REVIEW: WHEN YOU SEE ME, BY LISA GARDNER

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital breadcrumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first looks like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister…and they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers—and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.

Multiple narrators tell the story in When You See Me: D. D. Warren, Kimberly Quincy, and Flora Dane take us into the deep and dark tale set in a small town in Georgia. A town surrounded by forests that feels familiar to Flora from her captivity with Jacob Ness.

I loved how the characters interacted with one another, one of my favorite aspects of this series. D. D. and Flora have a special connection because of Flora’s experiences with Jacob Ness. Flora also brings out the nurturing qualities in D. D.

A young girl unable to communicate is a victim in the mayor’s house, and as D. D. tries to help her, the girl opens up in small ways until there is finally a breakthrough for her. Plus, she helps by revealing information through her drawings.

Another brilliant and engaging book that earned five stars from me.

REVIEW: TELEPHONE LINE, BY JULIE MULHERN

 

Ellison Russell is planning the event of the season—and she’s stressed. Why not yoga?

Because the yoga instructor gets murdered during class—and Ellison’s stress level rises exponentially. Now, in addition to raising a ridiculous amount of money, she’s babysitting a deranged cat (named after the devil himself), taking ten million phone calls (most of them from Mother), and finding more bodies (they’re popping up like dandelions after a spring rain).

There’s no such thing as balance when the killer makes it personal. Can Ellison catch a murderer or will her next namaste be her last?

My Thoughts: Telephone Line, the ninth installment in the Country Club Murders Series, immediately thrusts our protagonist, Ellison Russell, into a murder mystery. As those who have followed the books know, Ellison is always front and center at murder scenes, finding dead bodies as if they are a hobby for her. Her relationship with Homicide Detective Anarchy Jones grows exponentially with each experience.

Yoga class seemed like a good way to relax, but the death of the instructor proved that theory wrong.

As Ellison studies the clues, explores the connections between old cases, and also tries to collect donations for the upcoming gala, I was gripping the pages and trying to help solve the cases. As usual, the perpetrator is another unexpected one. 5 stars.

***

REVIEW: A BELLA FLORA CHRISTMAS, BY WENDY WAX

 

Although their lives have changed since their first desperate renovation of Bella Flora, friends Madeline, Avery, and Nicole have always been there for each other. Now they’re returning to Bella Flora for Christmas—where Maddie’s daughter Kyra isn’t feeling particularly celebratory.
 
Kyra was hoping for a peaceful holiday at Bella Flora—a last gathering before a wealthy, mystery tenant moves into the home she’s been forced to rent out. Instead, she must make a life altering decision by New Year’s — a decision that becomes even more difficult when unexpected guests arrive at Ten Beach Road on Christmas Eve. Now Kyra, Maddie, Avery and Nikki will need to pull together to secure Bella Flora’s future, as well as their own.

My Thoughts: I have followed this series since Book One, so I was excited to experience A Bella Flora Christmas, a novella that helped to satiate me until the next book comes in the spring.

In this story, our first person narrator is Kyra, Maddie’s daughter and Dustin’s mother. She is the young woman who had an affair with celebrity Daniel Deranian when working on a film with him, and then began paying the consequences when her son was born…without benefit of being with Daniel.

Now four years old, Dustin is the joy of her life, but her current dilemma has to do with something his father has requested. He wants Dustin to perform with him in a movie…but not only with him, with his wife Tonja Kay. Tonja Kay has been vindictive and threatening since the beginning, so part of Kyra’s hesitation has to do with not wanting to satisfy the woman who has the man, and who now is calling the shots, complete with threats.

What will Kyra decide to do? And how will she, her mother, and her son fare when they move out of Bella Flora, which has been rented out to an unknown person?

I had hoped that we would learn the identity of that renter, but that information will probably come in the next book. And while Kyra has made a decision about the movie, we are left hanging, not knowing how the news is delivered. An enjoyable read that is teasing me about the upcoming release. 5 stars.

***

REVIEW: SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN, BY NICCI FRENCH

Psychotherapist Dr Frieda Klein once again finds herself in the midst of a criminal investigation when the rotting body of an ex-policeman is found beneath the floorboards of her house.

The corpse is only months old but the main suspect, murderer Dean Reeve, died over seven years ago.

As the killer picks off his next victims and her home is turned into a crime scene, Frieda’s old life seems like a hazy dream.

With eyes of the world upon her and no answers from the police, Frieda realizes that she will have to track this killer before he tracks down those she loves.

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of this series from the very first outing. Some readers find Frieda Klein to be unlikable, but I am not one of them. Yes, she is determined, and she pursues her goals, even when others disagree with her; she has no qualms about telling others when they are wrong. She is almost always right, too, which annoys the police.

She loves London, and her famous walks through the streets when she is trying to think, to solve a problem, are a big part of her routines. She is a bit obsessive in these routines, but as a reader, I take comfort in how she goes through her days following these patterns. I can count on her to take certain actions when others will not.

I also like how she enjoys her cozy mews house, so when this book opens with the discovery of a dead body under the floor boards of that house, we know that Frieda will be deeply affected.

But what happens next will be even more disturbing. Someone appears to be copying Frieda’s nemesis Dean Reeve, the perpetrator in previous murders that the police do not believe is still alive. Now her friends and loved ones are being targeted. That same Someone is sending Frieda a message. When she figures out who, someone the police have not even suspected, she has a hard time convincing them.

One more person, a police detective, almost dies before they finally get the message.

But will the perpetrator be captured? Will the police finally find Dean Reeve? The ending left me in a quandary. Is the series done, leaving so many loose ends? Or will there be another outing? No matter what, I loved this series and Sunday Morning Coming Down. 5 stars.

***

SEND IN THE CLOWNS, BY JULIE MULHERN

51zaymprdfl

 

 

 

If only Grace hadn’t missed curfew that night. Then her mother, Ellison Russell, wouldn’t have gone to the Halloween haunted house to find her.

Stumbling into the creepy interior, Ellison is stunned when a clown, who seems to be bleeding, calls out her name…and falls into her. Dead.

Standing behind him is another clown, who quickly disappears.

Thus begins another tale that seemingly places Ellison in the recurring position of finding dead bodies. She calls Detective Anarchy Jones, who by now is a good friend and possibly a potential lover who believes her story…and even when the body is no longer there, he sets off to find it.

Send in the Clowns was another delightful story in the Country Club Murder series, and, as always, I found Ellison funny and engaging. As the mother of a teenager, she has her quips down pat. She can ground her daughter without losing a beat…or her sense of humor. She regularly converses with her Mr. Coffee, which she believes is the only reliable “male” in her life. She is annoyed that her father, as well as another potential suitor, Hunter Tafft, and the ubiquitous Anarchy Jones, all seem to want someone to manage her. She would prefer to manage her own life.

In her country club set, she has friends…while others are judgmental gossips. Her best friend Libba is dating a man, Jay Fitzhugh, whom Ellison has decided is too boring for words, and not good enough for her. Could the feeling she has about him signify something else?

Solving the mystery of who killed the “clown,” who turns out to be a young man named Brooks Harney— a disappointment to his wealthy family, but who seemed to be turning his life around, and just in time for his inheritance—kept me turning pages, even after I started to suspect a number of possible individuals. Could one of Brooks’ siblings have killed him? Or could someone from the drug world he was leaving behind have targeted him? The eventual reveal surprised me, but then again, not entirely. 5 stars.

cropped again 5***

BOOKISH FRIDAYS: “THE CROSSING PLACES”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s spotlight is shining on a book I recently added to my shelves:  The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths.

 

 

 

10350487

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

They wait for the tide and set out at first light.

It has rained all night and in the morning the ground is seething gently, the mist rising up to join the overhanging clouds.  Nelson calls for Ruth in an unmarked police car.  He sits beside the driver and Ruth is in the back, like a passenger in a minicab.

***

56:  ‘Do you think she was murdered?’

Ruth looks at the detective, who is leaning forward across his untidy desk.  It seems strange to hear the word ‘murdered’ on his lips, as if her Iron Age body is suddenly going to form part of his ‘enquiries,’ as if he is planning to bring the perpetrator to justice.

***

Synopsis:  The first entry in the acclaimed Ruth Galloway series follows the “captivating”* archaeologist as she investigates a child’s bones found on a nearby beach, thought to be the remains of a little girl who went missing ten years before.

Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants—not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson calls Galloway for help, believing they are the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing a decade ago and whose abductor continues to taunt him with bizarre letters containing references to ritual sacrifice, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives a new letter—exactly like the ones about Lucy.

Is it the same killer? Or a copycat murderer, linked in some way to the site near Ruth’s remote home?

***

I am excited about starting with the first book in this series that I’ve heard so much about.  What do you think?  Does it grab you?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “FRIDAY ON MY MIND”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

I am excited about my featured book today.  It is the fifth in a series about a unique character, Frieda Klein.  Friday on My Mind, by Nicci French, follows four previous books.

 

 

25291687

 

Beginning:  Kitty was five years old and she was cross.  The queue for the Crown Jewels had been long and they weren’t so special anyway.  The queue for Madame Tussauds had been longer, and she didn’t even recognize most of the waxworks, and she couldn’t see them properly with all the crowds.  And it had been drizzling.  And she hated the Underground.

***

56:  ‘Then what happened?’

‘The man kicked at a rubbish bin and strode away and she picked up the bin bag, put the book and T-shirt back into it, and tied it up.  She seemed quite calm.  Calmer than I would have been….’

***

Blurb:  Rich in intrigue, intensity and atmosphere, Friday on my Mind is classic Nicci French – a dark, gripping and sophisticated masterclass in psychological suspense in which nothing is quite what it seems…”Nicci French’s sophisticated, compassionate and gripping crime novels stand head and shoulders above the competition.” (Sophie Hannah). When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man’s wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F Klein…But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect. Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it’s too late either for her or for those she loves. Friday on my Mind is the fifth addictive and intriguing novel in the Frieda Klein series by the bestselling author Nicci French. Praise for Nicci French: “French leads the field.” (Sunday Express). “Brilliantly crafted…masterly control of suspense.” (Daily Mirror). “Tense, frightening, gripping.” (Easy Living). “Dark, nerve-tingling and addictive.” (Daily Express). Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The couple are married and live in Suffolk. There are fourteen other bestselling novels by Nicci French, all published by Penguin. Blue Monday was the first thrilling instalment in the Frieda Klein series, followed by Tuesday’s Gone, Waiting for Wednesday, and Thursday’s Child.

***

I love this series!  What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?

***

I’M NOT BLUE! I’M WAITING FOR “CORRUPTED”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

Today’s featured book is from an author whose books always have me eagerly waiting:  Lisa Scottoline’s newest book, Corrupted (A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel), is coming on October 27, 2015.

 

 

book cover for corrupted

 

 

Blurb:  Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn’t like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn’t free Jason, and to this day it’s the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn’t been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn’t know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures–of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.

***

What upcoming release are you excited about?  Come on by and let’s chat!

***

LET’S CHASE AWAY THE BLUES: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “CATCH ME”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday, and I am eager to move on.  Yes, there can be too much of a good thing…LOL.

Today I have grabbed a book from my stack to feature:  Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner.

 

 

11720382

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

The little girl woke up the way she’d been trained:  quickly and quietly.  She inhaled once, a hushed gasp in the still night, then her eyes fixed on her mother’s drawn face.

Chapter One:

My name is Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant.

I live in Boston, work in Boston, and in four days, will probably die here.

I’m twenty-eight years old.

And I don’t feel like dying just yet.

***

56:  My Taurus semiauto had a nickel finish with rosewood grip.  It weighed twelve ounces, fit snug in the palm of my hand, and I’d come to welcome the feel of the warm wood against my fingers.

***

Goodreads Blurb:  In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest D.D. Warren thriller, the relentless Boston investigator must solve a coldly calculated murder–before it happens.

In four days, someone is going to kill me . . .

Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.’s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston’s top detective to handle the death investigation.

It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle.
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.

But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston. Which begs the question, is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie’s friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?

In four days, someone is going to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first.

***

Are you drawn to this book through these excerpts?  What are you sharing today?

***