The Falcon – Isabella Maldonado

FBI Agent Nina Guerrera and her eclectic teammates, Breck, Kent & Wade, have arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, to investigate the disappearance of several female coeds from the local tech college, the Arizona Institute of Technology – all seemingly disappearing from the campus without a trace. With them is teenaged prodigy Bianca, a former, runaway foster child that Nina rescued from the streets of Virginia years earlier. Bianca has expressed an interest in completing her master’s work at AIT and has plans to meet with the nanotech researcher on site for a tour. 

As Nina and her team meet with the local campus officers, they learn that five women are missing, and interestingly, no footage is available from campus cameras – they seem to have been tampered with – corrupted images are all that remain for the timeframes the girls are believed to have gone missing. Victimology indicates similar appearances to the missing girls, and no bodies, ransom notes or communications have been discovered. As the meeting concludes, they receive a call that another student has gone missing. 

As the investigation kicks into high gear, a chance find in the desert has Nina and her team staring in horror at the mummified remains of several of the missing victims, each clutching a black feather – but what does the feather signify? Why, mummification?  Is the remaining victim still alive? As Nina and her team explore the significance of their findings, computer guru Breck is working her magic to restore footage from campus cameras…and what they find is stunning… 

As the investigation heads in a different direction, the killer, in desperation, takes another girl…but this time the victim is Bianca… As Nina and her team frantically search for the killer, Bianca is just as determined to thwart her captor…but can she survive long enough for the team to find her?? 

This was my first novel with Nina Guerrera and her team, and I couldn’t put it down! I was partially drawn to the story because Nina and one of my childhood friends share the same first/last name, so I felt it was an omen.  I was hooked a page or two in, read late into the night and was overjoyed at its end to learn that this is just one of a series! While easily read and enjoyed as a standalone, Nina’s references to her past in areas of the novel have me anxious to start the series from the start – so more to add to my must read list! 

A great book – you won’t be disappointed! 

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

The Lies I Tell – Julie Clark

Meg Williams is, for all intents and purposes, a con artist – a grifter. She carefully screens her targets, learning all there is to know, subtly inserts herself into their lives, where she quickly makes herself invaluable. She slowly and skillfully manipulates the situation as she has so carefully planned – then quietly disappears leaving carnage behind for her chosen victim.  

It’s been a long ten years for Kat, a journalist, as she’s waited for some sign – any kind of news – of the elusive Meg Williams.  Finally receiving a hit on a preset Internet search, she learns that Meg has returned to California, this time posing as a real estate agent. Kat has her own agenda – one innocent interaction with Meg all those years ago created chaos – completely changing her life, and Kat holds Meg responsible. 

As Kat begins to stalk Meg, she provokes a meeting with her and slowly, a friendship of sorts evolve. She is somewhat surprised to discover how likable Meg is, yet she remains determined to expose her escapades for all to see.  Meg, on the other hand, knows deception when she sees it, and finds herself wondering what exactly Meg may be hiding with her less than truthful persona. 

Told in alternating viewpoints of both Meg and Kat, the reader gradually learns the motivations of both women, as each shares the events that have culminated in the ‘chance’ encounter that opens this book and draws you in. I very quickly found myself deeply engrossed in the lives of these characters, the circumstances that shaped who they became – and their individual strengths. The ending caught me a bit by surprise – that’s a good thing – and in retrospect – it was perfect! 

This was my first novel by author Julie Clark, but it will not be my last! It grabbed me tight on the first page, and I just had to keep going – I read it in one sitting – just couldn’t put it down! Awesome read!! 

Available from your favorite bookseller on June 21st!

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

The Recruit – Alan Drew

The year is 1985 and computers are just beginning to come into vogue. Richard Potter Wales is on his way via jet to an undisclosed location to meet the ‘Reverend’ – the head of America’s Divine Promise Ministries and also a cover for a national white supremacy movement. Wales is hoping to gain the Reverends favor with his plan for computerized bulletin boards to begin networking with other groups. With levels of password protection, these boards would enable conversation with like-minded groups across the country in hopes of preserving what they see as a dying culture.  

Fast forward to 1987, where Detective Benjamin Wade answers a call for a sick child in the So. Cal town of Rancho Santa Elena. As he arrives the toddler is in cardiac arrest, and the family dog has gone missing. Ben successfully resuscitates him, but afterward, noticing a strange taste in his mouth, he returns to the scene, where he finds a strange patch of green coloring in the snow.  He bags it up and sends it for analysis, wondering if this may be the source of the child’s malady. 

Meanwhile, Natasha Betencourt, a county medical examiner and Ben’s girlfriend, is on a scene of her own, where a wealthy real estate developer has just been found dead in his pool. At first glance, a drowning is questioned, but as Detective Joseph Vanek and Natasha work the scene, there appears to be evidence of head trauma. 

Bao Phan, his wife Ai and daughter Linh Phan are Vietnemese refugees who have settled in Rancho Santa Elena, operating a small grocery store. Having fled their country in 1975 during the Vietnam war, they have found peace and acceptance in the community. So it comes as a surprise to them when they find a dead dog in the alley behind their store. Pinned to the dogs ear is a note that states, “Kill them all”.  

Jacob Clay is a young man who finds himself slowly immersed in a violent teen-aged white supremacist group. Impressionable, and already experimenting with violence on his own, Jacob allows himself to be groomed by the group’s leader, Ian Rowan. He must shed blood to gain full acceptance into the group and be rewarded with the coveted, red-laced boots. The victim he chooses will shatter a family but will ultimately pull these storylines together with devastating results as Ben, Natasha & Vanek work to find those responsible once and for all. 

Wow! This was a suspenseful & terrifying read!!  Set in the post-Vietnam war era, where acceptance of other cultures was just gaining momentum, this is a fictional glimpse (but is it, really?) into the mind and hearts of white supremacists – and the lengths many will go to protect a legacy that they feel is rightfully theirs. The characters are colorful (although it took me a minute to keep them straight), the events are horrifying, and the clandestine meetings and mediums used to disseminate hate will linger long after the last page is turned. One can’t help but contemplate recent world events and how they came to fruition after reading this novel…. 

 I sure hope to see Ben and Natasha again in future writings! What a dynamic duo!!

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

The Lost – Jeffrey B. Burton

Mason Reid, his girlfriend Kippy and his cadaver dog Vira are back with their 3rd must-read adventure! 

It’s a beautiful late summer morning in Illinois, as Mace and Vira head to the gated estate of Kenneth Druckman, a wealthy financier, as they’ve been called to assist with the apparent abduction of his wife and daughter.  The report is that three male individuals broke into the home in the early AM, assaulted Druckman and kidnapped his wife and daughter, with a demand for ransom money. 

Vira, a golden retriever, is one of several dogs Mace has trained, but in addition to her ability to sniff out cadavers, she also has the unique ability to identify a perpetrator’s scent on a scene – and will signal Mace if she senses the killer nearby.  It doesn’t take Vira long to discover the body of Druckman’s wife nearby, with an obvious head injury, and heads right back to the house, following the killer’s footsteps. But there is no sign of the couple’s 5-year-old daughter Eleanor. 

As the search for young Ellie continues, the story is told in different timelines and from different perspectives – those that orchestrated the events leading to the alleged kidnapping as well as the present time condition of little Ellie, and of the machinations of a gentleman, known only as ‘the Belgium’, who seems untouchable, untraceable and ultimately responsible for everything… 

I love Mace and his dogs and while I found this story a bit convoluted at times, with several different facets, it all comes together in another well-orchestrated, satisfying, suspenseful who-dun-it, thanks to our favorite canine, Vira! If you’re a fan of k-9 staring series, this is another great series for you!! 

Available from your favorite bookseller on June 28th!

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