Her Dying Wish – Carla Kovach

Detective Inspector Gina Harte is awakened from a fitful slumber by a nightmare – followed quickly by a phone call from her partner, DS Jacob Driscoll, summoning her to the scene of an arson with a dead victim found within the home. As she takes a quick shower before heading the the arson scene, she replays in her mind the contents of an email, and the source of her nightmare. Years ago, Gina was married to an abusive partner who died unexpectedly after a fall down the stairs of their home. Now a reporter, prompted by her husband’s surviving family, is threatening to expose all the scandalous details of her marriage, including the possibility that Gina is culpable in her ex-husband’s death – and he wants to interview Gina for her side of the story. 

As Gina meets Jacob at the scene, they learn the deceased is a young male. Neighbors report the victims’ wife packed the children up and left a few days ago after a particularly loud altercation. Accelerant was used on the fire. And a small candle in a jar was found at the scene as well. There only witness appears to be a 5-year-old child from a neighboring home who provides a non-descript sighting of a person, but little more.  A follow up interview with the deceased’s wife, leaves them little to go on. 

As Gina & Jacob attempt to gain more insight into Faith and the state of her marriage, they turn to Faith’s friends – a small group of women who met at the gym twice weekly. None of them have any major insights into who may have wanted to harm Faith and her husband. The only common denominator identified by the group is a trainer at the gym with groping hands. Then another arson attempt is made, this time on the home of another member of the gym group, Kerstin.

And the search for answers continues, Gina is forced to face her past, as her ex-brother-in-law becomes a part of the investigation.  Then, an arrest is made, leaving more questions than answers – and a child that’s missing…  It will take everything Gina and her team have to crack this case…but some old ghosts can’t be buried… 

This was another stellar installment to the Gina Hart series, told with all of the suspense we’ve come to expect from Ms. Kovach.  A great read, with twists that I couldn’t have imagined, and a somewhat sad yet satisfying ending.  Gina is a likeable and relatable protagonist with her own flaws and secrets that weigh pretty heavily, as she tries to right wrongs and maintain her relationship with her daughter.  Definitely worth the read, as a standalone or in the series order – this is # 10. Now the long wait for the next for the next…

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

The Darkwater Girls – Maegan Beaumont

Wow! This book took me on a ride and a half! Fantastic! 

Georgia Fell is a young woman who grew up in the foster system after being abandoned as an infant on Angel Bay Island, MI. Known as the ‘Angel Bay Baby’, Georgia was the islands’ golden girl before she left without warning, after an unexpected betrayal by Lincoln McNamara, the boy she thought she loved.

Ten years and a military stint as an MP later, she has returned, after the unexpected inheritance of an island estate belonging to an elderly matriarch. Now an adult, and military trained, Georgia learns that much has changed on the island, including the appearance of biker gangs, Lincoln’s felon status after a murder attempt and incarceration, and a new Sheriff who hails from Detroit, quickly becoming Georgia’s boyfriend.

Out of the blue, she receives a text that spurs her to action – one of her many foster sisters from years past is calling for help, using a code they had as kids. She tells Georgia she’s at Devil’s Den, a dangerous establishment well off the beaten track and overrun with bikers. As Georgia arrives and finds Jenna, she denies having called her. Confused, Georgia heads back out to her truck, only to trip on the body of another foster sister, Rachel, who appears to have been strangled. 

From this point on, the novel takes off like a rocket as Georgia starts asking her own questions and investigating the events leading up to Rachel’s death. But things just don’t add up – she and the Sheriff disagree on the cause of death, and Rachel’s body mysteriously disappears from the hospital morgue, reportedly cremated per family request. Georgia visits Rachel’s family, then loses her brakes and rolls her truck – an accident that appears to be no accident – but who wants her dead and why? Then, another death, and a disappearance, leaving Georgia wondering who she can trust…yet determined to leave no stone unturned…

Oh my goodness, this book was SOOOO GOOD! You’ll be sucked in quickly and find yourself frantically flipping pages to see what happens next. I started this book at bedtime and stayed up half the night just to finish – I couldn’t have put it down in I wanted to! I love Georgia’s character and am eager to see how she’ll develop and how the series will progress! Add this book to your ‘must read’ list immediately – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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