Book Review: Blood Lines by Angela Marsons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Brilliant! Thrilling! Suspenseful! Gripping! Intriguing! There are not enough adjectives to describe how I feel about this fifth D. I. Kim Stone book, BLOOD LINES by Angela Marsons. When I think Ms. Marsons has given me everything in a mystery/thriller/British police procedural I could possibly want, she surprises me once again with even more.

Kim and her team start investigating the stabbing death of an apparent carjacking victim, but something just doesn’t feel right to Kim and soon they have more victims with the same stab wound, but nothing else to connect them. No evidence at any of the scenes leaves the team struggling.

Adding to the stress of a tough case, the sociopath psychiatrist, Alex Thorne is back and has worked out a plan to eliminate the roadblocks to her release from prison, permanently. Kim barely kept her sanity dealing with Alex in book two and knows that another sparring match may push her over the edge, but she feels she has no choice. Alex has manipulated everyone around her again, even while in prison and Kim needs to figure out her end game and stop her no matter the cost.

The two plot lines intertwine to perfection in this book. The theme runs through both, but I can’t say more without giving a spoiler. Even the title is perfect for this book. I feel this book is perfectly plotted and paced. I put it down once only due to work. I would have been compelled to read it through in one sitting otherwise.

The characters are realistic and as in all the previous books, I look forward to what new insights Ms. Marsons will reveal about each. Kim is once again facing psychological implosion from her interactions with Alex Thorne and she also throws in the possible release of her mentally ill mother. Bryant is proving once again to be Kim’s rock and best friend besides her partner. Stacey and Dawson also continue to grow into their roles.

This book can be read as a standalone, but to understand the richness of Ms. Marsons’ characters, you really should start at book one and read how they grow. I cannot recommend this series enough! This is a must read series for me!

A huge thank you to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Perfect!

Book Review: Poisonfeather by Matthew FitzSimmons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Once again Matthew FitzSimmons has me engrossed as I follow his main character, the always surprising and ethically ambiguous Gibson Vaughn on another thrilling adventure in his new book, POISONFEATHER.

The judge who changed the young Gibson’s path in life, his friends and family and many others have all been scammed by Charles Merrick for their life savings. Merrick is about to be released from prison after only an eight year sentence and he has hinted that he still has money working for him. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Merrick and his money and they will be waiting for him to walk out of prison.

Gibson wants to get the money for the judge, an ex-con wants the money to start a new life and a small town bartender wants revenge. These three need to work with each other to stay ahead of a CIA handler, a Chinese spy, hardened criminal gangs and mercenaries all set in a small town in West Virginia. Believe it or not, the author does make all of these characters come together into a wild and thrilling story.

Gibson Vaughn always seems to find himself trying to do the right thing for the right reason, but things always end up being more complicated. Mr. FitzSimmons is truly a master at seamlessly weaving his main plot with many subplots that all tie together into a fast paced thrill ride for Gibson and the reader. The cast of characters are all interesting, written with depth and motivations that make them fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

There are small references in regards to the first Gibson Vaughn book, The Short Drop, but it does not change the main focus of this book, which can easily be read as a standalone. Reader Alert: The ending is a BIG cliffhanger! I normally hate cliffhanger endings, but Mr. FitzSimmons made it work for me and I will be anxiously awaiting to find out the fate of Gibson Vaughn.

Thank you very much to Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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: 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!