Category: Thriller

“Tripwire” by Lee Child – Audiobook

“Tripwire” by Lee Child – Audiobook

Narrated by Johnathan McClain

Jack Reacher, ex-military policeman relaxed in Key West until Costello turned up dead. The amiable PI was hired in New York by the daughter of Reacher’s mentor and former commanding officer, General Garber. Garber’s investigation into a Vietnam MIA sets Reacher on collision with hand-less “Hook” Hobie, hours away from his biggest score.

Jack Reacher is quickly becoming my newest hero. Parts of this story were very gruesome and hard to listen too, but that was definitely outweighed by the complexity of the story. Reacher starts to develop a personal life which I enjoyed and adds additional dimension to him as a character. The Vietnam War connection in the plot really points out Jack Reacher’s former years in the military and the death of his former mentor will have a completely unexpected outcome on his life. Reacher continues to be a loner, for the most part, and someone who wants to live by his own code, which I have to admit is an archetype that I relate well too. The ultimate resolution of this mystery took me by surprise by seemed very appropriate to the events that had taken place. This story represents to me another way in which war can destroy lives, and that’s something that I think we should all be reminded of frequently. There are multiple lives at stake in this story and the action is riveting. I think this story translated well to audio and the narrator did a great job of bringing the characters to life.

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“A Book of Bones” by John Connolly – Audiobook

“A Book of Bones” by John Connolly – Audiobook

Narrated by Jeff Harding

He is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On a lonely moor in northern England, the body of a young woman is discovered. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the darkness has heard the call.

Charlie Parker has also heard it and from the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast the world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil—but evil fears him.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Charlie Parker but this one really made me work, in a good way. The religious roots in this story are very complicated and I really had to pay attention while listening so as not to get completely lost. That being said, I love a complex story that makes my brain work along the way, so for me this is a winning characteristic. This installment also felt like it was more emotional for the characters as we are faced with a battle against cancer while trying to stop evil from destroying the world. I continue to enjoy the expansion of the roles of Charlie’s daughters as the series progresses. For me the incorporation of the children makes it all a little more real. Charlie and his team (my word for the group of recurring characters) are not just fighting evil as a theoretical concept or as a function of law enforcement, but as an actual living force that can end all hope of a future for mankind. This may well be my favorite so far, though I wouldn’t suggest this one as your first foray into this series. John Connolly continues to dazzle me with his creativity, and Charlie Parker is still one of my favorite heroes.

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Other stories in this series:







“Front Page Fatality” by LynDee Walker

“Front Page Fatality” by LynDee Walker

Narrated by Therese Plummer

Blurb:

When two rookie cops are killed in a fiery crash near Richmond, Virginia, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is sent in to investigate.

But as Nichelle digs deeper into the case, she discovers this was no ordinary accident.

People and evidence soon begin to disappear. Someone is one step ahead of her. A master criminal with a deadly secret, covering their tracks with ruthless efficiency.

The killer will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. But as she draws closer to unraveling the mystery of two dead cops, Nichelle realizes that she’s become the next target.

My Thoughts:

This one had a little different feel for me because the main character is an investigative reporter, not a detective. That being said, I really liked Nichelle. She’s still figuring out her job to some extent, but she is eager and ready to learn. What she doesn’t know is what she’s getting herself into when there is an explosion and two cops are dead. As the case heats up, she begins to wonder who she can trust. I really enjoyed the pacing of the story and the secondary characters who added drama and interest. I think the plotline is well crafted and executed. Overall, I found the story to be engaging from beginning to end. The narration was excellent if you prefer audiobooks.

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“Cold Water” by Debbie Herbert

“Cold Water” by Debbie Herbert

Narrated by Megan Tusing, Eric G. Dove, Sophie Amoss & Shannon McManus

Blurb:

Everyone thinks fourteen-year-old Violet is a murderer. After a summer-night swim with her best friend, Ainsley, Violet is found confused, wandering in the forest – and Ainsley’s never seen again. But without a body, murder charges won’t stick, so Violet is sent away.

After more than a decade in a psychiatric ward, Violet returns to her broken-down hometown of Normal, Alabama, to claim her dead mother’s inheritance and help her overworked sister care for their unstable, alcoholic father. Violet, still haunted by that night eleven years ago, endures horrific flashbacks and twisted hallucinations while townsfolk spit accusations – and for all she knows, they’re right.

As the summer heats up, details of Ainsley’s fate appear like a beast’s wild eyes, watching in the darkness, and grim revelations about Violet’s family threaten to devour her. Already on the edge of madness, Violet must fight to keep her sanity long enough for the terrible truth to burst from the cold, dark waters.

My Thoughts:

The relationship dynamics and their psychological effect on the characters are my favorite part of this story. The sisters with no common blood. The father who has always had a mean streak. And Violet who seems to just be a pawn in a dark-hearted scheme. You can’t help but feel for Violet, having just come out of a psychiatric institution. It’s a wonder she has any courage at all. She returns to a home where she is hated, hoping her memory of the last night with her friend will come back. This book has four different narrators which enables the listener to easily track the different perspectives and the timeline. For the most part, I found the narration to be well done and compelling. The story moved along very nicely with the flashback sections adding dimension to the narrative. I found the inclusion of the dead mother as a character to be a really interesting way to convey the story. Overall, this was an enjoyable listen, with compelling psychological thrills and a very dark mystery.

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“The Whisperer” by Karin Fossum

“The Whisperer” by Karin Fossum

Blurb:

How did a lonely, quiet woman come to kill a man—or did she?

Ragna Riegel is a soft-spoken woman of routines. She must have order in her life, and she does, until one day she finds a letter in her mailbox with her name on the envelope and a clear threat written in block capitals on the sheet inside. With the arrival of the letter, and eventually others like it, Ragna’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel into a nightmare—threatened by an unknown enemy, paranoid and unable to sleep, her isolation becomes all the more extreme. Ragna’s distress does culminate in a death, but she is the perpetrator rather than the victim.

The Whisperer shifts between Inspector Sejer’s interrogation of Ragna and the shocking events that led up to her arrest. Sejer thinks it is an open-and-shut case, but is it? Compelling and unnerving, The Whisperer probes plausible madness in everyday life and asks us to question assumptions even in its final moments.

My Thoughts:

This story had me intrigued from word one. For at least half of it, I had no idea where the story might be going but I certainly wanted to find out. As Detective Sejer questions Ragna over a period of days, her story begins to be revealed. At first glance, she appears to be just an ordinary person who lives alone, goes to work and is very introverted. But then things start to get weird. Ragna becomes convinced that she is being stalked and it certainly seems to be true, but is it? This is very much a psychological thriller which takes you deep into the mind of abnormal psychology. Ragna is a character that I couldn’t help feeling sorry for because of her disability but at the same time I was suspicious of her. I also really enjoyed the calm and almost sedate style of Detective Sejer. He skilfully gains her trust and draws her out of her shell. The winter in Norway setting added to the thrill and mystery of the story. This is one I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.



“Truth and Lies” by Caroline Mitchell

“Truth and Lies” by Caroline Mitchell

Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

Blurb:

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims – but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

My Thoughts:

Let me just start by saying how much I enjoyed this narration. I think she did a great job of bringing the various characters to life and keeping the story moving. As for the story itself, I was totally intrigued by Amy and her story. When she finds out who her real mother is it could have gone a lot of ways, but she managed to keep the job in focus and do what needed to be done to solve the case. It’s an interesting battle of the psyches of these two women. There is a lot of abuse in the story as it unfolds but I found the domestic abuse situation to be fascinating in the way the author presented what was occurring but also how the person involved was rationalizing the whole situation. I don’t want to give anything away but there is a lot of thought provoking psychology going on in this book. I took to Amy’s character right away. She is so driven to live up to what she thinks is expected of her that I found myself cheering for her through most of the book. She is very vulnerable at times during the story but she’s also tough and determined not to let her circumstances undermine her future. To top it all off, there is a cat in this story who “saves” the day and I just can’t resist a good cat character. If you’re looking for a good listen, definitely check this one out.

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“The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware

“The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware

Blurb:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

My Thoughts:

Hang on to your sanity people, this one will definitely make you question what is real, what is ruse, and what is the truth. Rowan, I found to be likeable but a little rough around the edges. Her childhood had been rough and she seemed to be having a little trouble gaining traction in her adult life. She sees the opportunity at Heatherbrae House as a chance to put the past behind her and start a new life. But her new life quickly takes some very dramatic turns and will leave her questioning her own sanity. This is the best psychological thriller I have read in a long time. The twists are sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic but always leave you guessing. The characters are great, with even the baby having a distinct personality. Alone in this isolated house with three young children it doesn’t seem possible that the things that happen are really happening. This house if full of mysteries and secrets and the author teases them out in a delicious way. However, nothing will prepare you for the ending when the final truths are revealed. You really must read this book.

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“The Woman in the Woods” by John Connolly

“The Woman in the Woods” by John Connolly

Narrated by Jeff Harding

Blurb:

In the beautiful Maine woods, a partly preserved body is discovered. Investigators realize that the dead young woman gave birth shortly before her death. But there is no sign of a baby.

Private detective Charlie Parker is hired by a lawyer to shadow the police investigation and find the infant but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in much more than a missing child…someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.

And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring and a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman.

My Thoughts:

Phone calls from a toy telephone, those are really creepy. It’s remarkable how this young boy can keep his wits about him when it happens. This is another winner from John Connolly. I found this story very easy to relate to. I am getting a little concerned about the direction Parker’s daughter Sam is going in. I’m very interested to see how her story is going to play out. Charlie and his friends Louis and Angel are facing a different phase of their lives with Angel’s health scare and I really like how Mr. Connolly is incorporating the realities of life into these main characters. He is allowing his characters to age and I don’t find that very often in detective fiction. This series has become more than just a group of whodunits for me, the characters have become like family as I’ve worked my way through the stories. This is the last one for a while as the next book in the series will not be released in the US till October. And as always, Jeff Harding is the voice of Charlie Parker and gives us another excellent performance.

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Wife” by Alafair Burke

“The Wife” by Alafair Burke

Narrated by Xe Sands

Blurb:

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look—at both the man she married and the women she chose not to believe.

My Thoughts:

This story is a real brain twister. Angela and Jason are excellent characters who seem to have a great relationship until Jason is accused. As the story moves along we learn more and more about these two and the twists and turns in the plot are a constant surprise. The ending was one I did not see coming. It was very interesting to watch the changes in Angela as the story continued. She begins as a person who is a victim but becomes more and more empowered as the drama unfolds until she is one who is shaping the story’s direction. The narration of this book is excellent. If you like psychological thrillers then I’m sure you will enjoy “The Wife”.

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Secret” by K.L. Slater

“The Secret” by K.L. Slater

Narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis

Blurb:

You turn your back for a minute. And now your son is in terrible danger …

Louise is struggling to cope.  As a busy working mum, she often has to leave her eight-year-old son Archie at her sister Alice’s flat.

Alice and Louise used to be close.  But there’s a lot they don’t know about each other now – like the bottle of vodka Louise hides in her handbag, Alice’s handsome new friend and the odd behaviour of her next-door neighbour.

Archie is a curious little boy. He likes to play on his own at his auntie’s flat until one day when he sees something he shouldn’t. Now he has a secret of his own.  One he can’t tell his mum. One that could put him and his family in terrible danger.

My Thoughts:

Twisted! That’s what this story is. There are so many unexpected turns that I wasn’t sure who to believer in until the end. I was immediately drawn to Alice and her vulnerability and cheered her on as she grappled with her fears in order to help her nephew. Louise, I didn’t like much because she just seemed to be so selfish and unconcerned about her son or her sister. But the psychology between these two sisters is way more complicated than it at first appears. And then you add in Louise’s husband and Alice’s neighbor and the drama just keeps building. I also really liked how the author was able to incorporate Alice’s neighborhood into the story in a way that it almost became a character in itself. Finally, the narrator’s voice was perfect for this story. She did a great job of relating the different characters and bringing them to life. Very compelling listen!

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website