Feature Blog: DCI Erika Foster Series, #1 and #2 by Robert Bryndza

     

I am currently reading Dark Water, which is book #3 in this series, so I just wanted a short preview of the first two amazing books in this series to appear on my site. Both books received a 5 Star rating from me and many other reviewers. Robert Bryndza has written a series with a multi-dimensional strong female lead character, interesting secondary characters and fast paced, unique murder plots.

Book #1 – The Girl In the Ice

This book was extremely hard to put down. It was fast paced, intriguing, gripping and just a great all around read. This is the start to a new series that I strongly recommend.

DCI Ericka Foster  is back on the job after terrible personal tragedy to investigate the death of the socialite daughter of a rich, political family. Politics and class hamper their investigation at every turn because the dead girl is somehow tied to the murder of three prostitutes murdered in a similar fashion. The killer knows Erika and her team are close to uncovering the truth which means Erika needs to be eliminated from the case, permanently.

DCI Erika Foster is a strong female protagonist. The cast of supporting characters in her investigative unit are all interesting in their own right and I can’t wait to learn more about them in future books. The plot was fast paced and besides the investigation into the murders you get a glimpse of how the rich and powerful can interfere with justice. Excellent start to a new series!

Book #2 – The Night Stalker

I am in love with DCI Erika Foster and all the wonderful, flawed characters and suspenseful, exciting plots. This book had me reading past my bedtime and checking all my doors and windows.

The very first chapter raised my blood pressure. Don’t we all worry about the shadows in our room or under our beds? The Night Stalker has a list and is ready to eliminate each in turn. As Erika and her team try to figure out a motive and find their suspect, The Night Stalker contacts Erika personally. Is The Night Stalker a stone-cold psychopath or a victim out only for revenge? Erika has to decide, but her own feelings are not as clear cut on this subject as she would like. The chase to stop a killer and save her friend, Isaac Strong, from prosecution for these murders is on and you will not want to put this book down.

I cannot recommend this author and series enough! Mr. Bryndza writes a British police procedural with characters that I feel are so lifelike that I can see them really working away in England to solve murders. The plot pace is fast and his writing crisp. I am going to be anxiously awaiting the next book and what decision Erika makes in regards to her future.

This is a must read series for me!
 

 

 

Book Review: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Dead Key is D.M. Pulley’s first book and the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award-Grand Prize and Mystery Thriller Fiction Winner. After reading and being immersed in this mystery, I can understand the awards. I lived and worked in Downtown Cleveland during both protagonists’ time periods and find this to be an intriguing fictional history and mystery of what happened to the old bank in 1978 and 1998 at 9th and Euclid.

Two timelines and protagonists come together to solve the mystery of the bank’s safe deposit boxes. In 1978, Beatrice Baker takes a secretarial job at 16 and begins to find that there are secrets to kill for at the First Bank of Cleveland. In 1998, Iris Latch is an engineer sent to the bank to do a floor to floor survey for buyers interested in the old bank building. She finds many rooms, offices and files exactly as they were the day the bank locked its doors in 1978. Even though there is a twenty year time span, both young women become endangered as they try to understand the importance of the keys to the safe deposit boxes in the vault.

I really enjoyed the two intertwining timelines and protagonists. Beatrice was a much more sympathetic and strong character. She faces extremely difficult personal problems and dangerous situations for her young age. Iris hates her job, parties too much and is not very responsible. I feel many of us at that age can relate to boring first office jobs, wanting to get away from home and few friends which can lead to bad judgement at times. Plot twists, spooky atmosphere and an interesting mystery makes for a very happy reader. I recommend this book highly.

Book Review: Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Brilliant! Thrilling! Suspenseful! Gripping! Intriguing! There are not enough adjectives to describe how I feel about this fifth D. I. Kim Stone book, BLOOD LINES by Angela Marsons. When I think Ms. Marsons has given me everything in a mystery/thriller/British police procedural I could possibly want, she surprises me once again with even more.

Kim and her team start investigating the stabbing death of an apparent carjacking victim, but something just doesn’t feel right to Kim and soon they have more victims with the same stab wound, but nothing else to connect them. No evidence at any of the scenes leaves the team struggling.

Adding to the stress of a tough case, the sociopath psychiatrist, Alex Thorne is back and has worked out a plan to eliminate the roadblocks to her release from prison, permanently. Kim barely kept her sanity dealing with Alex in book two and knows that another sparring match may push her over the edge, but she feels she has no choice. Alex has manipulated everyone around her again, even while in prison and Kim needs to figure out her end game and stop her no matter the cost.

The two plot lines intertwine to perfection in this book. The theme runs through both, but I can’t say more without giving a spoiler. Even the title is perfect for this book. I feel this book is perfectly plotted and paced. I put it down once only due to work. I would have been compelled to read it through in one sitting otherwise.

The characters are realistic and as in all the previous books, I look forward to what new insights Ms. Marsons will reveal about each. Kim is once again facing psychological implosion from her interactions with Alex Thorne and she also throws in the possible release of her mentally ill mother. Bryant is proving once again to be Kim’s rock and best friend besides her partner. Stacey and Dawson also continue to grow into their roles.

This book can be read as a standalone, but to understand the richness of Ms. Marsons’ characters, you really should start at book one and read how they grow. I cannot recommend this series enough! This is a must read series for me!

A huge thank you to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Perfect!

Book Review: Play Dead by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Play Dead is Angela Marsons’ fourth book in the D.I. Kim Stone series. This series just keeps getting better and better, which is amazing because it started out great!

The main setting of this book is a ‘body farm’ and who, but Kim Stone could find a corpse that doesn’t belong? When a second body is found with the same injuries, but not quite dead, Kim knows she and her team have a serial killer to stop. As they try to connect the victims, reporter Tracy Frost drops a cold case in Kim’s lap that she knows the Inspector will be intrigued by and want to solve because Kim feels she must always find the identity of victims of crime. What Tracy fails to tell Kim is that she knows the victims of her ‘body farm’ case and when she goes missing, Kim knows she has a limited amount of time to find her alive.

The mystery/thriller plot and subplot both have several twists and tie together in a surprising climax that had me guessing until the reveal. There are a lot of interesting forensic facts and information involved in this book. All of the characters are very well developed and three dimensional from Kim and her team to all of the bad guys. Kim and Tracy both have more of their back stories revealed, which leads to more understanding of their characters and how they became the way they are now.

This series is a must read for me! I always want more of Kim and her team.

Thank you very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love this series!

Book Review: Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I so love this author and series! Angela Marsons writes stories that pull you in, take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and then leaves you with a satisfaction of justice served, but a hunger for the next story.

Lost Girls is the third book in the D.I. Kim Stone series and is about a subject that terrifies all parents, the abduction of their child. This plot is even more twisted because the kidnappers always take two girls and tell the parents that the couple that pays the most will get their daughter back and the other daughter will be killed. This is the second time this crime has been committed, and now D.I. Kim Stone and her team are assigned to the case. The clock is ticking.

Ms. Marsons knows how to write an English police procedural that is also thrilling and suspenseful. The plot has many twists and turns. Kim Stone is a brilliant character that tugs at your heart, but don’t tell her, she wouldn’t like it. Her team is a group of varied and well written characters. The criminals are as well written as the main characters, which makes them all the more chilling.

If you haven’t read this series yet you are truly missing out on great books!

Book Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

NIGHT FILM by Marisha Pessl is the perfect book for October! Part horror, part mystery, part psychological suspense and all around thought provoking, intense read. This one will stay with you for quite some time.

The beautiful, talented and some say disturbed, Ashley Cordova is found dead at the bottom of an empty elevator shaft in a deserted building in lower Manhattan. She is only 24 years old. Was is suicide or was it murder?

Veteran investigative journalist, Scott McGrath has been discredited in the past while investigating Ashley’s father, famed film director, Stanislas Cordova. After a few main-stream films, Cordova disappeared into legend as an underground film director of horror cult classics and a recluse from all society. His life and films are wrapped in darkness, witchcraft, horror and life-changing fear.

McGrath just can’t let this death go. Ashley haunts him. He is driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth that will either destroy him and the ones he loves or set him free.

This book had me engrossed! I loved how the mystery is handled with the reader receiving pictures of all the documents, photos and web pages that McGrath is privy to while investigating the Cordova family. You are masterfully led by this author from extreme skepticism to believing in everything that goes bump in the night and back again. The characters are all fully fleshed and believable. This author knows how to involve the readers’ emotions in every way! Great read!