Dead Against Her – Melinda Leigh

Sheriff Bree Taggert catches a call from a concerned individual regarding the well-being of his elderly neighbor.  With her deputies busy on other calls, she opts to make the visit herself.  Upon her arrival, a quick look around reveals things are quiet – a little too quiet, perhaps.  As she enters the home, the smell hits her immediately, and she cringes, believing the old woman died alone of natural causes. But the sight she finds stops her short – two individuals, tied to chairs facing one another, and both have been shot. As she surveys the scene while waiting for Investigator Matt Flynn, she realizes that one of the victims is none other than Deputy Eugene Oscar, who was recently fired from the Sheriff’s Department because of Bree. The other is his elderly mother. 

As the team processes the scene, Bree & Matt begin their investigation by notifying and interviewing remaining family members, including the former deputy’s uncle. He describes his nephew as a bit sketchy but has no ideas as to who might want Eugene, or his mother, dead. Additional interviews with Eugene’s former co-workers, yield little more, although they discover a possible connection to a group called the Hudson Footmen, a survivalist group. 

Meanwhile, Bree has another headache to contend with. Someone is determinedly harassing her, this time with a picture and a lurid rape fantasy, detailing all they plan to do to her.  Additionally, doctored pictures and video of Bree have been found on Oscar’s computer. During a press conference, she learns that the doctored video has been making the rounds, as a reporter comments on the film. Despite her assertions that they are fake, the story grows, with townspeople and reporters beginning to demand Bree’s resignation. 

As Bree and her team work to solve the murders, the harassment escalates – then Todd, her Chief Deputy – goes missing. As the team pulls out all the stops to try and bring Todd home alive, Bee prays that they are not too late…

This book caught my attention from page one and I finished it in one sitting, because I just couldn’t put it down – it was just that good!!  I love these characters and I’m delighted that it is a# 5 in a series! I’ll be ordering the remainder of the series as soon as this review is completed – I have no idea how I’ve missed Melinda Leigh’s work prior to this!  Easily read as a standalone – but will leave you wanting for more, I promise!! 

Available from your favorite bookseller on May 17th!

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!!

Six Graves – Angela Marston

Detective Inspector Kim Stone is attending a teamwork activity with her homicide team in the British countryside, when a patrol car comes screeching to a stop Two officers from the tactical driving unit exit and instruct Kim that she needs to come with them now, per orders of Captain Woodward. After a spirited argument, she agrees, noting that one of the officers is armed, which is unusual.  Upon arriving at headquarters, she learns that a prolific murderer that she had captured, Symes, has managed to escape from prison. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’ll be coming for Kim.  She is assigned a witness protection officer, Leanne King, to be by her side until Symes is re-captured. She is also forbidden to participate in the search for the killer.

Shortly thereafter, she and her team are called to a homicide scene, where a family of four has been found dead, with the gun found on the floor beside the deceased mother. As Kim and her team dig into the background of this family, they find some interesting family dynamics in the survivors, which leads to more questions than answers. Despite a long history of depression, nothing on the scene indicates to Kim that this woman was planning to kill her family. In fact, they were due to accept a foster child into their home the very next week. But who would want them dead? What is the family not telling them? Why is there a sealed record from years ago? Does it have any bearing on the present? 

As Kim and her team work to find the answers, another member of the family is killed, when she is struck by a car in the street. Finding this latest death too coincidental, the team digs even deeper in their search for a motive which they hope will lead them straight to the killer. Meanwhile. Symes is closer than anyone suspects, just waiting to make his move. He will never forgive her for his capture, or the loss of an eye during that last encounter – and he has absolutely nothing to lose…so when he can’t get to her, he finds a way to draw her to him…but will either of them survive the showdown? 

This is the 16th novel in the Kim Stone series, and yet the first from this author that I’ve read – I loved it! I had no idea this series existed, and I will most definitely be reading more of Kim’s exploits. Easily read as a standalone, but there are references to prior situations that make me want to read the series from the beginning. For me, there’s not much better than a new series to dig into!  I also loved the author’s book dedication to her 93 year-old fan as well!! 

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!!

My Wife Is Missing – D.J. Palmer

Michael Hart is heading back to his family’s NY City hotel room with a pizza for dinner when he spots his son’s favorite stuffed animal, Teddy, abandoned in the hallway.  Presuming Teddy was dropped, he scoops him up and idly wonders how his son, Bryce, lost him when they are typically inseparable.  He enters their hotel room, surprised by the silence, and wonders where his family has gone to when they knew he was fetching dinner. He texts his wife the let her know he’s returned but receives no reply.  It takes him a short while to realize that all his family’s belongings are gone – except his.

Michael then has hotel security call the police, to report his family’s disappearance.  As the responding officers discuss the incident with Michael, hotel security personnel screen video footage from the various cameras. To Michael’s bewilderment, he sees his wife and children exiting the hotel through a back entrance, and climbing into a sedan, before they disappear from view.  They’ve clearly left of their own accord…but why??

The book next cuts to Natalie Hart in her workplace, before her disappearance, as she’s worrying about the distance that’s growing between her and Michael, whom she suspects might be having an affair.  With her worries, comes insomnia, and little incidents that have her questioning her sanity.  Michael has been appropriately concerned… or has he?  With this on her mind, she enters the staff kitchen and encounters a young woman crying.  After a quick check to ensure she’s okay, the women strike up a conversation and head to lunch, with Natalie thinking perhaps she can use this young woman, who is quite beautiful, as bait to test her husband’s fidelity. 

From this point on, the book alternates between Michael’s attempts to find and re-claim his family, and Natalie’s gradual discovery of events so startling, she feels the need to flee to safety, to protect her family.  As Natalie desperately attempts to outrun the man she once loved, Michael is just as intent in reuniting his family. He gains some unexpected assistance from an off-duty NY Detective, who insists on accompanying him on his search – yet seems to know far more than he should about Michael, and a past he’d much rather forget. 

As revelations about each character are revealed, and you think you finally have it all figured out…just know that you’re wrong! This book takes off running, and as each little reveal is made, you’ll find yourself just flipping the pages even faster as you try to guess the end game…  A consummate psychological thriller from one of the best!! 

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

Dreaming of Flight – Catherine Ryan Hyde

This novel is a bit different from those I typically read, but there’s just something so refreshing and heartwarming about Catherine Ryan Hyde’s storytelling, I just cannot pass her up. This latest gem is no exception!

Stewie Little is a young, empathic 11-year-old boy who resides with his older sister Stacey and his handicapped older brother Theo. Still reeling from the death of his grandmother, “Gam”, he devotes himself to her flock of chickens, and sells the eggs they produce to their neighbors.  On this particular day, he has a couple dozen left over in his wagon, so he continues to a home a little farther up the road, where he happens upon Marilyn, a brash, irascible old woman, who reminds him strangely of his grandmother. He makes the sale and promises to return next week with more eggs. 

Marilyn has her own quirks. She resides with a young single mother, gaining free room and board in exchange for childcare. As the reader quickly learns, Marilyn has memory issues and is fearful that the police are going to find her any day now. From day to day, the reader sees evidence of her dementia – her inability to remember things, like Stewie’s name – and her fear of being caught, but like most with early dementia, she covers it well. 

In spite of these challenges, both Marilyn & Stewie find a little something in one another that neither knew they needed. Inspired by this little boy, Marilyn purchases a copy of the book, Stuart Little, so Stewie can read about his namesake. Shortly thereafter, she realizes that Stewie is unable to read. Angered over the school system seemingly failing this boy, Marilyn goes into town for a word with the principal, passing herself off as his grandmother. Then the police do come…with Stewie witnessing Marilyn’s arrest. 

As Stewie struggles to understand the nuances of right and wrong, he begins to understand that people can do wrong things without being ‘bad’, and that people can deeply hurt the ones they love without ever meaning to. He also learns of the power of love, loss, grieving and acceptance, as well as the importance of moving on, and in doing so teaches the reader a thing or two as well. 

A wonderful story, from a wonderful writer – will give you all the feels!! 

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