THE STOWAWAY by JAMES S. MURRAY and DARREN WEARMOUTH

The Stowaway

The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard…

Sounds like a good premise. Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic with a serial killer. What better place? Like a buffet for serial killers.

This story begins with Maria Fontana. A single mother of two. Maria is on the jury of a sensational trial of alleged serial killer, Wyatt Butler, who reeks of guilt and disdain. As the final day of deliberations arrives, she is still torn over the evidence. Will she vote guilty?

Jump to a couple of years later and the media frenzy has died down, Maria has met a good man and they are going on a two week cruise across the Atlantic. Maria can’t help but look over her shoulder and hold her kids tight. And when people start dying, she is hypervigilant. Especially when there are children being killed in horrific ways and then posed with the next victims clothing. Everywhere she looks she sees Wyatt Butler.

While the Security Chief thinks she may be seeing things that aren’t there, Maria knows. A mother knows. Her children are not safe and neither is she.

It’s hard not to give anything away here. This was a fast-paced, well written thriller. I’m sure my heart rate was elevated the entire time. And that ending. Very nice.

NetGalley/ September 21st ,2021 by St. Martin’s Press

HER PERFECT LIFE by HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

Her Perfect Life

Meet Lily Atwood. Famous television reporter with everything going for her. Money, awards, a producer who does her every bidding and a seven-year-old daughter who is adorable! Her life is perfect. Maybe. But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inconvenient of times. And Lily is keeping some big ones.

Lily now has an anonymous source feeding her stories. The stories pan out but the source becomes questionable when he begins feeding Lily information about herself. Who is this person and what do they know about her?

It becomes clear that someone is playing with her life. Does it have anything to do with the disappearance of her sister years ago? Or maybe her child’s father come to haunt her? With literally no one to trust she will have to trust her gut and maybe one other person. Maybe.

This was a twisty one. A total mind screw. With Ryan, it’s always a thrill ride as you try and untangle the knots of intrigue!

NetGalley/September 14th, 2021 by Forge Books



THE CHILDREN’S SECRET by NINA MONROE

The Children's Secret

“Nothing ever happens in a sleepy town like Middlebrook. Until the residents are shaken to their core, when one hot Saturday afternoon, at a back-to-school party, nine children sneak into a barn…and only eight come out unharmed.

The press immediately starts asking questions. What type of parents let their children play unsupervised in a house with guns? What kind of child pulls the trigger on their friend? And most importantly: of the nine children who were present in that barn, which one actually pulled the trigger, and why are the others staying silen
t?”

Just reading the synopsis of this book had me hooked. In today’s polarizing views on gun control, this was one I wanted to read.

Six families living in a small neighborhood. Eva and her husband and daughter recently moved here from England. Eva is hoping with school almost ready to start up, that her daughter, Lily, will make friends.

She encourages one of the other families to host a party so the kids can get to know each other. Kaitlin Wright and her husband aren’t thrilled with the idea. Their son is introverted and prefers being alone. He had a good friend, but no more.

We have a family with twins, from Pakistan, whose father is building a mosque in town. We have the single mom and former attorney whose daughter is a mystery to everyone. We have the off the grid single father who is raising three kids alone and the Rev. Avery, who is fostering two kids.

Priscilla, the mother of Astrid has forbidden her daughter to go to the party, but we all know kids. Especially in a small town where they all know each other. She’s going to go.

While the parents socialize, the kids are in the barn with the dog and horses. Until there is a scream and a gunshot. And not everyone is coming out of there on their own two feet.

But where is the gun? And so begins the battle among the families and the press. There were a lot of extremes in this tale. NO GUNS EVER! GUNS ARE FINE. Everyone has an agenda and the children aren’t talking at all.

I enjoyed the story. Although all the parents pretty much seemed the same. The children were great little characters and acted more like adults than the adults did.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books



BULLET TRAIN by KOTARO ISAKA

This contains an image of: {{ pinTitle }}

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassins—soon to be a major film from Sony

This was a wild ride that I enjoyed from beginning to the end and will enjoy again when I watch the movie!

Five assassins are all on the same train. Nanao, who calls himself the unluckiest assassin in the world, has one task. Get on the bullet train in Tokyo and steal a suitcase and get back off the train.

Tangerine and Lemon are on the train as well. They have just rescued a powerful bad guy’s son and the suitcase full of ransom money. Their job is to get the boy and the money to the man who runs everything.

Kimura is on the train to kill one person. The boy who calls himself The Prince. He looks as innocent as a lamb, but Kimura’s son is on life support because “The Prince” tossed him off a roof. The Prince is a snot nosed little psychopath and is obsessed with control and mind games.

When they all discover they are on the same train things get deadly. The bag disappears, the bag reappears. The hostage is somehow dead and everyone is terrified of the same person. The Boss.

This book was a huge bestseller in Japan. You can not stop reading once you begin. There are so many double-crosses and plot twists that if you blink you miss something.

I will say this is the first time I’ve rooted for someone killing a teenager!

This is being made into a movie with big names. Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and more. It was almost like keystone cops meet Reservoir Dogs.

August 3rd, 2021 by The Overlook Press





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