Pretty Broken Dolls – Jennifer Chase

Detective Katie Scott and her canine Cisco return in another adventure in a series that has become one of my favorites to read! 

Katie Scott and her partner Sean McGaven are serving a warrant to search a pond, and if Katie’s guess is correct, to retrieve the victim of a murder. As crews search the waters, she notices an individual outside of the crime scene tape, watching the search…watching her…. Once the body is recovered, she goes in search of him, but he leaves before she reaches him.  

After a weekend off relaxing, Katie returns to work, only to immediately be summoned to the Sherriff’s office, where she again sees the man who was watching her crime scene. He is introduced as Special Agent Dane Campbell and he is here to ask for her assistance in a case that has his agency stone-walled. Acknowledging her cold case solve rate, he is hopeful that she can assist him in finding his killer. 

As he outlines the case – three women who have been killed, each exactly a year apart, garishly displayed with heavy make-up applied, and a piece of jewelry tied nearby with ribbon – he reports that he believes the killer will strike again soon, in keeping with the yearly pattern. As Katie & Sean accept the case, she remains perplexed as to why she’s being asked to assist.  Shortly thereafter, another victim turns up, this one at the local fairgrounds, secured to a Ferris wheel.  

Katie quickly discovers a commonality between the victims, as well as a link to herself – all of the women were former dog handlers for the Army. A visit to her old Army base where she and Cisco first bonded brings back many memories but yields little in the way of clues. As she and Chad revisit the old crime scenes and sift through the pieces left of those broken lives, they find more questions than answers. But the killer is lurking close by and soon, a friend of Katie’s goes missing…can Katie find her friend and identify the killer, before it’s too late? 

This is the sixth in a fantastic, action packed series of novels featuring Detective Katie Scott and her K9 Cisco. Katie is an engaging, spunky and loveable character with her own flaws as she continues struggling to overcome her anxiety & panic attacks resulting from her time deployed, as she excels in the civilian law enforcement world. Cisco – well who can resist such an awesome dog? Filled with all of the action, mystery and suspense you’re looking for in a good who-dun-it!!  Now, as always, I anxiously await the next adventure for this duo!  A great series!! Cannot recommend it enough!

Available August 5th!

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

Dark Roads – Chevy Stevens

I have to preface this review by saying – I loved this book! I’ve not read this author before, and the title and synopsis sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a try.  I was immediately drawn in by the first paragraph and captivated by the end of the prologue. 

Set in Canada, the story begins with a young woman describing how she came to be one of the victims of the Cold Creek killer – an unknown person or persons who has been killing and disposing of bodies along the Cold Creek Highway in the North Country for decades, leaving an untold number of victims in his wake.  

Hailey is a newly orphaned 17-year-old who now lives with her Aunt Lana and Lana’s husband Vaughn after the unexpected death of her father in a motor vehicle accident. She loves her Aunt and nephew Cash, but she and the rest of the area teens dislike Vaughn, a local cop, and have nicknamed him the Iceman. Hailey’s best friend Jonny is a skilled dirt bike rider and has taught Hailey all he knows. He occasionally steals parts as necessary to keep his and Hailey’s bikes running.  Vaughn suspects the thefts and strongly discourages the relationship. He harasses Jonny every chance he gets, and continually appears where Hailey is and attempts to limit her freedom and her contact with Jonny, continually warning her about the dangers of running off alone because of the Cold Creek Killer.  Hailey, distrustful of Vaughn, and miserable under his watchful eye, carefully plots her disappearance, with Jonny’s help…

A year goes by, and Beth arrives in Cold Creek for a memorial,  as she mourns the loss of her sister, one of the Cold Creek killer’s presumed victims from the previous summer. Beth and Jonny become involved, and she decides to stay, finding a job at the diner where Angie used to work, and settling into small town life as she tries to learn what really happened to her. On an evening of over-indulgence at the local bar, she runs into Vaughn, who insists on escorting her home, and she wakes with little memory of what, if anything, had transpired. Uneasy over the situation, she opts to leave her hotel, heading to the local campground to stay for a while, although it seems Vaughn is never far. 

What secrets do the mountains hold? Is Vaughn an overzealous cop trying to keep his townspeople safe, or is he something more?  What happened to Hailey?  Who killed Beth’s sister Amber?  As Amber searches for answers, she finds more than she bargained for as she comes face to face with a killer…

Again – I absolutely LOVED this book!! Hooked me from the start and had me flipping pages well into the night just to learn the answers to all of the questions above! Great read – unputdownable!!

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

Blind Tiger – Sandra Brown

As a preface to this review, I have to say I read my first Sandra Brown novel while I was in nursing school and she quickly became a favorite. I am now a 29-year veteran of my nursing career, and she is still at the top of my “must read” list. I don’t need to read the back of the book to see if I’m going to like it…when Sandra Brown releases a new book, I already know I’m going to LOVE it!

The year is 1920 and Prohibition has just gone into effect, shortly after the war’s end. Laurel Plummer and her husband Derby, an Army soldier, have gathered up all of their meager belongings, along with their infant daughter and packed them into their used Model T for a journey to Derby’s fathers homestead in southwest Texas. Upon their arrival to a home that’s little more than a shack, Laurel realizes that Irv, Derby’s father, didn’t know about her and Pearl. That evening, an unexpected event brings sudden change to the fledgling family…

Thatcher Hutton is riding a train as a boxcar hobo along with three other men, whom he knows are prepared to jump him during the night. Biding his time, with darkness as a cover, he leaps off the train, and finds himself in the middle of nowhere. After a nap, he starts walking hoping to find a town nearby. Soon he stumbles onto the property where Laurel is staying, and she gives him some water and directions into town. Thatcher barely settles into town and finds some work when Doc Driscoll’s pregnant wife goes missing, and Thatcher is accused of involvement in the disappearance.

Laurel quickly catches on to her father-in-law’s moonshine distillery and sales, hidden by his ‘local handyman’ status and decides to help him expand the business. Under the guise of selling homemade pies to area families and establishments, Laurel & Irv rapidly expand their clientele, much to the displeasure of other bootlegging families in town. Soon, the unrest spills over into violence as each family scrambles to destroy those who threaten their success. And Laurel must fight her ongoing attraction to Thatcher, a man now on the opposite side of the law…

I couldn’t put it down! Sandra Brown weaves her magic into every page of this novel and has created rich, in-depth characters and vivid, colorful prose that brings a long gone era back to life as each page is turned – I would love to see this become a screenplay. Give it a read, you will NOT be disappointed…that’s a promise!! 

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

The Night She Disappeared – Kevin O’Brien

Anna Malone, Seattle TV news reporter, is abruptly pulled from a deep sleep by a ringing phone. Groggy, presumably from too many drinks at dinner last night, she fuzzily tries to piece together the evening, uncomfortable as it was, as she shakes off sleep.  Several minutes later, the phone rings again.  When Anna answers, it’s her married lover, Dr. Russ Knoll on the phone. He’s asking if Anna has heard from Courtney – she appears to be missing…

Courtney is Russ’s wife, and the three had been out to dinner last evening to celebrate the completion of a feature story that Anna had filmed on Courtney, a deaf author, hoping to break into the big time with a new fiction series. Throughout their covert relationship, Russ has assured Anna that his marriage is over, and that he and Courtney were planning to split amicably in the near future. Now, she has seemingly disappeared, and Anna can’t remember much of anything from last night’s dinner – and knows the investigation is just beginning…

As the days pass, news of Anna’s & Russ’s affair comes to light, and both are quickly vilified by the press. Talk Show Host Sally Justice is particularly virulent in her defamation of Anna’s character as she takes to the airwaves each night in an effort to sway public opinion.  Desperate to remember the events of that fateful evening, Anna turns to a renowned hypnotist in hopes of regaining her memory…and then things really go sideways…

This is vintage Kevin O’Brien! The ending took me completely by surprise and was not what I was expecting at all! Make sure you’ve got time set aside to read when you pick this one up – it’s a wild ride – and will keep you frantically turning pages until the last is turned! 

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