Missing Angel – Roger Stelljes

It’s a seemingly normal afternoon as 6th grader Isabella Farner packs up her school gear in preparation from the bike ride home across the park. As she begins pedaling away, friend and neighbor Quinn Braddock, a 7th grader, catches up to her and asks her to a party at his house after their respective soccer games next weekend.  Izzy barely has the chance to say yes when a jogger comes sprinting their way, ski mask on his face, knocking both kids down before he scoops up Izzy and runs to a van tossing her inside and fleeing the scene. Quinn, wind knocked out of him, does the only thing he knows to do. He frantically calls his Dad, Manchester Bay Detective Will Braddock. 

Retired FBI Special Agent Tori Hunter is setting up her home office when she gets the call from Will regarding the abduction of Isabella. As the FBI’s Child Abduction expert before her retirement, she is now a special consultant to Shepard County law enforcement agencies, and Will’s significant other. Immediately heading to the scene, she finds a tearful Quinn, and learns all she can from him and his friends, before heading to Isabella’s home to interview her parents. The question – was this a random abduction, or was Isabella targeted? 

As Will & Tori speak with Isabella’s family, there seem to be no red flags, nothing to indicate a kidnapping for ransom. Isabella’s mother is a well-respected pediatrician in the community, and her father is a trustworthy financial advisor.  Neither can think of anyone who would want to do them harm.  But everything the eyewitnesses are able to tell them seem to indicate that Isabella was targeted – but by who? 

As Will & Tori dig deeper, they learn of parallels with two other cases in the general vicinity – instances where children were abducted, never to be found. A suspect was identified in those cases, but there was never any proof.  As Tori looks to him once more as a possible perpetrator, he again has an ironclad alibi. Meanwhile, Izzy’s family receives a ransom demand with proof of life – and a warning not to involve the police, or else…

Another fantastic read from Mr. Stelljes!  I just love this series, and the Mac McRyan series is every bit as good!! While each book is great as a standalone, the character and relationship developments as the stories build are important too – I was wondering how Tori was going to manage retirement when she’s such a driven investigator – I needn’t have worried!  I cant wait to see where this series goes next! Great read! Great series!! I promise!! 

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!!

And There He Kept Her – Joshua Moehling

In sleepy Sandy Lake, Minnesota, two teenaged kids break into a home looking for prescription drugs, only to be taken completely by surprise when the homeowner, an obese elderly man, catches them in the act – he’s clutching a double-barreled shotgun, which he fires…twice…

It is acting Sheriff Ben Packards’ day off, although he’s already had to put down a nuisance bear, when he receives a call from his cousin, Susan. Ben learns that his niece, Jenny, seems to have disappeared. Upon further questioning, he learns that Jenny, a Type 1 Diabetic, was last seen last evening, doing her homework in her room.  When Susan went to wake her for school, she wasn’t there.  As she has been caught sneaking out before to see her boyfriend Jesse, Ben & Susan aren’t terribly worried at first. But as time goes by and there’s no trace of or communication from either teen, that changes rapidly.  

As Ben mulls over where Jenny and Jesse may be, he heads out on a complaint call – part of an ongoing conflict between a flamboyantly gay middle-aged male, Gary and his older, very straight-laced Christian neighbor, Cora. (These two characters and their exploits provide some laugh-out-loud hilarity for readers!).  Upon negotiating a truce, sort of, Ben visits Gary’s rescue kennel, and for the first time since his dog’s recent death, considers adopting another.  A hint of Ben’s backstory becomes evident here and will be explained to the reader throughout the story. 

Emmett Burr is an older resident who lives on the outskirts of town, who pops narcotics like candy for his chronic pain and is glad to have finally caught the kids who have been stealing his drugs.  But nothing has helped much today after he pulled something trying to move the Jesse’s body out of his basement, while stashing a seriously injured Jenny in his ‘pink room’ – a hidden area of his basement he built years ago. As he waits for his meds to finally provide some relief, and his buddy Carl to arrive and help him clean up, he reminisces about the first girl he kidnapped, all those years ago… 

As the days go by, Ben and his team begin digging deeper into the kid’s backgrounds and learn that Jesse was peddling pills around the local high school. As the story slowly comes to light, and the police get an idea of where the kids may have been going, their search expands.  As a result, Emmett is getting desperate to be rid of the evidence, and again calls on Carl for help, with the two hatching out a macabre plan.  But in return, Carl wants Jenny… 

This book was AWESOME!!  I was plain sucked in from the first paragraph and could not put this book down!!  Ben’s character is very well-developed, likeable, and all around interesting. Ancillary characters are equally engaging with very colorful personalities. As the reader learns about Ben and what brought him back to Sandy Lake, it becomes clear that there’s more to his story that’s yet to be told…so I am fervently hoping that we’ll be seeing much more of Ben and these fascinating townsfolk sooner rather than later!!  I can’t say enough about this novel – just a fantastic read!! 

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

Edge Of Dusk – Colleen Coble

Annie Pederson was just 9 years old when her 5-year-old sister Laura was kidnapped one evening while they were dockside listening for the eerie call of loons. She was never found. Now, twenty-four years later, Annie is a Law Enforcement Ranger for the wilderness preserve areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a young daughter of her own. Having recently lost both her husband and parents to a boating accident, she divides her time between her job and running her parents’ marina and campsites. 

Jon Dunstan has returned to Rock Harbor to oversee his father’s affairs after a recent debilitating stroke. He is hoping to arrange for repairs needed to get the homestead sold, get his Dad settled and get back to his thriving orthopedics practice in Chicago. When he goes to view the old cottage, he realizes that it needs more work than he can manage, and he’ll be needing to oversee things for a while. He is also anxious to see Annie – he and Annie had been engaged to be married before a furious argument ended the relationship, with him leaving town for his residency, and Annie soon marrying his best friend. She is the girl he has never forgotten. 

Meanwhile, a camper has gone missing, his campsite found in ruins. Shortly thereafter, Annie finds a body, with an obvious gunshot wound to the head, floating in the water near her pier. After notifying the proper authorities, and retrieving his body, they learn that he is the missing camper. It seems apparent that there is a killer on the peninsula. Intriguingly enough, the last time Jon Dunstan was in town, two teenaged girls went missing, and were never found. 

As the investigation heats up, all eyes turn to Jon, who insists that he’s innocent, as he struggles to re-connect and repair his relationship with Annie. But someone on the peninsula is determined to prove otherwise…and they want Annie to stop investigating… 

This was a great read! It captured my interest immediately and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Annie’s character and hope to see more of her in future novels. I didn’t quite understand the actions of Taylor in some of the scenes, and I would have liked more insight into her past and who her now deceased mother was.  Having said that, I just did a bit of snooping on the author’s website and am ecstatic to see the Rock Harbor is a series of novels, so here’s hoping all of my questions are answered as the series goes on. My first from Colleen Coble, but most definitely NOT my last!

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

What Lies Beneath – J.G. Hetherton

Many years ago, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, a neighboring family was inexplicably murdered in their home, with their young daughter the only survivor. Now, the case has been brought back to the forefront of the news as the state has decided to re-enact capital punishment for the killer, dubbed the shotgun Slayer, with investigative reporter Laura Chambers’ write up making front page news. Laura only has vague memories of the family that lived nearby, but her mother is not pleased about her dredging up the past. 

Leaving her mother’s home, Laura pulls her phone out of her pocket and sees she’s missed 4 calls from a number she doesn’t recognize. As she contemplates that, the phone rings yet again. She answers only to find herself talking to a local sheriff’s deputy who asks her to come to a scene. Puzzled, she heads to an accident scene on the interstate, where a young woman has been struck and killed by a truck, mutilated so badly, she is unidentifiable. The cop, Whitley, demands to know who the victim is & Laura is perplexed as she has no idea – even when Whitley tells her the missed calls to her cell came from the phone the victim was carrying. 

Knowing she won’t be privy to the details of the investigation – Laura uses her sources – and those of her editor – to work her own search into the identity of the dead woman. A trip to the coroner’s office yields some interesting information, and she enlists and old friend to help her track the woman’s last movements – why was she here and who was she was running from? As Laura digs deeper, she finds more questions than answers – then a discovery brings old memories into question, leaving Laura determined to find answers… 

This is the second novel featuring Laura Chambers, following her debut in Last Girl Gone (2018) and it is a stunner!! Told with intricate detail, bold characters and plenty of action and intrigue, I found this book impossible to put down.  Laura is a strong, assertive force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see what she finds herself up against next.  I know writing a book takes time, but I am sincerely hoping I don’t have to wait long for the next in this (hopefully) series!!  An excellent 5 star read!! 

Available from your favorite bookseller on July 12th!

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