Passengers
September 2nd, 2019 by diane92345

Eight Passengers are stuck in separate driverless cars when a hacker takes control. Only one will survive in this cat-and-mouse thriller.

The eight people trapped include a pregnant woman, an aging actress, a married couple, an abused Indian housewife, an illegal immigrant, a disabled war hero, and a man with a mysteriously absent history. Claire only has two more months to wait for her son, Tate, to be born. Sofia is an elderly but famous actress, who thinks she is on a television reality show. Married couple Sam and Heidi are riding in separate cars when both of them are taken under the hacker’s control. Shabana is the beaten wife of an accused human trafficker. Unfortunately, the taxi taking her to a divorce attorney is hijacked. Shabana doesn’t understand what the hacker is saying because she doesn’t speak English. Each has only two and a half hours to convince the hacker they should be the sole survivor. But all have secrets to hide. Will they be saved?

Libby is on the Vehicle Inquest Jury deciding whether man or machine is behind road collisions. When the visuals of the hack are posted on social media, the jury is asked to fix the problem. Libby is surprised to see a man she had a brief casual connection with several months ago is one of the victims. When the hacker appears on their screens, he asks the five-person jury to make life or death decisions over the riders’ fate. The sixth juror is public opinion on social media.

Passengers is a rather clever take on the old movie and party game, Lifeboat. If you had food and water for one person on a lifeboat, who is most deserving, an elderly Gandhi or an unknown ten-year-old with her whole life ahead of her. The pacing is quick as a whip making this a 100 mph ride to the conclusion. It’s great fun! 4 stars!

Thanks to Berkley Books and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

The Missing Ones
September 1st, 2019 by diane92345

The Missing Ones are young children missing from a touristy island in Maine. Damaged heroine Hester Thursby is unwilling dragged into the case by a cryptic text by long-missing best friend Daphne.

In the excellent Little Comfort (here is my 5-star review), the first book in this series, three-year-old Kate is left behind by Hester’s best friend, Daphne. Hester is still seriously disturbed by the events in the first book. She clearly has PTSD and won’t let Kate leave her side even to go to preschool. However, when she receives a text from Daphne asking for her help, Hester sets off to help her. Hester decides not to tell her boyfriend Morgan, who is Daphne’s twin, and takes now four-year-old Kate with her to the Maine island where four-year-old children are turning up missing. Again, Hester is having anxiety issues. She is obviously not thinking like the shrewd Harvard librarian or missing person investigator she was in the first book.

While I miss the smart Hester from Little Comfort, it is realistic that she would have PTSD from the horrific events she has gone through. It is also rare and refreshing to see an adverse reaction from a mystery character. I believe this is the first time I have seen it relate so directly to a previous plot.

The mystery itself incorporates many modern themes like homelessness, the opioid crisis, and a small town’s reaction to both. The atmosphere of gloom and fear relating to the looming hurricane and the missing children feels almost like a character within the book. My only complaint is that the pacing is more like literary fiction than a mystery or thriller. It takes a while to get to the meat of the plot. This may be in part because Little Comfort aftermath is such a big part of this book that the author has to describe it fully. I’m not sure. But as a standalone, I would rate it four stars. I think it would be much better for your reading enjoyment to read Little Comfort first. I previously rated that book as 5 out 5 stars so you are in for a treat.

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

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

Wonton Terror
August 30th, 2019 by diane92345

There is Wonton Terror when the Wonton on Wheels food truck explodes at the first Asian Night Market in Cleveland.

Lana Lee is now managing her parent’s restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House. While promoting the restaurant at Market night, her parent’s old friend, Ronnie, is killed in the explosion. When the police decide it was caused by a bomb, Lana decides to investigate to ease her anxiety. But there are so many suspects…

It’s always fun to return to the world of Lana Lee. Her family life intervenes once again in her amateur detective work. In Wonton Terror, Lana’s Aunt Grace is coming to visit her sister, Lana’s mother. The two sisters get along just as badly as Lana and her own sister, Anna May, do.

This particular cozy mystery was a bit too easy to solve. But the book was still fun to read due to the engaging characters and a light comedic feel. If you want a pleasant cozy read with an underlying humorous take on sibling rivalry, this is a good choice. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Truth Behind the Lie
August 29th, 2019 by diane92345

The suspenseful Swedish thriller, The Truth Behind the Lie, tells the story of shady former journalist Kouplan’s search for missing child Julia.

Kouplan, an Iranian illegal resident in Stockholm, places this ad on Swedish Craig’s List.

“Private detective. If the police can’t help, call me!”

The only response is from Permilla, who has lost her young daughter Julia at a local shopping mall four days ago. Kouplan takes the case as soon as Permilla pays his advance of 1 hour’s pay, an astonishingly high 400 Swedish crowns.

Kouplan looks at the estranged father, Patrick, but he seems blameless. The more he looks into the case, the more he is suspicious of Permilla’s story.

The Truth Behind the Lie is a great thriller. While I miss the usual dark noir feel of Nordic thrillers, the thoroughly surprising ending made up for the lack of atmosphere. I highly recommend this book to people who want a completely different type of thriller. It doesn’t feel Nordic. It doesn’t feel American. The pacing is completely different than most books that I read. Still an excellent read and worth 4 stars!

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

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

Tin Badges
August 28th, 2019 by diane92345

Retired NYPD Detective Tank Rizzo is pulled back into duty to solve cold cases with a bunch of misfit (and criminal) friends in the action-filled police procedural, Tin Badges.

There are two parallel stories. The first is a (retired) police procedural of how Tank chases the scummy drug kingpin, Gonzo. The second is Tank’s personal story of his guardianship over his deceased, and disliked, brother’s son, Christopher. Christopher eventually joins Tank’s motley crew to use his computer hacking skills to investigate a home invasion of two prostitutes that were brutally assaulted.

Tin Badges is action-packed and has the feeling of a good caper movie like Ocean’s Eleven. However, many of the characters are not fully fleshed out. Hopefully, it is because this is the first book in the series. My bigger problem was that stereotypes, many not even from this century, were frequent. A gypsy fortune teller? Really? Also, sometimes the plot jumped the shark. Many of the tasks that Tank and his team did seemed beyond the scope of a civilian team. Maybe that was the point since Tank didn’t seem to rule-based even in his last day in the job where the book opens. However, it still pulled me abruptly out of the story.

Overall, this book would be good for action and caper movie fans. While I had problems suspending my disbelief, those less familiar with real police procedures may be fine with this book. 3 stars.

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

Posted in New Books Tagged with: ,

End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the Wo
August 27th, 2019 by diane92345

A non-religious and well-researched look at what is most likely to kill all of mankind is in the End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World.

There are eight threats to mankind’s continued existence described within this book:

  • Asteroid
  • Volcano
  • Nuclear Bombs
  • Climate Change
  • Disease
  • Biotechnology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Aliens (from another planet, sorry Mr. President)

Which of the above is more likely and which should be left to fiction? This book will attempt to answer that question.

End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World would be a good reference for thriller writers (I’m looking at you Clive Cussler) or screenwriters of disaster movies (RIP Irwin Allen). It is also an interesting read for open-minded readers. Even though the topic is inherently grim, the author manages to infuse some hopeful notes. 4 stars! More if you are a writer looking for ideas.

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

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,