In The Pines – Kendra Elliott

It’s a busy day in Eagles Nest, OR, when a young teen comes to the local diner looking for some help and finds Police Chief Truman Daly. He tells Truman that his mother, Bridget Kerr and baby sister Molly are missing and have been so for two weeks. He tells Truman that he was told if she didn’t return within a certain amount of time, that he was to go for help. His father is recently deceased. All he knows is that his mother was looking for her brother. But he doesn’t know who his uncle is or where his mother may have gone. With a young child missing, Truman immediately notifies Mercy. 

As Theodore leads the duo on a very roundabout path to his home nestled in the woods, they meet his younger sister Charlotte and quickly recognize the signs of ‘peppers’ – a survivalist family – no computers, no phones and minimal interaction with the townspeople. As they gently search the house for clues to Bridget’s whereabouts, they find a small cache of pictures hidden. Though the pictures are several years old, Mercy recognizes someone in the pictures – a friend from a nearby Sherriff’s department.

A quick visit to Detective Evan Bolton reveals some astonishing news – Bridget, is actually Bethany – Evan’s sister, who’s been missing for fourteen years.  Evan is stunned, and immediately joins the investigation as he prepares to meet his niece and nephew. As the children bond with their uncle, they begin to confide in the group – including a startling fact about their father. 

Meanwhile, a recently deceased millionaire has reportedly hidden a treasure and his attorney has posted a cryptic poem that will ultimately lead one lucky individual to the cache.  As a result, Eagle’s Nest has been flooded with tourists, all hoping that the mountainous region may be guarding the prize.  With the treasure hunters come other problems, with Truman and his team fielding frequent calls for fighting, trespassing and finally murder. 

As the team works to find Bethany, Truman is seeking a killer in his rural town, all while the hunt is on to find a valuable treasure… 

First, I just have to say that I was ecstatic to see Mercy & Truman returning to print!!  Her character became very near and dear to me as I worked through her ‘Merciful’ series, originally slated to end after six novels. Apparently, I was not alone in that sentiment as I read her Acknowledgements page and I am thrilled that there will be more of Mercy and crew forthcoming!! I love these books!! 

That being said – as always, this was a great read! Don’t pick it up until you have the time to read it cover to cover – it’s that good (as they ALL have been!!! )

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Montlake in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!

Local Girl Missing – Lisa Regan

Josie Quinn & Noah Fraley are just returning home from their honeymoon, driving along a country road on a foggy Pennsylvania morning when they hear screaming – then the wisp of what appears to be a young woman rushes across the road in front of them. Josie quickly pulls off the road as she and Noah begin searching for her. They find an empty car, door open, then discover a woman being choked by a man. As Josie cries out to stop the assault, she tackles the man before he breaks free and takes off running, a look of horror on his face. As Noah tends to the woman, Jose takes off after the assailant, catching up to him just before he leaps off a cliff into the river below… 

As she returns to the roadside, she finds Noah doing CPR, and knows that the young woman is gone.  A quick look at the abandoned car and its contents spilled over the roadway along with the license plate helps them to identify the deceased. A good look at the vehicle interior makes them realize there was another female passenger, but a search of the surrounding woods is fruitless.  The assailant is quickly identified as well by his car, also found nearby. 

Visits to the girls’ parents yield little clue to what might have happened. They were reportedly close friends, both working at a local hotel as part of the catering team. None of them recognize a picture of the girls’ assailant. But one parent does tell the detectives that a couple of weeks ago, his home had been ransacked from top to bottom, yet nothing was stolen. The autopsy on the dead teen reveals signs of torture… A visit to the killer’s home brings even more questions – his wife convinced he’s at work, horrified by the accusations being made. A lifelong knowledge of the Denton woods helps the team to locate the hideout of the killer, but he is frightened – of something – and refuses to utter a word. 

As Josie and her team work to put the seemingly random pieces of the puzzle together, there seems to be one common denominator – the hotel – but what did two teens do to draw the ire of a local businessman?  And what are they all so afraid of?

As will all Josie Quinn books, Lisa Regan takes us on a wild ride full of action, suspense and numerous twists and turns that will have you scratching your head and reading well into the night! Any guess I had as to which way the storyline was headed was dead wrong, and just when you think you’ve reached the end…nope, not yet… 

Incidentally, I was also saddened to learn of the death of the Ms. Regan’s father in her Acknowledgements, and now fully understand the pervasive sadness that had persisted through the last couple of novels after Lisette’s death.  

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Bookouture in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!

Hidden Bones – Rita Herron

A small group of teens head out to an old, abandoned, supposedly haunted house in the woods for a sleep over – the newest Tik Tok trend – only to see a figure in a window. They hurriedly flee, but one of them, Mandy, falls into a deep pit that contains bones – and they appear to be human remains… 

It’s spring break time in Crooked Creek, GA and Detective Ellie Reeves is exhausted – literally. In addition to the usual shenanigans, some teens have been breaking and entering in to places they don’t belong, leading to arrests and inevitable confrontations with parents. She swings into the Corner Café and finds close friend and confidant Ranger Cord McClain at the bar and joins him while she waits for her dinner order. Then their phones ring simultaneously as they learn that a kid has fallen into a pit at the old Hawk House. 

As they arrive, Ellie learns that her niece is the teen who fell into the pit. She and Cord quickly get her up and back on solid ground, but not before Ellie catches a glimpse of a skull and other bones that appear to be partially buried in the dirt walls of the pit. The Evidence Response Team is called and Ellie opts to call in FBI Special Investigator Derrick Fox. 

There have long been rumors of cruelty and abuse surrounding the now defunct orphanage named Hawk House, but no one to confirm or deny them. The story went that the headmaster packed up and disappeared one day, causing the place to be closed a couple of months later. But the stories were never verified – the Sheriff at the time reportedly found nothing that caused concern. Ellie and her team start to dig into the past, hoping to learn what really happened all those years ago. 

As the investigation intensifies, a search of the building turns up some horrors of its own, and more osseous remains are found. Meanwhile a woman’s brutalized body has just been found, stuffed into a plastic bag and tossed down a cliff.  Are these two separate incidents – or are they related??  As the team works fervently to find answers from killings both past and present, someone is equally determined to keep old secrets protected…and he has Ellie dead in his sights… 

Another great installment of the Ellie Reeve’s series, with hopefully many more to come!  Far-fetched, yep, absolutely, but what a great suspenseful, action-packed read – complete with diabolical bad guys and a strong, fearless female to bring ‘em down!  Don’t pick it up until you’ve got time to curl up and read – you’re not going to want to put it down!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Bookouture in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!

I Remember You – Brian Freeman

This was a WILD ride! 

Hallie Evers is a down-on-her-luck marketing freelancer living in Vegas and she’s having a horrible 4th of July. She’s just been fired from her current job, and her boyfriend of two years has left her for her best friend and roommate – so now she’s essentially homeless as well.  Feeling pretty despondent at the rooftop party she’s attending, she decides to snort a line of coke. She then wakes up in the hospital, after suffering a cardiac arrest. Fortunately for her, a party attendee, who happened to be a physician, saw Hallie fall and provided resuscitative measures. 

As Hallie absorbs the implications of what has happened, she notices her head feels strange. In response to her nurses questioning, the only description she can give is that she feels ‘crowded’. When her nurse asks if she had any visions, she describes seeing Poseidon with his trident.  Mystified as to its significance, she shrugs it off. But then, the vivid dreams start – and soon she sees people following her. As she is the daughter of a paranoid schizophrenic, Hallie begins to fear for her sanity. 

A next day call to her agent yields a potential high paying job. As Hallie goes to interview, she finds herself mesmerized by the photos he has displayed in his office. The scenes in the photos are very familiar – she can still taste the lobster she had at an eatery there.  The only problem is…she’s never been to Boston in her life…. And the dreams she’s having each night – they seem so familiar somehow – like she’s watching someone else’s life. 

With no idea what’s happening to her, Hallie eludes her perceived pursuers and makes the journey to Boston in hopes of learning the origin of these strange memories she has and the dreams that plague her at night. Is this a slow descent into madness due to a psychiatric illness – or something a lot more sinister??  

I have loved Mr. Freeman’s work since picking up his first novel all those years ago, and I have NEVER been disappointed. This story is no different, a page or two in and I was already hooked – and had work not intervened, would have easily read it in one sitting.  Hallie’s life experiences, and the adventures that follow her death and resuscitation make for a fascinating, frightening and fabulous read!! 

Available from your favorite bookseller on August 9th!

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, along w/ Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!