – but the visit doesn’t last nearly long enough!! 

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