A GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY by DARYNDA JONES

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, #2)

Ms. Jones is back with our bigger than life heroine, Sunshine Vicram. In this second mystery we see Sunshine is still running a small-town police force in New Mexico.

You would think that would be pretty cush, but for Sunshine, not so much. She hasn’t had a day off in forever and her diet of coffee, donuts and wine aren’t cutting it. She needs a break.

Alas, that isn’t going to be happening any time soon. Called out for a bar fight that ends badly, Sunshine is face to face with the love of her life. Levi. Levi comes from trouble. But oh is he a looker. The boy your momma told you to stay away from. But when has Sunshine listened to anyone?

With daughter, Aurora, getting together a teen detective service with her friends, Sunshine is about to have her hands full at home and at work. Also, throw in the mix her memories are beginning to return. Who was the man who rescued her?

This cast of characters are hilarious. Even her smart-mouthed daughter! “Snitches get stitches”. Not to mention all the horrible people in town. And there are some sketchy folks. All suspects.

There are more sub-plots as well, which I like. I laughed so hard with this one. Can’t wait for the next.

NetGalley/St. Martin’s Press July 27,2021

 

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

THE NIGHT HAWKS by ELLY GRIFFITHS

There’s nothing Ruth Galloway hates more than amateur archaeologists, but when a group of them stumble upon Bronze Age artifacts alongside a dead body, she finds herself thrust into their midst—and into the crosshairs of a string of murders circling ever closer.

Book 13 in the Ruth Galloway Series

Ruth is back as head of the archaeology department at The University of North Norfolk. She’s still getting the hang of things as department head and her patience is being tried by David, the new guy, who has an abrasive personality. Ruth isn’t quite sure he knows his place.

When DCI Nelson asks her to meet him at the beach where some amateur detectorists (yes, that is how they describe themselves) who call themselves The Night Hawks have stumbled upon what looks to be Bronze Age artifacts on the beach along with a dead body washed ashore. No one seems to know him and Ruth is more interested in the future dig and what it will hold.

As they unearth the dig, they find another body. Holding a knife. But this guy hasn’t been in the land of the living for a very long time.

When the nighttime detectorists discover another murder of a couple who live at Black Dog Farm, a reference to the Black Shuck, a giant dog rumored to haunt the place. Bringing death to whoever sees him.

The people who lived there were a scientist and his wife. There are so many red herrings in here I was suspicious of everyone! These were some seriously disturbed adults. And they had a lot of secrets.

There are the children of the couple. Grown now. But odd as heck. And this David guy is always a step behind Ruth, who isn’t impressed with him.

This one was action-packed and as great as the others. Ruth is an admirable character. And who doesn’t love Nelson?

NetGalley/  June 29th, 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



FAR GONE by DANIELLE GIRARD

Far Gone (Badlands Thriller, #2)

Badlands Thriller #2

From the USA Today, bestselling author of White Out comes a story of two heroines with shattered pasts and a town with blood on its hands.

This thriller is the second in the Badlands Series. In North Dakota, where Detective Kylie Milliard in their peaceful little town. Only she knows it’s not what it looks like.

Kylie hasn’t worked a homicide in a long time, but when a couple is shot in their own home, with a baby sleeping yards away, she’s back in business.

She has two bodies, but no baby. Just a smear of blood on the basket where the baby should be. So either the killer took the baby, or someone else was in the house.

The DNA on the blood smear is shocking. It’s not a killers blood. It’s not the baby’s blood. But it is a familial march to a crime that involved a local nurse at the hospital, Lily. Ten years ago she was held captive for over a year. Raped and traumatized. Part of her brain has blocked a lot of that time for her own sanity. But things are about to get dangerous for the detective and the nurse.

As for the poor girl on the run from a killer who knows she was there, Hannah, is one of the bravest characters I’ve seen. And Lily. That poor woman had the backbone of steel.

Everyone in this story had secrets. Some harmless and embarrassing, and some downright murderous. Everyone wants to know the truth, but there are some people determined to not let that happen.

This author is always on her game. I’m pretty sure I bit a fingernail off reading this one. Which I count as a really good tale!

NetGalley/ June 15th, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer



WOLF KILL by CARY J. GRIFFITH *A Sam Rivers Mystey*

In this outdoors thriller, the investigation of a bizarre wolf attack leads to evidence of murder, conspiracy, and shocking family secrets.

Things on the Iron Range of Minnesota are hard. The cold is hard, the terrain is hard and the men are extremely hard.

Sam Rivers ran from his family farm 20 years ago and changed his name and became a wildlife biologist specializing in wolves. He’s very well respected and has found peace working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He knows predators. He was raised by one.

Now he is getting cryptic e-mails from someone taunting him. But he’s not ever returning home. Until his father dies.

Which happens suddenly. Called a hunting accident, the old man has blown his head off. But as Sam decides to return to his hometown and he wants to see the old man dead and he needs to retrieve something his mother has kept hidden for him in her own house.

The time to face demons has come. The only problem is can he trust anyone in this town. So when a bizarre wolf attack happens in his fathers’ barn, things become very interesting.

I really enjoyed this book. Writing from a wildlife expert’s view. Looking at nature in an entirely different way. How it can nourish us and how it can kill us.

I’m very glad I read this one and can’t wait for the next one.

Adventure Publishers Re-release on June 15, 2021

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica is the writer who just pushes you right into the deep end on page one. I appreciate that. There is so much tension in this story! Everyone is shady. Everyone is lying. And the shocks don’t stop until the last page.

Meredith is a midwife. She has a lovely six-year-old daughter named Delilah and a husband who would rather not have his wife out at all hours of the night birthing babies.

When one of her clients goes missing after the baby is born, Meredith is suspicious of the husband. Then Meredith and Delilah go missing. Why? What do these two women have in common besides birth? When Meredith’s body is found without her daughter, the entire town is on the hunt. But with no luck.

Now, eleven years after the event, Delilah returns. Walking into town looking like she hasn’t seen daylight in a long time. While everyone wants to know what happened and where she has been, she is still shell-shocked.

This was a chilling one. However, I am missing a fingernail or two.

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ 18 May 2021 Harlequin/Park Row

HER THREE LIVES by CATE HOLAHAN

Her Three Lives

“All human beings have three lives. Public, Private, and Secret” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A very appropriate quote to start off the book. This standalone thriller is the latest from Holahan and it’s a twisty one.

Greg is a recently divorced architect who met Jade, twenty years his junior and fell head over heals for her six months ago. His ex-wife, Leah, got the house and the grown kids so Jade and Greg are living in a rental while their forever home is built and with Jade pregnant they will all be glad when things calm down.

Jade’s public life is pretty good. She’s a media influencer and designer. She is in love with Greg, having a baby and living the good life. Only divorce after 25 years and two kids is not going to be a love fest. The kids hate her and the ex is a nut.

Jade’s private life is complicated. When one evening she and Greg are going out. She is still in the bathroom when she hears the doorbell and then hears screaming. Running out of the bathroom she’s met by an intruder. While Greg survives, the baby does not. Someone deliberately made sure the baby did not live.

As they try to piece together what happened and why, I kept thinking someone was trying to gaslight them. But who? And why? Greg goes into full security mode and installs cameras in every room, alarms, and trackers. He’s also very paranoid.

Jade’s secret life is not as bad as she believes it to be, but when you leave it off of your dating profile, it becomes something that could hurt you.

With the ‘help’ of Violet, Greg’s daughter, he begins to doubt Jade. Is she trying to kill him for money? Was she even pregnant and why is she visiting a prison?

Oh what a tangled web this was. These kids were just vile and their mother a loon.

So what did I think? It was a good idea for a book, but to me there was no sense of urgency and Greg was a pretty limp character.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 Grand Central Publishing

DANGER IN NUMBERS by HEATHER GRAHAM

Florida State Police Agent, Amy Larson, never expected the sight she was about to see on the edge of the Everglades. Just off a remote road, but not far enough away that someone won’t see the horrible crime that has been committed and left for them to find.

This is some gory stuff going on here and it has the look of someone who has killed before. When the FBI jumps in with a similar case, we meet Agent Hunter Forrest. Yes, that is the name. He somehow has a lot of information on local cults and how they work and as we find out he also knows how to escape them.

There are plenty of suspicious characters. And none of them tell the entire truth, which leads one to think there is someone on the inside who they are all afraid of. But we never get enough information on that which could have been good.

This was not my favorite work by Graham. I didn’t feel I knew Amy at all and Hunter Forrest? That was predictable. What should have been a timely and thrilling story fell flat for me.

March 23rd, 2021 by MIRA

THE JIGSAW MAN by NADINE MATHESON *BLOG TOUR* @nadinematheson @HarlequinBooks

The Jigsaw Man

A serial killer and his copycat are locked in a violent game of cat and mouse. Can DI Anjelica Henley stop them before it’s too late?

DI Anjelica Henley is back on active duty with the SCU. She has no idea what she will face when called out to a crime scene.

By the river, dismembered body parts are washing up. While the crime has all of the marks of a serial killer she locked up not that long ago, she knows he is still in strict lockdown. Right?

The Jigsaw Killer. A total sociopath. No remorse, no second thoughts, just monstrous acts against people that would send the strongest of cops running.

When Anjelica can’t find answers she goes to the source. Peter Olivier. The Jigsaw Killer. Who also tried to kill her. He isn’t happy someone is copying his crimes. Not at all happy. Which is very scary for some people.

Horror at its finest! Hope to hear more about this!



A Sneak Peek:

Chapter Two

‘How long have we got until the tide comes in?’ Henley was facing the river watching the small waves crashing against the derelict pier. She checked her watch. Nearly two hours had passed since the first 999 call. 

‘I checked online, and high tide is at 9.55 a.m.’ Ramouter replied as he stepped around a half-submerged car tire, his eyes glazed with anxiety. ‘Low tide was at 3.15. Sunrise was at 6.32. A three-hour window for someone to dump whoever this is and hope that someone would find it before the tide comes in?’

‘Maybe,’ Henley acknowledged. ‘But for all we know it could have been dumped after sunrise or was dumped earlier upstream before being washed up here.’ She inspected the glass façade of the Borthwick Wharf, empty commercial spaces and work units that opened to the terrace and lacked security cameras. Henley doubted that the local council would have extended their own CCTV cameras to this part of the street. They had been neglecting this part of Deptford for as long as she could remember.

‘Has it been touched?’ Henley asked Anthony who had appeared at her side.

‘As far as I’m aware, it’s in situ. It wasn’t touched by the woman who found it. Matei, your builder, said that he hadn’t touched the legs but unhelpfully, it’s covered in his vomit. I had a quick look at the arms that were found downstream before I came here. From the looks of things, the treasure hunters may have prodded around a bit.’

‘There’s always one.’

The wind dropped and the air softly crackled with the electricity generated from the substation nearby.

‘We’re isolating the recovery of evidence to the direct path from the alleyway to the torso,’ said Anthony. ‘I doubt very much that whoever it was sat here and had a coffee afterwards.’

‘They may not have had a coffee, but if we go with Ramouter’s theory and the body parts have been dumped then whoever it was certainly knows the river,’ Henley replied. ‘We’ll let you get on. Ramouter and I are going to take a walk.’

‘Where are we going?’ asked Ramouter.

‘To meet Eastwood.’

‘And you want to walk it?’

Henley did her best to push aside her frustration when Ramouter pulled out his phone. ‘Google maps says that Greenwich pier is almost a mile away,’ he said.

‘Your body-part dumper isn’t the only one who knows the river,’ Anthony shouted out as Henley began to walk determinedly along the riverbank.

The gold scepters on the twin domed roofs of the Old Royal Naval College pierced the cloudless sky. The bare masts of the restored Cutty Sark completed the historical panoramic view that Greenwich was known for. It was a resplendent, whitewashed version of history that contrasted with the sewage that washed ashore. Henley stopped walking when she realized that she could no longer hear the sounds of Ramouter’s leather soles slipping on wet pebbles.

‘Where are you from?’ Henley asked, waiting for Ramouter to take off his jacket and loosen his tie. She moved closer towards the moss-covered river wall as the tide began to encroach.

‘Born in West Bromwich. Moved to Bradford when I was twelve.’ Ramouter tried to brush off the bits of mud that had stuck to his trousers, but they only smeared more. ‘Lots of moors, no rivers. Surely it would have been quicker in the car.’

‘This is quicker. Unless you fancy sitting in traffic for the next half hour while they raise the Creek Road Bridge.’

‘You know this area well?’

Henley ignored the question. She didn’t see the point in telling him that she could have walked this path with her eyes closed. That this small part of South-East London was ingrained in her. ‘Whoever dumped the torso would have taken this route. It doesn’t make any sense to come down here, go back up to the street level and then drive up to Watergate Street. Out of sight, below street level. Lighting would have been minimal.’

‘Body parts are heavy though,’ Ramouter tried to quicken his step to catch up with Henley. ‘The human head weighs at least eight pounds.’

‘I know.’ Henley pulled out her mobile phone, which had started to ring. She saw who it was and ignored the call.

‘Head, torso, arms, legs. That’s at least six individual body parts.’

‘I know that also. So, tell me, what point are you making?’ Henley waited for Ramouter to reach her before maneuvering him towards the river wall as though she was chaperoning a child.

‘I’m just saying that that’s a lot of dead weight to be carrying around at three in morning.’ Ramouter paused and placed his hand against the wall, trying to catch his breath.

Henley didn’t openly express her agreement. She fished out a black hair band from her jacket pocket and pulled her thick black curls into a ponytail. She had forgotten how much energy it took to walk across the gradient slope of the riverbank. Worse, she felt mentally unprepared for the job ahead, with a trainee struggling behind her who had no idea this was her first time as senior investigator in almost a year.

‘It’s a bit grim, isn’t it?’ DC Roxanne Eastwood shouted out as Henley finally reached the first crime scene. ‘Morning, Ramouter. Not a bad gig for your first day.’

Henley had always thought that Eastwood actually looked and carried herself like a detective. Now, Eastwood was poised on the riverbank, the sleeves of her jacket rolled up with her notebook in her hand. She had come prepared for the river and was wearing a pair of jeans and trainers that had seen better days.

‘Morning, Eastie. How does it feel to be out of the office?’ Henley asked, her eyes drifting to a crime scene investigator who was putting an arm into a black bag.

‘I should be asking you that,’ said Eastwood, with a look of concern.

Henley silently appreciated the empathy and placed her hand on Eastwood’s shoulder.

‘But since you asked, it’s bloody terrible. I think I’ve got sunburn.’ Eastwood rubbed a hand over her reddening forehead. ‘Forensics are going to be wrapping up in a bit. Not that there’s much for them to do. Bag it and tag it.’

‘Where’s Mr Thomas?’

‘Ah, our illustrious treasure hunter. Last time I saw him he was heading towards the shops. Said that he needed to get some water for his dog.’ Eastwood shook her head, obviously not believing a word of it. ‘I’ve got an officer keeping an eye on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d already uploaded pictures of his find onto Instagram.’

‘I want him taken back to the station. Ramouter can take another statement from him.’ Henley said it purposely so that Ramouter would sense she was in control. ‘If he’s like most mudlarkers, he would have been out here first thing this morning waiting for the tide to go out. Where exactly were the arms found?’

‘Just over there.’ Eastwood pulled down her sunglasses and pointed towards the foamed waves created by a passing river bus. The tide had already come in where X had once marked the spot. A sense of urgency filled the air as the river regained its territory.

‘Did he say anything else?’

‘Only that he found the second arm about three feet away from the first.’

‘It’s a sick trail of breadcrumbs,’ said Henley.

‘You’re telling me and before you ask about CCTV, there’re loads of cameras—’

‘But none aimed at this part of the river.’

‘Exactly.’

Henley’s mobile phone began to ring. She pulled it out and answered. After a quick chat, she ended the call.

‘That was Dr Linh Choi. You wouldn’t have met her yet but she’s our go-to forensic pathologist. She’s just arrived,’ Henley explained to Ramouter. She wiped away the sweat from the back of her neck.

‘So, we’ve got two arms, both legs and a torso,’ said Ramouter. ‘Where’s the head?’

Good question. Henley thought of the places between the two locations. A primary school, two nurseries and an adventure playground among the flats and houses. The last thing she needed was to find a head in the kids’ sandpit.

‘Can I have a quick look?’ Henley asked the assistant from Anthony’s CSI team, who had just bagged up the arm and was scribbling in her notebook.

‘Sure.’ The assistant unzipped the bag and pushed the plastic apart.

‘Fuck,’ Henley said under her breath. Her heartbeat quickened, her stomach flipped.

‘Oh,’ said Ramouter as he peered over Henley’s shoulder. One arm was covered with gravel. Slivers of seaweed criss-crossed old scars. The second arm. Slender wrist, the ring finger slightly longer than the index, broken fingernails. Black skin. Henley could hear Pellacia’s words from earlier ringing in her ears.

‘Too early to say if it belongs to the same victim or if it’s more than just one.’

‘Call DSI Pellacia,’ Henley told Ramouter. ‘Tell him that we’ve got two possible murder victims.’

NetGalley/ March 16th, 2021 by Hanover Square Press





TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Carola Lovering

Too Good to Be True

From the author of Tell Me Lies, comes a new and twisty story of lies, revenge and love.

Three points of view here, Heather, Burke and Skye. Three people who could not be more different and yet are joined by a bond that only two of them know about.

Heather had a hard life and blames Skye’s mother for that and the death of her little brother years ago. But Heather can hold a grudge! Even her husband, Burke, isn’t sure about her. But she has a plan and for better or worse she drags Burke in.

Skye is trying to live her life on her own terms. With unlimited funds, you would think that would be a piece of cake. It is not. And when she meets Burke, well sparks fly.

But is any of it real? And how far is Heather willing to go in order to exact revenge on a dead woman?

Twisty and full of flawed characters just trying to get by in life. The ending was very satisfying.

NetGalley/ March 2nd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

COLD WIND by PAIGE SHELTON

Cold Wind (Alaska Wild Mysteries, #2)

Second in a new series set in Alaska from beloved cozy author Paige Shelton, Cold Wind will chill your bones.

We all know Shelton from her cozy mysteries and with this new series she has given us a thriller series that is sure to be a hit.

Beth Rivers is still hiding out from the unknown man who kidnapped her and isn’t going back home until he is found.

Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back. The more time she stays in Benedict the more it feels like home. She has started writing again. She is a successful thriller writer and is living inside one of her books.

When a major mudslide turns up a body in an old trapper’s cabin and Beth has two girls turn up at her door. Covered in mud and not speaking a word, there is a mystery there. No one knows them but the man running the general store keeps turning up.

Beth is determined to find out if the girls and the body are connected. There are so many odd people who seem sketchy. There is something very scary going on here and it needs to be solved.

This was an edge of your seat mystery and thriller. I read this one straight through. I just could not find a stopping point. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 December 8th, 2020 by Minotaur Books