Tag: #thriller

“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

Sunny Randall Book 8

When Sunny’s long-time gangster associate Tony Marcus comes to her for help, Sunny is surprised–after all, she double crossed him on a recent deal, and their relationship is on shakier ground than ever. But the way Tony figures it, Sunny owes him, and Sunny’s willing to consider his case if it will clear the slate.

Tony’s trusted girlfriend and business partner has vanished, appears to have left in a hurry, and he has no idea why. He just wants to talk to her, he says, but first he needs Sunny to track her down. While Sunny isn’t willing to trust his good intentions, the missing woman intrigues her–against all odds, she’s risen to a position of power in Tony’s criminal enterprise. Sunny can’t help but admire her, and if this woman’s in a jam, Sunny would like to help.

But when a witness is murdered hours after speaking to Sunny, it’s clear there’s more at stake than just Tony’s love life. Someone–maybe even Tony himself–doesn’t want this woman on the loose…and will go to any lengths to make sure she stays silent.

Sunny Randall is up in my Top 10 of female detectives so I was very pleased to be granted a review copy of this latest release. This actually turned out to be a quick read from me because I just couldn’t put it down. Sunny’s got a bad history with Tony Marcus but now he needs her help and is willing to let bygones be bygones, or so he says. While Sunny is looking for his missing girlfriend, the competition is trying to move in on Tony and is not afraid of using Sunny as a part of their takeover attempt. Then she is suddenly confronted with the re-appearance of her ex-husband’s son in their lives.

There are a lot of moving parts in this story but the author expertly wove them together into a story that keeps you guessing. Sunny is brash and ballsy on the job, but finds herself getting more and more wrapped up with the little boy. I love that these stories are set in Boston, a city I have visited but don’t really have a good knowledge of. A lot of the enjoyment for me in reading is getting to visit places I don’t know much about. Sunny is a character that has developed over the course of the series into a tough and loyal detective, with a enough of a feminine side to be relatable for us ordinary folk. As for the mob guys, well, I like the uniqueness of their characters but as people I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near them. That Sunny can hold her own in their presence amazes me.

I am recommending this book because I really enjoy the writing and pacing of the story, I love the character of Sunny, and the location is on that intrigues me. If you haven’t discovered Sunny Randall yet that you need to, plain and simple.

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“Poison Orchids” by Sarah Denzil & Anni Taylor

“Poison Orchids” by Sarah Denzil & Anni Taylor

Narrated by Aimee Horne

Young backpackers Gemma and Hayley arrive at a remote fruit farm in Australia’s Northern Territory, out of money and desperate for work. 

The weeks go on, a blur of fruit picking, parties, campfires and wading beneath waterfalls in the nearby hot springs. Until the night the girls find themselves on a dark highway, bruised and bloodied.  

Senior Detective Bronwen McKay and psychologist Megan Arlotti question the terrified girls. But Hayley and Gemma are telling two very different stories of what happened to them over the past three months. 

Buckle up people, this is a bumpy ride. There is some pretty graphic violence so if you are sensitive to that type of content this would not be a good choice. That being said, I was all in with this story. It starts with a bang near the end of Gemma and Hayley’s journey together and then shifts back and forth between what’s happening to them now and the events that led up to their current situation. This story is very complex with some very intriguing characters and you need to be paying attention in order to keep it all straight. I felt that listening to this story just heightened the drama overall and made it all feel more real, though I hope that some of the situations are never anybody’s reality. This story is very dark but it completely captured my imagination. In the past few months, I have found myself really enjoying books set in Australia and this is one of the best I’ve read.

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“If She Wakes” by Michael Koryta

“If She Wakes” by Michael Koryta

Narrated by Robert Petkoff

Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she’s a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead – but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look in to Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation – and nerves – shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara’s car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hit man named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

This story is fascinating, thrilling, and a little bit creepy. All the things I look for in a thriller. There is an urgency to the story from the very first words. A sense of something ominous about to happen. Tara is just trying to be friendly with the guest speaker she is escorting to the college event. Then it all goes terribly wrong.

I love the way the author uses Tara to push the investigation forward, even though she is suffering from locked-in syndrome and seemingly has no way to communicate. I really appreciated how he explored what was going on in her thoughts, the feeling of indignity when the nurses talked about her like she wasn’t in the room, the desperation she feels when she realizes that she can’t communicate, and the relief when her sister fights for her rights when she is helpless. This aspect of the story is a reminder that just because a person is medically unable to talk to you doesn’t mean that you can treat them with disrespect.

Abby, the investigator, is a whole different kettle of fish. She is intent on finding the truth but must confront her internal demons in order to get through this investigation alive. The path to the truth is twisted and full of the unexpected. When she finds herself at the mercy of a serial killer she uses every resource she can muster thwart his deadly intentions. I found it easy to identify with Abby and cheer her on. Her methods may be unorthodox to some but they are definitely effective.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story and was on the edge of my seat throughout. The narrator’s pacing was excellent and it was a real pleasure to listen to. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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“Running Blind” by Lee Child

“Running Blind” by Lee Child

Narrated by Johnathan McClain

Across the country women are being murdered by a killer who leaves no evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to a motive. They are, truly, perfect crimes. In fact, the only thing that links the victims is the man they all knew: Jack Reacher.

Warning: this story has a lot of potentially triggering scenes about crimes against women. Jack Reacher is my latest fictional hero. “Running Blind” is his 4th story. The FBI suspects him of murdering women across the country who had, while in military service, reported sexual assault. Reacher had been the investigator in all the cases, therefore he must be guilty. Then the tables turn and he’s helping the FBI find the real killer.

I find Jack Reacher so fascinating because I just can’t quite figure him out. Every book reveals a little bit more about him and just when I think I’m starting to understand him he throws me another loop. This is a character that keeps my interest. In this book, he’s paired with an FBI agent who, I’m sorry to say, has no redeeming qualities in my mind. She’s just way more nasty than she needs to be, but Reacher just takes it all in stride.

The plot of this one really had me guessing. I’d say I was about 85% through the book before I started to think that maybe I was wrong about the suspect and of course I was. Because Lee Child is good at unexpected twists, there are plenty of them. I was also impressed with the way the author handled the trauma that the women experienced. He doesn’t dismiss or trivialize what happened which I appreciate, especially from a male author.

I would definitely recommend the audiobook version of this story. I think Mr. McClain did a great job of voicing this one. The characters are distinctive and his narration is very well paced so you don’t have a chance to “zone out”. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one.

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Other books in this series:

“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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Other books 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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“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.



“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

 

“A Game of Ghosts” by John Connolly

“A Game of Ghosts” by John Connolly

Narrated by Jeff Harding

Blurb:  It is deep winter and the darkness is unending. A private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished and Charlie Parker is assigned to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found. Eklund is no ordinary investigator—he is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker is drawn into Eklund’s world: a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts…

My Thoughts:  Book 15 in the Charlie Parker series and my admiration and respect for him continues to grow. There is so much depth to John Connolly’s characters in this series that I just drown in their world every time I listen. Jeff Harding’s excellent narration just adds to the mystery and thrill of the story itself. Rather than try to review this book, because I loved every minute of it and have no critiques, I just want to say thank you to John Connolly for creating this series which has given me so much pleasure. I have just started listening to book 16 and am on pins and needles waiting for book 17 to become available in the U.S. After listening to this book, I am very excited to see where Mr. Connolly is going to take the character of Sam, Charlie’s daughter. I will never regret the day I picked up my first Charlie Parker novel.

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

 

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

Blurb: A visionary young filmmaker hunted for sport across a vast Colorado ranch by the celebrated billionaire at the heart of a monstrous cabal . . .

A brilliant computer hacker slipping through top-secret databases a whisper ahead of security trackers, gathering the facts to fight the all-powerful perpetrators of mass murder . . .

A pair of brutal operators, methodically shadowing their targets with every cutting-edge tool in the arsenal of today’s surveillance state . . .

A sequence of quiet heroes—everyday citizens—stepping up, stepping forward, intent on countering the advancing darkness . . .

A Vegas mob boss teamed with a homicidal sociopath, circling a beloved boy and his protectors, aiming to secure him as leverage against his fugitive mother . . .

And that fugitive mother herself, ex-agent Jane Hawk, closing in on the malevolent architects of ruin she has stalked as they stalk her, prepared to sacrifice herself to finally bring them down.

These are the people and circumstances of The Night Window, the thrilling new novel in Dean Koontz’s acclaimed Jane Hawk series. Replete—and then some—with the ingenious twists, the spellbinding action, the resonant themes, the sheer heart that have characterized Jane’s journey from the start, The Night Window follows its extraordinary heroine to her long-sought objective, in a stunning, unforgettable finale.

My Thoughts: This finale is definitely unforgettable, but will it be the end of Jane Hawk or the end of the Techno Arcadians? You’ll have to read to the last page to find out the answer. This story is so full of thrills and chills I had to take breaks to let my heart rate go back to normal. Jane is still on the hunt to bring down the Techno Arcadians but you can really tell in this book that the strain of the mission and the separation from her son are starting to get to her. She has a new partner in this installment as the computer whiz Ragnesh, formerly of the FBI, joins her for the final push. I’ve been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this series and my only disappointment is that this is the final installment. Dean Koontz’s imagination continues to surprise and thrill me and after reading this series I will definitely be picking up more of his books in the future. This book releases on May 14th so plan your book shopping accordingly.

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website