Almost Midnight – Paul Doiron

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Years ago, Maine State Warden Mike Bowditch was forced to provide testimony that landed his best friend, Billy Cronk, in prison. Now he receives a message from Billy’s wife, stating that Billy desperately needs to see him. Billy is asking him to investigate the background of a new prison guard, telling Mike that it’s a matter of life and death. Mike is reluctant to do so, and Billy ends the conversation telling his friend not to come back. Feeling a bit guilty, Mike does a cursory search on the prison guard, finding little information on her and heads back to the prison, only to learn that Billy is now in the hospital after being stabbed by another inmate. Upon arrival, he learns that Billy saved the life of the guard he had asked Mike to research and is in surgery. As Mike begins to learn of the events leading up to the stabbing, he feels that something is off with the situation.

Meanwhile, he receives an early AM call from an old Warden friend, Gary Pulsifer, who calls to tell Mike that Shadow, a wolf-dog hybrid that he’d had as a pup, has been mortally injured. Shadow had escaped confinement as a pup and has been running free in the woods of Maine for years. The vet fully anticipates Shadow’s death is imminent and gives Mike the crossbow that she removed from his body, Mike wants answers, and is hopeful that he can track the female wolf Shadow’s been seen with, to ensure her safety.

As Mike attempts to locate Shadow’s shooter, he meets resistance at every turn. He also manages to get on the bad side of the town terror, Gorman Peaslee, who wants nothing but revenge. Then Billy, who is awaiting a pardon from the governor, suddenly escapes prison, and Mike knows that there’s only one reason why – because his family is in danger…. As Mike rushes to protect the Cronk family, he puts himself right in the crosshairs of a dangerous gang that will stop at nothing to silence Billy – and Mike…

This is my second book in the Bowditch series, and I am hooked! I love Mike’s character and having spent some time in Central Maine, I love re-visiting that time in my life with all the familiar landmarks! Mike is a bit of a backwoods Lucas Davenport, mixed with a little Jack Reacher! Great read! You will NOT be disappointed!!

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

Some Choose Darkness – Charlie Donlea

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Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructionist. In addition to restoring old china dolls to their original perfection, she also has a unique ability to see crimes, patterns and offenders in ways that others cannot, which makes her a valuable asset to Detective Ron Davidson, who frequently utilizes her abilities. After a six-month hiatus, he’s tossed another case her way, in the form of a broken Kessler doll – who’s young owner was murdered. Shortly thereafter, she receives a call from her father’s assistant, informing her of his death that morning, at home.

As Rory struggles to come to terms with her attorney father’s death, she has to reassign all of his casework to other area attorneys. While doing so, she finds records of a client that her father has done over 30 years of work for – and his parole board meeting is coming up quickly – leaving Rory no time to reassign the case. A lawyer herself, she must assume her father’s role in the proceedings. In researching his case, Rory learns of a young woman, Angela Mitchell, who 40 years ago, diligently worked to gather evidence against a suspect known only as The Thief, submitting it to law enforcement, before she too, became a victim. Rory feels a strange kinship with the woman, who is the only victim that The Thief (and her present client) was convicted of killing. But no trace of her body was ever found.

As Rory works to secure her client’s release, she begins to explore the mystery of Angela Mitchell, The Thief, and the missing victims he’s believed to have killed, and in doing so, unwittingly opens the door to a past that was best left buried…

Told in excerpts from Angela’s life in 1979, the killers life and Rory’s investigation in the present, the storylines converge with wild twists and turns as Rory attempts to put the pieces together, and all lines converge in a surprising (or not so surprising, but no less thrilling) climax that will keep you turning pages well into the night! I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery. Hoping that we’ll be seeing more of Rory Moore in the near future as well!! Great read!!

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

Steel Resolve – BJ Daniels

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

Mary Cardwell Savage is a young single woman living in Big Sky, Montana. Beautiful, but aloof, Mary continues to love the man who left her – her best friend and high school sweetheart Chase Steele. After receiving a package in the mail for him, Mary breaks down and pens her feelings into a letter, never intending for it to be mailed.

Chase Steele has come to terms with things. After receiving Mary’s letter, he too realizes that she’s the one he’s never stopped loving, and that it’s time to go home to Montana – and to Mary. However, someone else has read his letter…as he makes plans to set out for home, Fiona Barkley will stop at nothing to thwart his plans and gain his affection as her own….

Fiona has set her sights on Chase as a husband, and she’ll stop at nothing to get him. Believing she’ll soon transfer her affections to another man, Chase vastly underestimates Fiona. But when Fiona’s vehicle has been found in a river, the result of a one car crash, Fiona is presumed dead.

Lucy Carson, newcomer to Big Sky Montana, seems to have incredible luck. Shortly after her arrival, a barista, and tenant in Mary’s apartment, is killed by a hit and run driver, freeing up a job and an apartment for Lucy. A sweet girl, Mary soon becomes fond of her. Then Chase returns to Montana to claim his love – and things start to happen…

This was the perfect mid length story that Harlequin is famous for. A quick but captivating read, even if you know how the end will turn out. I’ve read a few of B.J. Daniels’ stories, and I’ve enjoyed every one of them! I hope to see her in some full-length novels soon – she certainly has what it takes!! Great read!!

Little Girls Sleeping – Jennifer Chase

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Katie Scott is fresh off the plane from deployment in Afghanistan and undecided as to what she’ll do now. On a leave of absence from Sacramento PD, she is unsure if she wants to return to police work, especially after the atrocities she saw as part of the K9 explosives team. As a result, her Uncle Wayne, Sheriff of Pine Valley, offers her a temporary job clerking in the department, which she readily accepts. He also surprises her with her K9 partner, Cisco, who, for me, is the complete star of this book.

While dropping off some documents to his office on day, she notices a case file he left out – that of a child who’s been missing for a few months. She immediately is drawn to the file – as a child she had a friend that suddenly disappeared, never to be found. She peruses, then copies the file to study. On her off time, she starts searching remote areas for signs of a dumping site, and inadvertently finds two small depressions in the ground, that resemble graves.

When the site is excavated, and the children’s bodies are recovered, the search for the killer commences in full swing. The lead Detective on the case is now openly hostile to Katie, who has unexpectedly been promoted to Detective by her uncle and several others share his contempt. While assisting the task force, Katie quietly investigates on her own, and in doing so, she unknowingly angers a killer. Then, another child goes missing…

I loved this book!! I’m always looking for a new series, and this series is most promising! Katie and her partner Cisco, are very likeable, and there are a lot of potential characters and storylines left open for further development as the series continues. Full of suspense and hard for me to put down! I highly recommend! If you enjoy the Creed series by Alex Kava, you’ll love Katie & Cisco!

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

The Night Before – Wendy Walker

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Laura Heart is back in her Connecticut hometown after a sudden nasty break up via a text message with a man she really thought loved her. Staying with her sister and her husband, Laura has taken to online dating sites in hopes of finding love . Formerly Laura Lochner, she has changed her name because of a significant event in her teenaged years, that she wishes to leave behind her. She heads out Thursday evening to meet a man she met online and does not return home. Calls to her cellphone go to voicemail.

Frantic with worry, her sister Rosie, husband Joe & childhood friend Gabe all begin a search for her. Very quickly they find the vehicle Laura was driving – but no sign of Laura. They create a fake account on the dating site Laura used, and quickly identify her scheduled date, a man named Jonathan Fields. They are also able to connect with some of his former ‘dates’ who have less than desirable stories to tell – and with still no sign of Laura, they involve the police.

Now as the clock ticks, the search is on for Laura…

Told from the viewpoints of Laura & Rosie, along with excerpts from Laura’s psychiatric visits several months ago, the reader is drawn into an exploration of the close relationships they all had as childhood friends, as well as Laura’s attempts to ‘be loved’, as the reader learns that not all men are nice, and not all relationships are healthy…

A suspenseful, riveting, hard-to-put-down read that will have you asking yourself just how well you really know someone…

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

The Last Thing She Remembers – J.S. Monroe

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

It’s an idyllic evening in a small English village when a young woman knocks upon the door of a home she believes is hers. A gentleman answers, his wife in the background, as she announces that she’s been away on a business trip, and that this is her house, before she faints. The couple, Tony & Laura, assist her indoors, and offer her some tea. And that’s when she explains that she has lost her handbag, and that she cannot remember her name. All she had to lead her ‘home’ was a bus ticket in her pocket. As the couple consoles her, she stuns them by describing the home in significant detail. Tony tells her she looks like a ‘Jemma’ and offers her their spare bedroom for a few days until things can sort themselves out.

A quick visit with a local physician determines that she likely has amnesia, triggered by some catastrophic event she is unable to recall. A local reporter, Luke, seemingly recognizes her, or thinks he does, but he can’t remember how or from where. As Jemma herself continually searches her memory for clues, she reflects frequently on a friend, Fleur, who is deceased, but is unable to picture her face.

That is the start of a story that takes off like a runaway train and will keep you spellbound with all of its twists and turns and the speed at which they happen. A search of old home records and memories have the townspeople convinced that she may be Jemma Huish, a known murderer. And Luke is diving deep, trying to learn her identity…. But all is not as it seems, and what seems like a book that jumps from place to place and from random character to character, is actually a very well crafted, and horrifying suspenseful read, all coming together seamlessly at the end….and you’ll never look at a seahorse again quite the same…

This was a bit of a depart from my typical genre, but it caught me up in the first few pages, and Jemma’s struggles to remember the events of the past, and the steps she took to do so, had me racing to the thrilling, yet macabre finish. A great read! I look forward to more from J.S, Monroe!!

Wildcard – Michael Brandman

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

It’s Monday, and Buddy Steel is trying to catch up on his reports when he receives a call from his dispatcher requesting his presence at a scene. Upon his arrival, he finds that a young woman has been shot while sitting in her car. No apparent motive can be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the California Coastal Commission is enlisting Buddy’s assistance with another matter. It seems that a reclusive Russian with reported film interests in Hollywood, also has an interest in privacy, to the detriment of public access points to the beach, which he has boarded up and guarded, despite a law to the contrary. The Russian, Boris Petrov, supposedly a pal of Putin, has a reputation for getting his way…but he’s never met the likes of Buddy…

Then a second woman is found murdered, shot to death like the first one, and shortly after that, a third. With a serial killer taking aim at Freedom, Buddy finds himself trying to head up both investigations…and enlists the aid of young attorney named Jordyn, a former lover, to take on Boris Petrov, as he looks for a remorseless killer – a killer who is much too close to home…

Filled with suspense, action, witty characters and more than a few surprises, Buddy’s latest adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat, and then longing for more…

I honestly cannot wait for the next Buddy Steel installment!!