RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
This is only the second book in this series and it is already one of my “must read” urban fantasy series! RETRIBUTION (Valentine Shepherd #2) by Shana Figueroa gave me complex characters, a plot that continues to surprise and kick-butt action. This second book, while still having smokin’ hot sex scenes, is more focused on the world-building and plot.
At the end of the first book, P.I. Valentine Shepherd walks away from her relationship with Max Carressa. Val can see the future, but it is usually only death and destruction outcomes that she sees. She has tried to change the future and has managed a very few times to accomplish it, but usually the worst outcome occurs. She has seen their future and rather than try to change it, she walks away.
Six months has passed. Val has a new case of a girl who has disappeared. As she follows leads on the girl, Val is abducted and remembers nothing that happened to her for 12 hours. When she tries to piece together what happened, she finds two uploads on the internet of the missing girl and herself, unconscious and being sexually abused. Now all Val wants is revenge and she needs Max’s connections and help.
Max has tried to move on and has become engaged and adopted a dog to try and get the normal life he has always craved, but he is hiding an Oxy addiction that he is using to bury his real feelings. When Val calls, he knows he will do anything to help her, no matter the cost.
The first third of the book, I was so involved with Val and Max’s pain and self-destruction. They were both hurting so desperately and wouldn’t admit it to each other. The main plot of the book, a mad scientist with psychic abilities who wants to experiment on Val and Max is resolved, but you still have the overarching series story of the cabal that wants Val and Max together to steal their future child.
The secondary characters are just as complex and you never know if they are helping or hurting Val and Max or strictly out for their own gain. The plot twists and weaves all of these characters into an intense story that moves at a fast pace throughout. I love this series and cannot wait for the next book!
Thanks very much to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and Net Galley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
ROOTS OF MURDER by R. Jean Reid is a mystery that is both thought provoking and powerful.
I had a hard time putting this story down and it lingered in my mind when I was not reading. It starts out a little slow, but there is a lot of history to incorporate and it picks up speed very quickly with a suspenseful climax. Although fictional, this story covers very real topics regarding race relations, social injustice, poverty and voting rights in the South during the 1960’s and today.
Nell McGraw is trying to deal with her grief and that of her two children as they go on after the loss of Thom, Nell’s husband. She takes over running Thom’s weekly local paper, the Pelican Bay Crier in Mississippi by herself now instead of as a couple. Nell gets a call that human bones have been found in the park and they appear to be about 50 years old. This discovery leads Nell and her coworkers at the paper to go on a search to identify the bones and to find out why they were buried there.
While Nell and her coworkers try to discover the mystery surrounding the bones, Nell is dealing with the backlash from a local family trying to get her to quit prosecuting the drunk who caused the accident that killed her husband. The paper is covering the race for mayor and also trying to unravel a past scheme to steal the valuable property of poor black residents through property tax fraud. The author weaves this web of several storylines, past and present, into an amazing story.
I really want this book to be the start of a series and I checked online and it seems there will be a second book featuring Nell in June of 2017. Nell is such a strong female lead with her own problems to conquer and a wonderful cast of secondary characters. I felt this book was especially poignant considering the current state of affairs in our country. I did not want this book to end!
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
UNPUNISHED is the second book in Lisa Black’s Gardiner and Renner series and it really brings Maggie and Jack into focus as fully developed characters to follow. The plot of this book can be read as a standalone, but the first book “That Darkness” should be read before this to understand the complicated history and stand-off between these two.
Forensic investigator, Maggie Gardiner is called to an apparent suicide of the copy editor of the Cleveland Herald, the struggling daily newspaper. Maggie notices an inconsistency and realizes that this suicide is really murder. Jack and his partner, Riley are assigned the case and already at the scene.
Homicide Detective Jack Renner is a serial killer. If the courts cannot keep the worst of the worst locked up and away from innocent citizens, Jack personally takes care of them —permanently. Maggie is the only one who has been smart enough to figure out his secret. Their truce has held so far, but Maggie still has her doubts about him stopping his personal form of justice.
As another body of a Herald worker is found, Maggie and Jack have to work together to find the killer and figure out what is going on at the Herald.
This book gives a lot of information on the current state of print media in this country. Maggie takes us through the interesting steps of the forensics of the case which I am sure are realistic since that is Ms. Black’s specialty. The plot is fast paced and interesting throughout. Ms. Black has really breathed life into Maggie in this book. That was my only problem with the first book in this series and I am very happy with Maggie’s character development.
Maggie and Jack are great characters and I am looking forward to many more books in this series!
Thank you very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was great!
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
I now understand why there are so many conflicting reviews for this book.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING by Kathryn Croft is a psychological suspense/thriller that is fast paced and a page turner, with many red herrings and twists. It will keep you reading until the end, but it was not my favorite.
When Tara Logan wakes up naked next to her dead neighbor in his bed, she has no memory of how she got there or what happened. She dresses, runs across the road to her own home and decides not to say anything.
She has a husband, Noah, who has cheated on her, a teenage daughter, Rosie, who has a history of lying and stalking and her young son, Spencer. As the investigation into her neighbor’s death progresses everyone comes under suspicion for differing reasons. The picture of the perfect family is no longer perfect and Tara no longer knows who to believe. Besides the family, there are secondary characters that are creepy and questionable.
This is a well written plot that constantly keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat and the ending was a big surprise but it didn’t deliver. It just sort of fell flat for me and then it is the end very quickly. I also had a huge problem with the DCI working the case. He gives a suspect information and becomes involved with her, but then he is worked out of the story. If his purpose was just to deliver info, it wasn’t realistic and another way should have been considered.
Very interesting premise and plot, great use of plot twists, interesting characters, just not a good ending for me.
Thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
Serenity turns out to be anything but serene for Shelby Alexander.
This is the first book in The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series and I can’t wait for the next! Shelby is an ex-boxer and a former fixer, who has retired to his old hometown of Serenity, Michigan. All he wants is a little peace and what he gets is a young woman who dies in his arms and a drug war in his backyard between the local Ellis family who have always been in trouble with the law and a new group trying to take over from Detroit.
This thriller takes off right from the start. It is extremely fast paced and full of action for its short length. In between the bullets flying, you get to know Shelby and a great cast of memorable secondary characters. Shelby has a bartender girlfriend, Carly, who is 30 years younger and the same age as his daughter. He has a long-time friend, Jerry “Mack” McIntyre, who is a retired Detroit policeman. Jerry’s wife, Gloria is best friends with Shelby’s ex-wife, Helen. The Ellis clan is savage and the local sheriff is questionable.
Craig A. Hart has written a debut to this series that satisfies on every level! Action packed, a cast of characters that are colorful and three dimensional, a unique setting, and a protagonist that I want to continue to follow.
Thank you very much Mr. Hart for allowing me to read an eARC of this book for free for an honest review! I can’t wait for more from Shelby!
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
Once again, Robert Brynzda has me reading late into the night on the edge of my seat!
DCI Erika Foster is back in DARK WATER, the third book in the DCI Erika Foster series. This is one of my favorite British police procedural series. Erika is an amazing character who is flawed, driven, and at times extremely brusque and yet I cannot stop wanting her to succeed in her personal life as well as professional. She also has a great cast of secondary characters surrounding her that are all unique in their own ways.
At the beginning of this story, Erika is in a new district and no longer working murder investigations but instead is working major organized crimes. To put a major drug dealer behind bars, the local quarry is dredged to recover drugs hidden in the depths. The drugs are found, but so is the wrapped skeleton of a child. Erika cannot get the sight of those small bones out of her mind and fights to get the case assigned to her and to have Peterson and Moss moved to be on her team once again. The bones are 26 years old and the case has already destroyed one DCI’s career, but Erika and her crew refuse to quit.
This is a complex case with many plot twists and surprises. When you think you have it figured out, it takes a sharp turn in another direction and yet in the end, all the little threads come together in a very satisfying climax. With a fast paced plot and interesting, intriguing characters, Mr. Brynzda has delivered another exceptional addition to this series.
Thanks very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This is an excellent book and series!