“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
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.
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:
‘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.’
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
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.
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.
Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart’s singular style.
This book had a little bit of everything in it. The Vietnam War, family secrets, misunderstandings,coming of age,gun running and even murder.
Gibson is the youngest of three brothers. His brothers Robert and Jason are twins. Robert and Jason both were drafted in the war and only one comes home. It’s not the one their mother wanted to come home and now Gibson is on lockdown. His mother controls his entire life. And isn’t about to let him get mixed up with Jason.
Jason wants a relationship with Gibson, but has no idea how to go about it. So they go behind their parents backs. Gibson is drawn to Jason and is determined to find out all he can about him. Spending an entire day with him and two young ladies seems like a good way however, one of whom is certifiable crazy. The day goes from bad to worse when the pass a prison bus and Tyra literally shows her bum. One person on the bus however, recognizes Jason and knows who will pay for that information.
Soon after Tyra is savagely murdered. And I do mean Savagely. There is nothing spared here. Jason is immediately a suspect and Gibson is under suspicion as well.
His brother does have a dark side and when he is caught with a lot of cash and weapons, he goes back to jail.
While he is there things become much clearer. There is a puppet master behind all of this and Jason will get out of jail when X says he can.
This was so twisty and insane I do hope there will be a follow up!
NetGalley/ February 2nd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
The year is 2008 and Kennedy Wynn is finally being released from prison. Maybe now she can find out if she is really guilty or not.
It’s the summer of 1993 and the Wynn twins, Kennedy and Carter are doing what every teen does and seeing just how much they can get away with. They don’t worry about money, they have plenty and are well known in their Richmond neighborhood.
But one night of partying leads to one friend dead and another accused but not remembering anything that happened.
This was a really slow burn for the longest time. When it finally all came together things heated up nicely and the ending was satisfying.
There are a lot of hard to read portions. But in the end I was glad I stuck with it!
NetGalley/ November 10th, 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Vampire hunter or serial killer? That depends on whether vampires exist . . .
Simon Helsing (not his real name) does believe. He has proof. And one by one he is staking them out. Literally.
Since a near-death experience in Bosnia years ago, he has tried to warn people about the dreaded lampir. Not many people believe him, but he keeps on killing them. They all work at night. That seems to be his main piece of evidence. He is also a contributor to the online chatroom HideTruth.
HideTruth is the brainchild of Lexi Tarada. She wants to believe and is looking for proof of the unexplained. There are some nutjobs on there, but Simon reaches out to her with proof that vampires are real.
The police have bodies and no belief in vampires. Detective Carrow is sure Simon is a serial killer. When the Vampire King (in Simon’s mind) throws his annual gala, it seems a good time for Lexi, Carrow, and Simon to come together. But not all of them are coming out alive.
This felt rushed to me and the ending was abrupt and left me with a lot of questions.
Called to investigate the bloodstained aftermath of an eventful Christmas party, detectives Anderson & Costello discover that the holiday season can be anything but merry.
The good detectives are back! Everything is crowded during the Christmas Ice Show. And when a seemingly random husband and father is stabbed in a crowded food court, there are no witnesses, no clues, and no idea who would do such a thing.
When a week later they are called out to a holiday cottage in a fairly remote glen in the highlands, they find two bodies. One inside and one outside. Whoever the killer was, there is no evidence of them. Not even a snowprint.
Anderson is glad enough to jump in as he has more problems than a man should have at home. And his partner has her own issues.
Full of superstition and family squabbles, the characters are really well done and the old tale of greed, superstitious nonsense, and stone-cold murder was very well done!
NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by Severn House Publishers