Follow Me – Kathleen Barber

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. This review will also publish to my blog, tropicaldelusions.blog, a few days before publication.

Audrey Miller is the girl next door, with her eye catching beauty and outgoing personality, as well as her success as an Instagrammer. Followed far and wide by those wishing to connect to her exuberant lifestyle, she’s created quite a fan base. But some of those fans are not as harmless as the others…

Audrey decides to make a big move, from NYC to Washington DC after she receives a job offer from a DC museum looking for a social media manager. Upon her arrival, she connects with a friend Cat, who resides in DC and the two renew their friendship. Unbeknownst to Audrey, someone else has been awaiting her arrival as well.

As Audrey settles into her new apartment and job, she finds herself the unwelcome recipient of unwanted attention, and unannounced visits from her landlord’s grandson. Then one night, she hears noises at her bedroom window, and sneaks out to see an individual running away. Flowers appear, in her favorite color. She also finds herself dealing with the subtle advances of a colleague, and the booty calls of an old lover. And then she meets Max, a friend of Cats, whom she falls head over heels for. But someone isn’t happy…

Told from the perspectives of the various characters, including a stalker identified only as Him, we gain depth into the individual quirks of each character as well as the moments that drive them. I would almost call this a young adult read, particularly as it relates to the dangers of social media posting, and how much is too much.

I found this to be a quick, engaging & enlightening read, with a gentle reminder – do you really know who your friends are??

A Cold Trail – Robert Dugoni

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Tracy Crosswhite & husband Dan O’Leary have returned to Cedar Grove for a short stay while their Seattle home is renovated, with their two-month-old daughter, Daniella, in tow. While difficult for Tracy after the death of her sister, she and Dan do want their child to know her parent’s roots. With nanny, Therese, present as well, Tracy is still trying to decide if she wants to return to detective work or become a stay-at-home Mom. While police work is in her blood, she worries of the inherent danger of the job. Dan, meanwhile, is assisting a client with some legal issues pertaining to his business in Cedar Grove.

While out on a date night, Tracy runs into retired Cedar Grove police chief, Roy Calloway, who appears to be back in uniform. Puzzled, Tracy stops into to see him the next day and learns that active chief Finlay Armstrong has been sidelined after the house fire that had killed his wife, Kimberly. The fire has been ruled arson. An autopsy has revealed that Finlay’s wife died of blunt force trauma to the head. She also learns that Kimberly had been writing a book about the murder of teen-ager Heather Johansen, which had been attributed to the murderer that had killed Tracy’s sister Sarah all those years ago. This is complicated by the fact that Finlay Armstrong had dated Heather all those years ago. After a discussion about the case, Roy asks Tracy for her assistance with the murder investigation.

Torn between mothering and assisting, Tracy finds herself interested in the case, and agrees to assist, much to her husband’s dismay. It’s in reviewing her sisters old high school diaries that Tracy inadvertently finds her first clue. As Tracy begins her present day investigation, another murder is linked to the case – but how do these pieces fit together – and why? Meanwhile Dan’s case uncovers some pretty interesting information that may somehow tie his case into Tracy’s investigation. But the deeper Tracy digs, the more unsettled a killer gets – and that killer will do anything to keep his 25-year secret safe…

I have loved this series since I first discovered it, and this latest addition is no exception! Reminiscent of JT Ellison’s Taylor Jackson series, this series delivers with great characters, a believable mystery, plenty of suspense and a fabulous heroine in Tracy! I couldn’t put it down! Robert Dugoni has been added to my ‘must read’ author’s list!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. This review will also publish to my blog on its publication date of 4 Feb 2020.

Good Girls Lie – Karin Slaughter

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Ash Carlisle is a young girl traveling from England to Marchburg, VA to start her sophomore year of high school at the prestigious all female “Goode School”. Having recently lost her parents to suicide, she is fulfilling her father’s wishes for an appropriate education to meet the terms of her inheritance. Upon her arrival to the school, she is immediately singled out by Becca Curtis, a senior, despite her best efforts to keep a low profile.

As Ash slowly makes the acquaintance of her instructors and her roommate, she attempts to make herself a place at the school, all the while trying to keep a low profile. Her introspection as she settles in gives you snippets of information and clues into her past life – an abusive father, an emotionally absent mother, the death of her young brother when Ash was 6 years old. Then, a teacher dies of apparent natural causes – and shortly thereafter, Ash’s roommate is found dead after having fallen from the bell tower, but no one knows if it was suicide or murder…and Ash finds herself under scrutiny…

There is so much more I could relate to this review, but not without giving spoilers into a mind-blowing novel, with a jaw dropping finish.. In fact, now that I’ve reached the end, I feel compelled to go back and start again to see what nuances I might have missed! If you’ve ever read anything by Karin Slaughter, you already know that she delivers in spades, and this book is no exception! A MUST read!!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Their Last Breath – Sibel Hodge

Since joining Netgalley, I’ve been given the opportunity to read more than a few British authors, and have much enjoyed these adventures ‘across the pond’. This newest one, by author Sibel Hodge, did not disappoint, and I will absolutely be reading her again!

It’s 0335 when retired Detective Sargeant Warren Carter answers his phone to hear a former supervisor in his ear, asking for an early morning meeting. Still fearful about his deception from another case being discovered, he’s sure he’s been found out, but the meeting is actually for something quite different.

Superintendent Caroline Barker advises him of a structure fire that had occurred earlier that AM. Inside the building were six women who had been found chained to the wall, and all but one was deceased. With one of the bodies was a warrant card that held the logo of their police department. She then asks him to come out of retirement to help her investigate the possible connection. He accepts and becomes the acting investigator for the Police Anti-Corruption Squad.

Flash to a refugee camp in Syria, where a young woman, Hayat, is hoping to barter for a trip to England where she can work and live in safety. She secures a ride out of the camp, but her journey is just beginning…

Meanwhile, DI Becky Harris is investigating the deaths of two people – seemingly random murders – stumbled upon by Gillian, the wife of the homeowner, returning unexpectedly. More interesting to Becky is that the killer chased Gillian into the street, where she was struck by a car – and who was Gillian’s husband with?

As each investigation continues, Becky begins to suspect that they are somehow connected. Her commanding officer, decorated DCI Munroe, disagrees and continually attempts to refocus Becky’s attention elsewhere. But Becky is not deterred and connects with DS Carter to share her concerns, and the two together bring down a house of police corruption and human trafficking that reaches to the highest level.

Told from the perspectives of Warren, Becky & Hayat, this is a novel of human trafficking, abuse and perseverance, and it will resonate with you long after the final page is turned. I loved it!

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.