Category: Thriller

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

Narrated by Imogen Church

A deception, wrapped in a disappearance, wrapped in an obsession … all in one book! Lara Finch is an unhappy housewife with a dark secret in her past. When she is offered a job in London she jumps at the chance. She will have to take the sleeper train every Sunday afternoon and return on Friday night. She makes new friends among the regular travelers and loves being back in London. The only downside is the strained she relationships with everyone in her family except her godfather, who absolutely dotes on her even though she’s a grown woman. She has also recently befriended Iris, a lonely woman who lives near her. She too is hiding a deep secret. Then comes the Saturday morning that Lara does not get off the train and one of her traveling companions is found murdered. Is there a connection and where has Lara disappeared to? Iris is determined to find the answers.

Let me just start by saying that you need to read, or listen to, this book. This is a fabulous psychological thriller. Lara is a fascinating character. Sometimes, I found her to be very sympathetic and other times I just wanted to knock some sense into her. Her relationships with her husband and family are very complex and the author did a great job with the development of all the main characters. I found Iris to be the most interesting though. Her story doesn’t really begin until about halfway through the book but once it starts, it’s just irresistible. I had not paid too much attention to the description of the story before I began listening to it, and at first I thought it was just going to be another unhappy wife story. But, oh my gosh, about a third of the way through the story takes a turn that just makes it one of the most compelling thrillers I’ve read in a while. Did I mention how much I enjoyed listening to the narrator? Imogen Church was a great choice for this book. Her narration was irresistible but did not over dramatize. She let the words convey the drama more than her voice. I was very sorry when I had to stop listening to her voice. Bottom line is, I loved the story and the narration, and highly recommend both to you especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading! Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“The Whisperers” by John Connolly

“The Whisperers” by John Connolly

Charlie Parker Series Book 9

Narrated by Holter Graham

Charlie has been asked to look into the suicide of a young soldier recently returned from Iraq. The father thinks maybe it wasn’t a suicide but Charlie doesn’t really expect to find much. He agrees to look into though. As he begins to look into the young man’s relationships he uncovers a smuggling operation run by the ex-military men that he served with. Goods are moving between Maine and Canada and Charlie suspects the usual, drugs. But as the men in the group start to die it become apparent that something very dark is going on. This is about much more than drugs and if Charlie can’t stop it soon more lives will be lost.

John Connolly just continues to deliver gripping, thrilling stories with this series. The plotline is unexpected and there is nothing formulaic about this book or any others so far in this series. I continue to marvel at the author’s creativity. Louis and Angel are back in this one, but so is The Collector, a totally creepy guy that somehow seems to hover halfway between being human and inhuman. This story has a lot of PTSD in it since the guys involved were a specialized force in Iraq. I found that aspect a little bit challenging to get through but primarily because while I was listening to this a Vietnam vet in my family died, so it felt very close to home. I wouldn’t let that scare you away though, I think the topic is dealt with in a thoughtful way while at the same time highlighting the impact that participating in war can have once you return to “normal” life.

I only thing I was a little disappointed with was the narration. Not the narrator himself because he has a great voice and a great delivery. I just had a hard time picturing Charlie with his particular voice. I think that previous narrators in this series have fit my image of Charlie Parker better, that’s all. Otherwise, this was a great listen and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

Creepy, creepy, creepy!!! This is a perfect read for the month of October. Suzette Jensen is happily married to Alex and they have a beautiful 7-year old daughter Hanna. The family looks idyllic from the outside but the secrets lying under the surface may put them in mortal danger. Hanna, for reasons doctors have been unable to diagnose, is mute. She communicates through gestures and facial expressions only. She adores her father but is cool and distant with her mother. She acts out, sometimes violently, when forced to go to school. Suzette strives to be the kind of mother that she herself didn’t have but Hanna’s behavior is beginning to wear her out. In addition, she is still recovering from the most recent of several surgeries she’s had to have for her medical condition. Suzette is feeling trapped and even threatened by her own daughter but will her quest to find help make things better or far, far worse?

This book will scare you and send chills down your spine but it will also challenge your view of the mother/daughter relationship and make you wonder what really goes on in the minds of children. I really liked Suzette from the beginning. Her medical condition makes her very vulnerable but she never gives up fighting and trying to improve as a person. She agonizes over the situation with her daughter and works hard to keep it from intruding into her relationship with Alex. I also really liked Alex, he is wonderful as a father and a husband, even if it takes him a little while to really acknowledge the issues his daughter has. Hanna may be beautiful but she is not a likable child. It seems to be her mission in life to torment her mother. As a mom myself, I found this child frightening and she kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I found this book to be a perfect fit for the time of year, scarier than I had anticipated and impossible to put down.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Lovers” by John Connolly – Audiobook

“The Lovers” by John Connolly – Audiobook

Narrated by George Guidall

Listening to this story was like a chocolate truffle melting on the tongue. This story is the most personal of the books so far in that the mystery Charlie is trying to unravel is that of his father’s suicide. This incident, obviously, had a huge impact on Charlie’s life and at this point in time he has lost his PI’s license and been working as a bartender. He decides to take a week off and travel to New York to try and determine once and for all what drove his father to take his own life. In the process, he opens up a hornet’s nest of secrets. He comes in contact with former colleagues of his father, revisits his own former home in the city and has a heart-to-heart with the rabbi who was there when Charlie was born.

I really enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about Charlie Parker’s life and family. Who could have imagined all of the supernatural events that surrounded Charlie’s birth? Only the mind of John Connolly. I have to also give high praise to the narrator for his excellent reading of this story. He really kept my attention throughout. This series continues to thrill and boggle my mind, and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Reapers” by John Connolly

“The Reapers” by John Connolly

Narrated by George Guidall

Circumstances have changed for Charlie Parker since he lost his PI’s license. Meanwhile, Angel and Louis are faced with a potentially fatal decision. Someone is coming after them by targeting their business interests and the people that they care about. Tracking down the person behind it all brings Louis back in contact with a key figure from his past and puts them all in danger. Louis and Angel are out-numbered and out-maneuvered until a faithful friend contacts Charlie to come to the rescue. The question is, who will still be standing when the smoke clears away?

Book 7 in the Charlie Parker series is different from the previous books in that the story focuses on Louis and Angel more than on Charlie. In this one we get to learn a lot about Louis and Angel’s history and their relationship with each other. We meet some of the characters at the periphery of their lives, like the mechanic that Louis saved from ruin and who is infinitely loyal in return. I really enjoyed the opportunity to understand these two pivotal characters better. I did however miss Charlie as he really doesn’t show up until the middle of the book, but I liked the role reversal here where Charlie is the back-up man instead of the lead. The story itself is one you really have to pay attention to as these guys have lived very complicated lives. I think the change of focus in this book really shows the creativity of the author and his skill at developing multiple characters simultaneously.  Finally, George Guidall, as narrator, has once again delivered a stellar performance.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins – Audiobook

“Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins – Audiobook

Narrated by Laura Aikman, Imogen Church, Daniel Weyman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred

From the author of “The Girl on the Train” comes another page turner of a mystery. Lena is 15 and her single mother has just been found dead in The Drowning Pool. This pool has seen several suicides in its history and everyone assumes that this is another in the line of women who have killed themselves by jumping in. Lena is convinced that her mother did not commit suicide and the policewoman Erin, recently transferred from London, also finds the idea of suicide to be questionable. As Erin begins to look into the case she finds herself uncovering all kinds of dark secrets that the townspeople are hiding.

This rural community is a treasure trove of psychological angst. It seems that everybody has a secretand some of them are barely contained. And I was so drawn into this story that I listened to the whole book, 11 ½ hours, in just 2 days. The structure of the story is similar to her first book in that it is told by several different people, sometimes in the present and sometimes in the past. I found this format a little challenging in the beginning because there is not much to indicate the transition from one character to another, except the change in voice. I found myself a couple of times getting distracted and missing the transition but was able to quickly get back on track. That being said I thought all the narrators were great. Their interpretation of the characters was excellent. The story itself is full of twists that kept me guessing till the end. There is some physical action in the story but the suspense really comes from the psychological aspects of the story. A couple of these people are really messed up and none of them seem to have truly functional relationships. Lena’s teenage angst mixed with the trauma of losing her mother is just perfectly written. Overall, I found this to be a riveting story with exceptional characters and a really top-notch narration. Don’t miss out on this one, whether in print or audio.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Audible   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

A Jane Hawk Novel #3

Looking for non-stop action? Look no further. Reading a Jane Hawk book is like riding a roller-coaster, in a good way. Jane is still hot on the trail of the conspirators who are taking over people’s minds. As she gets closer, the danger begins to spread to those closest to her. But Jane has a way to turn the tables. Armed with the mind control device, Jane uses one of their own against the conspirators and unravels some of their darkest secrets. Meanwhile, those being controlled continue to wreak havoc, and Jane’s son is hidden from view. Can Jane bring these people down, or will they get to her and her loved ones first?

This continues to be a compelling series that feels like it’s all too real. Jane is like a one-man army as she continues to undermine the organization while staying just under their radar. We get to know her son a little more in this book and he is a great kid. As usual, there is a cast of side characters, good and bad, who make Jane’s work possible. I especially enjoyed the Shukla twins in this one. I continue to be surprised by the complexity of the plot in these books. Dean Koontz is a best-selling author for good reason. His stories are carefully crafted and his characters are well-developed and believable. I am a huge fan of this series and can’t wait for book 4 later this year.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Unquiet” by John Connolly

“The Unquiet” by John Connolly

Narrated by George Guidall

Book 6 of the Charlie Parker series

In this installment in the series Charlie finds himself involved in a case that centers around child abuse. Someone is stalking Daniel Clay’s daughter and wants information from her about her father that she doesn’t have. Daniel Clay disappeared several years earlier and has been declared dead by the courts. Before he disappeared, there were accusations of child abuse surrounding him and his work as a child therapist. John Merrick’s daughter disappeared at about the same time and he is convinced that Daniel Clay was involved. He was in prison when it happened but now he’s out and he wants revenge. Parker has been hired to scare Merrick off but in the process sets out to find out what really happened to Daniel Clay. He uncovers other children who were abused by “bird-men” and finds a hornet’s nest of evil lurking in the darkness.

If you follow me, you know how much I love this series and this installment continues the greatness that is Charlie Parker. In addition to a great story, we have George Guidall as the narrator, one of my favorites. He always brings a depth and richness to the storytelling that I love every time I listen to one of his narrations. Of course, Lewis and Angel are back, though they didn’t seem to be quite as prominent this time. Rachel didn’t appear nearly enough in this story which I really missed. This is a dark story about child abuse which could be a problem for some readers, so a note of caution there. As always the story is complex and full of twists. There is a host of secondary characters that add to the richness of the story itself. All in all, this is a great book, though it’s not my favorite of the series so far. Readers who love thrillers and mysteries should really enjoy this one and I highly recommend the audiobook version.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Erasing Memory” by Scott Thornley

“Erasing Memory” by Scott Thornley

Book 1 in the MacNeice Mysteries series

MacNeice is a senior police detective in the city of Dundurn, a fictional city in Southern Ontario. While returning one evening from visiting his wife’s grave, he is called to a crime scene. A beautiful young woman who has just graduated from Conservatory, is found dead in a luxurious lake cottage. The crime scene is pristine and the girl has no identification with her. MacNeice and his team have their work cut out for them finding a suspect and a motive. When they find out the girl’s father is a former Romanian microbiologist and investigation turns international and gets really messy.

This is a great beginning to a new series. MacNeice is a top-notch detective with a definite soft-spot. The death of his wife has left him a bit of an emotional mess and I think the author did a really good job of portraying that aspect of him. He has a couple of great characters on his team, Aziz and Verestri, who all work together brilliantly and offset each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I found the storyline fascinating. The manner of death in particular got my attention because of its uniqueness, and I just couldn’t stop until I knew how this had come about and who was responsible. The international intrigue that is brought in through the Romanian connection really amped up the drama of the story. There are fistfights and gunfights and car chases for those who like thrills with their mysteries. I would definitely recommend this book for mystery and thrill lovers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

“Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

Need a little suspense while you’re soaking up the sun this summer? Then take a copy of “Jar of Hearts” in your luggage. Geo is serving a 5-year sentence for the part she played in the murder of her best friend when she was 16. Her former boyfriend is sentenced to life. As her release date approaches, Calvin, the ex-boyfriend, has escaped from prison. And then, two bodies are found in the same location as the original murder victim. Kaiser, the police detective on the case has been in love with Geo since high school, and fears that Calvin may be coming back for her. With her only support coming from her widowed father Geo is trying to put her life back together but can she overcome the memories, and will they locate Calvin before more women have to die?

Do not hesitate to pick up this book. If you like psychological thrillers you will not be disappointed. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but it won’t be the last. This story is complex and twisty is all the right ways. The story is told both in the present and the past through the memories of the characters. The circumstances of the original murder unfold gradually in way that keeps you wondering and wanting more. I also really loved the characters created here. Geo may at first seem predictable but as you follow her you begin to see just how complicated her life has been and how she came to make the choices she did, good and bad. I liked her both as a teenager and as an adult. Kaiser is also a very likeable guy. He’s handsome, devoted to duty, but also a very caring and loyal person. He matures through the story from an awkward teenage boy into a highly respected law enforcement officer and friend. The icing on the cake for me is that the story is set in the Pacific Northwest, my favorite part of the country. I hope you check this one out because it’s worth the hype.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website