Perish – Lisa Black

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Perish – Lisa Black

I received this novel as an ARC, in exchange for an objective review. This is book 3 in a three-part series, and I have not (yet) read the other two. First off, I’d suggest reading them in their proper order. As a reader new to the characters, it became readily apparent that I’d missed some significant details, reveals, and interactions between these characters in the prior novels. However, if read as a stand-alone, the missing details are implied and become clearer as the story progresses.

Maggie Gardiner is a forensic scientist who works for the Cleveland PD. Jack Renner is a homicide detective, whom Maggie works closely with, as they investigate crime scenes. However, only known to Maggie, (presumably due to the events of the prior novels) is the fact that Jack has some “Dexter-like” qualities, which he utilizes on occasion to ensure that the proper suspect is stopped however necessary.

As this story unfolds, Maggie & Jack are called to an apparent homicide in a wealthy district in town. As the investigation unfolds, their victim is discovered to be the owner of a less than honest financial company, specializing in predatory loans, complete with falsified paperwork and creative bookkeeping. When a second woman from the office is found killed in a similar fashion, the investigation shifts to those who have lost homes or have expressed outrage and vengeance towards the company. When a third victim is discovered, also with a link to the company – but as an investigator of the company itself – the detectives are stymied as to who might have anything to gain by the killings. As the investigation continues, Maggie finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer – but is it an unknown entity – or someone close to her wanting to preserve her silence???

I struggled a bit with the first third of the book, as I am not financially minded at all, and much of the ‘set-up’ of the story had to do with explanations of mortgage lending, CDO’s, predatory lending, variable rates, etc. While I found that to be a bit dry, I also learned a lot, and plan to try to learn some more. (The author also includes a list of her references in the acknowledgements.) Once those explanations are made (to the detectives) which sets up motive for the investigation, I could not put the book down.
A good read, and I will be reading the two prior books as well to gain more insight into this duo!!

Follow You Down – Michael Bradley

Follow You Down – Michael Bradley

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

Neil Brewster is a successful defense attorney for a large firm in Manhattan. Known for his cut throat work ethic and his desire to succeed, Neil does what it takes to be the best and never looks back. Engaged to a founding attorney’s daughter, he is poised to become the next partner in the prestigious firm.

Out of the blue, he receives an invitation from his boyhood friends to meet and renew their friendship at the summer camp they attended in their late teens. Neil has no desire to renew old friendships, and no plans to accept the invitation, but a call from one of the guys convinces him to do just that.

Upon arriving at Camp Tenskwatawa, Neil reunites with his old camp buddies. He also catches a glimpse of the camp owners’ daughter, Sammy, whom he had a quick fling with in his last days of camp. Seeing her is a pleasant surprise and as the guys put him at ease, he realizes that it was a great idea to return after all. They spent the first night around a campfire, beer in hand, reminiscing about their camp escapades, and their torment of Stinky Bateman, a fellow counselor. Then, things start to happen…

The story is told in present time, and in snippets the past, and the two storylines culminate in a way you’ll not expect or soon forget! A great read from Michael Bradley, and one I highly recommend!

Heart Full Of Stars – Linda Govic

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I received this book as an advance reader copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Darcy Clarke is a renowned marriage counselor to the stars, who’s world comes crashing down one morning, as her boss tosses a newspaper in her direction. On the front page, she sees herself locked in an embrace with one of her clients, Hollywood star Greg Cantrell. She is immediately fired, and soon begins the vile messages and death threats by fans, along with incessant hounding by the press. Greg will no longer take her calls and Darcy feels the need to get out of town for a while. While perusing job ads, Darcy’s friend finds a job listing for a personal trainer at Kinnamuir Castle, an Inn of sorts in Lochdarroch, Scotland. Intrigued, and with nothing to lose, Darcy interviews for and accepts the position.

Arriving in Scotland, Darcy takes the pseudonym of Daisy Collins, in the hopes that no one recognizes her from her internationally publicized mishap. She settles into the castle with its brooding and ornery owner, Aiden McAllister and his bubbly young daughter Poppy. As she gets to know the castle and its occupants, she quickly comes to realize that Aiden is perilously close to losing his castle, as he cannot compete with newer resorts that have opened nearby. As she and Aiden put their heads together in an effort to save his castle, they also begin to fall for one another, much to Poppy’s dismay.

As plans for a grand re-opening continue, Poppy has her own little surprise for opening night – she’s discovered just who Daisy really is, and invites none other than Greg Cantrell to the castle re-opening… Will Darcy return to the man she once loved? Or will she remain in Scotland, with the man and the love that she’s just discovered??

This was a super sweet and well written love story! As romance is not my typical genre, I think I loved it even more! A wonderful, tug-at-the-heartstrings story! I hope that we have the chance to re-visit Aiden and Darcy in another story!

Her Final Confession – Lisa Regan

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Detective Josie Quinn is just settling in to a nice evening off with her boyfriend, Lt. Noah Fraley, when both of their phones ring simultaneously. It’s the Chief, asking them to investigate a murder – the covering detective, Gretchen, cannot be reached and the murder has taken place at her home. Upon their arrival at the scene, they discover the body of a young male, with no apparent relation to Gretchen, and no reason to be in the Denton area, let alone in Gretchen’s driveway. Meanwhile, their very capable detective, Gretchen Palmer, remains missing, the GPS tracker on her car, disabled.

As Josie and Noah investigate the murder and Gretchen’s disappearance simultaneously, few clues come to light. Cell phone records give them no real clues as to why a young college aged male from Idaho suddenly traveled to Pennsylvania and wound up dead in Gretchen’s driveway. As they continue to work the case late one evening, they are started by a call from the officer downstairs – Gretchen is in the building and is confessing to the murder. As they attempt to speak with her, she again states that she is responsible, and demands to be arrested – striking Josie in the face in apparent anger.

But Josie knows enough about Gretchen to know that something is wrong. As Gretchen is held by the state police, Josie gets to work, trying to prove her innocence, despite her insistence that she is guilty. A call to an old partner of Gretchen’s sheds some light on her early past and provides Josie and Noah just enough information to head the investigation in the right direction. But re-visiting the past can sometimes be very dangerous – as Josie and Noah attempt to unravel the mystery, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a very old, but just as deadly nemesis…

I LOVED this book!! I love this series!!! This book takes off running, will keep you up well into the night, and, with gradual peeks and insights into Gretchen’s traumatic past, will keep you guessing until the very end! A fabulous read! I cannot wait for more from Lisa Regan!

Cold Dark Places – Kylie Brant

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I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Little Eryn Pullman was only a child when her uncle found her beside her mother’s dead body, bloody knife at her side. Placed in an intensive inpatient psych hospital, Eryn grew up known as a murderer, but with no memory of the incident. Now, as a young adult, Eryn is being released into her Uncle’s care, no longer considered a danger to others…but people remember…

Cady Maddix is a Deputy Federal Marshall, who’s returned home to North Carolina to help care for her ailing mother. She’s fresh off the capture of a wanted felon, when she’s awakened from sleep by a phone call. A child molester and murderer has escaped from a nearby prison, and she’s needed for the assembling task force. Cady has her own childhood demons as well.

Ryder Talbot is the County Sheriff for Haywood County, and is also a member of the law enforcement team assembled to track Samuel Aldeen. He and Cady team up as they attempt to catch a killer, who remains in the area, and seems to stay just a step ahead of law enforcement. But what is Aldeen after? And why?

A top-notch mystery novel that’s grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go! The characters are intriguing, complex and likeable, and Cady is the perfect rough and tough female cop!! I loved this book, and I Can’t wait for more of Cady and Ryder! Grab this book and settle in for a long read! You won’t be disappointed!!

The Dreamers -Karen Thompson Walker

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I was fortunate to receive this advance reader copy of the book from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Mei is a freshman, who is still settling in to college life at the school nestled in the small California town of Santa Lora. Introverted, Mei is dismayed at the friendships that have formed without her and doesn’t have much of a relationship with her roommate Kara. That is why, when Kara falls ill, Mei thinks nothing of her sleeping in – not until she arrives back at the dorm to find Kara still asleep, and unarousable. Thus begins the ‘sleeping sickness’ as it becomes known to outsiders.
A few days later, the sleeping sickness takes another victim, and another. Soon the kids find themselves quarantined in their dorm, while the other kids are whisked away, out of Santa Lora. Meanwhile, the number of victims multiplies, and the CDC becomes actively involved. Remaining unarousable, the victim’s arrear to be dreaming… The town becomes isolated with military personnel manning the borders while physicians search for the cause and the cure.

As the afflicted increase in numbers and the rest of the world watches the news in fear, one of the victims awakens, talking of dreams he had that a fire would release the rest of the victims from sleep. Some remember dreams of things past, while others of things presumed to be future, and others no dreams at all. Others still have experiences that makes them question all that they are…

While this book was not quite what I expected, I loved it, and it is a story that resonates long after the final page is turned. Full of rich writing, and philosophical questions, it makes one wonder about the fine line between dreams and reality…