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: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

SWERVE by Vicki Pettersson is one of the best thrillers I have read all year! Extremely fast paced plotting and action even with flashbacks into Kristine’s childhood. No one in this story is to be taken at face value. There is always a twist that pulls you in to continue reading, make you cringe, or make your heart rate rise. This book does have graphic violence and is not for the faint of heart.

Kristine Rush is a surgical tech traveling from Las Vegas with her surgeon fiancé, Daniel, to visit his mother and friends in California for an engagement party on the 4th of July. Daniel swerves on the interstate and Kristine spills coffee everywhere, so they pull into a deserted rest stop to clean up. Kristine is attacked and knocked out in the ladies room. When she returns to Daniel’s car, he is missing, but his cell phone has been left in plain view on the driver’s seat. Then comes the call from a mechanically disguised voice that if she wants to see her fiancé alive again she must follow all of the following instructions.

The plot takes off from there and never slows down. This book was hard to put down, but I had to at times to get my anxiety level back to normal. The scenes of graphic violence are not gratuitous in this story, but they are explicit. Make sure your doors are locked and to clear a block of time because you are going to have a hard time putting this one down!

Book Review: Flawless Mistake by Rachel Woods

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Prequel)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars (Reading as a Standalone Novella)

FLAWLESS MISTAKE (The Spencer & Sione Series, #0) by Rachel Woods is the prequel to her series and establishes the characters and the “mistake” that brings them all together.

Spencer Edwards is out of work and money. She allows her half-sister to talk her into her ‘Dating Protocol’ scheme even though she knows it is criminally wrong. When she is sitting in the park one afternoon debating this turn in her life, a handsome and charismatic stranger, Ben Chang, sits next to her and she begins to want more. Spencer doesn’t believe in love or marriage, so in her fear of her growing relationship with Ben, she makes the “mistake”.

Ben Chang is not the man he portrays himself to be to Spencer. To cross him is to owe him. Spencer now owes Ben and even as she is horrified by him, she still finds herself drawn to him.

Sione Tuiali’i has a violent past that he wants to forget as his uncle has trusted in him and left him his resort in Belize to run. Once friend, now enemy, Ben Chang is trying to destroy Sione and Sione has to figure out why.

Spencer and Sione are on a collision course set up by Ben.

This prequel is a more of a set up for the novel to come than a standalone novella. It is great for me as I continue on to Flawless Danger, because I always want more information on characters and their motivations. I would recommend this prequel to those reading more in this series, but it does not give a satisfactory conclusion on its own.

Book Review: Girl In The Water by Dana Marton

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

When I was asked if I would like to review Dana Marton’s latest book, GIRL IN THE WATER, I agreed right away because she has always given me an all-around enjoyable and entertaining romantic suspense read. What a surprise I was in for! This story is more intense, dark, intricate and emotional than any of her previous works.

In the beginning of this story you are introduced to a man who only lives to drink and fight since his discharge from the Army. Ian Slaney blames himself for the death of his wife and twins while he was in Afghanistan. A world away in the Amazon rain forest, Daniela has grown up dirt poor, but happy with the dream of becoming a teacher. One day, a logger stops at her hut and Daniela is raped and becomes a prostitute like her mother. She is then trafficked to a whore house up the river when her mother drowns in a flood.

Their lives intersect with the murder of Ian’s friend and Army buddy, Finch. Finch had bought Daniela from the whore house to cook and clean for him. When she returns to find a dead body, she stays and pretends nothing has changed so she won’t have to return to her old life. But Finch has sent an S.O.S. out to Ian that he needs help and by the time Ian arrives he is dead. Ian must now deal with the mystery of Finch’s murder and what to do with Daniela.

They return to the U.S. and four years of growth and major changes occur. Ian is sober and working for the Civilian Personnel Recovery Unit of the DOD. Daniela has graduated from college. The secondary plot then pulls them back to Brazil to the area of Daniela’s youth for the recovery of a missing 7 month old baby of U.S. charity workers. The book takes off from here at a rapid pace revolving around stolen diamonds, helping trafficked children, and a romance that can no longer be denied.

Ms. Marton has written a romantic suspense novel that delivers a unique couple that both had to forgive themselves of their pasts to get to their HEA futures. It is also a unique and strong suspense novel filled with exotic locales, intrigue and danger. This is the third book in The Civilian Personnel Recovery Series, but is easily read as a standalone. This is a read that satisfied me on every level. This story is a banquet, not fast food. I recommend this book highly!

Book Review: Lone Wolf by Sara Driscoll

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

If I see a book contains a suspense plot and a dog, I am definitely grabbing it! LONE WOLF (FBI K-9 #1) did not disappoint. The first in a new series by Sara Driscoll takes you inside the FBI K-9 unit and focuses on Meg Jennings and her dog, Hawk.

The action in this book takes off at the beginning with a bombing via drone of a government building by the National Mall in Washington, DC. Meg and her black Lab, Hawk, are sent into the aftermath for search and rescue. (The author gives a very realistic description of the scene and the work this team would do together.) This is just the start of this bomber’s agenda of revenge on government agencies he feels have destroyed his life. It is a race to find out who is behind this devastation and stop him before more innocents die.

The book is an easy to read thriller/suspense with a few graphic scenes of violence from the bombings. It is a page turner that will keep you engaged. Meg lives with her sister, Cara, who is a professional dog trainer and their dogs Hawk, Blink, a red brindle retired racing greyhound and Saki, a blue pit bull therapy dog. I especially loved this author’s take on pit bull bans, because I live with two pit bull rescues that I love dearly.  

With Clay McCord, a reporter from the Washington Post and Todd Webb, a firefighter and EMT, you have a bit of possible romance in future books. There are also two other teams of FBI K-9s, Brian with his German shepard, Lacie, and Lauren with her border collie, Rocco. There is a lot of information besides plot in this first book. I would like to see future books in this series have more attention given to character depth, but besides that, I felt this was a great start to a new series I will definitely be following!

Thanks very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Heirloom by Edita A. Petrick

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I flew through this book! THE HEIRLOOM by Edita A. Petrick was a fast paced mash-up of CIA/FBI spy novel, supernatural novel with a witch’s heirloom locket that protects the rightful heir, corporate corruption by a cadre of CEO’s, and a psychologically damaged hitman who always succeeds. Scientific and supernatural coexist side by side throughout this fast paced thriller with romantic elements and irreverent humor.

CIA Agent Ted Bester “Beast” is called in to work with his counterpart in the FBI to solve a series of brutal killings that are all tied to a scientific conference on cold fusion that could radically change America’s energy dependence. The FBI has a source for him. Amelia is in an FBI safe-house because she was killed by the same hitman he is trying to find. (Yes, you read correctly – killed!)

Amelia now goes by ‘Randi” and is a doctor who was set to testify against corrupt pharmaceutical companies. Her heirloom amulet is passed down to first born daughters in her family from an ancestor witch from Salem who cursed all who harmed the owner. She survived her execution and is now able to sometimes slip into the hitman’s mind because he stole the amulet as a trophy.

The two work together with all the secondary characters you would expect in a usual spy thriller to find and eliminate the hitman and retrieve the cold fusion documents before they can be turned over to a foreign government.

Ms. Petrick has written a fast paced thrill ride that brings together many different genres into one. Even with all the characters and subplots, the writing is crisp and never confusing. This is a creative story with unexpected twists, especially in regards to the hitman.  The characters are well developed and believable. I cannot recommend this book enough and I can’t wait to read more from this author. If you want something different and well written, this is it!