Wednesday, June 19, 2019

ARC Book Review: We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn book 4) by Becky Masterman

Release Date: June 4, 2019
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 156 pages
Genre:  Mystery/thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audio

Synopsis:

In 1959, a family of four were brutally murdered in Holcomb, Kansas. Perry Smith and Dick Hickok were convicted and executed for the crime, and the murders and their investigation and solution became the subject of Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood. But what if there was a third killer, who remained unknown? What if there was another family, also murdered, who crossed paths with this band of killers, though their murder remains unsolved? And what if Dick Hickok left a written confession, explaining everything?

Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn and her husband Carlo, a former priest and university professor, are trying to enjoy each other in this new stage in their lives. But a memento from Carlo's days as a prison chaplain--a handwritten document hidden away undetected in a box of Carlo's old things--has become a target for a man on the run from his past. Jerry Beaufort has just been released from prison after decades behind bars, and though he'd like to get on with living the rest of his life, he knows that somewhere there is a written record of the time he spent with two killers in 1959. Following the path of this letter will bring Jerry into contact with the last person he'll see as a threat: Brigid Quinn.

Review: 

I didn't read the first 3 Brigid Quinn books and I didn't feel that you needed to.  There were some questions I had about Brigids relationship with the local sheriff that seems to have been strained by something that happened in a previous book but it didn't take away from the story.

Masterman weaves her own story regarding Perry Smith and Dick Hickok who were convicted of murder and were the main characters in Truman Capote's classic In Cold Blood. Masterman imagines what it may be like if Hickok had made a confession claiming his innocence in writing prior to being put to death and given this confession to the care of a Catholic priest. What if someone else was named in that confession and now that person is out of prison and worried that if the confession comes to light he may be forced back to prison or worse sentenced to death.

Brigid Quinn's husband Carlo was a prison chaplain back when Hickok and Smith were in jail. Jerry Beaufort tracks Carlo down hoping that he can find this written confession and get rid of it before it incriminates him, what he doesn't count on is Quinn. Ex FBI with a moral compass that is just off center, a psychopath niece and excellence at defending herself and others.

This is a fast paced mystery that re imagines Smith & Perry's crimes and pits Quinn against a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to try to hide his past crimes. I really enjoyed this book despite not having read the others.  In fact I may go back and pick up some of the past books to see how Quinn's character has evolved. If you like kick ass women this may be a good series for you.






Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Audio Book Review: Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 13 minutes
Narrator: Sophie Amoss
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: 

Summoned from her promising surgical career first to her estranged father's bedside and then to his post as medical examiner when his small town needs urgent help with a suspicious death, Emily Hartford discovers home is where the bodies are in this pitch-perfect mystery debut.

Recently engaged and deeply ensconced in her third year of surgical residency in Chicago, Emily Hartford gets a shock when she is called home to Freeport, Michigan, the small town she fled a decade ago after the death of her mother. Her estranged father, the local medical examiner, has had a massive heart attack, and Emily is needed urgently to help with his recovery.

Not sure what to expect, Emily races home, blowing the only stoplight at the center of town and getting pulled over by her former high school love, now sheriff, Nick Larson. At the hospital, she finds her father in near total denial of the seriousness of his condition. He insists that the best thing Emily can do to help him is to take on the autopsy of a senator's teen daughter whose sudden, unexplained death has just rocked the sleepy town.

Reluctantly agreeing to help her father and Nick, Emily gets down to work, only to discover that the girl was murdered. The autopsy reminds her of her many hours in the morgue with her father when she was a young teen - a time which inspired her love of medicine. Before she knows it, she is pulled deeper into the case and closer to her father and to Nick - much to the dismay of her big-city fiance.
When a threat is made to Emily herself, she must race to catch the killer before he strikes again. 

Review:

Emily has been assisting her father with autopsy's since she was 13. Now she is a surgical resident in Chicago and hasn't been home since her mothers death when she was in high school.  On her birthday she performs an amazing surgery, gets engaged to her rich and accomplished boyfriend and gets called back home when she is informed her father has had a massive heart attack.

Coming back to the small town she grew up in brings up a lot of memories. She finds her high school sweetheart is now the sheriff and still has feelings for her, her father has remarried and is still stubborn. With her father, the county coroner out of commission Emily is tasked with doing the autopsy on a high profile death.

The autopsy brings back memories and Emily soon finds herself sinking into the slower pace of life in Freeport and reconnecting with old friends.  She also finds herself caught up in a murder investigation and feeling pressured by her new fiancĂ©.

This is a great first book in a new series. I am anxious to read more about these characters. I found that the book flowed well and I was instantly drawn into the story. I'm assuming that Emily will take over her dads position while he recovers but I guess only time will tell.





Friday, June 14, 2019

Audio Book Review: Redemption Point (Crimson Lake book 2) by Candice Fox

Release Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 13 hours 10 minutes
Narrator: Euan Morton
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: 

When former police detective Ted Conkaffey was wrongly accused of abducting Claire Bingley, he hoped the Queensland rainforest town of Crimson Lake would be a good place to disappear. But nowhere is safe from Claire's devastated father.

Dale Bingley has a brutal revenge plan all worked out - and if Ted doesn't help find the real abductor, he'll be its first casualty.

Meanwhile, in a dark roadside hovel called the Barking Frog Inn, the bodies of two young bartenders lie on the beer-sodden floor. It's Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney's first homicide investigation - complicated by the arrival of private detective Amanda Pharrell to 'assist' on the case. Amanda's conviction for murder a decade ago has left her with some odd behavioural traits, top-to-toe tatts - and a keen eye for killers . . .

For Ted and Amanda, the hunt for the truth will draw them into a violent dance with evil. Redemption is certainly on the cards - but it may well cost them their lives . . .

Review:

I actually picked up a copy of this in Heathrow airport and didn't realize it was the 2nd in a series.  I'm kind of glad I never got to it yet even though its been calling to me from the shelf. I loved this book as much as the 1st one. Ted and Amanda assist in a homicide case with new Inspector Pip Sweeney. Ted is still struggling with his life in limbo caught between the media who has branded him a pedophile and never having been convicted of the crime. Dale Bingley is the father of the girl Ted has been accused of raping last we saw him Ted gave him a file with new evidence showing that Ted was most likely not who hurt his baby girl.  Dale returns set on getting Ted to help him find who really hurt his daughter. 

There is a lot going on in this book between the murder investigation that Amanda and Pip are working on, Ted dancing between the murder investigation and his own case with Dale and having to defend himself against new accusations.

These characters keep getting stronger and the little town that Ted finds himself in is full of interesting characters.  Amanda once again provides some comic relief with her outburst of knowledge and her ability to see things most people don't seem to notice. Dale and Ted have a weird sort of non friendship and Ted also finds himself with one of the most notorious and dangerous drug dealers on his side, protecting him and offering help to find and eliminate the person responsible for destroying Teds life.

Candice Fox hit another one out of the ballpark for me with this sequel.  Gonna have to go buy the 3rd one soon.





Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Audio Book Review: Crimson Lake (book 1) by Candice Fox

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 12 hours 17 minutes
Narrator: Euan Morton
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: 

How do you move on when the world won’t let you?
12:46: Claire Bingleystands alone at a bus stop
12:47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her
12:52: The girl is missing . . .

Six minutes in the wrong place at the wrong time—that’s all it took to ruin Sydney detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of a brutal abduction, Ted is now a free man—and public enemy number one. Maintaining his innocence, he flees north to keep a low profile amidst the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

There, Ted’s lawyer introduces him to eccentric private investigator Amanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer. Not entirely convinced Amanda is a cold-blooded killer, Ted agrees to help with her investigation, a case full of deception and obsession, while secretly digging into her troubled past. The residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair's every move . . . and the town offers no place to hide.

Review:

I love that the narrator is either Australian or at the very least uses an Aussie accent it gives the novel more atmosphere since the novel is set in Australia.

I love Candice Fox.  I'm a huge fan of her Archer Bennett series and when I found this book I had to grab it.  I really like Ted who is really struggling just to survive as the main suspect of the rape and murder of a young girl.  The fact that he used to be a cop make it even harder on him.  I know some people took exception to Ted getting beat up but Ted while a bigger guy who is an ex cop is often blindsided or knows that fighting back might get him in bigger trouble because although he was never convicted, the stigma of his case hangs over him.  In the media he is guilty so despite not being convicted he still has that weight hanging over his head.

Amanda is a convicted murderer and is a totally quirky character who brings levity to this book.  She almost appears to be on the Autism Spectrum due to her strange outbursts of random inappropriate facts. But honestly it doesn't matter why she is the way she is I just love her character.

Ted and Amanda together make a great team they see things that others miss and despite their differences do a great job.  I think they help each other emotionally as well.  Like they are connected on some weird plane.  Both having been accused of hideous crimes (Amanda convicted, Ted having the charges dropped).

I loved this book and immediately picked up book 2 in this series.





Friday, June 7, 2019

ARC Book Review: In Her Words by JS Ellis

Release Date: January 21, 2017
Publisher: Common Word Publishing
Format: ebook
Pages: 156 pages
Genre:  Mystery/thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis:

One Night. One Man. One Mystery

While she seems to have it all, Sophie Knight is looking for more. When gorgeous and carefree Michael Frisk walks into her life, he offers the excitement and passion she desires.

Sophie is willing to risk everything she has. After all, she is used to concealing things from her husband—like her alcoholism, her unhappiness. But soon she has more to hide. She wakes up one morning in an alcoholic haze and finds bruises on her body, but has no recollection of what happened to her. Was she raped?

When unsettling notes and mysterious phone calls start, Sophie wonders whom she should turn to. Is Michael the cause of the frightening things happening in her life, or is he the answer to her problems?

Review: 

This story is told through the eyes of Sophie as she writes in her diary.  This is a twisted fast paced thriller that keeps getting stranger and more crazy as time goes by.  I loved that it was written in diary format and really only told by Sophie's perspective. The last part of the book was like unraveling a tangled string.  As you started to get toward what you thought of as the end you would find another tangle that you had to straighten out first. 

I will say I was a little disappointed with the ending.  I felt it was a bit abrupt and I wasn't completely certain why the person who was in police custody talking to Sophie was going to jail or thought he was, I couldn't figure out his crime so that didn't sit well with me. I was left feeling incomplete and if I was Sophie I'm not sure how I would move on when there was no closure.

I did blow through this book at lightening speed because it held my attention and was like a car crash you can't look away from.  Sophie's drinking, her blackouts, her husband's bizarre controlling ways, what may have happened on that mysterious night Sophie can't remember all left me turning pages up until the very end. I really want to give this a 4 worm rating but I have to drop it to 3 due to my dissatisfaction with the ending.






Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 

Monday, June 3, 2019

ARC Book Review: Devils Fjord (A Faroe Islands Mystery Book 1) by David Hewson

Release Date: May 1, 2019
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Format: ebook
Pages: 288 pages
Genre:  International Mystery/crime
Buy: Kindle | Paperback 

Synopsis:

New District Sheriff Tristan Haraldsen uncovers a series of dark secrets when he investigates the disappearance of two boys in the remote Faroe Islands. Newly-appointed District Sheriff Tristan Haraldsen and his wife Elsebeth are looking forward to a peaceful semi-retirement in the remote fishing village of Djevulsfjord on the stunningly beautiful island of Vagar. But when two boys go missing during the first whale hunt of the season, the repercussions strike at the heart of the isolated coastal community. As he pursues his investigations, Tristan discovers that the Mikkelsen brothers aren’t the first young men to have vanished on Vagar. Determined to solve the mystery of Djevulsfjord, yet encountering suspicion wherever he turns, Haraldsen comes to realize he and his wife are not living in the rural paradise they had imagined, and that the wild beauty of the region hides a far darker reality.

Review: 

As with many Scandinavian mysteries this one is dark, atmospheric and slow paced. Djevulsfjord is a dying village. There are few children or young people and the ones that do live there have lived their whole lives there. They don't like outsiders much and tend to stick to the same way of life they have had forever.  From the Grind where they drive whales to the beach for slaughter to get them through the winter to understanding the hard life it is to live in such a remote desolate place.

Bodies drop like flies in Djevulsfjord, some older than others but all of them start to seem connected and some seem like they were covered up. There are many mysteries in this little town and new District Sheriff seems to be caught in the middle of it.

I've traveled the Fjords of Norway and they are isolated little towns and I can certainly see how if they didn't have tourists coming that it would be a very isolated and difficult life.  This was a really well done mystery and if you love Scandi mysteries you will love this book and the ending gave me chills.






Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Discover other books or products I like: https://www.amazon.com/shop/readinggrrl 
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