July 22nd, 2018 by diane92345

What is causing The Disappearing of blond girls in Waddell Florida is the question in this Southern neo-gothic dripping with moss and memories of the pre-Civil War lifestyle.

After her husband leaves, Lane returns to her hometown in Florida with her two daughters, Annalee and Talley, to live with her parents in the infamous Fielding Mansion with the famous hanging tree out front. Her father, Neil, is becoming forgetful, which may be a blessing after he is blamed for physically abusing hundreds at the now closed boy’s school behind their house.

The town has never felt welcoming to Lane after her abduction by one of the boys from the school at age 13. Now more girls are disappearing. First, her mother’s friend Susannah and then her daughter Annalee.

Mentally slow Daryl strikes up a friendship with Talley while looking for his brother, Wayne. Wayne disappeared 12 years ago while a school resident.

The Disappearing is all about atmosphere and Southern history. It is more a family drama about how the sins of the father visit the children than a thriller or a mystery. The pacing is slow like literary fiction. Not much action happens until the last third of the book. By then, I was just worn down and wanted it to end. While I didn’t like it much and give it 3 stars, your experience may differ.

Thanks to the publisher, Dutton Books, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Death of a Clone
July 13th, 2018 by diane92345

Life is Hell after the Death of a Clone in this intriguing sci-fi mystery.

In the near future, Leila is a clone working on an asteroid mining metals no longer found on Earth. Lily, Leila’s sister clone is murdered. Leila vows to solve the crime using investigative techniques learned from Miss Marple.

The merging of space opera, human dynamics and a traditional amateur sleuth was done seamlessly. The frequent Christie references were fun. The murderer was readily apparent but another mystery was a complete surprise. 4 stars!

Thanks to Abaddon and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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

In the Valley of the Devil
July 12th, 2018 by diane92345

“The world never ran out of monsters.” Earl Marcus is back fighting them In the Valley of the Devil.

In the rural Georgia mountain countryside, a new preacher has arrived. Jeb Walsh is running for the Senate, pushing his book and preaching his version of hate and intolerence at his town square rally. In the meantime, racist graffiti is turning up all over town. A rumor about Old Nathaniel, a hooded racist killer, has resurfaced after several African-Americans are reported missing.

Earl has recovered from the incidents in Heaven’s Crooked Finger (see my review). He is now a private detective. When his African-American Atlanta police officer girlfriend, Mary, is kidnapped, Earl pulls out all the stops to find her.

In the Valley of the Devil really lives up to the thriller label. It is an exhilarating pulse-pounding ride to the finish. Highly recommended but I cannot overemphasize the need to read Heaven’s Crooked Finger first. Events in the first book continue to impact the characters in this book plus there are major spoilers in here. Luckily, both the first book and this one are excellent and earn 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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

Shelved Under Murder
July 11th, 2018 by diane92345

Amy and Richard stumble upon another body in the second novel in the Blue Ridge Library series, Shelved Under Murder.

Amy is the head librarian and Sunny is her assistant at the perpetually underfunded Blue Ridge library. Sunny convinces a local artist to donate three paintings to the library. While retrieving them, Amy and Richard find the artist, Rachel LeBlanc, stabbed to death in her artist’s studio. In the same studio are several art forgeries hidden in a secret closet.

The romantic relationships shine more than the mysteries in Shelved Under Murder. My biggest complaint is that there are no gray areas in the characters. They are either devils or saints. In addition, no one has much of a reason to be a villain other than for the love of money. With such shallow motives, this book receives 3 stars.

Be aware that Shelved Under Murder describes the conclusion of the first book, including the murderer’s name, multiple times so plan to read them in order.

Thanks to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Romance Tagged with: ,

Her Pretty Face
July 10th, 2018 by diane92345

A compelling psychological thriller peers into Her Pretty Face and sees a bubbling cauldron of duplicity.

Frances’ son Marcus has ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder making him difficult to control. Recently accepted to an elite middle school, an offensive act makes both him and his mother pariahs. Kate’s son Charles is in Marcus’ class. When Kate defends Marcus, she and Frances become best friends.

Frances has something unpleasant in her past. In flashbacks, the story of the rape and murder of 15-year-old Courtney is told by her 12-year-old brother DJ. Courtney’s killer Shane was assisted by his young girlfriend Amber, herself abused by Shane. Is Frances really Amber? Does Kate have ulterior motives for her friendship? Why does Kate seem distant from her 14-year-old daughter Daisy?

Her Pretty Face merges both trepidation and anticipation for what is about to happen. It is recommended for thriller readers that enjoy a intriguing character study. It’s perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, where the sophisticated surface covers up a web of deceit. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Gallery/Scout Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Cold in July
July 9th, 2018 by diane92345

“Killing a man had not altered my appearance in the least.” states Richard Dane, part-time killer and full-time father in Cold in July.

Richard kills an intruder in his home in self-defense. When the victim’s father, Russel, comes for revenge, a strange friendship develops. It appears the police might have misidentified the intruder—possibly on purpose. Once Dane hires a private detective, Jim Bob, with a personality as big as the Texas setting, the twists just keep coming in this western noir.

Great characters set this novel apart. The plot is twisty. There are a few instances of the n-word, though used to prove someone is an ignorant redneck, it still might bother some readers. Also, swear words are frequent. However, the characters and the setting are great. Cold in July is perfect for fans of A Simple Plan or Fargo, where ordinary people get caught up in extraordinary situations. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Pinnacle Books, and NetGalley for a copy.

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