The Perfect Lie
August 12th, 2019 by diane92345

Former mean girl Claire appears to have it all. Married to her high school sweetheart. Two mostly perfect sons. Law partnership with her best friend Julia. But revenge is a dish best served cold when someone she wronged in high school with The Perfect Lie returns twenty years later to upset her perfect life.

Good psychological thriller about how one mistake can impact you and your loved ones a lifetime later. It is fun to see Claire try to upright the cascading dominos of her life in this revenge thriller. If you like thrillers pitting two strong leads against one another where it is not clear who to root for, you will enjoy The Perfect Lie. 4 stars!

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

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

Theme Music
July 29th, 2019 by diane92345

Twenty-five years ago Dixie’s entire family was murdered by her father with an axe. Her father then proceeded to cut his own throat leaving eighteen-month-old Dixie alive in her high chair. The Theme Music playing was Baby Blue by Badfinger, which is a break-up song about the singer’s girlfriend also called Dixie.

When the house where the tragedy occurs goes up for sale, Dixie buys it over her boyfriend’s objections. She then starts going crazy.

The prologue is fantastic. The rest of the book was bloody, violent, and grim. If you enjoy shock scares in a horror film (the killer jumps out from behind the shower curtain with an axe), this may appeal to you. It didn’t do much for me and seemed surprisingly boring in a “just get to the plot” type of way. I’ll give Theme Music 3 stars from me but your enjoyment may vary.

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

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

Other Mrs. Miller
July 19th, 2019 by diane92345

Phoebe Miller is hiding inside of a wine bottle inside her house for a number of reasons at the beginning of the Other Mrs. Miller.

Phoebe’s father has recently died and left her his fortune. Unfortunately, his death has also triggered a very public outpouring of women accusing him of sexism, sexual harassment, and rape during his lifetime. Phoebe feels both embarrassed and somehow guilty at the same time.

Phoebe and her husband, Wyatt, have had difficulties with having a child. When Wyatt brings up adoption, Phoebe brusquely shuts him down. They are now more roommates than spouses.

There is a strange car frequently parked in front of Phoebe’s house. Phoebe begins to get paranoid that the petite driver is one of her father’s victims or a paparazzo.

When a new family moves in across the street, Phoebe is attracted to the eighteen-year-old son, Jake. But when she brings a housewarming gift, she soon becomes best friends with Jake’s mom, Vicki. Vicki has her own slew of baggage to bring to the table.

To say the Other Mrs. Miller is stuffed with plots would be an understatement. But it is hard not to sympathize with passive Phoebe’s problems. Phoebe seems to just let problems wash over her like a wave that she assumes will eventually recede. When Phoebe finally does an affirmative action to improve her life, fate takes another swipe at her.

The twists and turns of the plot are unexpected and fun like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland. Though I love to try and determine a solution before the characters, I was way off for this book. And I love it! If you like extreme and unexpected plot twists in your domestic thrillers, this is the book for you. 5 stars!

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Best Lies
July 9th, 2019 by diane92345

“The Best Lies are at least half true, she said, like it’s just a matter of mixing paint, two different colors swirling together until no one can tell where the truth ends and the lie begins, a new color emerging.”

Remy is seventeen and has issues. Her family is constantly fighting with divorce looking increasingly likely. Worse, her best friend Elise, always a prankster, has shot and killed Remy’s boyfriend, Jack. Elise claims it was an accident, but was it?

Best Lies is a good young adult thriller about families, friendships, and love. It has the usual young adult over-the-top’ness. Despite the DRAMA of living at seventeen depicted here, Remy, Elise, and Jack always seemed like real with real motives behind their actions. The only negative was the excessive smoking done by the two girls, which may send the wrong message to teen readers. Still a solid 3 star read!

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

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Teen & Young Adult 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: ,

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: ,

Mother-in-law
April 24th, 2019 by diane92345

The Mother-in-law is a fine domestic thriller that also touches on some hot button social topics.

Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, is not her favorite person though she adores her father-in-law, Tom. Diana is not demonstrative, even toward her two children, Ollie and Nettie. She is more concerned with her work with poor immigrants. When Diana dies, Lucy, and much of the family, is clearly the focus of the police’s inquiries.

The Mother-in-law was a good domestic thriller. However, I guessed the killer before I was 10% into the book. I sped through the rest of it to see if I was right and was irrational upset when I was. The killer seemed obvious to me but you may want a mystery that is easy to solve while on a vacation or relaxing before bed so 3 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: ,

Saving Meghan
April 10th, 2019 by diane92345

Why does fifteen-year-old Meghan seem so sick when doctors can find nothing wrong with her? Despite a disinterested husband and questioning doctors, Becky, Meghan’s mother, is intent on Saving Meghan.

Becky was raised by Cora, her mother, to be able to mimic disease symptoms to achieve Cora’s goal—getting government disability checks. When Meghan also starts to have undiagnosed symptoms, Carl becomes suspicious that Becky is falling back on old habits and causing Meghan’s illness. Eventually even Meghan’s doctors suspect the mental disease Munchausen by Proxy, where a mother gets attention by causing her child’s illness. Is Meghan really sick or is someone causing her symptoms?

While the book basically hits the reader over the head with Becky’s beauty and manipulation skill, the author is quietly manipulating the reader to believe everyone in turn is causing Meghan’s illness. In addition, none of the characters are sympathetic so if that bothers you, you will not enjoy this book. However, what bothered me the most was the overly dramatic turns in the plot especially the conclusion that was just thrown in at the end without much foreshadowing. The first half of the book was great but then it went downhill for me. Nevertheless, if you like family suspense with a big chunk of medical drama, you will probably enjoy Saving Meghan. 4 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: , ,

Never Tell
March 25th, 2019 by diane92345

Another awesome entry in the Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren series. Both D.D. and Flora Dane have a past connection to a new murder case in Never Tell.

Evie is happily married to Conrad and four months pregnant with their first child. Coming home after work, she finds Conrad shot dead in his study. Something on his laptop disturbs her so much that she calmly picks up the murder weapon and shoots the computer twelve times. The police find her holding the gun and arrest her for murder.

Evie was D.D.’s first murder case sixteen years earlier. Evie had shot her father. Her only comment, “It was an accident. An unfortunate accident.” Evie was not charged.

Flora Dane, now working as D.D.’s confidential informant, recognizes the victim, Conrad, from her days with her abductor, Jacob. What secrets are hiding behind Evie’s and Conrad’s seemingly normal facade?

Never Tell is another gripping thriller by Lisa Gardner. Told from the viewpoint of Evie, D.D., and Flora, Flora’s sections were the ones I was racing toward. Flora describes more of what happened to her during her abduction. In addition, Flora shows almost a human side in this book, which is nice to see.

While this book is a highly recommended thriller, I would suggest strongly to read Find Her, where Flora Dane’s story is initially told, before reading this one. It will increase your understanding of Flora’s story (plus it’s a great book on its own).  With that sole caveat, Never Tell is highly recommended to all thriller lovers. You won’t be disappointed! 5 stars!

Thanks to Dutton Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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

House on Fire
March 12th, 2019 by diane92345

In House on Fire, Leigh and Pete are returning home early from their fifth wedding anniversary trip when they get a call from Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Chrissy. She is calling from the police station, where her stepbrother, Pete’s eighteen-year-old son Kip, is in custody.

Kip was planning on spending the weekend with friends beginning with a party celebrating Kip’s acceptance into Duke University. After drinking and smoking a bit, Kip is surprised by Chrissy’s appearance at the gathering. She bicycled there after learning that their parents are returning home early in just a few minutes. Kip hadn’t pre-approved his weekend plans or borrowing his dad’s truck to get to the party so he desperately needed to get home before his parents.

Kip puts her bicycle in Kip’s dad’s truck and they drive home together. During the drive, they swerve off the road into a ditch and a tree while trying to avoid hitting a dog.

When the police arrive, they arrest Kip for driving under the influence. When Chrissy later dies, the charge of manslaughter is added. Kip changes his story and states that Chrissy was driving the night of the accident.

House on Fire was fantastic until the wave of amazing coincidences at the conclusion. Describing them would be a major spoiler. However, I can’t rate this book higher than 3 stars.

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

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Beautiful Bad
March 10th, 2019 by diane92345

Beautiful Bad tells the story of Maddie and Ian’s relationship that ended in murder.

The story starts with a bang: a female calls 911, a child screams in the background and the call is abruptly cut off.  When police arrive, they find a large bloodstain on the open concept kitchen’s floor. From that scene, we are shown the story of Maddie and Ian’s relationship from the beginning through the day of the killing and forward.

Within Beautiful Bad, the day of the killing sections were fantastic. Unfortunately, you had to slog through a lot of details to get to them. While the end is twisty, it probably won’t be much of a surprise to experienced thriller readers. 3 stars.

Thanks to Park Row and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Forget You Know Me
February 8th, 2019 by diane92345

After what appears to be an emergency occurs, why would a friend ask another to Forget You Know Me?

Liza and Molly are best friends since childhood. But when Liza moves to Chicago and Molly marries and has two children, they slowly drift apart. They finally get together through Facetime for a girl’s night. When Molly steps away to quiet her daughter, Liza sees a masked man come into Molly’s home. When she tries to warn Molly, the man abruptly closes Molly’s laptop. Liza calls the local police who find no hint of an intruder. But why is Molly acting so strangely?

Forget You Know Me is about the lies people tell themselves and each other. It is a slow simmer of a tale. While I enjoyed it, the book moved a bit too slow for me especially in the middle. However, if pacing isn’t a concern for you, the plot is well worth reading. 3 stars.

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

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

Nowhere Child
February 1st, 2019 by diane92345

In the Nowhere Child, Sammy Went is two years old when she goes missing from her home in Manson, Kentucky.

Twenty-eight years later, Kimberly is living her life quietly in Australia. She is approached by James who says he believes she is his missing sister, Sammy. After seeing a DNA test confirming their relationship, Sammy returns to Manson to meet her mother, father and sister. However, everyone in Manson seems to be hiding something. And what is with the snake-handling church her mother now embraces?

After reading thousands of thrillers and mysteries, I’m usually good at guessing the conclusion. However, not in this case. The twists toward the end came fast and furious. If you want to read a compelling and suspenseful yarn, the Nowhere Child is highly recommended. 4 stars!

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

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Perfect Liar
January 22nd, 2019 by diane92345

Everyone has secrets in the Perfect Liar.

Susannah has finally reached the good life with her second husband, Max, and her son, Freddy. Then a note is tacked to her door, “I know who you are”. Susannah assumes the note is meant for her. However, Max also has secrets to hide.

The Perfect Liar is a compelling read. However, I thought some of the plot was left dangling at the end. The two twists were fun. I would recommend this book to thriller readers looking to lose some sleep the night they start reading it. 3 stars.

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

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Watching You
December 25th, 2018 by diane92345

Newlywed Joey has a deep attraction for her married neighbor Tom in upscale Melville Heights, Bristol, England in a new family thriller, Watching You.

Everyone is watching everyone in the small neighborhood. Jenna thinks Tom, who is headmaster at her school, has an inappropriate relationship with her best friend, Bess. Jenna’s mum, Frankie, thinks Tom is the leader of a gang who moves her stuff to unsettle her. She has taken to photographing Tom’s house and family at night. Freddie is Tom’s son. He uses binoculars with a camera inside to study the entire village. Nikola is Tom’s wife and Freddie’s mother. Why has she suddenly taken to her bed? She asks Alfie, Joey’s husband, to paint her rented house’s interior. Alfie and Joey live two doors down with Joey’s brother and his pregnant wife Rebecca.

There are many characters in this thriller but it was easy to keep them straight due to their strong characterizations. The plot is extremely convoluted with some wild twists and turns. I originally tried to solve Watching You like a mystery. Eventually, I gave up and just rode the waves to the end. It was a fun ride and I read the book in one exhilarating rush.

Watching You is highly recommended for thriller readers looking for a twisty read. 4.5 stars!

Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

For Better and Worse
December 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Natalie and Will meet in law school, marry and have eleven-year-old Charlie when a family crisis threatens to break up their family in For Better and Worse.

Natalie is suspicious that Will is having an affair. He is criticizing her appearance and organizational skills constantly. Will has also lost weight and started working out. However, infidelity pales in comparison to their son’s revelation that his principal molested him. As a criminal defense attorney, Natalie knows how unfair the criminal justice system is to juvenile victims. She convinces Will their only option is to murder their son’s abuser without getting caught. Then things begin to spin out of Natalie’s control.

If you dislike unsympathetic narrators, For Better and Worse is not a good choice. By the conclusion, I disliked all the characters except the dog. Narration switches between the ultra-organized Natalie and her self-centered husband Will. While I raced through the first half in one anxious swoop, the conclusion seemed unbelievable and rushed. However, I adored the twist in the epilogue. For Better and Worse has the potential to be a series. If so, I would be interested to read the next in the series. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Mira Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,