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





THE NEW NEIGHBOR by KAREN CLEVELAND

Beth Bradford and her husband Mike have just dropped their last child off at college. They have a buyer for the large home they raised their children in and are downsizing. The cul-de-sac they have lived in will be getting a new neighbor and Beth is feeling sad.

But wait, things can always get worse! Turns out Mike is not moving in with Beth. He has a place of his own and wants a divorce. PIle on top of that her demotion as she calls it at the CIA. For fifteen years she has been chasing a terrorist who is known as The Neighbor. Recruiting in the states now. But she is nowhere close to solving this case and when she goes to work she is told she is being transferred to a teaching facility.

But Beth has had way too much piled on her this week. She begins spying on the couple that bought their house after she sees a message from The neighbor saying they have moved to a new cul-de-sac. There is something suspicious about the woman. Her story doesn’t check out. And the more she digs the more secrets she finds among the neighbors she once called friends.

Madeline has moved into Beth’s old house. She knows way too much about Beth and the neighbors. Beth thinks she may be the link to the neighbor.

Is she being paranoid? Almost all of the neighbors work for Langley, so secrets are the norm.

Beth isn’t a quitter and she isn’t giving up on this case. Even after she’s told to let it go and people are hinting she is unstable. But she isn’t letting it go. And neither is Madeline.

The ending was shocking and unexpected. I will be looking at my neighbors in a new light now.

NetGalley/July 26th, 2022 by Ballantine Books


THE BINDING ROOM by NADINE MATHESON

From the author of The Jigsaw Man comes the second installment of Inspector Anjelica Henley. The Jigsaw man was a great and gruesome read and I was looking for more of that.

This one has the characters all still traumatized from Olivier so everyone is a bit off their game. But when a pastor in the community is brutally murdered, there are so many suspects it’s hard to pick just one!

And what they find in a hidden room is downright gruesome. These people have taken religion in a whole new direction. And wow are they good at justifying their actions. Totally insane.

Anjelica is still conflicted where her boss is concerned, which is an interesting side piece. I didn’t care for the husband one bit.

There are so many twists and turns it was hard to keep straight but I did. And it’s always the last reason and person you suspect of getting their own brand of justice.

NetGalley/ Harlequin July 12, 2022

WHAT MOVES THE DEAD by T. KINGFISHER

From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

This one had a bit of everything scary! The war, deadly fungi, ghostly animals, and the House of Usher, already half fallen.

When Alex Easton, now retired from the soldier’s life, receives a letter from his friend, Roderick that tells him he is certain his sister, Madeline Usher, is dying of some unknown cause. Roderick himself sounds odd.

Alex arrives to find the house in shambles. Falling down around them and cold as ice. There is a doctor in residence trying to find out what is wrong with Madeline besides her catalepsy.

To Alex, both of his friends look like wraiths. Thin and pale to the point of looking ghostly. While out walking Alex meets Ms. Potter, who is illustrating and writing about fungi. The deadly ones, the edible ones, and the ones that are just interesting. She is also suspicious of the black lake full of strange algae that glow at night. The same lake that Alex finds Madeline going to each night.

Her sleepwalking is getting worse. And she seems to be confused about words, as well as her shedding. Yes, I said shedding.

The animals are also a mystery. The hares here seem to be off. The whole place seems off. But whatever you are thinking I can almost guarantee you that the ending is not what you thought!

Always a thrilling read with Kingfisher.

NetGalley/ July 12th, 2022 by Tor Nightfire




UPGRADE by BLAKE CROUCH

“You are the next step in human evolution.”

Logan Ramsay works for the Gene Police. They shut down unscrupulous gene-editing labs so what happened with Logan’s mother, never happens again. While Logan spent a little time in prison for what happened, his mother chose to drive off a cliff.

During a raid gone bad, Logan is infected with something. When he wakes up he feels different. More aware. And has a deep ache in his bones. When his boss finds out, he is put in isolation. Lockdown really. But he keeps evolving. Getting stronger, needing less sleep, able to give his full attention to more than one thing at a time. His genome has been hacked.

This isn’t a random attack. This goes way back. But is it even possible? His mother died, right? Unable to do much but answer questions and submit to tests, his abilities just get stronger. Until someone breaks him out. And that someone is his sister. He hasn’t seen her in a while but apparently, she got the upgrade as well. And now she wants to continue her mother’s work. Logan does not. With an uneasy truce between them, they head off to find their mother and the truth.

What she will set in motion could kill millions of people and maybe save the planet. But is the cost too high? Logan thinks it is.

I am not a SciFi reader, except when it comes to this author. I have no idea how he comes up with this stuff, but I can tell you why I fully immerse myself in each book. I felt every change. The tension and heartbreak he carries from leaving his family for the good of the world. You are right there with him. Urging him on and wondering if I would do the same thing.

His books are so good because there is a real possibility that this could happen. And that is scary. Maybe we will all have to evolve into something more to ensure our species survives. And now I can’t stop thinking about that.

NetGalley/ July 12th, 2022 by Ballantine Books





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

HER DARKEST SECRET by Jessica R. Patch

When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.

FBI SA Fiona Kelly is living in Chicago now. After blowing up her marriage to her husband and fellow agent, Asa Kodiak. It’s been almost twenty years since she and her sister and other girls were abducted and later found dead with a feather on their bodies. She was the only one who survived. Escaped. Dubbed the Nursery Rhyme Killer due to the posing of the victims, no one has been able to figure out who he is.

But now Asa is dealing with a murderer with the same MO. And Fiona wants in. Asa has tried to move on with his life after Fiona, but it just isn’t working. But the killer hasn’t moved on either. He still wants her. The one that got away. This time Fiona’s own secret about that time in her life will come to light and her life will be in even more danger. Someone wants her dead and someone wants her for himself.

Fiona has put her life on hold until she finds the killer. It has become the only thing in her life and she is taking chances she should not be taking. It just might get them all killed.

A really good serial killer novel! And the ending was perfect!

NetGalley/June 28th, 2022 Harlequin

MUDDLED THROUGH by BARBARA ROSS

A Maine Clambake Mystery #10

Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman’s Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . .

Julia and her family are back with another mystery and murder. This one begins with Julia seeing police cars in front of the shop Livvie works in, Lupine Design, a successful pottery store. While Livvie is safe the shop is trashed.

Lupine’s owner, Zoey, is out digging mud for more projects when the police arrive to tell her the bad news. She is shocked. Who in the world would do this to her? And why? While she and many others in town are all for a pedestrian mall to bring in more tourists and revenue there is one troublemaker. And he is in the shop next to Lupine. In an odd turn, they both share a basement.

Surely the fuss over a pedestrian mall isn’t enough to destroy property, but when the neighbor turns up dead in the basement, Zoey has some explaining to do.

This one was a bit more twisty than usual. So many secrets people are keeping. For decades, old slights fester and the more she digs, the more she finds herself in the line of fire.

Always a good time with the Clambake series.

NetGalley/ Kensington June 28, 2022



LISA JACKSON’S THE GIRL WHO SURVIVED

In this deviously volatile, deliciously creepy thriller from the #1 New York Times bestseller, the lone survivor of a brutal family massacre must uncover the awful truth about the fateful night that left her forever marked…

Has she already had her last chance to be the final girl?

After losing her entire family in a brutal and confusing mass murder, Kara doesn’t want to be known as just the girl who survived a vicious attack at her family cabin in Oregon. All she knows for sure is that her sister locked her in the attic and left. When she got herself out she found no sister and only one brother clinging to life in the bloody living room. And he says one thing. Run. So she does. At seven years old, she can’t run far or fast but she runs from the shadowy figure standing at the door.

Her brother, Jonas, could be violent but she isn’t sure he did this. The state, however, is certain and now after twenty years, he is out. On a technicality, but out. As Kara tries to process what this means for her she also begins getting messages from someone claiming to be her sister telling her she is alive.

As she gets closer to figuring out what happened, will she finally be the girl who didn’t survive? Because the killer is still out there and is very close to finishing his job.

So much tension in this thriller! Just when I thought I knew, I did not. Good read!

NetGalley/ June 28, 2022, Kensington