THE SORORITY MURDER by ALLISON BRENNAN

The Sorority Murder

A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions. 

Lucas Vega seems to be a bit obsessed with the death of sorority girl, Candace Swain. Candace was at a party one night and nowhere the next. And while her body was found two weeks later, it was discovered she didn’t drown in the lake she was found in. And she had been alive quite a bit of time.

Now Lucas is creating a podcast for his capstone project and re-opening the case and asking for people to call in with anything they remember about that night. Lucas has a bit more insight into the case as he worked in the medical examiner’s office and knows some unreleased information. But the cops aren’t listening and the Sorority has closed ranks. Threatening any member who talks to him.

When his advisor introduces him to Regan Merritt, a former US Marshall and a mother who recently had her child murdered. She isn’t home to help anyone but herself. However, something about Lucas and his podcast captures her attention. She agrees to be interviewed and review the case.

Then people start dying. Someone is desperately trying to cover something up. And when tips begin coming in they know they have something. Especially when a caller ends up dead. The cops seem to be sketchy as well. With the help of Regan, Lucas may be able to share his own secret and help figure out who is killing people and why?

I enjoyed the way we would hear Rachel’s voice in her journal. There was just enough there to make you wonder. I made a lot of wrong guesses and would never have guessed that ending. What a fresh and twisty new murder mystery to solve.

It kept me up way past my bedtime!

NetGalley/December 28th, 2021 by MIRA





 

THE DARK HOURS by MICHAEL CONNELLY

The Dark Hours (Renée Ballard, #4; Harry Bosch Universe, #35)

Ballard and Bosch Novel

It’s New Year’s Eve and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard is sitting under an overpass waiting for the traditional rain of bullets at the stroke of midnight. Paired with another female officer on loan from the Hollywood sex crimes unit. They are trying to catch a duo of rapists before they strike again. Only Lisa seems more interested in her boyfriend.

At midnight someone is using the noise and confusion to murder a former gang member gone straight. Called out Renee goes to the scene. This isn’t a case of bullets raining down. This shot came from close up. And the bullet leads her to one of Bosch’s cases.

As they team up to find a killer, the killer is making plans for them.

Who doesn’t love Bosch? And Connelley kept it very real. With everything from Black Lives Matter to defunding the police and the pandemic as well. There is a lot of distrust of the police by the community and he gives us all of that. We get a lot of Ballard and she really won me over in this one.

Suspenseful and solid all the way!

NetGalley/November 9th, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company

THE PLAYING FIELDS by STELLA CAMERON

An Alex Duggins Cotswolds Mystery

When two bodies are discovered within six weeks of one another, it would appear that a serial killer is at large in the sleepy Cotswold village of Folly.

DCI Dan O’Reilly is settling in to his new home with boxes still unpacked when a body is found on the old playing fields near the cricket club. The scene looks staged but no one saw or heard anything. Six weeks later another body is discovered in the tithe barn, which is used for plays now. This body is staged as well. It would seem a serial killer is at work.

In due course his investigation lands him at Alex’s pub, the Black Dog. Dan makes it clear to her and her partner, veterinarian, Tony, that he does not want them involved in his case. But have we ever known Alex to keep her cute little nose out of things?

Alex is the person everyone confides in when they don’t want to go to the police themselves. This time she may be on her own as Tony has just received an e-mail from his dead wife. Yes, a dead wife.

So, instead of finalizing their wedding plans, they are investigating murders and ignoring the dead wife.

When Tony himself becomes a victim, Alex forgets her promise to Dan and heads right into the killer’s lair.

This one had some seriously creepy characters in it. It’s always a mystery with this good series!

NetGalley/ Canongate/Severn  November 2nd ,2021 

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

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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