THE LAST PARTY by CLARE MACKINTOSH

At midnight, one of them is dead.
By morning, all of them are suspects.

It’s a party to end all parties, but not everyone is here to celebrate.

So many layers to unpack with this one. It’s New Year’s Day and Ffion Morgan is looking at a dead body and a lot of suspects.

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd is entertaining the neighbors and townsfolk on Mirror Lake. His vacation houses seem to be popular with the rich and not so much with the town folk. With everyone drinking champagne, who would guess that Rhys would end up floating dead in the lake.

There are so many secrets in this one. It is a small town but that means her neighbors are also suspects.

I am not sure any of these folks know what the truth is. And it turns out the question should be who did not kill him

This author is so good at red herrings and twisting us up in a really good tale!

NetGalley/November 8th, 2022 by Sourcebooks Landmark

before you knew my name by JACQUELINE BUBLITZ

Two women arrive in New York looking for a fresh start, Alice Lee has not had an easy life but she arrives in New York with a stolen camera and $600. With dreams of making a name for herself as a photographer. And now she is dead. Killed with the very camera she loved. She may be dead but she is not gone. Not yet.

Ruby Jones is older. She has traveled from Australia and is feeling very alone. Then she finds Alice’s body by the river and everything changes.

Now there is a bond. Ruby is unable to just let it go. She needs to know who this girl was and why she was killed. Alice needs Ruby to tell her story. To tell the world who she is.

This was a who did it book. A mystery. But it was also about being seen. How important it is to have someone really see you. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

NetGalley/ Atria November 01, 2022





THE RISING TIDE by ANN CLEEVES

A Vera Stanhope Novel #10

Since I have recently finished binge-watching the BritBox series Vera, I was happy to receive a copy of this newest DCI STANHOPE novel!

We are back on Holy Island for this one. Fifty years ago a group of high school kids and their young teacher went on a retreat there and stayed at the one-time convent with a nice chapel. A place to sit and be still.

They formed that tight bond that teenagers do, feeling everything so deeply. But on their first reunion, one of the girls argues with one of the guys and leaves in a huff, none of them worrying about the tides. And that is a death that ties them together. The priest, the playboy turned novelist, the broken woman who lost a husband and a baby, the strongest couple who now is the weakest. They all have secrets. No one is telling the truth.

When one of them is found hanging from a beam in his room, Vera and her team step in. Vera has no qualms about digging for answers in sensitive matters. Even though the man had recently been fired because of sexual misconduct, he didn’t seem upset about it. So why is he dead?

What are all of these people hiding? And Vera needs to figure that out quickly or there will be more deaths.

As in all good Vera stories, there was laughter, confusion, tears, and a few gasps!

Cleeves always gives us good mysteries!

NetGalley/ September 06, 2022, St. Martin’s Press

STAY AWAKE by MEGAN GOLDIN

Stay Awake

From the opening pages, this book exudes tension! Heart pounding terror and confusion on every single page.

This is the story of Liv Reese. Liv has just woken up in a taxi with absolutely no memory of how she got there. Confused and scared she is dropped off at her apartment building. Only she has lost her purse and her phone. Ringing the bell in hopes her roommate, Amy, will be there to let her in. Only it’s not Amy who answers. The couple who does now live in their apartment and are tired of her showing up. What?

Stumbling outside confused she looks at her hands to see ink everywhere with messages. STAY AWAKE! Trust No one. And the name of a bar.

Going back two years, the last thing she remembers is answering the phone at her desk at the trendy magazine she writes for. And then nothing. She knows she was living with Amy and dating Marco.

Digging in her pockets she finds a bloody knife wrapped in a t-shirt. When she catches the news, it is all about a murder that just took place. The weirdest thing is what is left in blood on the window. STAY AWAKE! What has she done?

Changing her look and going into the magazine gives her some clues, but she needs to find out what happened and why she can’t remember. But someone out there remembers. And that someone is going to make sure she forgets permanently.

The tension never lets up. It was like a puzzle you just can’t figure out. I read this all at once because you couldn’t just stop! So yes, I did stay awake long past my bedtime.

Goldin has such a complex and twisty writing style that I love.

NetGalley/August 9th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press



BLACK DOG by STUART WOODS (Stone Barrington #62)

Stone Barrington is back in New York City. Hoping for some downtime but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for him.

I’m excited about this one. Joan, who is one of my favorite characters, is front and center in this one. Introducing her uber-rich aunt to Stone. Her aunt has somewhat of a chequered past but is also married to one of the wealthiest men in the world. Or she was until he recently died.

Although she’s sixty, she looks forty and has the hots for Stone. And who wouldn’t? She also wants to give him millions in business and make him the executor of her will and her stepson’s trust. The stepson is too bad for a black sheep even. And boy does this Eddie character not have a moral bone in his body.

He is desperate and we all know desperate people do desperate things. Like murder and forgery.

This was a very humorous book. Stone always has a good sense of humor but who knew about Joan?

Woods always gives us a good time with Stone, Dino, and Joan. This one was especially good!

NetGalley/02 Aug 2022 Penguin Group/Putnam

Stuart Woods passed away on July 22, 2022 Our hearts will be broken and grateful for all of the wonderful books we enjoyed!

ALIAS EMMA by AVA GLASS

In this breakneck, race-against-the-clock thriller, a British spy has twelve hours to deliver her asset across London after Russia hacks the city’s security cameras. Can she make it without being spotted . . . or killed?

Nothing about Emma Makepeace is real. Not even her name.

A daughter of a Russian mother and father. She and her mother have fled to London and her father stays behind. All she has ever wanted is to be a spy. To make the Russians pay for what they did to him and her family.

Fresh from graduating basic, the former Army member is eager for her first assignment. And she gives it all she has.

This is a secret organization inside the CIA. But not everyone is trustworthy as Emma will soon find out. Rushing against time, Russian agents, and even some crooked CIA, she must be invisible in a city with cameras everywhere.

All she knows is she has to protect a valuable son of a dissident Russian scientist. But something isn’t right. When she calls for a pickup, no one shows. Where is her boss and who is this man running things now. A leak? A collaborator?

Trusting the cryptic message from her old boss, she goes running and ends up in a lot of nasty places. They are shot at, beaten, and not sure at all who is setting up who and why.

I loved the female spy. Emma was a most determined young lady and I hope we see more of her.

NetGalley/ August 2nd, 2022 by Bantam





THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK by JENNIFER HILLIER

Paris Peralta comes to on the bathroom floor covered in blood and holding a straight razor. Oh, yes, and her thirty-year older husband is dead in the tub. Then the police arrive and she is arrested.

Paris knows she didn’t kill her husband, but who did? She isn’t afraid of going to jail, she’s afraid of being in the media. Paris has secrets and she doesn’t want them coming out. She has worked very hard to create this life. And one person could ruin it all.

Ruby Reyes, the so-called Ice Queen, was convicted in Canada in the early nineties. She knows who Paris is and has no problem exploiting that knowledge. All from prison.

Meet Drew, who is doing a podcast and is still pining for the girl he loved. That girl died in a fire.
So they say.

With Drew helping her Paris may have to confront an ugly and traumatic past before she gets charged with two murders.

Hillier is a master of misdirection and women behaving badly. She is at her best here.

NetGalley/ July 19th, 2022 by Minotaur Books

RIZZOLI & ISLES: LISTEN TO ME by TESS GERRITSEN

Rizzoli and Isles #13

Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating the gruesome murder of a nurse, whilst also protecting a young student from a stalker. But immersed in their day jobs, will they lose sight of something sinister happening much closer to home?

Jane and Maura are back solving crimes. And this time they are investigating an awful murder of a nurse. While also trying to keep a stalker away from a young girl. They are so busy they don’t have time for Angela.

This book starred Angie! While her neighborhood doesn’t have an official neighborhood watch, Angela and her quirky neighbors always know what’s going on. Except now. A man and woman have moved into the rental across from her and she knows in her gut something isn’t right about them. So when the police don’t have time for her and Vince is out of town, she begins to poke her nose into her neighbor’s business.

And this is one of those times when you are looking so hard at the one thing you believe is wrong while the trouble is really where you least expect it.

I have read all of the Rizzoli & Isles books and watched the series. Angela is so funny and such a loveable character. You can see where Jane gets her stubbornness from.

I loved this one.

NetGalley/ July 5th, 2022 Ballentine

LOOK CLOSER by DAVID ELLIS

This is a fast-paced, very clever story of murder, revenge, money, and basically how to plan the perfect murder. Be patient.

Simon is a law professor in Chicago. Trying for tenure while his wife, Vicky works as a domestic violence advocate. It’s not a head over heels love story, but it’s stable. Maybe. Or is it all a lie?

Lauren and Conrad are filthy rich and live nearby. Until Lauren is found hanging from the balcony on Halloween night. And with that everything seems to unravel. Seems.

These people are all living lies. It’s almost impossible to connect any of the dots here. And even if they do, can they prove anything?

I am not giving anything away in this review. It’s the kind of book that you just have to read for yourself. A twisty, mindscrew of a story, and I had no idea what was going on until the end! That is well done!

NetGalley/July 5, 2022, Putnam Penguin Group

COLD COLD BONES by KATHY REICHS

A Temperance Brennan Novel #21

#1 New York Times bestselling thriller writer Kathy Reichs returns with her twenty-first novel of suspense featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan who, after receiving a box containing a human eyeball, uncovers a series of gruesome killings eerily reenacting the most shocking of her prior cases.

We aren’t in Montreal anymore and yet it’s still snowing in North Carolina. Its winter and crime is down. Not too many folks looking to be out in a storm. It also means a lighter caseload for Brennan. She would be happy to spend time with her daughter Katy, finally home after her stint in the army. But she brought some demons home with her so Tempe is treading carefully with her.

When they both arrive at Tempe’s home to find a wrapped package with an eyeball in it, things are weird. The eye seems pretty fresh, but where is the rest of the body? Finding GPS coordinates on the eyeball leads them to a Benedictine monastery. There another very strange sight awaits.

When she is asked to examine a mummified corpse found in a state park, even she is a bit jumpy.

These crimes are beginning to look a lot like crimes she solved years ago. Is someone angry at her?

And then her daughter disappears. And things get weirder. Revenge, it seems has no expiration date.

There has always been a coldness about Tempe. It was more evident in this book. I understood who the bad people were early on. It just did not hold my interest.

NetGalley/ July 5, 2022 Scribner