January 9th, 2018 by diane92345

Perfect paranormal suspense for fans of early Stephen King like Stand by Me.

Eddie, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey, Hoppo and Nicki are 12 year old friends in an English market town one summer in 1986. At the suggestion of their school’s new art teacher, Mr. Halloran, they use different colored chalk stick figures to send secret messages to each other. However, someone is also playing with chalk leaving messages to a dead dismembered body in their local woods. In 2016, the remaining friends begin to receive ominous chalk messages again.

Alternating time lines between the past and present, life catches up with the friends and their families. The Chalk Man contains graphic dead and ghostly bodies. There are several mysterious deaths. The book also refers to bullying, extremist religious views, rape and abortion.

The Chalk Man has a great atmosphere of dread. Evil is everywhere. Everyone has secrets within their past. There are mysteries within mysteries here. However, The Chalk Man compels the reader to speed toward the denouement as fast as possible. It is highly recommended for thriller readers looking for a paranormal, almost horror, component along with the traditional mystery. 4 stars!

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.

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

Wife Between Us
January 9th, 2018 by diane92345

The Wife Between Us is the whiplash-inducing thrill ride of 2018!

Nellie is about to marry the man of her dreams, Richard a hedge fund manager in New York City. Vanessa is jealous of her ex-husband Richard’s new fiancée and attempts to stop the wedding. The Wife Between Us starts as a classic triangle with alternating chapters narrated by the two women. In this simple shell hide many secrets and mysteries. What caused Vanessa’s marriage to crumble so abruptly? What happened to Nellie in college in Florida that makes her so fearful? Is Vanessa inheriting her mother’s mental illness possibly making her an unreliable narrator (like Girl on a Train)? Is Richard’s seemingly perfect personality just a facade (like American Psycho)? There are many clues to the plot twists to come hidden in plain sight for observant readers to find.

Many books have been called the next Gone Girl but this book gets this reviewer’s vote.  Both a psychological thriller and a mystery, The Wife Between Us is highly recommended as the best twisty pulse-pounding thrill ride of 2018. Beware that sleep will be lost as the book propels the reader to finish it in one sitting! 5 stars!

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

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

Two Girls Down
January 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

Captivating character study of what happens when two young sisters disappear one morning.

Kylie is 10 and a fire-cracker who back-talks her mother and uses her makeup. Bailey is 8 and loves school especially vocabulary.  Jamie, their mother, needed to pick up a quick kid’s birthday gift for a party for which they were already late. Jamie decided it would be faster if she ran into Kmart by herself. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. When she looks out of the store a few minutes later the girls are no longer in the car.  She searches the nearby businesses but can’t find the girls.  They are gone.

Jamie’s aunt, a local real estate agent, hires private detective Alice Vega.  Vega is famous for solving several other missing children cases.  Vega hires a local private investigator, Max Caplan, to help her get access to the local police files. Caplan quit his job with the department five years earlier in a messy scandal after a kid died in lockup. Both Vega and Caplan have heavy emotional baggage but are intent on finding little Kylie and Bailey before it is too late. The girls’ family also have an interesting dynamic.

Two Girls Down is a thriller but more thought-provoking viewed as a character study.  The characters are all distinct and authentic. The resolution is unexpected and unlike a typical thriller.  4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Doubleday, and Netgalley for an advanced review copy. Two Girls Down will be published on January 9, 2018.

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