Vanishing Point – Gregg Olsen

It’s 3AM when the phone rings, rousing Detective Megan Carpenter out of a sound sleep. As she answers, it’s Sheriff Gray, asking for her assistance with a missing person’s case. Her partner Ronnie arrives to pick her up, sharing the scant details.  Reportedly, a mother and son are missing, as called in by her estranged husband, Ben, a bit earlier. The tidbit she saves for last is that the missing twosome, Marlena and her son Bennie, are the niece and grandnephew of the Sheriff. 

As Megan and Ronnie arrive on scene, they learn that the family has been separated for a week or so. When her husband count get hold of her, he reportedly came by the house to check on them and found them missing. The officers on scene describe his behavior as detached and emotionless, feeling that things aren’t quite adding up. It is also of great interest to Detectives that Ben didn’t mention the fact that his wife was pregnant. 

As the investigation gets underway, a grim picture begins to emerge of an emotionally distant husband, and a family that was kept isolated and rarely seen in public. Suspicions of abuse develop based on analysis of the family home, drawings in the home, recollections of nearby neighbors, as well as conversations with Marlena’s physician.  They also locate a girlfriend, who has her own tale to tell.  

As Megan and Ronnie race against time to find Marlena and Bennie, the evidence seems irrefutable. Meanwhile Ben sits for a polygraph, which gives them some evidence of deceit, but brings them no closer to solving the case. Meanwhile, Ben’s girlfriend has gone missing and is found dead in a car crash, with a bullet wound to her head. But where are Marlena and Bennie? 

Of course the husband did it…didn’t he??

As a long-time fan of Gregg Olsen, I am not quite sure how the prior Megan Carpenter books managed to escape my notice! As with all his novels, this one captured my attention almost immediately as I rooted for Megan and Ronnie to catch their guy and hopefully find the family, before it was too late. While I sensed early on that nothing was quite as it seemed, the urgency continued to build, keeping me flipping pages well into the night – and the ending was not what I was expecting, and even a smidge anti-climatic for me. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed these female protagonists, and look forward to reading the past and future Megan Taylor stories. 

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

Available December 7, 2021

Under Pressure – Sara Driscoll

FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K9 Hawk are back as she and her partner Brian & K9 Lacey are asked to assist in an ongoing smuggling case.  Lacey, still recovering from a cougar attack in their last case, is just returning to service, as Meg and Brian find themselves both summoned to the Directors office to learn that they are being loaned to the Organized Crime Program in hopes of assisting the agency tasked with discovering and stopping the cartel responsible for the infiltration of blood or conflict diamonds into the US trade.

The Gov’t agencies have managed to infiltrate the cartel with an agent who has worked his way up and into the smuggling ring. A fellow agent, Kate, who has seen Hawk and Lacey in action on prior cases, is hoping that team can use the dogs to assist in tracking the individual making the diamond hand offs – learning their patterns and methods, and ultimately catching them in the act. 

As Hawk and Lacey prove they are up to the task, key players in the are identified. A chance sighting almost leads to a nab of an enforcer by Meg & Hawk, bur he ultimately gets away, only to show up in the Megs home overnight with the intent to kill her. Only Hawk’s warning and her quick action allow her to prevail – and her assailant is taken into custody – but how did he know where to find her so quickly? 

Meanwhile, Clay McCord, respected newspaper reporter and partner of Meg’s sister Cara, has also been researching the cartel on the sly, hoping for an expose. When he misses a pre-arranged 12 hour check in, Cara notifies Meg and her team quickly assemble in hopes of finding some idea of what has befallen him – but will they find him in time??

I absolutely love this series, and the K9’s who star in these pages, along with their handlers who love them. These are books that once picked up, cannot be put down – they’re that good! Sara Driscoll has a winning combination with these characters – and all the action, suspense, and intrigue that you could want! Now…the long wait until the next is written begins…

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from #Netgalley & Kensington Press in exchange for an objective review. 

Autopsy – Patricia Cornwell    

Kay Scarpetta is back home in Virginia and resuming her long prior role of Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia, but things are very different now.  She’s inheriting the staff of the prior ME, and it quickly becomes clear that some hold an allegiance to him, to her detriment. 

As Kay is wrapping up a long day in the office with plans to head home to Lucy’s birthday party, her secretary stops her and tells her she needs to meet with a local investigator. Upon doing so she learns of a missing woman, a scientist working on classified work for the government, and Marino’s reclusive neighbor, may in fact be the body that is in the morgue now – the unknown victim of a homicide near the railroad tracks from several days ago. 

Much has changed in the lives of those around her – Marino has married Kay’s sister Dorothy, and Lucy has returned home after her own personal tragedy, with all making the move back to Virginia w/ Kay & Benton Wesley. With her new position still so tenuous, Marino feels she needs some support, and Kay dubs him her Forensic Operations Specialist, thereby giving him access to case information and the opportunity to investigate once more.  

As Kay continues her attempts to positively ID the body in the morgue, a similar case from the recent past catches her attention. Initially classified as a drowning by her predecessor, a review of the case hints strongly at homicide. This case was swept under the rug – but why?  

Then Kay and Benton are summoned to the White House to meet with the President over a disaster unfolding in a top-secret lab in space, which is purported to be some type of attack by the surviving astronaut – but the visuals sent from a rescue team are not congruent with the description of events.

As Kay and her crew slowly put the pieces together, they discover a cunning team set to steal secrets from the US – but Kay also discovers that danger is much closer to home than any of them could have imagined…

I have been reading Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels since I was a teenager and I was delighted to be offered this sneak preview!  This novel was as good as it gets, although I did feel like the wrap up and ending, while satisfying, just came on so abruptly that one still feels like something is missing.  A great read, otherwise!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from #Netgalley & William Morrow & Custom House, in exchange for an objective review. 

Do I Know You? – Sarah Strohmeyer

Jane Ellison has an uncanny ability to recognize people after seeing them just once. It may have been yesterday at the grocery store, or a year ago passing on a busy sidewalk, but she never forgets faces and features. Employed by Homeland Security to do just that, Jane scrutinizes faces in the crowd at Logan International, looking for terrorists, criminals and the like. 

She’s working one such shift when she recognizes a face she never thought she’d see again – a woman Jane last saw years ago with her sister Kit – before Kit disappeared without a trace, with nothing but a bloody t-shirt ever recovered. Jane’s attempts to detain the woman – and her VIP companion Will Pease – result in the loss of her career and a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney, but Jane is more determined than ever to find out what happened to her sister that fateful night so long ago. 

Meanwhile, at the ‘Love & Pease’ family compound in Cape Cod, Will Pease has returned home with the announcement that he intends to marry his adoptive sister Bella, much to the dismay of his family – especially his stepmother, Eve, who had yearned to see her daughter brought into the fold as Will’s wife.  As plans for the extravagant wedding begin, it becomes apparent that this wedding bodes much more than the joining of a couple. 

Jane, still determined to get to Bella to learn what she can of her sister’s disappearance, manages to find a rental on Cape Cod near the Pease compound. As she and her boyfriend Erik settle in, they’re joined by some colleagues of Erik’s, a husband and wife psychology duo, who seem to move right in and make themselves at home. 

As I sit here and try to complete this review, I’m having difficulty, because there are so many tangents and undercurrents running through this novel, even as Jane seeks closure on Kit’s disappearance. From the Pease family’s unusual characters, to pre-nups, an aging star’s death,  family stock options, entrapment, absolutely nothing and no one is as it may seems. 

Filled with intrigue, mystery, red-herrings and ‘who-dun-it’ suspense, this is one hell of a read….having finished it, I’m very tempted to go back and re-read it, with my new perspective of the characters.  I cant wait to read more from Ms. Strohmeyer!

Available on November 30th, 2021

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