The story is told from three perspectives. Jack/Asher, who was konked on the head and now has amnesia, Lily, who is dating Jack/Asher, and Maya, his stepsister who still lives in the family home. Jack has woken up on a beach and has no idea how he got there or what happened. For that matter, he has no idea who he is. The only thing he knows is a string of numbers. When he calls the number, Maya answers, and quick as can be he is back at home and being spoon-fed lies. Maya is a scary girl. Sociopath seems about right. When Lily follows a lead and finds him, he doesn't remember her but he is drawn to her and understands she is important to him. Maya isn't about to let that stand. Whatever his name, he isn't leaving again if she can help it. I think I knew all along who did what to who. It was a fast read and I wish there had been more details and in the end, I just had unanswered questions. NetGalley Review/ May 25th, 2021 by MIRA Books
At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation
What could be more romantic than a wedding on the Isle Isola? Surrounded by cliffs and water with an over the top villa where you can get lost if you aren’t careful.
Claire Hunter is an artist. On the rise and to top it off, she is marrying Jack Compton of the uber wealthy Compton family. The Comptons have secrets. A lot of secrets.
When Claire and Jack arrive at the villa, things begin to go wrong. A skeleton has been found and it has everyone on edge. Brothers are fighting, the help is sketchy at best. When her wedding dress is ruined and people start dying, she has to find out who is trying to get rid of her. And what happened to Jack’s first wife?
And then the power goes out, and things get even scarier.
J.T. Ellison is always on point with her books. No one does menacing characters and twisty plots like Ellison.
Will this one have a happy ending or will the wedding of the year become something more sinister?
NetGalley/ March 9th, 2021 by MIRA
A Sneak Peek
Beginnings and Endings
She is going to die tonight.
The white dress, long and filmy, hampers her effort to run. The hem catches on a branch; a large rend in the fabric slashes open, exposing her leg. A deep cut blooms red along her thigh, and the blood runs down her calf. Her hair has come loose from its braid, flies unbound behind her like gossamer wings.
In her panic, she barely notices the pain.
The path ahead is marked by towering cypress and laurel, verdant and lush. A gray stone waist-high wall is all that stands between her and the cliffside. It is cool inside this miniature forest; the sky is blotted out by the purple-throated wisteria that drapes across and between the trees. Someone, years ago, built an archway along the arbor. The arch’s skeleton has long since rotted away and the flowers droop into the path, clinging trails and vines that brush against her head and shoulders. It should be beautiful; instead it feels oppressive, as if the vines might animate, twist and curl around her neck and strangle her to death.
She tries not to look down to the frothing water roiling against the rocks at the cliff’s base. She thinks the ruins are to her right. From what she remembers, they are between the church and the artists’ colony, the four cottages cowering on the hillside, empty and waiting.
A horn shrieks, and she realizes the ferry is pulling away. A crack of lightning, and she sees the silhouette of the captain in the pilothouse, looking out to the turbulent seas ahead. A gamble that he makes it before the storm is upon them.
Don’t panic. Don’t panic.
Where is the church?
There it is, a flash of white through the trees. The stuccoed walls loom, the bell tower hidden behind the overgrown foliage. Now the path is moving upward, the grade increasing. She feels it in her calves and hopes again she is going the right way. The Villa is on the hill, on the northwest promontory of the island. If she can reach its doors, she will be safe.
It is too quiet. There are no birds, no creatures, no buzzing or cries, just her ragged, heavy breath and the scree shuffling underfoot as she climbs. The furious roar of the water smashing its frustration against the rocks rises from her left, echoing against the cliffside.
The dogs begin to howl.
Climb. Climb. Keep going.
She must get to the Villa. There she can call for help. Lock herself inside. Maybe find a weapon.
A branch snaps and she halts, breathless.
Someone is coming.
She startles like a deer, now heedless of the noise she’s making. Fighting back a whimper of fear, she breaks free of the cloistered path to see an old decrepit staircase cut into the stone. Careful, she must be cautious, there are gaps where some steps are missing, and the rest are mossy with disuse, but hurry, hurry. Get away.
She winds up the steps, clinging to the rock face, until she bursts free into a sea of scrubby pines. Two sculptures, Janus twins, flank a slate-dark path into a labyrinth of rhododendron and azalea.
This isn’t right. Where is she?
A hard breeze disrupts the trees around her, and a rumble of thunder like a thousand drums rolls across her body. Lightning flashes and she sees the Villa in the distance. So far away. On the other side of the labyrinth. The other side of the hill.
She’s gone the wrong way.
A droplet of water hits her arm, then her forehead. Dread bubbles through her.
She is too late. The storm is upon her.
The howls of the dogs draw closer. The wind whistles hard and sharp, buffeting her against the stone wall. She can’t move, deep fear cementing her feet. Rain makes the gauzy dress cling to the curves of her body, and the blood on her thigh washes to the ground. None of it matters. She cannot escape.
When he comes, at last, sauntering through the storm, the barking beasts leaping and growling beside him, she is crying, clinging to the wall, the lightning illuminating the ruins; the ancient stones and stark, headless statues the only witness to her death.
She goes over the wall with a thunder-drowned scream, the jagged rocks below her final companions.
Jeremiah Adams is not satisfied with his life. His wife and son have grown distant. He’s pretty sure she is having an affair. But the dog loves him to pieces.
When Jeremiah is offered to be part of an important year long study for his employer, ViGen Pharmaceuticals, Jeremiah jumps at the $10 million dollar pay day. But of course for that amount of money you already know it’s going to end badly. Greed is ugly.
His company’s new drug is called MELD. It can transfer your consciousness along with all of your memories into a clone that looks just like you. Yes, cloning humans is illegal and wrong, but this is Big Pharma at it’s best. Working with the military of course.
Jeremiah will be living in a fairly luxurious apartment twelve stories under the company. He is to be monitored all day every day as he watches remotely his clone take over his life. Everyone buys into the clone being Jeremiah. Almost everyone that is. And Jeremiah doesn’t want anyone to know about that, which causes a chain reaction he did not intend.
First I would like people to stop comparing books. I have read all of Blake Crouch and this isn’t it.
What I didn’t like was the questions that were not answered or just glossed over. Was his wife having an affair? When Jeremiah looks at ‘himself’, living his life he is shocked by what an uninvolved person he is. Disgusted by his own lack of interest in his family.
Not willing to continue, he makes a deal with his boss which neither intends to keep.
I just wish there had been more detail about the characters around him.
NetGalley/ October 20th, 2020 by MIRA
It’s 1970 and the Desmarais family is getting ready for Christmas. Oliver, a professor at Clarendon College, his wife Virginia, who at one time had her own ambitions and plans, but now just parrots her husband’s thoughts, and Rebecca, just a teen with all the teen angst. But their world is about to implode with no warning.
Oliver drops dead while hanging lights and Virginia and Rebecca must find their own ways.
This was told from multiple points of view. And sometimes the narrator abruptly changed, which was confusing.
The character of Sam, who has his own issues during this turbulent time in our history. With violence across campuses and women fighting just to be heard, this could have been a good look at that time period.
It was not in my opinion. It was shallow and Virginia didn’t really step into some new version of womanhood. She only made friends with the four women that Oliver despised.
This had the makings of a good tale, it just didn’t get there.
Netgalley/ October 6th, 2020 by MIRA
THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER #3
We’re back in Winchester, Tennessee with Dr. Rowan Dupont. Living in a funeral home is its own creepy story, but Rowan has faced death more outside of the morgue than inside.
Things are peaceful in town at the moment. No Julian sending her bodies or trying to kill her. But Rowan knows it won’t last. The man will not stop until she is dead along with everyone she loves. And now that she and Billy are serious she has a lot more to lose.
She has found enough family secrets for more than one lifetime. But she still doesn’t know enough. Everything she thought was true has turned out to be false. What was her mother? And why do all of these bodies have her name tattooed on them?
Just when things seem calm, a body shows up on her mother’s grave and we are in the thick of it once again. But oh my the shocking end!
I love this series and Rowan. Very Well Done!
NetGalley/ March 31st, 2020 by MIRA
1754 London. Not the most pleasant time in history. And not a time kind to women. Poor Bess Bright works all day hawking shrimp to make barely enough to scrape by.
When she has a random encounter with a young man that leaves her pregnant, her only option is to give up her daughter. Leaving her at the Foundling Hospital is gut-wrenching for her. But Bess isn’t one of those mothers who won’t come back. She fully intends to come for her daughter as soon as she can. Leaving a token of half a whalebone heart her child’s father gave her, as an identifier.
Six years later and Bess goes back for her daughter only to be told that her daughter was picked up the day after arriving by a woman with the correct identifier. Distraught and confused she is determined to find her child.
I enjoyed the writing in this tale. The atmosphere was easily imagined and while it was horribly sad, it was also full of courage and the relationship between a mother and her child.
NetGalley/ April 7th, 2020 by MIRA
New York Confidential #5
How do you confront a threat that is hiding in plain sight? FBI agent Craig Frasier and psychologist Kieran Finnegan hunt an escaped serial killer in the latest explosive thriller in the New York Confidential series.
The gruesome murders confessed to by the killer called the Fireman have left their mark on Kieran and Craig.
Even locked away his name and his story are chilling. When Kieran is asked to consult with the man to see if he is insane or just plain evil, she is not prepared for the man she meets.
But just days later there is another body. With the same MO and in a bizarre turn of events our serial killer escapes from prison and is now on the loose. While the body count rises, Craig and Kieran may be in the most danger as they chase an escaped killer and try to unravel a web of lies, greed and straight-up crazy!
Graham never fails to give us a good, twisty, thriller of a tale! This was like trying to untangle a Rubick’s Cube! So many threads to pull at and everyone had me thinking, “Oh, yeah, he did it. ” And every time I was wrong.
NetGalley/ March 31st, 2020 by MIRA
A Medlar Mystery #3
An English manor home, an unsolved mystery, too many suspects to count… It’s the perfect holiday for romance novelist Sara Medlar.
Let me begin by saying if you haven’t read the first two books in this series you will want to do so quickly after you read this one!
Ms.Deveraux is a master at storytelling. As well as creating the best characters.
A little backstory for you.
Sara Medlar is a successful romance writer from Florida. Her partners in meddling are her niece Kate and her godson, Jack.
Soon after solving a couple of murders in their own town, Sara has decided they need a holiday. An old friend of hers in England owns an enormous estate with a rich and sketchy past. Now, it is a hotel but closes in March for the neverending repairs and renovations such as an old place needs. A perfect time for a visit from the woman who bankrolled the renovations.
Sara has also invited a number of other people and Kate and Jack are puzzled and know immediately that she is up to something. But what? Is she writing a book? Doing research? Or is it something more dangerous?
When the motley crew arrives, Sara lets them in on why they have been summoned.
Decades ago, this group was here in this house when two people ran off and were never heard from again. Sara intends to uncover what happened to the couple by casting the group in a Hercule Poirot type of theatrical event.
What the group doesn’t know is…no, I’m not spoiling it for you! Suffice it to say that no one is what they say they are and you will not believe the ending! This time our author, Sara, may not live to write the tale!
The characters in this were brilliantly done. I love Sara, Jack, and Kate. The secondary characters were awful at first glance but in the end, my heart hurt for a few.
I absolutely adored this one!
NetGalley/ March 10th, 2020 by MIRA
Most of the police procedurals I have read have been set in the UK. This one is set in Wisconsin with bits of Minnesota and Illinois. This is the first in a series and I am so glad I read it.
In Baywood, Wisconsin, A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have a big problem. Four women dead in forty days. One killed every ten days. All found dead, naked, with clothes folded neatly. No signs of a struggle. It is a race against time to find the killer before they find another body.
This was a twisty, evil, puzzle of a tale! The best type! I think we have a winner here and I hope we see more!
NetGalley/ February 18th, 2020 by MIRA
“There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where you and I will meet.”
I am a sucker for a good boarding school thriller/mystery! This tale of teenage girls at a prestigious boarding school just for girls, The Goode School, is anything but good! These are some seriously privileged and mean girls.
After her parents’ deaths, Ash is shipped off to The Good School. She has changed her name to avoid the publicity of the deaths and all she wants is to study and stay under the radar. Not going to happen. Someone always knows someone who can find out what you want to stay hidden.
The school is full of children of wealth and privilege whose parents are high profile people with little time for their own children, much better to send them to a snooty school that seems perfect on the outside but rotten on the inside. Including the Dean!
I am not sure there was one decent character in this book! Girls start to seriously hurt each other and then the deaths begin. Ash is sure she knows who is behind it, but will anyone believe her now? And is she even Ash??
And once secrets begin to spill out, everyone is left exposed. I loved every wicked minute of this one!
NetGalley/December 31st, 2019 by MIRA
The girl’s body dangles from the tall iron gates guarding the school’s entrance. A closer
examination shows the ends of a red silk tie peeking out like a cardinal on a winter branch, forcing her
neck into a brutal angle. She wears her graduation robe and multicolored stole as if knowing she’ll never
see the achievement. It rained overnight and the thin robe clings to her body, dew sparkling on the
edges. The last tendrils of dawn’s fog laze about her legs, which are five feet from the ground.
There is no breeze, no birds singing or squirrels industriously gathering for the long winter
ahead, no cars passing along the street, only the cool, misty morning air and the gentle metallic creaking
of the gates under the weight of the dead girl. She is suspended in midair, her back to the street, her
face hidden behind a curtain of dirty, wet hair, dark from the rains.
Because of the damage to her face, it will take them some time to officially identify her. In the
beginning, it isn’t even clear she attends the school, despite wearing The Goode School robes.
But she does.
The fingerprints will prove it. Of course, there are a few people who know exactly who is
hanging from the school’s gates. Know who, and know why. But they will never tell. As word spreads of
the apparent suicide, The Goode School’s all-female student body begin to gather, paying silent,
terrified homage to their fallen compatriot. The gates are closed and locked—as they always are
overnight—buttressed on either side by an ivy-covered, ten-foot-high, redbrick wall, but it tapers off
into a knee-wall near the back entrance to the school parking lot, and so is escapable by foot. The girls of
Goode silently filter out from the dorms, around the end of Old West Hall and Old East Hall to Front
Street—the main street of Marchburg, the small Virginia town housing the elite prep school—and take
up their positions in front of the gate in a wedge of crying, scared, worried young women who glance
over shoulders looking for the one who is missing from their ranks. To reassure themselves this isn’t
their friend, their sister, their roommate.
Another girl joins them, but no one notices she comes from the opposite direction, from town.
She was not behind the redbrick wall.
Whispers rise from the small crowd, nothing loud enough to be overheard but forming a single
Who is it? Who?
A solitary siren pierces the morning air, the sound bleeding upward from the bottom of the hill,
a rising crescendo. Someone has called the sheriff.
Goode perches like a gargoyle above the city’s small downtown, huddles behind its ivy-covered
brick wall. The campus is flanked by two blocks of restaurants, bars, and necessary shops. The school’s
buildings are tied together with trolleys—enclosed glass-and-wood bridges that make it easy for the girls
to move from building to building in climate-controlled comfort. It is quiet, dignified, isolated. As are the
girls who attend the school; serious, studious. Good. Goode girls are always good. They go on to great
The headmistress, or dean, as she prefers to call herself, Ford Julianne Westhaven, great-
granddaughter several times removed from the founder of The Goode School, arrives in a flurry, her
driver, Rumi, braking the family Bentley with a screech one hundred feet away from the gates. The
crowd in the street blocks the car and, for a moment, the sight of the dangling girl. No one stops to think
about why the dean might be off campus this early in the morning. Not yet, anyway.
Dean Westhaven rushes out of the back of the dove-gray car and runs to the crowd, her face
white, lips pressed firmly together, eyes roving. It is a look all the girls at Goode recognize and shrink
The dean’s irritability is legendary, outweighed only by her kindness. It is said she alone
approves every application to the school, that she chooses the Goode girls by hand for their intelligence,
their character. Her say is final. Absolute. But for all her goodness, her compassion, her kindness, Dean
Westhaven has a temper.
She begins to gather the girls into groups, small knots of natural blondes and brunettes and
redheads, no fantastical dye allowed. Some shiver in oversize school sweatshirts and running shorts,
some are still in their pajamas. The dean is looking for the chick missing from her flock. She casts
occasional glances over her shoulder at the grim scene behind her. She, too, is unsure of the identity of
the body, or so it seems. Perhaps she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth.
The siren grows to an earsplitting shriek and dies midrange, a soprano newly castrated. The
deputies from the sheriff’s office have arrived, the sheriff hot on their heels. Within moments, they
cordon off the gates, move the students back, away, away. One approaches the body, cataloging;
another begins taking discreet photographs, a macabre paparazzi.
They speak to Dean Westhaven, who quietly, breathlessly, admits she hasn’t approached the
body and has no idea who it might be.
She is lying, though. She knows. Of course, she knows. It was inevitable.
The sheriff, six sturdy feet of muscle and sinew, approaches the gate and takes a few shots with
his iPhone. He reaches for the foot of the dead girl and slowly, slowly turns her around.
The eerie morning silence is broken by the words, soft and gasping, murmurs moving sinuously
through the crowd of girls, their feet shuffling in the morning chill, the fog’s tendrils disappearing from
around the posts.
They say her name, an unbroken chain of accusation and misery.
There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where
you and I will meet. My truth is your lie, and my lie is your truth, and there is a vast expanse between
Take, for example, Ash Carlisle.
Six feet tall, glowing skin, a sheaf of blond hair in a ponytail. She wears black jeans with rips in
the knees and a loose greenand-white plaid button-down with white Adidas Stan Smiths; casual,
efficient travel clothes. A waiter delivers a fresh cup of tea to her nest in the British Airways first-class
lounge, and when she smiles her thanks, he nearly drops his tray—so pure and happy is that smile. The
smile of an innocent.
Or not so innocent? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Soon.
She’s perfected that smile, by the way. Practiced it. Stood in the dingy bathroom of the flat on
Broad Street and watched herself in the mirror, lips pulling back from her teeth over and over and over
again until it becomes natural, until her eyes sparkle and deep dimples appear in her cheeks. It is a full-
toothed smile, her teeth straight and blindingly white, and when combined with the china-blue eyes and
naturally streaked blond hair, it is devastating.
Isn’t this what a sociopath does? Work on their camouflage? What better disguise is there than
an open, thankful, gracious smile? It’s an exceptionally dangerous tool, in the right hands.
And how does a young sociopath end up flying first class, you might ask? You’ll be assuming her
family comes from money, naturally, but let me assure you, this isn’t the case. Not at all. Not really. Not
No, the dean of the school sent the ticket.
Because Ash Carlisle leads a charmed life, and somehow managed to hoodwink the dean into
not only paying her way but paying for her studies this first term, as well. A full scholarship, based on her
exemplary intellect, prodigy piano playing, and sudden, extraordinary need. Such a shame she lost her
parents so unexpectedly.
Yes, Ash is smart. Smart and beautiful and talented, and capable of murder. Don’t think for a
moment she’s not. Don’t let her fool you.
Sipping the tea, she types and thinks, stops to chew on a nail, then reads it again. The essay she
is obsessing over gained her access to the prestigious, elite school she is shipping off to. The challenges
ahead—transferring to a new school, especially one as impossible to get into as The Goode
School—frighten her, excite her, make her more determined than ever to get away from Oxford, from
A new life. A new beginning. A new chapter for Ash.
But can you ever escape your past?
Ash sets down the tea, and I can tell she is worrying again about fitting in. Marchburg,
Virginia—population five hundred on a normal summer day, which expands to seven hundred once the
students arrive for term—is a long way from Oxford, England. She worries about fitting in with the
daughters of the DC elite—daughters of senators and congressmen and ambassadors and reporters and
the just plain filthy rich. She can rely on her looks—she knows how pretty she is, isn’t vain about it,
exactly, but knows she’s more than acceptable on the looks scale—and on her intelligence, her
exceptional smarts. Some would say cunning, but I think this is a disservice to her. She’s both booksmart
and street-smart, the rarest of combinations. Despite her concerns, if she sticks to the story, she will fit
in with no issues.
The only strike against her, of course, is me, but no one knows about me.
No one can ever know about me.