Look for Me
February 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Boston Sergeant D.D. Warren and her partner Phil are back at work in this excellent addition to the series.

A family of four are shot in their home while their teenage daughter is walking their dogs. D.D. and Phil are called in to investigate. Sixteen-year-old Roxanna never returns to the house. Is she guilty of the crime? Or is she running scared from the killer?

Flora Dane is an abduction survivor who runs an unofficial survivor group online. Roxanna had joined the group shortly before the murders. She seemed scared but of who or what? Flora decides to look for Roxanna on the dark side of the law while D.D. and Phil follow official channels.

Roxanna wrote a multi-part story of her “perfect” family. Her mother and step-father’s drinking lead the three children to be placed in foster care. Something happens to the two girls, then 11 and 8, that changes their personalities forever. Lola, the younger and prettier sister, begins to act flirtatious to older men. Roxanna acts even more protective of her sister. The family reunites after a year but that alone can’t save this fractured family.

The story structure of D.D.’s police procedural, Flora’s coloring outside the lines approach and Roxanna’s apparent fear merge well into a coherent and pulse-pounding plot. Look for Me is a thrilling look into how a family can be ripped apart by well-meaning government officials. Simple decisions can spiral into life altering results.

Look for Me is highly recommended for its mystery but also for its realistic characters and family dynamics. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Dutton, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

Seven Dead
February 9th, 2018 by diane92345

Seven Dead has a great premise that is not followed by a good story.

A burglar finds a supposedly empty house filled with seven emaciated dead bodies. The room the bodies were in was locked from the outside with the window shutters nailed shut. An old cricket ball is found atop a vase. A picture in another room has a gunshot through it. A note is found in one of the dead’s hands implying the deaths were suicides. If so, why were they locked inside the room and by whom?

Seven Dead starts with such an intriguing mystery. Unfortunately, the rest of the plot is a muddled mess. Coincidences pile up faster than bodies. A romance takes up a lot of time without moving the mystery forward. It is obvious who the murderer is from the first quarter of the book. Characters appear to think their remarks are extremely witty but are not to modern readers. There are large sections of dialog in pidgin French that are impossible for most readers to understand. The conclusion, for some reason, is told in exposition by the inspector, which kills any immediacy.

Seven Dead is strongly not recommended. 1 star. Instead read this excellent golden age mystery, Death Makes a Prophet, by the same publisher, or some Agatha Christie.

Thanks to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Great Alone
January 31st, 2018 by diane92345

“In Alaska you can make one mistake. One. The second one will kill you.”

 

It’s 1974 and the world is imploding. Watergate. Vietnam. Black panthers. Gas shortages. Protests. Revolutionaries. Kidnappings. Serial Killers. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, thirteen year old Leni and her parents, Cora and Ernt, move to rural Alaska. With no running water or electricity, the family work hard to make their house a home before winter sets in. As their friendly neighbor Large Marge says, winter “will cull the herd, and fast.”

Ernt has dark moods and nightmares since returning from Vietnam. The moods get darker in the long and frigid Alaskan winters. Cora takes the brunt of it. Leni dreams of a life for herself and her mom away from Ernt.

Seeing a family spiraling downwards into death and madness, The Great Alone puts the reader into an untenable situation along with Leni. Run away alone leaving her mother to her fate or fight the monster who used to be her loving father. This gripping thriller grabs the reader by the throat and causes their real life to be put on hold as they rush to read the conclusion. The Great Alone is highly recommended. Be warned! Starting this compelling novel at bedtime may reduce sleep time significantly. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Literary Fiction, Romance Tagged with: