Book Review: Beautiful Maids All In A Row by Jennifer Harlow

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!

Jennifer Harlow has written a serial killer that scared me to death with his control over himself and others, had me cheering for her main character, Iris Ballard’s strength and tenacity, crying for her loss and wishing that I had the next book in my hands right now. BEAUTIFUL MAIDS ALL IN A ROW is a definite keeper!

Dr. Iris Ballard was one of the top FBI profilers. She now teaches at a small college and uses an excessive amount of pills and vodka to hide from mistakes made two years ago. Right when she reaches a new low, Luke Hudson, her old partner shows up and offers her a chance to chase a new monster, “The Woodsman.”

“The Woodsman” has killed several professional women and never leaves a clue or trace to be followed. Control is his motivation. He makes contact with Iris in the hope of rattling her, but he also considers her his intellectual equal. Even when his identity becomes known, he is able to deflect his crimes on to others. All except Iris believe it is over. He has made everyone believe Iris is on the verge of a breakdown again. The game is on and Iris’ life could be on the line again.

This book was fast paced, chilling and one of the best psychological thrillers I have read this year. The characters could walk right off the page. “The Woodsman” made chills go up and down my spine. I am hoping Ms. Harlow continues with this series and soon!

Thanks so very much to Alibi-Random House Publishing Group and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was definitely my pleasure!

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!

Book Review: Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I am never disappointed when I get my hands on a Kate Burkholder story by Linda Castillo. Among The Wicked is the eighth book and there are three novellas. It is as strong as the first in the series! Ms. Castillo’s writing style pulls me in and keeps me reading as Kate suffers the trials and tribulations of solving another crime involving the Amish. The climax had me stunned with a great plot twist!

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is asked to go on leave in Painters Mill, OH and go undercover as a plain widow in an Amish community in upstate New York to discover what happened to a young Amish girl found frozen to death and the possible abuse of children. As Kate becomes familiar with the Amish of this community, she is puzzled by the extreme reverence and/or real fear of the families towards their Bishop. She becomes aware of disappearances, physical punishments and strange youth counselling by or with the blessing of Bishop Schrock which would never happen in any other Amish community.

Kate’s questions not only focus on the possible crimes in the community, but are self-directed as well. She and BCI Agent Frank Tomasetti’s personal lives are moving along well, but she misses the sense of community the Amish women experience. She has to deal with her feelings about her Amish roots, which need to be made without blinders to keep herself safe and alive in the present. The evil in this Amish community is more than anyone was expecting.

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for giving me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love Kate Burkholder!

Book Review: The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons has to be one of the best debut mystery/thrillers I have read in a very long time. Great suspense, a rapid pace and bad people who will send chills up your spine. I found it very difficult to put this story down to go to work!

The book starts on the ten year anniversary of the disappearance of at the time Senator Lombard’s daughter. He has risen to Vice President and is now running for his party’s nomination for President. Growing up, Gibson Vaughn was the son the Senator’s chief advisor and best friend with his daughter, Suzanne, whom he called ‘Bear’. Gibson’s life at the time of Suzanne’s disappearance was a disaster and he still blames himself for not being there for her. When a picture of Suzanne’s backpack appears, it sets into motion all the moving pieces of this plot into several explosive revelations and dead bodies.

The characters in this story are all extremely well developed, good and bad. The ‘short drop’ scene is intense.  The plot is tightly woven with several subplots that do not confuse the reader and are all answered by the end. I cannot recommend this book enough!

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for allowing me to read for free the uncorrected proof of this debut novel in exchange for an honest review. I hope there are many more to come from this author!