Lying Next To Me – Gregg Olsen

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

This was a bit of a departure from the typical Gregg Olsen styled novel, but I enjoyed it none-the-less!

Adam and Sophie Warner have chosen to spend an idyllic Memorial Day weekend at a beachside cottage for some much-needed downtime to nurture their marriage. While Adam and their daughter Aubrey are out in a boat offshore, Sophie is outside sipping wine – and Adam watches in horror as she’s abducted, unable to get to shore in time to help her.

When the police arrive, Adam is grateful to see that a childhood friend, Lee Husemann, is the detective sent in response to his calls for help. Along with her partner, Zach Montrose, they listen to his story, and begin to interview other cabin occupants, including Connor & Kristen Moss to start their investigation.

But how well do you really know someone? Lee is assured of Adam’s character as he was her rescuer years ago, but as the inquiries start, nothing is as it seems, and cracks appear in the stories of Adam, Kristen & Connor, leading Lee & Zach down a crooked path full of cunning, treachery and betrayal…

As told from the perspectives of Lee, along with the three remaining cabin occupants, the story is gradually revealed from the perspectives of each player, and the reader is drawn in to a web of deceit and a startling, if not somewhat expected conclusion…

Not his best, but great none-the-less! Definitely worth the read!

The Dark Bones – Loreth Anne White

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

Sargeant Rebecca North is getting ready to testify in a big case in Ottawa, when she receives call from her father retired Corporal Noah North. Sounding somewhat intoxicated, he mentions a cold case, missing papers, being followed, and wanting to know what really happened one fateful night in Becca’s past. The next call she receives is that notifying her of her father’s apparent suicide, and of a fire that burned his homestead to the ground.

Grief stricken, and consumed with guilt, Rebecca returns home to Cariboo County, and the town that she once called home. As she views the burned out homestead, she makes a discovery – snowmobile tracks leading away from the scene. No longer convinced her father’s death was a suicide, Becca begins to investigate, and soon reunites with her high school love and neighbor, Ash Haugen.

But word travels fast in a small town, and soon Becca finds herself mired in a case from long ago – that of two teens who reportedly took a bus to Los Angeles but have never been seen or heard from again – and Becca begins to believe that may have never left at all. And someone will do anything to keep those secrets hidden…

I LOVED THIS BOOK! This is my first read from author Loreth Anne White, but it will not be my last. Full of intrigue, drama and nail-biting suspense, this book kept me up long into the night, with twists, turns and surprises that even this well-read mystery buff did not see coming!! A great read! Highly recommend!! I hope to see more of these characters in future novels!

Tangled Up In You – Samantha Chase

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

Teagan Shaughnessy is a young, single mother, trying her best to raise her young son Lucas and gain an education. Having lost Lucas’ father to a military demise, she devotes her life to raising their son. She has just moved from Colorado to coastal North Carolina, where she’s landed her dream job.
Bobby Hannigan is a police officer who, while trying to thwart a robbery,
took a bullet to his shoulder, that may just end his career. Angry and humiliated that he has to rely on others to assist with his care, he is staying with his parents until he is independent enough to return home to Myrtle Beach and the life he knows.

At a family picnic the two chance to meet and sparks fly immediately. But Bobby remains angry at his disability and and continually isolates himself from Teagan and the things he is beginning to feel for her. Similarly, Teagan is attracted to Bobby, but her determination to forgo a relationship and raise her son has her back-stepping from Bobby. Can these two star-crossed lovers find their way through their difficulties and learn to love?

I chose this book more for the setting (North Carolina) than the storyline, as I used to live there, and I found it to be a quick sweet read! A little dry at times for me, but Lucas was a show stealer quite often. I loved the backstory, and repartee between Bobby & Quinn as well! A part of a series if you love the characters, but easily read as a stand-alone as well. The perfect beach read!!

Nothing To Hide – Allison Brennan

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

FBI Lucy Kincade faces her toughest case yet, as she works alongside a veteran cop Jerry Walker, with his disdain for the FBI and his distrust in profiling science. Investigating the third case of a seeming serial killer with an unusual routine, Lucy and Jerry are stymied. They can find no link between their victims. Different economic statuses, different jobs, different circles of acquaintances – there is no commonality. But each victim was tased, had both hands broken, and took a pointblank gunshot to the face. There’s no obvious motive – no robbery, no adultery, no reason that investigators can find for the murders. And yet, they appear anything but random…

Meanwhile, Sean’s thirteen-year-old son Jesse is struggling to fit in. After being recovered from a kidnapping in which his mother was killed, Jesse is new to the Rogan/Kincaid household. A frequent visitor to the boys home at St. Catherine’s Church, he has found solace in befriending boys his age, Michael & Brian, who have come from similar situations. But Brian is struggling with something, and Jesse and Michael are determined to keep him safe, risking their own lives in the process.

As the investigation continues, and they seem no closer to identifying a suspect, Lucy tests the waters and sets up a meeting with her brother, who is a forensic psychologist. Although Jerry is angry with the ambush, he listens and agrees to consider the profile presented. When a fourth victim is discovered dead after walking his dog, with the dog injured as well, they quickly zero in the victim’s son, who unwittingly connects the dots to the murders. While he doesn’t match the profile, Jerry is convinced they’ve got their guy, and with no alibi for the nights of the murders he is quickly arrested. But is he guilty? Or has a stone-cold killer set him up to take the fall??

Another fabulous read from the ever-amazing Allison Brennan!! I started reading her years ago, and now buy her titles, sight unseen. Doesn’t matter what the storyline is – I just know I’m going to love it!! Whether it’s Lucy Kincaid, or Max Revere starring in its pages, you’re going to LOVE whatever Brennan book you might grab!!

A Merciful Promise – Kendra Elliott

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

I have to preface this by stating that I do not want the Mercy Kilpatrick series to end!! I believe this character has the ability to rival some of the best – a formidable female Jack Reacher type persona. Love her!

FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick is asked last minute to pose as the girlfriend of an undercover agent on an ATF mission and infiltrate a survivalist colony, America’s Preserve, long suspected of amassing and selling arms. She reluctantly accepts the assignment, unable to even tell fiancé Truman Daly of her plans. With a modified ‘GOOD’ bag, she jumps on a bus to make the pre-arranged meet, deep in the woods of Oregon.

Upon arriving at the colony, Mercy is dismayed to find that she and Chad will be separated for much of the time. Acting her role as his lover, Mercy finds that all of their interactions are monitored, and she has little way of discussing the case with Chad. All personnel are monitored, making it difficult for her investigation. No phone, no radio, no means of contacting the outside world have Mercy on edge. Then Chad is sent off the compound on an errand, leaving Mercy defenseless.

Meanwhile, back home, Truman has his own problems. A seemingly random set of deaths have him scrambling to identify their victims and find a killer. Dumped nude, and shot execution style, Truman is stymied, until a third victim is identified as an ATF agent.

As FBI & ATF personnel converge in Eagles Nest, Truman learns that his latest murder victim is linked the Mercy’s undercover mission. With one agent dead, and Mercy unaccounted for, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team assembles to storm the compound. But Mercy is gone…and Truman will do anything to get her back…
Another edge-of-your-seat thriller from Kendra Elliot – and I don’t want them to end!!!

The Never Game – Jeffrey Deaver

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

Colter Shaw is a bit of a loner. Raised by survivalist parents, and being an expert tracker, he spends his time driving around the country in his Winnebago RV and seeking out rewards for missing individuals as ‘work’. This time his friends have alerted him to a missing teenager, and a reward for $10,000 in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile Shaw is also looking for answers to a 15-year-old mystery. His Dad had left the family compound 15 years ago with gun in hand and was found dead at the base of a cliff. This storyline weaves itself around the main theme of the book, as you learn about Shaw’s past in bits and pieces.

Shaw thinks in percentages. As he stops by the Quick Byte internet café, he has calculated the odds at finding Sophie Mulliner alive at 40%. The café was the last place she was seen, and it is here that Shaw meets some pretty interesting people and learns all about the gaming world. A quick chat with the waitress on duty gives Shaw some clues and leads him to the area where he thinks Sophie was abducted.

As Shaw searches for Sophie, it appears as though her kidnapper is mimicking the levels of a popular computerized immersion game. As a second person goes missing and is later found dead, Shaw realizes that the theme of the game is ‘escape or die’ and that nothing is as it seems. Meanwhile, shades of the past are here in the present and Shaw finds himself in the sights of a different enemy, this one much closer to home…

I LOVE everything that Jeffrey Deaver writes, and this is no exception! Colter Shaw is a unique character – reminds me of Jack Reacher with a healthier ego – and the book sets us up for a pretty interesting series, with a lot of threads available for pulling in later novels. I can’t wait for the next installment! A fabulous debut for Colter Shaw!

Final Betrayal – Patricia Gibney

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

This book opens as a young man is released from prison after a 10-year sentence for robbery and assault that culminated in the man’s death from a stroke. Gone, never to be found were the monetary contents of his safe. Finally free, Conor Dowling heads home where is elderly, decrepit mother lives in filth, and makes contact with his old friend Tony.

Detective Inspector Lottie Parker is getting ready to move into a new home, and her best friend and colleague Detective Sergeant Mark Boyd is assisting with the move. Meanwhile, two young girls are out on the town for some clubbing, but neither one of them makes it home. The girls are found dead several hours later with Lottie & Mark being tasked with the investigation.

Lottie’s half-sister Bernie remains institutionalized after a brutal murder spree and manages to manipulate another sibling to arrange a day pass for her. She immediately disables her sibling, escapes from his supervision, and begins to stalk Lottie and her family.

As the investigation continues, Conor’s name comes up as a potential suspect in the missing girl’s murder, and one of them had testified against him in the trial that landed him in prison. But his alibi is solid. Then, two more girls disappear…and soon, Lottie’s girls are missing as well…

This was a good book – the storylines, seeming random, kept me on my toes as I tried to ascertain who was responsible for what…I did not find any of the characters particularly likable, (Lottie needs more depth, I think) , but I suspect as I read the others in the series I’ll gain a lot more insight into who they are and what makes them tick. I absolutely believe this series would be best read in order – as a standalone, I had to make a lot of inferences as to the past events that lead to this installment – Bernie & Leo for example.

All in all, a good book, kept me turning the pages, and I was strangely disappointed that Conor wasn’t the ‘good boy done wrong’ that I thought he was… I will definitely be looking to read the remainder of this series!