Book Review: Flawless Danger by Rachel Woods

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

FLAWLESS DANGER (The Spencer & Sione Series, #1) by Rachel Woods is a thriller/mystery with romantic elements that I have very mixed feelings about. The writing is well done with very short change of point of view chapters to keep the story moving. The characters are my personal problem. Just as in Gone Girl, if I don’t like the characters, I don’t enjoy the book. No matter how many times you tell me Spencer had a terrible childhood, and it was too many times, I couldn’t warm up to her.

The thriller/mystery has Spencer being blackmailed by Ben Chang to get close to Belize resort owner, Sione, and steal back an envelope he claims belongs to him. She is also sent on side delivery jobs for him to three women with a bag containing a fake passport and money. All these women end up murdered. This lands Spencer in the middle of a power struggle between Ben and Richard, who is Sione’s father. Although Sione is trying to change his life, all of these men are dangerous and deadly criminals. And Spencer is no saint, either. It is sort of like a criminal soap opera.

The plot was what kept me reading, but it does drag at times. I would not call it a romantic suspense, as some have, because the love is all based on omission and lies so that was a problem for me. If you are into these types of characters, you will enjoy this book and there are more to follow because this does end on a cliffhanger of sorts.

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: 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.