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The Child — Fiona Barton

31 Aug

 

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Released: June 27th, 2017
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Source: Finished copy from publisher

 

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

From Goodreads

 

Oh the twists, the twists, the twists!!!!!

This was an awesome mystery novel and let me tell you, the final twist? I so didn’t see it coming. I literally said “WHAT?” out loud. It caught me completely by surprise and I love that that happened.

It’s hard to talk about it without giving anything away. All of the characters were believable and I love how the author weaves everything together. Everything unfolds at a nice pace and nothing seemed rush or really hectic. The format was more traditional than most of the mysteries I’ve read lately and it reminded me that while I love a mystery with an unreliable narrator, I also love a mystery that moves slower and delves deeper into characters. The pacing and the tone reminded me a lot of the TV show Broadchurch, which is my fave mystery show. I definitely want to read more from this author.

 

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Are You Sleeping? — Kathleen Barber

7 Aug

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: Aug 1st, 2017
Genre: Mystery, suspense
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

From Goodreads

 

My husband and I binge watched How to Make a Murderer over three nights. We were OBSESSED. Looked things up online, talked about the show, the people involved, who was guilty and who was innocent. But never once did I consider the impact the show had on those involved. That people who live in the area or close by would rubberneck and check out the area and the people who were impacted by the murder. And that’s the key thing I took away from Are You Sleeping?.  While it is a mystery/suspense novel, it also deals with how invasive our society can be, how everyone is looking for their fifteen minutes of fame and how commenting online on something that is really happening can be harsh.

It also deals with families and relationships with relatives. The character description and building was spot on. How Josie interacted with people in her hometown was just as captivating as the mystery in the book.

This is the perfect psychological thriller. It’s very twisty and turny and there is more than one thing that needed to be puzzled out and I love that. The plot is very dynamic but there isn’t so much going on that the pacing got bogged down.

I really enjoy books that make me think, regardless of the genre. Are You Sleeping? is the perfect example of this. This is a book with a delicious mystery and other plot aspects that will really make you think.

The Twilight Wife — A.J. Banner

22 Dec

twilight

 

Publisher: Touchstone
Released: Dec 27th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, suspence
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

From Goodreads

Ahhhhh a mystery with an unreliable narrator. My favourite! I like a mystery where I feel off-kilter, not really sure if I can believe what I’m reading. And I definitely got that with this book. When the narrator’s memory is touch and go, how can you trust what she’s saying?

Trying to piece together what was real and what was imaginary as Krya was doing the same thing really made for a delicious read. And when I kind of figured out what was going on before she did? It’s like when you watch a horror movie and you know the heroine shouldn’t open the door and you’re yelling “DON’T!!!!” It was that kind of thing. I felt super anxious for Kyra because she was still clueless but I had all the clues lined up.

I can’t really go into much more without giving anything away. This was a quick read for me that really drew me right in.

I really enjoyed The Twilight Wife. It’s an awesome mystery and I definitely recommend it.

 

The Masked Truth — Kelley Armstrong

6 Jan

maskedtruthPublisher: Doubleday Canada
Released: October 13th 2015
Genre: YA suspense
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

 

 

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

From Goodreads.

Gah! How do I review this amazing thriller without giving anything away! Okay, okay, okay. Here goes:

Kelley has never written anything that I haven’t just absolutely loved, regardless of genre or age group. She is, by far, my favourite author. Period. So I had a sneaking suspicion I was going to like The Masked Truth. And I did.

This book just sucked me right in. It was another book I basically read in one sitting. (Isn’t it GREAT when that happens?) I loved everything about this book. There was nothing that disappointment me.

I actually think this was some of Kelley’s most solid and diverse writing. The way she writes Riley and Max just blew my mind (especially Max, but that’s all I’m saying on that). The way she dealt with his diagnosis and the way it factored into the main plot was perfection.

This was definitely a suspenseful read and even when I thought I had things figure out, I didn’t. And those are the best kinds of suspense novels. The ones that keep you guessing right until the end.

Robbed of Soul — Lois D. Brown — Blog Tour

3 Mar

robbedofsoul

Released: January 1st, 2015
Genre: Mystery
Source: eBook for review from author

 

 

 

Rescued but psychologically damaged from a failed mission, ex-CIA officer Maria Branson takes the job of police chief in the quiet town of Kanab, Utah. Rest and relaxation are the doctor’s orders. She gets neither. Instead, a missing mayor, the spirit of a dead Aztec warrior, and the over-confident-yet-attractive head of Search and Rescue await her in a town whose past has almost as many secrets as her own. As Maria investigates a modern-day murder, she disturbs a world of ancient legends and deadly curses. Yet most lethal of all is Maria’s fear someone will discover just how empty her soul really is.

Whether you’re interested in the treasures of Montezuma, enjoy squeaky clean mysteries, or have a soft spot for light romance and suspense, Robbed of Soul fits the bill.

From Goodreads

OMG guys, so you know how I’m not a super fan of romance and sometimes I don’t read a book because I have a sneaking suspicion that the level of romance will make me all cranky and such? When I agreed to review Robbed of Soul, I knew that it was technically a romantic suspense. Or romantic mystery. Anyhoo, I knew that there was romance in it. But I LOVED the cover and the premise and thought “Hey, let’s give it a try.” And I am so happy that I did. Because this was an awesome read and it was super light on the romance. There was just enough of the boy-girl stuff to make the characters more rounded and believable but not enough that it took over from the main story.

And the main story? Well, there are technically two: the missing mayor and the search years ago for Montezuma’s treasure. I really liked how these two stories were running parallel to each other and how they were interconnected. It didn’t seem forced at all and really upped the element of mystery and suspense in the book.

As did Maria’s past. We are slowly let in on what happened on her failed mission and why she ended up so damaged. I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out on my own what had happened to her. I love mystery books where I really don’t know the full story and I’m left wondering for a while. I also like when the reveal finally happens and it totally makes sense.

I really liked Maria as a character. She was definitely damaged, but she didn’t come of as weak or whiny. I also really liked Rod, although he didn’t seem nearly as overbearing or overconfident as Maria thought he was. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with Beth. She seemed like a really interesting character, but we don’t see her a lot.

I loved this book and was a bit bummed when it ended. I wanted more!  If you are a fan of interesting mysteries with just the teensiest bit of romance, then I think you’re going to want to pick this one up.

Run – Patti Larsen

14 Nov

“Sixteen-year-old Reid thinks life is back to normal. His sister Lucy pulls herself together and cuts him free from a year of foster care. She promises to take care of him, that her new boss and her new life are what they both needed to start again. Until Reid is taken in the middle of the night, dumped in a wild stretch of forest far from home with no idea why he is there. Lost and afraid, he learns to run from the hunters who prowl the darkness, their only pleasure chasing down kids like him. And killing them.”

What an adrenaline rush! From the opening words of Run it was a constant run for your life kinda situation. Patti holds nothing back. I mean, if I were Reid, I would have been curled up in the fetal position, sucking my thumb by page 4. And he did have those moments when he wanted to give up. But then he’d go on. There was a lot of this back and forth in Reid, and I thought that it was very realistic for the situation he was in.

I really liked the fact that I was as lost and confused as Reid was as to where he was and why he was there.  And there was some mystery surrounding the hunters, also. Who were they? Why were they hunting kids down? Why did they pick Reid? I really felt like I was there with Reid, trying to survive and figure out what the Hell was going on.

Run is definitely not for the faint of heart. There’s some pretty icky scenes throughout. Stomach turning scenes. Stop munching on chips while you’re reading them scenes. The combination of scary, suspense and gruesomeness had me only reading Run during the day.

If you’re a fan of YA books that make your heart pound with the unknown and leave you cringing at places (but in a wonderful Holy Shit kinda way) then Run‘s the book for you.

Review: Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

7 Sep

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release year: 2010
Genre:Adult, mystery, thriller, forensics
One sentence summary: A forensic “Who’s on first?”
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review copy from publisher

John Lowery was declared dead in 1968—the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam, his body buried long ago in North Carolina. Four decades later, Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec. The victim appears to have died while in the midst of a bizarre sexual practice. The corpse is later identified as John Lowery. But how could Lowery have died twice, and how did an American soldier end up in Canada?

Tempe sets off for the answer, exhuming Lowery’s grave in North Carolina and taking the remains to Hawaii for reanalysis—to the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military’s Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, which strives to recover Americans who have died in past conflicts. In Hawaii, Tempe is joined by her colleague and ex-lover Detective Andrew Ryan (how “ex” is he?) and by her daughter, who is recovering from her own tragic loss. Soon another set of remains is located, with Lowery’s dog tags tangled among them. Three bodies—all identified as Lowery.

And then Tempe is contacted by Hadley Perry, Honolulu’s flamboyant medical examiner, who needs help identifying the remains of an adolescent boy found offshore. Was he the victim of a shark attack? Or something much more sinister?

From Simon and Schuster website.

CHARACTERS: Dr. Temperance Brennan is one of my favorite literary characters. I love how she is super smart yet still has moments of vulnerability and uncertainty, especially when it comes to detective Andrew Ryan and her daughter Katy.  In Spider Bones we see Brennan attempt to once again gain some balance and peace with Ryan. I think it’s great that so many books into the series, we still get to see new aspects of Brennan’s personality. We also get to see more of Ryan and Katy, which gave a nice counter-balance to the case.

PLOT: Okay Kathy Reichs is one of my favorite writers, period. But….well, I found this one mucho confusing and very hard to follow at times. I think the plot was ingenious and as always she pulled things together in a way I didn’t see coming, but with all the different Spiders and various long case numbers, I often couldn’t keep the dead bodies straight. During certain scenes it really did feel like a game of forensic “who’s on first” with me trying to keep everything straight.

WRITING: As always, Reichs presents the scientific stuff in a way that is easy to explain but without making the reader feel like a twit. Although there were some things explained that felt kind of forced. A couple of times I had to wonder if Brennan would really have needed to explain things to Ryan or others she was working with.

WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND SPIDER BONES TO: Even with the confusion with all the dead guys and the somewhat forced scientific talk, I really enjoyed Spider Bones. I think besides fans of her other books, anyone interested in forensic mysteries will like it.

Browse inside Spider Bones.