Category: Mystery & Thrillers

Black Jersey
June 26th, 2019 by diane92345

You are racing on a bicycle in the Tour de France. It’s your first race as a professional earning 50 euros a week (or almost $57 American). Not enough to support this expensive sport but enough to enter the race. If you win the yellow jersey (first place) in even one of the twenty-one stages of the race, you will get some sweet endorsement deals. Unfortunately, you are a domestique destined to help others win but never win yourself. When a series of mishaps befall some of the top racers, the French police ask you to help with their inquiries from within. You agree. What you find will rock your world…

I don’t follow professional cycling and have only occasionally watched it during the Olympics. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Black Jersey. In addition to determining the saboteur, it was exciting to feel a part of the races riding first person as Frenchman Marc, the domestique of American Steve both with team Fonar. The author effortlessly weaves the racing into the mystery and the mystery into the racing. The road and the mystery are extremely twisty. The suspects are many. The conclusion was unexpected even though all the clues were in place.

Black Jersey is highly recommended for thriller readers. 5 stars!

26Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

Left Fur Dead
June 25th, 2019 by diane92345

The author of Left Fur Dead had me at “telepathic rabbit”.

Jules runs a rabbit rescue on her farm in rural New Hampshire with a yarn store on the premises. Walking with Jules one snowy morning, her pet rabbit, Bun, finds a dead body. The body is Arty, the local mime. Later, a break-in at Jule’s farm brings a warning that the rabbits must be released as Arty wanted. What is the connection between Arty’s death and the perpetrator? Jules and Bun investigate to find out.

I was grateful to read a cozy mystery that wasn’t about needlework, cats, or dogs for a change. A telepathic rabbit at a rabbit rescue seemed like a fun idea. Unfortunately, Left Fur Dead also dumps the traditional light romance and the placing of clues to follow to identify the murderer. I missed the romance. The only person that Jules seems attracted to is the married sheriff and her bunny. Seriously…really? By the end, I was hoping she would hook up with the female vet. Now that would be innovative! For me the biggest problem is that there is literally no way to determine the murderer’s identity (or at least I never saw it) before his reveal at the end of the book. As an armchair detective, I expect the author to play fair and this one appeared not to. I realize J.M. Miller has written many other cozy series so I may try one of those before investing any more time in this one—though I will miss Bun. 2 stars.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

First Mistake
June 21st, 2019 by diane92345

Why wait for Reese Witherspoon’s stamp of approval? If you don’t snap up this jaw-dropping domestic thriller immediately, that would be your First Mistake.

Alice had the perfect marriage with Tom and their daughter, Sophie. They were starting an interior design company together. Then he died.

Now, Alice is married to Nathan. The company she owns is doing great. Nathan’s help with the finances is vital allowing Alice to focus solely on the designs.

Alice and Beth’s daughters attend the same school. Beth and Alice become best friends. Ten years earlier, Beth’s lover left her and their daughter for another woman so the two women bond over their shared losses of their daughters’ biological fathers.

As with the author’s first thriller, The Other Woman, First Mistake starts out slow. But once the dominoes of Alice’s life start falling, the surprises don’t stop until the startling conclusion. If you like domestic thrillers where nothing is as it seems, you must read this book. It has great characters and the best plot twists I’ve seen for a while. 4.5 stars!

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Last House Guest
June 20th, 2019 by diane92345

The Last House Guest is a deliciously fun guilty pleasure of a murder mystery.

Avery and Sadie are summer best friends. Avery is a year round resident of Littleport Maine in charge of maintaining the summer rentals owned by Sadie’s family. Sadie has spent many summers in Littleport on vacation with her family.

It’s 2017. Before Sadie returns to her permanent home with her family, she usually attends the Plus-One, or summer’s end, Party. But not this year. This year Sadie never arrives after falling from a seaside cliff and drowning. The police rule the death a suicide. But is it? Could it have been murder? The suspects are numerous. Did her brother, Parker, or his girlfriend, Luce, have sufficient reason to kill Sadie? How about Avery or her ex-boyfriend, Connor? All have the party and each other as an alibi. But could one have snuck out and killed Sadie?

The Last House Guest is an enjoyable beach read. Setting it on the Maine coast is innovative for a thriller. Unfortunately, neither the characters or the plot made it stand out from its crowded genre. It is an amusing, but soon forgotten, book. 3 stars.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Man of the Year
June 19th, 2019 by diane92345

What happens when the Man of the Year begins to suspect his wife is cheating on him?

Dr. Robert Hart has it all. His job is rewarding—both emotionally and financially. Robert’s latest marriage, to Elizabeth, is happy. His son, Jonah, has turned his life around and is once again succeeding in college. He is named Sag Harbor’s Man of the Year. But then Jonah’s struggling college roommate, Nick, takes up residence in Robert’s guest house for the summer.

Robert slowly begins to believes his wife and Nick are having an affair. His response begins with insignificant lies that soon spiral out of control.

Told in first person by Robert, Jonah and Elizabeth alternately, Man of the Year is an addicting tale. It is an engaging tale of paranoia but just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. If you like domestic psychological thrillers, this is a good example of the genre. 4 stars!

Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Girl without Skin
June 18th, 2019 by diane92345

Girl Without Skin is a graphically violent tale of murder and sexual abuse set in the capital of Greenland.

Danish reporter Matthew Cave tries to escape the memory of the car crash that killed his wife and unborn daughter by moving to Greenland. As a journalist, he is assigned to report on a Viking mummy found in a nearby ice crevice. The mummy is left in the remote location overnight with a police guard. When Matthew returns in the morning with his photographer and the police, the mummy is gone. In addition, the policeman has been cut open from chin to groin and his organs taken from the scene.

Matthew’s editor suggests there was a similar crime in 1973. After some research, Matthew discovers that four Inuit men were cut open, flayed and their intestines dumped next to their bodies. Immediately before their murders, two of the men’s daughters went missing and were never found.

Girl Without Skin is a blood-tingling trip to icy Greenland amid the clashing cultures of its Danish and Inuit residents. The book contains three main characters: Matthew, Malik his photographer, and Tupaarnaq, the recently released convicted murderer of her entire family. All three are fully built characters with believable actions and motivations. The plot is compelling and may result in a substantial loss of sleep. Overall, it’s a masterly novel although I would have preferred more dialogue in the flashback scenes. The use of the diary of the investigating officer to chronicle the earlier crimes forces the author to rely too often on description rather than observation to tell the tale. The harrowing conclusion almost makes up for this flaw with an astonishing twist that I didn’t foresee at all. 4 stars!

Warning, this book is not for all readers. There are many explicit scenes of rape. The murder methods are described in such detail that the book may be distressing for some readers. The killing of a seal is so disturbingly depicted that it may make some readers instant vegetarians. Seriously, this book is on a different level from most thrillers and its imagery stays with the reader well past the end of the book. It is definitely not a good choice for underage readers.

Thanks to Text Publishing and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Liar in the Library
June 16th, 2019 by diane92345

Death, by walnut, of an insufferable writer is about to be pinned on Jude. So she must find the real killer in Liar in the Library.

I’ve read most of the author’s Charles Paris series of behind-the-stage-door mysteries and enjoyed them. When I saw this book, the 18th in the Fettering mysteries but my first, on NetGalley, I snatched it up. Maybe I had too high of expectations but the Liar in the Library didn’t hold my interest. The murderer was too easy to detect. In addition, I didn’t connect with either of the main characters. Overall, it was a disappointment that I can’t recommend. 2.5 stars.

Thanks to Black Thorn Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Suffering of Strangers
June 14th, 2019 by diane92345

“Clap clap. She ducked a minute too late as the coil of rope settled around her neck.” from the prologue of the Suffering of Strangers.

Roberta has had a day. Her six week old son will not stop crying. Her husband calls and wants her to pick up some champagne to celebrate his new job. When she reaches the store, her son is blessedly silent. She decides to just run into the shop quickly while leaving her son in the car. When she returns both her car and son are gone. After a frantic search, Roberta finds her car but the infant in the car seat is not her son. DI Costello investigates.

Meanwhile, DCI Anderson is investigating a 20 year old cold case. A young mother is out late buying milk when she is roped around the neck, raped, and tossed behind some rubbish bins. She can’t recall what happened. Could this be part of a series?

I enjoyed guessing how these cases were connected and whodunit. However, jumping into this series at the ninth book may not be wise. While it can be read as a standalone, the sheer number of characters—some important for this story and some obviously carryovers from previous books—makes a slow and confusing book at the start. However, the momentum quickly builds after about 20% into a twisty conclusion.

The Suffering of Strangers is a rip-roaring British police procedural highly recommended for armchair detectives. However, it might be best to read at least one other entry in the series before beginning this book. 4 stars!

Thanks to Black Thorn Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Whiskers in the Dark
June 12th, 2019 by diane92345

Set at a National Beagle Association event, Whiskers in the Dark is another satisfying entry in the Mrs. Murphy cat cozy mystery series.

Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, crime solving cats, plus Tee Tucker, a Corgi dog, and Pirate, an Irish Wolfhound puppy, get clues to two mysteries from a ghostly beagle only they can see. In current day, a man is found murdered before the annual Hounds for Heroes benefit hunt. Then, a woman’s skeleton from the 1780s is found with a broken neck and wearing an expensive necklace. What is her story?

I enjoyed the past mystery the most. It tells a story of slavery and freedom. The current day mystery seemed to be a little rushed to make room for the historic one. However, it is always a pleasure to spend a few hours with Harry and Mrs. Murphy. Whiskers in the Dark is no exception. 4 stars!

Thanks to Bantam Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

Just One Bite
June 10th, 2019 by diane92345

Timothy Blake tells himself it is Just One Bite and rips a chunk out of the relatively recent murder victim he found in the woods. Timothy is there to pick up a crime boss’ latest victim. But how can he fit two large bodies in his ancient Corolla’s trunk. The problems that cannibals have in modern society…

He makes it home and throws the body in his chest freezer before his boss’ hengemen come to get him. Timothy manages to explain his reason for leaving before picking up the body. A hengeman drives him home where he has to shove another body in his freezer. He barely finishes before his former co-worker, FBI agent Reese Thistle, insists he help her with a missing person case. After seeing the victim’s photo, he knows where he is—in his freezer with a large bite mark on his arm.

If Hannibal Lector and Dexter spawned an offspring, it would be Timothy Blake. He’s a cannibal with a conscious. He tries to only eat the guilty. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for the reader), he gets into absurd hilarious Serge Storm-level situations while doing it.

Despite the crazy premise, Just One Bite has believable characters that you want to succeed. This is the second in the series but can be read as a standalone. It does have many triggers like, uh, cannibalism, violence, and illusions to sexual assault. However, if you’re okay with that, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humor and likes thrillers. 5 stars!

Thanks to Hanover Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Your Life is Mine
June 7th, 2019 by diane92345

Your Life is Mine has a great hook. Blanche, the daughter of a famous deceased cult leader tries to solve her mother’s murder many years later. Was it simply a random home invasion or has her father’s cult returned to complete his mandate? At the same time, a journalist is threatening to expose Blanche as the cult leader’s daughter, which could destroy her own journalism career.

Your Life is Mine has such potential. However, I didn’t relate to any of the characters—not even Blanche. Despite being about a murderous cult, the story dragged for me. Finally at about 90% into the book, the pace picks up to page-turning. There is the obligatory twisty reveal and then a quick wrap up of all the other loose ends. It was underwhelming to a frequent thriller reader like me and, sadly, a missed opportunity for the author. 2.5 stars.

Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Last Pirate of New York
June 6th, 2019 by diane92345

Albert Hicks was both the Last Pirate of New York and its first gangster in this amazingly true story set in 1860 New York City.

A ghost ship was found drifting near NYC harbor. Its crew of four were missing. However, traces of them were left behind. Copious blood, chunks of blond hair, and several severed fingers were found on board along with signs of a struggle in the captain’s quarters. The police were called in to investigate.

The Last Pirate of New York reads like an episode of Law & Order. First, a crime is committed. Then, the police investigate and arrest a suspect. Finally, the courts try the suspect for the crime. But it is much more difficult to solve a crime in the large and wild NYC with no computers, forensic tests, or DNA. Plus the US Civil War is heating up stretching an already thin police force’s ability to investigate.

This book is highly recommended for fans of Gangs of New York as the location and time period are comparable. Also, this true tale would be an excellent reference for anyone writing a historical mystery in the same environment. Plus, for any reader, it is an enjoyable Columbo type mystery of how the police catch a clever criminal. 4 stars!

Thanks to Spiegel & Grau and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Midnight Call
June 6th, 2019 by diane92345

“ ’I think I killed someone.’ The man’s voice whispered across the phone lines.” Jessie is a pregnant attorney who receives this Midnight Call from her mentor, high school teacher Terrence Butterfield.

Terrence claims he remembers nothing of the incident after his whiskey-fueled anger that kids were tagging his walls. The police determine that Jessie had a strong link to the victim. When Terrence betrays Jessie to free himself, Jessie must prove her own innocence by finding the true killer.

There are many subplots within this novel. Perhaps slightly too many as it is difficult to keep them all straight. I believe this is the first romantic triangle involving a very pregnant female I have ever read. So kudos for originality! The legal system is fully described in this book for those aspiring lawyers among us as the author is an attorney in real life. Midnight Call is an enjoyable night’s reading for legal thriller readers. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Immortal Works and Meryl Moss Media for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Pre-releases Tagged with: ,

Flight or Fright
June 5th, 2019 by diane92345

A collection of fifteen previously published stories plus two new ones fill Flight or Fright.

If you haven’t read Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, or seen the iconic Twilight Zone episode, join one man’s solo terror when he sees a man (or does he?) trying to destroy the wing of his plane.

One of the stories original to this collection is You are Released by Joe Hill. It is a too-close-to-true story about air travelers during a possibly nuclear incident.

Stephen King’s original story, The Turbulence Expert, is about a mysterious organization that perhaps Mr. King is a member of in real life?

The stories are varied enough for most readers’ taste. There are a few stories written when flight was still brand new and are more curiosities than entertaining. There are stories about time travel, terrorism, and even a poem about a real life incident. The majority are horror stories.

Spend an enjoyable few hours reading Flight or Fright and you won’t be sorry. Joe Hill’s story alone is worth picking up the book. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with:

The Sentence is Death
June 4th, 2019 by diane92345

Richard Pryce is killed with an expensive wine bottle. The killer writes 182 in green paint on the wall. Those are not the most extraordinary points in The Sentence is Death.

Anthony Horowitz, the fictional writer, written by the real Anthony Horowitz, the author of this book, is working with freelance Detective Daniel Hawthorne again. Horowitz does have a contractual obligation for two more books of 80,000 words each. His attitude is to get the book done so he can go back to working on (the real British television show) Foyle’s War.

Back to the murder. Pryce is a celebrity divorce lawyer working on a 10 million pound settlement. His client’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Akira Anno, threatens to kill Pryce with a wine bottle loudly in a restaurant. Awkward for her when he is found dead by the same method less than 24 hours later.

The Sentence is Murder is another riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma from bestselling author Anthony Horowitz. All I can say is don’t piss the real Mr. Horowitz off. He can obviously plot a murder that no one will solve.

I went into this book looking for the most unlikely suspect who had opportunity. However, I failed to identify the murderer before either Hawthorne or fictional Horowitz. There are really three mysteries here. I feel slightly better because I was able to solve the two smaller ones. For anyone who enjoys mysteries especially golden age or older stories, you can’t go wrong picking this book up. It has no spoilers for the first in the series so they can be read in any order. Highly recommended with a rating of 5 stars! I can’t wait for the third in the planned trilogy.

Thanks to Harper Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Limited Wish
June 1st, 2019 by diane92345

In Limited Wish, Mark is a busy sixteen-year-old. He is still playing Dungeons & Dragons with his high school buddies. However, now he is a freshman at Cambridge University. He is getting over a breakup and finding a new love. He is battling cancer. All while dealing with time travel, paradoxes, and, of course, saving the universe.

This book is set six months following its predecessor in the Impossible Times trilogy, One Word Kill (reviewed here). The author provides an in depth spoiler-filled synopsis of the prior book in this book’s prologue but the series is best read in order, if possible. If you read the prologue in this book, you will ruin all the surprises in the first book.

Admittedly, math is not my favorite subject despite having taken it through calculus in college. I also never took a physics class anywhere due to my previously mentioned aversion to math. I do like string theory, in theory at least, so the time traveling multiple universe plot was fine. However, the parallel universes did get a bit confusing as the plot was much more complex than One Word Kill. However, there is still some human emotion and humor on hand here too. Overall, Limited Wish is highly recommended for science, math and science fiction fans. For all of us just regular thriller readers, I give it 4 stars and again recommend reading One Word Kill first. Still, I can’t wait for the final book in this series, Dispel Illusion, out in November 2019!

Thanks to 47North and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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