Beware the Past by Joy Ellis ~ #Mystery #BookReview

37562080This was a juicy piece of mystery! I have to say that I was worried when I first started reading this – every noun had at least one adjective, which slowed the pacing and made the sentences feel bogged down and cumbersome, but soon enough, the author shed her excess and settled into a more comfortable groove which kept the book glued to my hand!

There’s plenty of twists and turns and red herrings in this one, and while it wasn’t completely unpredictable (except, perhaps, the very, very end), there was no way I could have stated my suspicions with much conviction. There was a lot going on, but it worked! I’d definitely read another book by this author. 5 stars!

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons ~ Fiction Book Review

Dead Souls: A gripping serial killer thriller with a shocking twist (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Series Book 6) by [Marsons, Angela]There’s nothing like a D.I. Kim Stone thriller to get me out of a reading slump! I didn’t like this one quite as much as the others in the series, the author shook the characters up a bit and took them out of their comfort zone, which changed the dynamics in a way I didn’t quite like, but I still sped through this so quickly that my fingertips feel blistered and my Kindle screen is getting a worn spot!

Love the characters, the mystery, the action, and the way all the pieces always fit together so perfectly in the end! 5 stars!

The Trespasser by Tana French ~ Fiction Book Review

28273664Sometimes, when you wait for a book long enough, it’s impossible for it to live up to the expectations you’ve developed. I think that happened here. I loved the book, loved the story, but when considered against Tana French’s other books, it paled a little in comparison.

In French’s characteristic style, she’s deep inside her character’s head. The character is well developed. She knows who this person is. But I almost got the impression that she didn’t like this character as much as the others whose point of view she’s written from in the past. Maybe it’s me, though – maybe my interpretation is skewed.

Another thing missing from this book is the hint of the supernatural. Please don’t misunderstand, French never goes fantasy  or sci-fi or horror, and maybe supernatural is the wrong word to use, but there’s usually a finely woven thread of otherness, the strange or unexplainable, that creates an added depth to her work. Still, a 5 star book that I recommend to my fellow mystery lovers.

 

 

The Woods by Harlan Coben ~ Fiction Book Review

11729283This is the second book that I’ve read by Harlan Coben, and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed. Coben’s writing is sharp witted, fast paced, and easy to read. His characters are interesting, well developed, and likable. And so far, his plots have been nice and twisty.

One of the things that sticks out the most to me about Coben’s writing is the use of first person from a male character. Maybe it’s just the books I’ve been reading lately, but the trend seems to be to use a female character’s point of view when writing in the first person – even for male authors. I found being inside the male mind of Coben’s character a refreshing change.

(Not that reading two books by the guy makes me an expert), but family strife seems to be a common underlying theme in his books, which works to make his stories and characters more relate-able. I look forward to reading more by this author. 5 stars.

Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder ~ Fiction Book Review

12112724I opened this book knowing only that it was written by Mo Hayder. I’ve read enough of her books now to know that I’m in safe hands when I find myself in pages she’s authored. My first shock – this is a departure from her D.I. Jack Caffrey series. My second shock? I missed Jack Caffrey. Not that this book lacked the merit to  stand on it’s own, because it didn’t. Or that Jack Caffrey is an unlikable character, because he’s not. I’ve just found that I tend to dislike detectives – even though you’ll find them often enough in my own writing. (FYI – male detectives do not have to have a drinking problem and female detectives do not have to ride a motorcycle and suffer from an alienating form of macho-ism.)

Now . . . about this book in particular. Another solid, mercilessly brutal novel. Not as dark as some as Hayder’s work, and perhaps not as deep into her characters’ psyche, though that is probably due to this book not being a part of her long running series and the characters she usually writes. It kept me guessing. I thought I had it, but I was wrong. And the very end – enough to give you shivers and keep you up at night. I thought that this one would have less of an impact than her series, but then she pulled the rug out from under me over the last few pages and left me breathless. Five stars.

 

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb24I added this book to my to-read list after seeing several positive reviews from friends on Goodreads. Yes, I’m one of those people who stalks hangs out on Goodreads checking out what other people are reading and recommending. If you want to be one of those people, add me! I’m (mostly) friendly. You can find me here.

Anyways, I added this books thanks to my Goodreads friends, and that’s why I recognized it when I saw it in the used book bin at my local bookstore. Silent Scream is yet another debut book by a British author, (what can I say, I think I’m hooked), and is the first installment of an intended series featuring D.I. Kim Stone.

I had a hard time in the beginning. I think I was five pages in when I logged in to Goodreads to double check that this was a recommended book with good rating and reviews. (Yes, if we’re friends, I’ll trust you that much!) And it was. So I kept reading. I’m very glad I did.

D.I. Kim Stone is a very likable character (seems like it’s been forever since I encountered one of those). The plot was well paced and planned, with a nice bonus at the end. And whatever it was that bothered me in the beginning dropped away at some point, leaving me quite happily immersed in the story.

Will you like it? As far as British mystery thrillers go, this is a nice mid-range option; not too cozy, but not as brutal as Mo Hayder. Disturbing, but not in too much detail. It may have the sniffles, but it’s not completely sick. Think early Patricia Cornwell – a nice, meaty murder mystery. Five stars.

Nine by Jan Burke ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb16I read my first Jan Burke book over ten years ago and really enjoyed it. Yet, for some strange reason that I still can’t figure out, I never picked up any of her other books until a few months ago, when I read her short story anthology, Eighteen, which I loved so much that it inspired me to write a fresh batch of my own short stories.

I know Burke’s Irene Kelly series is wildly popular, but I’m fickle about series. You get attached. You make (imaginary) friends. Eventually the author takes the characters you know and love down a character arc you can’t forgive, and you lose a loved one. I no longer see the point in entering what is bound to be a tragic relationship doomed from the start.

Nine is one of Burke’s stand alone novels. It seems as though she feels that it’s important for the reader to really know the characters, to understand where they’re coming from and what their motivation is. That may have slowed the pacing in this book a bit. By the end of the book, it didn’t matter at all. If she had sped through the plot instead of building the slow and steady suspense that culminated in a big, breathless climax, it wouldn’t have been the same ride. (And this book is a ride.) 5 stars.