3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological drama · psychological thriller · thriller

New Release | The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford



The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford

Published: December 3, 2018

Publisher: Down & Out Books

Pages: 278

Genres: mystery, thriller, psychological thriller

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: all the characters are flawed, messed up small towns, small town mysteries with a big city feel

Foodie Vibes: beer at the local dive bar



In the early 2000s, a string of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine, New York. Only one girl survived: Alex Salerno. The killer, Ken Parsons, was sent away. Life returned to normal. No more girls would have to die. Until another one did.

It’s been twelve years since Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead. Alex Salerno has been living in New York City, piecemealing paychecks to earn a livable wage, trying to forget those three days locked underground and her affair with Sean Riley, the married detective who rescued her. When Noah Lee, hometown reporter with a journalistic pedigree, requests an interview, Alex returns to Reine and Riley, reopening old wounds. What begins as a Q&A for a newspaper article soon turns into an opportunity for money, closure and—justice. The disappearance of Kira Shanks has long been hung on Benny Brudzienski, a hulking man-child who is currently a brain-addled guest at the Galloway State Mental Hospital. But after Alex reconnects with ex-classmates and frenemies, doubts are cast on that guilt. Alex is drawn into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. And as more details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex discovers there are some willing to kill to protect the horrific truth.

In the modern vein of Girl on the Train and The Bone Collector, The One That Got Away is a dark, psychological thriller, featuring a compelling, conflicted heroine and a page-turning narrative that races toward its final, shocking conclusion.



Thank you to NetGalley, Down & Out Books, and Joe Clifford for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. Sorry about the late review folks, my power was out for 3 days due to a winter snowstorm, so I’m a bit late on my book reviews. 

The One That Got Away is all about small towns. Their secrets, the people, the drama. There’s certainly no forgetting and no forgiving in this town, and yet people don’t really want to investigate the truth. 

I like that the author explores that a small destitute town can be filled with so much drama, complex interpersonal relationships, and heartache. Nothing and no one is perfect. And nothing is as it originally seems. People are complex and so are the life lessons in the book. It also explores how people seem to want the perfect little victim and Alex, the main character, isn’t that. 

What happens when the victim grows up, has difficulty in life or just doesn’t fit into that cookie cutter mold of a sweet innocent victim? What if she has a voice that isn’t calm, polished and poised? What if she speaks her mind no matter what?

Despite all of these great questions and conversations the book brings up, there are some downsides to it. I didn’t like that the “r” word was used multiple times. Yes, it fits the ignorance of the characters who use it, but it still bothers me. Also the police detective … oh let me count the ways he crossed the line.

Overall, there’s more than what initially meets the eye with The One That Got Away. Complex themes, complex flawed characters, lots of drama and mystery fill the pages, keeping you captivated throughout. 


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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · fiction · mental health · psychological drama

New Release | The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor



The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Pages: 353 

Genres: fiction, domestic fiction, mental health, contemporary fiction, psychological drama 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: Law & Order SVU, karmic justice, validating books about surviving sexual abuse

Foodie Vibes: warm cup of tea with sugar ~ to soothe your soul and keep your energy levels up during this difficult time



Her father abused her when she was a child. For years she was too afraid to speak out. But now she suspects he’s found another victim…

Laura, a young woman struggling to deal with what her father did to her a decade ago, is horrified to realise that the girl he takes swimming might be his next victim. Emma is twelve – the age Laura was when her father took away her innocence.

Intimidated by her father’s rages, Laura has never told anyone the truth about her childhood. Now she must decide whether she has the courage to expose him and face the consequences.

Can Laura overcome her fear and save Emma before the worst happens?



Thank you to NetGalley, Bloodhound Books and Jennie Ensor for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, a major trigger warning for the entire book. There are many mentions and fairly graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape. So please be sure you’re in a good head space while reading the book.

With that being said, I really enjoyed The Girl In His Eyes. The book gave a fairly accurate representation of the horrors and difficulties of dealing with the aftermath of surviving child sexual abuse. Both for the individual survivor and the family as well The novel gives a voice to the voiceless. It also makes it easier to understand how and why these pedophiles and perverts can manipulate children, entire families and societies into believing they’re good people. There were so many times when people suspected something was “off” about Paul, but brushed off their concerns because he seemed like a nice guy. Always trust your gut, people! These life lessons are so relevant.

There wasn’t anything that I really disliked about the book. However there was a lot that disgusted me, which given the general book topic was bound to happen. Some chapters are from Paul, the pervert’s, point of view. We hear all the disgusting horrifying things he thinks. It adds to the suspense and explains a lot. Also some of the reactions of people seem a bit too cookie cutter at times.

Overall, a really worthwhile read to further understand the topic but done in a fictionalized manner.


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