Her Final Hour – Carla Kovach

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

DI Gina Harte is back as, fresh from a quick holiday, she is called to investigate a homicide – a woman is found tied to a chair and strangled in her own home, while her child is left crying upstairs. Found by her husband when he returns home from a night out with friends, he offers an iron clad alibi, and the hunt for the killer begins, starting with the young woman’s lover, Jimmy.

Meanwhile, a young woman who was drugged and assaulted 25 years ago, continues to struggle with her demons and with alcoholism; yet is determined to take back her life. She sees a picture of her assailant in a newspaper photo, now a successful businessman, and decides to return to Cleevesford to learn more and perhaps confront him once and for all. Then she disappears.

As DI Hart and her team investigate both cases, the Angel Arms Pub seems to play a central part as they vet possible suspects. And as they dig deeper still, the killer becomes very unsettled – setting his sights now on Gina…

This was my second ‘Gina Harte’ novel, and I loved it as much as the first one! Gina has her own demons to fight, and as a flawed hero, she just becomes more credible. More of her backstory is explained here, and I anticipate we’ll learn even more about her, and what makes her tick, as the series continues. A great read, and I look forward to lots more from Carla Kovach!!

Bone On Bone – Julia Keller

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

Belfa “Bell” Elkins is a former prosecutor who has just been released from prison after a three-year incarceration for the murder of her abusive father. Now as she completes the conditions of her release, she struggles with her role in the community – a community that struggles mightily with drug addiction. Bell finds herself researching the opioid problem and identifies pharmaceutical companies as a large part of the problem and feels that these corporations should answer to the part they play in the opioid epidemic.

The Toppings family also play a central role in this novel. An upper middle-class family, Brett is a banker. He and his wife Ellie have a son, Tyler, who has struggled mightily with addiction. Just released from rehab, he moves back home with his family, and almost immediately falls prey to the availability of drugs in his community. Through the painful challenges the Toppings family faces, we learn the effects of drug abuse on families, individuals, and indeed, whole communities.

Former Deputy Jake Owens was left paraplegic three years ago after being shot on the job. Now unable to use his legs, he searches for his role, if any, in law enforcement. Sheriff Harrison needs a telecommunicator, and Jake agrees to fill in part time. He is working the night that the cry for help comes in…

This story is told through varied points of view and gives the reader a hard look into the desperation, despair and the intricacies of a family caught up in the opioid epidemic. As Bell and eventually Jake take on ‘big pharma’, this novel twists and turns rapidly, and ultimately surges to a stunning, unexpected conclusion… I can’t WAIT for the next installment of Bell’s story!! My first read by Julia Keller, but certainly not my last!!

The Coroner – Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

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

Dr. Emily Hartford is a third-year surgical resident in Chicago and is preparing for a surgical case as this novel opens. It is also her birthday, which she realizes to her surprise, as she’s commuting into work. Upon her arrival, she’s asked to perform an emergent appendectomy, so she tucks her busily ringing phone away. It’s not until later, as her boyfriend is proposing to her, that she checks her messages and learns of her father’s sudden illness. Diamond ring, newly placed on her finger, she packs some things and heads for home.

As Emily approaches Freeport County, her childhood home, she’s hit by a wave of nostalgia, and inadvertently drives through the towns only traffic light. Witnessed by a cop, she’s pulled over, only to see her high school love is the cop in question. They re-connect briefly, and she continues her trip to the hospital, where her father has been diagnosed with a heart attack. Estranged from her medical examiner father for several years after the death of her mother, Emily hopes she can find some common ground with her Dad.

Meanwhile, a young equestrian and daughter of a senator has been found dead after a morning ride, and her horse has been badly injured as well. With the county coroner hospitalized, and the family not wishing for their daughter’s body to be autopsied out of county, Emily is asked to perform the examination. Her discovery points to blunt force trauma, a homicide.

As Nick and Emily join forces to solve Julie’s murder, Emily’s new fiancé remains in Chicago, busy visiting wedding venues and making plans for their marriage. As her frustration with the case grows, she begins to realize that she has unresolved feelings for her first love, along with unresolved questions regarding her mother’s death that she wants answers to…

For a first novel, this book was surprisingly good!! I very much enjoyed Emily’s character and I hope this is a first in a continuing series. I was hooked right from the start and read this book from cover to cover in just a few hours, not wanting to put it down! There were a few medical errors, but likely not detectable to the layperson – of course they may have been corrected prior to print, also. Great story, engaging characters, and well worth the read!!

Wrong Light – Matt Coyle

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

In southern California, a voice on the airwaves is soothing everyone in its paths, and there is talk of syndication in the future. Naomi Hendrix belongs to that sultry voice and has her fair share of fans. Fan mail arrives regularly, but recently, a letter arrived that concerned her producers. Concerned them enough that they contacted PI Rick Cahill to assess the situation.

As Rick arrives at the radio station, he can’t help but notice the lack of security. As he peruses the letter given to him by station manager Chip Evigan, he too, becomes concerned for Naomi’s safety. Naomi, however, is unimpressed. Until her handgun is stolen from her car – a handgun that she isn’t allowed to have, and therefore cannot report missing – but she does tell Rick. Then things really start happening!

A kidnapping, and a visit from a Russian mob member looking to collect on a promise round out the drama, and have Rick running on empty as he attempts to balance mob demands against protecting Naomi. Mix in some club action and you have an adventure that you won’t want to put down!

This was my first book by author Matthew Coyle, but it certainly won’t be my last! Fast paced, with unexpected plot twists – all that keeps you coming back for more! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Rick Cahill series!

Abandoned – Allison Brennan

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

Maxine Revere is a successful investigative reporter, with her own series on cable news. However, this journey is personal. Twenty two years ago, when Max was 9 , her mother, Martha and her boyfriend Jimmy, left her at her grandparent’s home, never to return, only sending the occasional postcard. Now, aided by her assistant, and law enforcement connections, Max is determined to find out what became of her mother.

The recent discovery of an alias used by Martha to purchase a car several years ago in Miami sends Max to Northampton County, Virginia, where the car was later discovered abandoned, and where Max suspects that her mother had died. Coincidentally, Jimmy’s family is from the same area of Virginia, and Max is hoping that Jimmy’s younger brother Gabriel can provide some information.
But Gabriel Truman has secrets of his own, and he’ll do whatever he can to protect them and his teen-aged daughter Eve…

I LOVED this character! Max is smart, savvy and in control, making this book a delight to read. It’s fast-paced, alternating between past and present as Max slowly pieces together her mothers past, and outcome. This was a quick read as I could not put it down!! Love, LOVE Max Revere, and look forward to many more adventures with her!

The Weight Of Silence – Gregg Olsen

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

Nicole Foster is a Detective with the Aberdeen, California PD, who, partnered with Carter Hanson, is called upon to investigate the death of a toddler left in a hot car. In a scene reminiscent of the Harris incident in 2014, a distraught driver has pulled over in a mall parking lot and is screaming. His baby girl, left in the hot car for the entire workday, is deceased.

Nicole has her own problems. As a mother figure to her niece Emma, and sister to a sociopath named Stacy, and provider for her Alzheimer’s afflicted father, she also has overcome a large career mis-step that resulted in a firing from a former law enforcement position, along with a gambling addiction that had left her homeless. Aberdeen PD is her chance at redemption.

As the investigation into the death of little Ally Tomlinson intensifies, it becomes quickly apparent that there is more to the story than a toddler forgotten in a hot car. Timelines don’t all match and cameras and computers hold hidden clues for the detectives.

Meanwhile, Nicole learns the hard way that her sister has returned, and has set her sights on Emma…

Another fabulous read from Gregg Olsen! I couldn’t put it down! A gritty police procedural about human relationships, the dynamics of sisterhood, and the dark recesses of the pathological mind.

Forbidden Lovers – Kimberly Troutte

From the Harlequin Romance Series… (4 stars)

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

Again, not a typical read for me, but occasionally, I need the break from the tedium of mystery stories, and police procedurals, to sneak in a quick romance or two.

Matt Harper is an Air Force veteran, turned pilot, hoping to start up his own airline soon. Raised by a dysfunctional family and forced to leave Plunder Cove – his home – for the Air Force Academy at a young age, he is returning home for the first time in 10 years to full a demand by his father, RW Harper – but he has no intention of staying. There is nothing there for him – not after the love of his life Julia, up and married a different man a scant few months after he left town.

Julia Espinosa was a young girl who lived in the village, controlled by Matts father, RW. Orphaned at a young age, she was raised by a trio of sisters, whom she calls aunts. When Matt met Julia it was love at first sight – and a forbidden love. When RW Harper discovered the love affair, he tried to forbid it – and then sent Matt away – leading Julia to believe that he had been killed in action a short while later. But unbeknownst to any of them, Julia was expecting a child – a child raised believing his father had died.

Now Matt has returned, and he is drawn to Julia once again, each believing that the other had left them behind. As the two rejoice in one another and gradually uncover the deceptions that forced them apart, another danger lurks in the background, threatening all that Matt & Julia hold dear…

A cute romance, with lots of sensuality and just enough drama to reel you in – now I will impatiently have to wait for the next installment of the Plunder Cove series to learn of Angel’s fate…