Book Review: The Girl At the Bar by Nicholas Nash

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I absolutely love when I try a new author with no expectations and am completely absorbed into the story. THE GIRL AT THE BAR by Nicolas Nash is one of those mystery/thrillers that are rich in backgrounds, technical information and clues without bogging down the pace and keeps you guessing until the end.

Dr. Rebecca Chase is a brilliant cancer researcher in New York City for a medical conference. The night before she is to present, she meets Ragnar Johnson at her hotel bar. She leaves to go to his place for a one night stand. When Ragnar wakes up the next morning, she is gone, not just from his apartment, but she has completely disappeared.

No one knows why she would disappear. Her research has placed her in the middle of a high-stakes battle between two mega pharma companies. Her personal life is a mess, but she is not the type of person to just walk away from her life’s work and career. After her disappearance, others associated with her start to be killed and there are so many different motives and agendas, you don’t know who to trust.

Ragnar is a brilliant out of work trader with social and psychiatric problems. Even though he knows he looks to be the prime suspect in Rebecca’s disappearance, he can’t stay uninvolved. He and his tech expert/hacker friend, Eddie chase clues. As he works the case, he is being followed by Raoul Perez who heads up security for Atticus Biopharma and was a NYC detective previously. You also have a competent team of detectives, Timothy and Roberta, who we follow as they work the case.

During the story, you are introduced to an entity that just calls itself “the void”. It is never completely satisfied or filled for long. You realize this is the mind of the kidnapper/killer and the way it describes itself is extremely chilling.

There are so many characters that have a variety of motives that I was continually changing my mind on who was the guilty party and why. Even with all the moving parts, I was never confused on who was who. All of the characters were so interesting and realistic that I just had to keep turning the pages. I love this type of mystery as it takes you step by step and lets you think and discover along with the detectives and Ragnar. Please note: There is a moment of graphic violence in the climax of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel and will be looking for more from this author.

Thanks very much to Fireflies Publishing LLC and Net Galley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was my pleasure.

 

Book Review: Trust No One by Paul Cleave

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

TRUST NO ONE by Paul Cleave is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller that has the reader and the crime writer narrator continually trying to decide what is reality and what is fiction.
Jerry Grey is a fictional crime writer who uses the pseudonym of Henry Cutter for his novels and has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 49. He begins to keep a “Madness Journal” to follow his progression into Alzheimer’s, but he still is not sure if he can trust what seems real or what are remembered parts of his works of fiction caused by his disease. He confesses to crimes he has written about in his published novels to the police. At first, no one believes his confessions that they perceive to be caused by the dementia progressing in his mind, but dead bodies are turning up and the evidence is mounting against him.

Paul Cleave has written a thriller that makes you question everything you read and question all the characters’ motives. You cannot make any conclusions due to the unreliability of the protagonist as storyteller and yet the plot progresses forward at a faster and faster pace. Every scene and character are important. If you love this book as much as I did, wait until you read the ending. I believe it is perfect for the story, but your emotions are going to be all over the place and it can be debated endlessly. Fantastic book!

Book Review: Fire and Midnight by Sandra Renee Appet

fire and midnight

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

WOW! My new book boyfriend’s name is Ryan “Reyo” Zeigler. Half Mexican, half German, beautiful, sexy, smart and loving. This story has everything I want in a romance!

FIRE AND MIDNIGHT by Sandra Renee Appet is a beautifully written contemporary romance about a divorcee who is all work now that she has an empty nest and she believes her time for love has passed her by and a gorgeous ex-escort who was very successful, but only did the job for the money to realize his dream of his own restaurant.

Janes Keegan’s divorce is final and her son is off to college. When she has to take a trip to San Antonio from NY for business, her BFF informs her she set her up with an account on “The Cowboys”, an exclusive, high-end escort service. She is not comfortable with this idea and is about to delete her account when she views a blue-eyed, dark haired arresting man and she presses “Book”.

Ryan “Reyo” Ziegler’s dream has always been to open his own restaurant on the San Antonio River Walk. He has stripped and then been an escort, always working towards his dream and now that Vine is open and doing well he is done with that empty life. He told his old boss he was done, but she left his profile up and she now asks him to do this one last job. He is intrigued by Jane’s picture and bio and agrees to this last escort.

When Jane and Ryan meet in person, there is an instant attraction, but also the feeling of being comfortable with each other. Ryan doesn’t want Jane to think he is only interested in the money and makes a deal with her – no strings, a fun relaxing weekend and her payment refunded. When their weekend is up, Ryan wants to continue to see where their relationship will go. Jane has to decide if she truly believes Ryan wants her or if this is just a beautiful dream that has to end.

This romance had my emotions all over the place. Ryan is a hot, sexy hero, who is everything a woman could want and Jane has all the insecurities and strengths of a middle aged divorcee trying to put herself first for a change. Ms. Appet brings this H/h to life with realistic situations, extended family and friends, and a love that survives and strengthens with every trial. This is a beautiful romance!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Murder By The Book by Devorah Fox

murder by the book

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed MURDER BY THE BOOK by Devorah Fox which is a mini-cozy mystery that is packed into 27 pages. I KNOW!!! I was very surprised that such a short story had almost everything I look for in a much longer book.

Candy Wadsen comes into work at the Sugarloaf Inn and Resort to find her loathsome boss murdered at his desk. Candy is a mystery book buff and knows what to do, but reality is very different from books. She is quickly cleared with her alibi by the hunky Sergeant Dan Petrowski, but the rest of the staff had to stay for an after work meeting and all become suspects.

This is a wonderfully clever who-done-it that had me guessing until the end. All of the characters were your usual cast of quirky cozy mystery types and they were well written for the short length of the story. When you want a very quick and smart mini-cozy mystery, grab this one and you will not be disappointed!

Book Review: Belonging To A Highlander by K.M. Patterson

belonging to a highlander

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I so enjoy curling up on the couch on a cold winter day and disappearing into a well written romance. BELONGING TO A HIGHLANDER by K.M. Patterson turned out to be the perfect escape. An alpha Highland Scot and the young impetuous woman willing to stand up to him and lead him on a merry chase.

Hugh McCross has one more debt of honor to fulfill before he can fully leave his life as a mercenary and become the full time laird of his lands. He may not like it, but he feels he must fulfill his debt with anything asked of him by taking an innocent from the cloister to be delivered into the McAlison’s hands to settle a blood feud, but there are secrets being withheld.

Catriona McBruiey will do anything to help her friend escape her fate. She pretends to be Tamsin and is taken in her place. She believes it will be of no consequence as she is only a bastard and has no betrothed, even though she is the favorite niece of the king. When the deception is revealed, neither Cat nor Hugh realize the political and deadly ramifications set into motion surrounding both of their lives.

Ms. Patterson has delivered a historical romance with a plot that is very familiar and yet entertaining, scenery and atmosphere that make you feel you are back in historical Scotland, and an H/h that you cheer for to come together for their HEA. The secondary characters were as fully fleshed as Cat and Hugh, good and bad. There are a few steamy sex scenes, but placed where appropriate and not at all gratuitous. This is not a ground breaking new story, but a satisfying historical romance read well worth your time.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

while you were sleeping

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.