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!
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
Crime reporter Milo Rigg must uncover a brutal serial killer to restore his battered reputation in this first in a gripping new mystery series.
Milo has lost a job and a wife in too short of a time. He is a man with demons and nightmares of arms behind a black cage reaching out to him. The nightmares leave him shaken and frustrated.
His career dropped when he exposed the botched up investigation into the murder of three boys near Chicago. He pushed hard and ended up alienating the police and the press, who demoted him to the local rag.
Now more bodies are appearing and this time Milo isn’t going to blow it. He wants justice for these children and hopefully, redemption for himself.
This was an edge of your seat book! I changed my mind on who every other page! A great pace and characters so despicable I was hoping quite a few would be chopped.
This is the beginning of a new series and I want them all. Now. A great introduction to Severn House if you haven’t given their writers a chance.
NetGalley/ February 4th, 2020 by Severn House Publishers
“Justice is not for this plane. Punishment, yes. Consequences, yes.”
Three 12-year-olds go into the woods. Only one comes out. And she will never be the same.
Rain, Tess, and Hank were best friends. Cutting through the woods was what they did. Until the day they weren’t alone and lives would be forever changed.
The points of view were alternated. And I thought they all had valid viewpoints. Remember Dexter? We watched as Rain lived her seemingly normal life. Having put her past trauma in a box with no key. But when another man is killed after being acquitted of his wife’s’ murder, alarm bells go off. Is there someone out there delivering a bit of karmic justice?
Finding the truth will put her in more danger, which she knows, but she can’ t stop. She has to know. And when the memories come back will she be able to handle it?
This was the best kind of thriller. You know just enough to think you have it and then Wham, you know nothing! And it made me think for a long time. What is justice? What is Karma? Do some people simply not deserve to live?
Emotional, Suspenseful, Domestic Drama, and Murder! Who are these people that Ryan Gracey thought were family?
Ryan has always been told she was a change of life baby. Born prematurely when her mother went to Mexico on a trip and was all of a sudden pregnant. When she came home she had a baby and Ryans older sister was off to college.
In Ryan’s mind, her older sister, Wendy, can do no wrong. She is the perfect daughter, wife, mother and career woman. In Ryan’s mind. But all of that comes into question when in the same week her father has a heart attack, her sister calls begging her to go watch her two little girls and she’ll be home at some point. What? As Ryan drops her own life to go and help her mother and sister, she is finding some strange things at her sister’s home. Where is Wendy? Who is Wendy?
Could Wendy be the perfect liar as well? Ryan intends to use her crime podcast contacts to find out the truth. Where is her sister? Heck, who is her sister? It seems as if everyone has a different opinion and when the truth comes to light, it’s explosive!
If Dexter and Hannibal Lector had a love child it would be Timothy Blake.
We first met Blake in Hangman. He was working with the FBI and really liked Thistle, his handler. Attracted to her but afraid he may end up eating her, Blake left the job and ended up working for a crime boss disposing of bodies. The perfect job for him, right?
This one begins with Blake waiting impatiently in the middle of nowhere for a body drop off. Only things go wrong quickly and Blake ends up being called in again by Thistle and the FBI to track down a missing man. Blake is more than ready to help. Especially as the man is currently awaiting dethawing in his freezer.
But then another man goes missing. And on and on and on.
It seems there is a serial killer on the loose! As he and Thistle work together to find the killer, his actual boss is getting a bit uncomfortable with him working with the FBI and Blake may be the next body found. And as Thistle begins to thaw a bit toward him, she also has the best shot at discovering what he does and who he is.
This is some gruesome reading! And I will be reading the next one just as fast!
NetGalley/ Harlequin Hanover June 04,2019
What has a neck but no head?
If Charlie Warner wants you dead, first she steals your shoes.
Not in person. She has people all over Houston.
One of them is James Tyrrell, a pudgy guy with Coke-bottle glasses and scar tissue on his arm where the number 88 used to be. A coded white-supremacist tattoo—H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The 88 means Heil Hitler. “I’m no Nazi,” I heard him say once. “But if you want to survive Huntsville prison, you gotta pick a team.”
Tyrrell will open your front door with a police-issue lock-release gun and go to your bedroom wearing latex gloves and a hairnet. He’ll steal your most expensive pair of shoes. Usually black, always shiny—the kind you might wear to a funeral. He’ll take some socks, too, but won’t touch anything else on his way out.
Two more guys will drive a white van with stolen plates to wherever it is you work. Their names are Jordan Francis and Theo Sariklis. They both have thick necks, square jaws, and crew cuts. It took me a while to tell them apart. Sariklis is the one with the drooping eyelid and the Ramones shirt. He’s been working for Warner longer than me. Francis is new—just moved here from San Jose, California. He’s the one who cracks jokes. Even in winter, he wears a wife-beater to show off his biceps. He might go to the gym after killing you.
Francis will park the van next to the driver’s side of your car. Sariklis will open the sliding door on the side of the van and wait.
You’ll walk out of the office and approach your car. When you go to open the door, Francis will grab you and drag you into the van. It takes seconds. He’s had plenty of practice—in San Jose he worked for one of the Sureño gangs. You won’t even have time to scream before Francis shuts the van door.
You’ll know who they work for. Warner doesn’t target bystanders. They’re here because you stole from her, or lied to her, or informed on her. Or maybe you didn’t pay your tab at one of her businesses. An underground casino, a bordello, a drug den.
They’ll ask you questions. The first few are a test; they already know the answers. If you lie, Francis will hold you down, while Sariklis forces a water bottle into your mouth and pinches your nose shut so it feels like drowning. They do it like that because they’re still in the parking lot. There aren’t many quiet ways to torture someone.
Just when it feels like you’re gonna die, Sariklis will take the bottle out. You’ll throw up. Then Sariklis will ask you some more questions. The real ones. Whatever Warner needs to know. Who have you told? What are their names? Where do they live? Show us the messages.
The final question is always about the PIN for your bank account. You’ll answer that one gladly. You’ll think it means they only want money. You’ll think they’re going to let you go.
After you give them your PIN, Sariklis will stick the bottle back in your mouth. This time he won’t let up. He’ll drown you, right there in the parking lot. Three minutes until your heart gives up, four until brain death.
Francis will stay in the van with your body while Sariklis takes your car, your phone and your wallet to an ATM. He’ll withdraw as much as he can, then drive to a secluded stretch of beach in Galveston.
There he’ll meet Tyrrell, who has your shoes. Sariklis will place your shoes side by side on the sand, your wallet and keys tucked inside like frightened mice. Tyrrell will do a factory reset on your phone, switch it off and hurl it into the sea. They’ll abandon your car on the side of the road, within sight of the gray ocean, and take Tyrrell’s car back to Warner’s office to give her the cash.
I’ve only been to Warner’s office once, and I had a bag on my head for the whole journey. But I was memorizing the turns, and counting the seconds. Afterward, I got them to drop me off someplace else, and I memorized that journey, too. Later I looked at a map and narrowed it down to four city blocks near Market Square Park.
They usually take you on a Friday. If you live alone, you may not be reported missing until Monday. The police will find your car and shoes around Wednesday. Some of them will say you drowned accidentally while swimming. Others will suggest that it was suicide. The shoes are too classy for a normal swim, they’ll say, and there’s no towel. Plus, your bathing suit is still at your home.
Because of the ATM withdrawal, still, others will say that you faked your death. You did have some powerful enemies, after all. Your missing phone lends credence to this theory. But anyone who suspects Warner will be smart enough not to say so.
All this is assuming you’re one of the lucky ones, and Warner doesn’t want the credit for your death. Sometimes she kills someone to send a message. No stolen shoes, no water bottle. The body turns up in dozens of pieces, each removed from a living person.
Once upon a time, Warner’s men would have just thrown your body into the ocean. The water in your lungs would make sense on the autopsy report. But the bruising around your lips and wrists, plus the damage to your gums, might raise some eyebrows. Now they have a better way.
While Sariklis and Tyrrell bring the cash to Warner’s office, Francis will take the van onto State Highway 12, alone. Your body will be in the back under a sheet, slowly going cold. Francis will drive through the dark, watching the buildings disappear and the trees get taller and taller.
Then he’ll see a beat-up Toyota Corolla parked on the shoulder, miles from anywhere. He’ll pull over. Despite what he’s seen and done, he’ll shudder before he gets out of the car.
Then he’ll slide open the van door, and give your body to me.
Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is back in another masterful tale.
A bit of a different take on the well-known tale of a family of four living in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 and their brutal murders. Two men were convicted and executed for the crime. Perry Smith and Dick Hickok. If it sounds familiar, it should. The investigation and outcome became a best seller for Truman Capote as In Cold Blood.
There has always been controversy over Capote’s story of the events. In this telling the author asks us to think about another family murdered in much the same way, and what if there really was the third killer out there? These men have told so many lies, it’s hard to believe what is and isn’t true. The killers are long dead when this arrives at Brigid and Carlo’s door.
A brutal killer has been released from prison. It’s been 30 years and DNA evidence is now on the scene and cold cases are being looked at again and saved DNA is being put in the system. The only thing on this killer’s mind is finding out if it is true that one of the dead killers ratted him out in his final confession to a priest. A priest who Carlo knew well and who unbeknownst to Carlo has given him a letter written by one of the killers before his execution.
Carlo and Brigid may not know they have the confession but our killer is sure of it and sets out to take out anyone in his way to avoid going back to prison. There is no statute of limitations on murder.
Brigid and Carlo are really well-written characters. Brigid, a kick ass and take no names former FBI agent and Carlo, a former priest, who chose love. They are so interesting and they make a great team.
The first in a series, A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis, introduces us to FBI Agent Elsa Myers. Elsa is a complex character with a dark past and a lot of secrets.
Right now her father is dying and she is by his side when she receives a call for help from New York City. She has been asked for personally because of her track record finding missing people.
Ruby, a teenager, has gone missing. With a lot of misdirection from friends hiding their own secrets, the case is becoming more difficult and putting her own family in danger as well.
Working with Detective Lex Cole is proving difficult. Elsa is a very private person and Lex is trying to find a crack inside that hard shell she has put in place to protect herself. But for this case, she is going to have to face the darkness of the past and find these girls before it’s too late.
A new police procedural thriller series is always a welcome gift. While we didn’t get a lot of Elsa’s past and how she became an agent, it’s a series and since I’m now reading the second one, I can tell you it just gets better!
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