Vanished On Vacation – Jenifer Ruff

A trio of college students head to Mexico for a vacation, including Avery, the niece of FBI Special Agent Victoria Heslin.  While preparing for their return home, Avery learns she’s tested positive for COVID, which means she’ll need to remain behind in quarantine until she’s virus free – a possibility they’d been prepared for.  But instead, she disappears… 

Victoria and her partner Rivera immediately head to the resort where the girls were staying and connect with the local law enforcement, who appear to have done a competent job, and seem willing to share resources.  As the agents do their own reconnaissance, by connecting with resort visitors, as well as conversations with Avery’s travel friends, they learn that the male employee who escorted Avery to quarantine was seen in other places about the resort and is even captured in some pictures the girls took.  But he’s nowhere to be found and is it quickly determined that he is not resort staff. So, who was he – and why take Avery?

As Victoria digs deeper, an apparent drowning victim is found on the beach, and the Mexican police quickly and inexplicably become much less cooperative. Determined to find her niece with or without their help, she continues her search for this mysterious man – but the wrong question, directed at the wrong person, at the wrong time lands Victoria in a world of trouble, requiring every ounce of strength she possesses to get herself, and her niece to safety…

This was my first foray into the world of Jennifer Ruff and her Victoria Heslin series (Another series!! Yay!!) but most assuredly, it will not be my last.  This book had me hooked from the start – the characters are engaging, the plot is well orchestrated and suspenseful – the pages practically turn themselves, and I love me a strong female protagonist!  A great read for the beach or a rainy day! I can’t wait to catch up on this series!! 

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

Will be available via all major booksellers on October 7th, 2022 😊

Righteous Prey – John Sanford

They call themselves The Five – a group of individuals who have decided on a list of persons who need to be killed.  They describe themselves as doing a service for the American people and acknowledge the thrill in hunting – and being hunted themselves for the crimes. With the first murder comes a press release…” We are pleased to announce the death of…” along with their rationale for the selection, a donation made to a charitable organization, in Bitcoin, and a hint of who their Number 2 victim will be – a politician.  A week later, another body, and press release, and shortly after that, The Five make their first mistake – they commit a murder in Minnesota…

Virgil Flowers, of the Minnesota BCA, is putting the finishing touches on his third novel – this one he hopes to sell – when the phone rings. His boss is ordering him to a homicide scene – but not just any scene – this is victim Number 3 – in nearby Minnetonka – and the ‘press release’ is already out. As Virgil arrives on scene, he sees none other than his old buddy Lucas Davenport, now a US Marshall, already on scene.  As they investigate, they find little to work with, other than an incidental sighting of a Subaru in a neighborhood known for its upscale tastes.  

With little else to go on, Lucas & Virgil dive headfirst into the investigation, as they assist the FBI who has now commandeered the case.  As they follow a lead, however slim, they somehow manage to ID one of the killers, sending her on the run.  With these two hot on her trail, it’s only a matter of time…  From one end of the country to the other, they’ll stop at nothing to being this slick group of killers down. 

I’ve been a long-time fan of John Sandford and both the Lucas Davenport & Virgil Flowers series, and I am never disappointed – they just keep getting better and better! It was a real treat to have both characters get equal billing in this novel! I never tire of the witty repartee between these characters and the overall laugh-out-load commentary courtesy of Lucas! A Prey book is like having a great friend stop by for a visit – but the visit doesn’t last nearly long enough!! 

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

Last Seen Alive – Carolyn Arnold

Detective Amanda Steele is out for a drink when she chances to fun into an old fling at the local bar and decides to go home with him for a night of ‘no strings’ fun. As they arrive at his home, things get hot and heavy, and as they’re heading to his bedroom, Amanda smells blood – and together they find Logan’s wife Clare, clad in lingerie, lying in the middle of his bed, dead from a gunshot wound.  

Amanda quickly hustles Logan out of the room, summoning her colleagues as she does so, but not before noticing a gun lying at the bedside. As the investigative team arrives on scene, she is left to ponder – is Logan the innocent bystander he claims to be? Or is he responsible for the death of the woman dressed in lingerie in the center of his bed? 

With Amanda’s superior on scene, she is quickly recused from the case due to her relationship with the suspect. As the scene is processed, investigators quickly find the evidence necessary to charge Logan w/ murder…but Amanda is conflicted. Is he a stone-cold killer – or is someone determined to frame him?  And where has Clare been for the last four years after walking out on Logan? 

As the brass sent their sights on the quick arrest and closure, Amanda & Trent begin to dig into Clare’s past. As they stumble upon a large sum of money she had in her possession, their suspicions only grow. A trip back to her childhood home brings even more questions. What was Clare involved in?  Why did she try to return to Logan? And who really killed her? 

I just love this series!  As with all of the books, it’s easily read as a standalone, but the subtle shifting of relationships as the series progresses is intriguing, especially the attraction between Amanda and Trent, which they’re finally acknowledging. Action packed and suspenseful, this book is full of good stuff and had me up well into the night! This series just gets better and better!

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!!

Fall Guy – Archer Mayor

It’s a chilly winter’s day when Joe Gunther, Field Commander of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, is summoned to a scene. A vehicle, reported stolen several days ago from New Hampshire, has been found – with a dead body stuffed inside the trunk. In the vehicle itself is a bunch of junk – low end items invariably stolen from a multitude of places. Of the six phones removed from the vehicle, one is quickly found to have child pornography.  Another, inextricably, links to a missing persons case from several years ago – one that was never solved. 

As Joe and his team document the scene, Beverly Hillstrom, the Chief Medical Examiner and Joe’s significant other, arrives on scene to collect the body. A quick on scene examination reveals a blow to the head as a likely source of death.  A quick identification is made via a biometric scanner, complete with rap sheet and next of kin. The phones and random property appear to belong to various individuals, with each individual item needing follow up, as they look for a relationship, if any, to the vehicle owner – or the deceased. 

 A task force is formed with all the usual players we’ve come to know and love; the team splitting up to start unraveling the clues they’ve discovered, including the rescue of a young child from exploitation. Attempts to re-create the last week of travel via the stolen vehicle’s GPS reveal a multitude of stops, seemingly random, but all must be visited – with every destination seemingly provoking more questions than answers.  Joe and his team must pull out all the stops to get to the bottom of this one – and do so with a very unexpected and a bit abrupt, but very satisfying ending! 

As a former New Englander, I love the rich storytelling Archer Mayor provides, in his detailed and colorful descriptions of the Vermont/New Hampshire area.  I can easily visualize the towns and geography he describes, making me more than a bit homesick for those days of my youth!  I adore the Joe Gunther character and his merry group of investigators, and I know with each book release that I need to settle in for a nice long uninterrupted read. This one was no exception! Another great read from one of the greats!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!