4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · thriller

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker | ARC #BookReview #MeToo

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Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Published: July 2, 2019 

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 352 

Genres: mystery, thriller, contemporary fiction 

Recommend to fans of: office drama, modern day feminist issues, MeToo movement, issues relating to sexism and feminism in the workplace 

 

Synopsis:

Four women learn their boss (a man who’s always been surrounded by rumors about how he treats women) is next in line to be CEO—what will happen when they decide enough is enough?

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are four women who have worked at Truviv, Inc., for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames is a complicated man, a man they’ve all known for a long time, a man who’s always been surrounded by…whispers. Whispers that have always been ignored by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching Ames’s latest promotion differently. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough. 

Sloane and her colleagues set in motion a catastrophic shift within every floor and department of the Truviv offices. All four women’s lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.”

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books and Chandler Baker for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • Lots of background info and a good lead to the drama 
  • Different outlooks from different women – the accusers and the man’s wife 
  • People will have strong reactions to the book’s topics, which is great to get a discussion going 
  • Perfect for book clubs – in person or online!
  • Behind the scenes look at an investigation into sexual harassment claims 
  • Real life modern day work place issues – relatable to so many

Love: 

  • More books are discussing this topic: sexual harassment in the workplace. Men can’t get away with inappropriate behavior and the imbalance of power anymore 
  • A #MeToo topic book!
  • The camaraderie of the women in the workplace without being overbearing and anti men. The story feels very balanced and shows the perspectives of different people and different genders 
  • Several mentions of breast feeding in a positive manner. We don’t see this enough in books!
  • Really enjoyable to read; great pacing, wonderful writing, seamless plot transitions

Dislike:

  • Lots of information, but reads as a slow pace book at times – mainly during the beginning. It does level out to a much better pace about 25% of the way in. 
  • Not a dislike for me, but possibly for other people. Lots of discussions of sexual harassment, suicide, and legal issues involving these topics. 

Wish that: 

  • Captured my attention more (in the first half). It’s interesting, but with this topic feel like it could do so much more.
  • I related to the women more at the beginning of the story, since the discussion was from the POV of the accused’s wife

 

Overall, a wonderful book about modern day women in the workplace. Many issues were brought up in the context of the story. I think a lot of people will relate to and enjoy this novel. For awhile I wasn’t sure if I wanted to request an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley, but I’m so glad that I did. Definitely recommend! 

 

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3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

The Perfect Alibi by Phillip Hargolin | ARC #BookReview

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The Perfect Alibi by Phillip Hargolin

Published: March 5, 2019 

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Pages: 320

Genres: mystery, thriller 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: science and tech heavy mysteries 

Foodie Vibes: coffee to keep you awake to find out what happens 

 

Synopsis: 

A young woman accuses a prominent local college athlete of rape. Convicted with the help of undisputable DNA evidence, the athlete swears his innocence and threatens both his lawyer and his accuser as he’s sent to prison. Not long after, there’s another rape and the DNA test shows that the same person committed both rapes—which is seemingly impossible since the man convicted of the first rape was in prison at the time of the second one. Now, the convicted athlete, joined by a new lawyer, is granted a new trial and bail. Shortly thereafter, his original lawyer disappears and his law partner is murdered.

Robin Lockwood is a young lawyer with a prestigious small law firm and a former MMA fighter who helped pay for Yale Law School with her bouts. She is representing the victim of the first rape for her civil lawsuit against her rapist, who is now convinced the rapist is stalking her and trying to intimidate her. At the same time, another client is up on a murder charge—one that should be dismissed as self-defense—but the D.A. trying the case is determined to bring it to trial. Now she has to mastermind two impossible cases, trying to find the hidden truth that links the two of them.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and Phillip Hargolin for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • The premise reminds me of an episode of Law and Order SVU 
  • Short chapters: makes it easy to put down the book
  • Heavily features DNA, science and other tech — while these are not a new phenomenon, the book keeps it fresh and interesting
  • The drama, deception, lying and greed makes for an intense book

Love: 

Dislike:

  • There’s almost too much drama – which almost makes me ambivalent to the supposed to be “riveting revelations” 
  • Didn’t keep my focus well (To be fair: I was tired while reading some of the book, but that wasn’t the entire reason for difficulty focusing.)
  • The story bounced from one mystery to the next very quickly – not a fan of this

Wish that:

  • It lived up to the hype I’d created in my head

Overall, another mystery/thriller that was enjoyable but left me a little disappointed. 

 

Who else is a fan of Law and Order SVU?

#OliviaBensonIsGoals

 

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3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense · thriller

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner | Release Day #BookReview

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Never Tell by Lisa Gardner 

Published: February 19, 2019 

Publisher: Dutton Books 

Pages: 416 

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: her other books in the series, police procedurals, mysteries written by women 

Foodie Vibes: green smoothie with all your macros that your overbearing mother made for you 

 

Synopsis: 

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman—Evie Carter—from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim—a hostage—and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Dutton Books, and Lisa Gardner for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The main characters in this series (Detective D.D. Warren and Flora) – strong, intelligent female roles
  • Longish book but a quick engaging read 
  • The reveal of the killer … just wait for it!
  • The pacing of the writing 

Love: 

  • The past and the present cases coming together makes for a very great mystery 
  • Finding out what the recent murder victim really was hiding #Interesting

Dislike:

  • The mother of the victim – so over the top and somewhat unbelievable 

Wish that: 

  • The last 1/4 of the book kept my attention better – for all the action I thought I would be more engaged 

Overall, another solid mystery from the author in her D.D. Warren series. Not my favorite book of hers. But I did enjoy the return of Flora in a new role.

 

Have you read books by Lisa Gardner?

Who is your favorite mystery/thriller author? 

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2.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

The Moroccan Girls by Charles Cummings | ARC #BookReview

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The Moroccan Girls by Charles Cummings 

Published: February 12, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 368 

Genres: mystery, thriller 

Rating: 2.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: spy novels set in Europe

Foodie Vibes: coffee at an outdoor cafe and people watching 

 

Synopsis: 

Kit Carradine is the successful author of several best-selling novels. When he is approached by MI6 and asked to carry out a simple task on behalf of his country while attending a literary festival in Morocco, he jumps at the chance.

But all is not as it seems. Carradine soon finds himself on the trail of Lara Bartok, a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement targeting prominent right-wing political figures around the world. Caught between competing intelligence services who want Bartok dead, Carradine faces a choice: to abandon Bartok to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Charles Cummings for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

I needed up DNFing this book about halfway through, because honestly I was bored …. Which is not something you want in a spy thriller. 

Like: 

  • The premise of using a novelist who writes thrillers, as a spy 
  • The overall atmosphere of sitting outside in a European country waiting for the action to happen

Love:

  • The cover – GORGEOUS!

Dislike:

  • Boring! For a spy thriller, there wasn’t much action happening. Granted, I ended up DNFing it at 50% of the way through, but this genre should capture my attention way before that. 

Wish that: 

  • I had more to say about the book. Nothing was bad per say, but nothing was great either. 

Overall, not the book for me. Maybe I’m the only one that feels this way, but these are my thoughts on the book. I did learn that I’m not as big of a spy thriller fan as I originally thought. So maybe that had something to do with my opinions on the book. Who knows? 

 

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How long do you wait before you DNF a book?

 

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

Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser | New Release #BookReview

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Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: thriller, mystery 

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: characters with a chronic illness/chronic pain, secrets to try to protect others and yourself

Foodie Vibes: an anti inflammatory diet in attempts to minimize your chronic pain 

 

Synopsis: 

When a video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see, the secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.

When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.

What Liza sees next will change everything.

Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.

Or is there?

In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.

And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.

But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Jessica Strawser’s Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best, friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

One moment will change things for them all.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Jessica Strawser for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • The mystery, the secrets
  • The evolution of Molly’s relationship with her husband 
  • The premise reminds me of an episode of Law and Order SVU

Love: 

  • Good representation of chronic illness/chronic pain including the lack of energy, daily pain, frustration due to inability to complete all activities, loved ones not really getting it
  • Molly trying to be the best mom for her son despite her challenges and limitations 

Dislike: 

  • The lying, deception, and almost tricking of the other people – done for a reason but sometimes it crosses the line from good intentions to protecting only yourself

Wish that: 

  • Some parts made more sense

 

Overall, a good book. I especially loved that the main character deals with chronic pain. Well, I don’t love that she’s in pain, but I like the representation. We need more books like this. However, the weird secret keeping took away from my enjoyment at times. 

 

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2.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense · thriller

What We Did by Christobel Kent | ARC #BookReview

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What We Did by Christobel Kent

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Pages: 320

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense

Rating: 2.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: revenge books

Foodie Vibes: very little food because after you do what these women did, who can eat?

 

Synopsis: 

He stole her childhood . . . she’ll take his future

Something happened, she didn’t know what, something spun, the world turning, back, back, too fast. She would be sick. Bridget put out a hand to steady herself against the wall.

Bridget has a secret–one she keeps from everyone, even her husband. One that threatens to explode when her childhood music teacher, Carmichael, walks into her dress shop. With him is a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, fresh-faced and pretty. She reminds Bridget of herself at that age, na�ve and vulnerable.

Bridget wants him away–away from her, away from that girl. But Carmichael won’t leave her alone, won’t stop stalking her. And Bridget’s not a little girl anymore. When he pushes her too far, she snaps. But what she thought was a decisive act only unravels more insidious threats–more than she could have ever imagined–and from which no one is safe, not even her family.

The bestselling British author Christobel Kent has written yet another thrilling page-turner with a twisted, riveting conclusion. What We Did is a nightmarish, impossible-to-put-down tale of the secrets we keep from our families, of chilling childhood abuse, and of long-awaited retribution.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Sarah Crichton Books, and Christobel Kent for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • The relationship between the sisters
  • The mystery of what will happen next throughout the whole story
  • The day to day life working in a clothing store

Love: – 

Dislike: 

  • The flippancy the sisters have over serious topics
  • Despite all the drama and action, most of the time I was bored
  • All the triggers

Wish that:

-I related to the main character more, but then again based on some of her actions maybe it’s better that I don’t relate

Overall, not the book for me due to multiple reasons. Despite the promising plot, the story lacked much. 

 

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What did you think?

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · Supernatural · thriller

The Burning Island by Hester Young | New Release

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The Burning Island by Hester Young 

Published: January 22, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 416

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, supernatural

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: heartfelt psychological thrillers, twin stories, family drama, multi layered stories, mysteries with a bit of supernatural elements 

Foodie Vibes: local food for your Hawaiian vacation 

 

Synopsis: 

When her work on a high-profile missing child case exposes her fragile secret to the world, Charlie Cates is forced to flee the spotlight.

On Hawai’i’s Big Island, Charlie can escape the past whilst gazing out at breath-taking sunsets and sparkling sea.

But in spite of its beauty the island is harbouring a dark secret of its own, and people who will do anything to protect it.

The more enchanted Charlie becomes by the island’s mysteries, the bigger the theat she poses to its tranquillity. And the closer Charlie gets to uncovering the truth, the less likely it seems that she will ever leave the island alive…

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Hester Young for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The premise: woman who dreams about/get vibes from people who are in danger, missing or dead
  • The supernatural/psychic elements are just enough to allow the story to happen, while still keeping the genre as mystery/psychological thriller
  • Find my Phone App playing a vital role in the investigation 

Love:

  • Slow burn mystery that ramps up at the perfect time 
  • The main character’s friend, Rae: bold, supportive, kind, encouraging
  • The setting of Hawaii … need I say more? But it’s obvious the author is familiar with the area
  • The mystery, search for a missing girl, ends up being so much better than I thought
  • The revelations at the last 1/3 of the story … OMG!

Dislike:

  • Seriously messed up families —> But that’s also what makes the book great in a messed up kind of way

Wish that:

  • There’s another book in the series, preferably a sequel to this story 
  • Learned more about the owners of the B&B
  • We could learn what happens to the cultish family’s kids in the future 

 

Overall, a wonderful mystery that’s written perfectly. A slow burn suspense that packs a big punch at the end. Definitely worth the read!

 

Bookish Question:

Is that book on your TBR list?

 

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5 Star Books · Book Reviews · fantasy · historical fiction · Science Fiction · thriller

I read my FIRST Stephen King Book! 11/22/63

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11/22/63

Published: November 8, 2011

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 849

Genres: historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, thriller

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: JFK conspiracy theories, history buffs, alternate history novels, long well written books

Foodie Vibes: diner food but made the right way — from scratch, high fat and without preservatives

 

Synopsis: 

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

 

Review:

Like: 

  • The main character and narrator
  • Discussions of time travel repercussions – while not real, it’s fun to think about
  • The mix of historical fiction, suspense, and science fiction
  • A blast from the past: all the vintage brands, companies, music and fun anecdotes

Love: 

  • The audiobook version: I highly recommend listening to it! You will not be disappointed. 
  • The main topic: trying to go back in time and stop the JFK assassination 
  • The world building: the 1950s and 60s world the author creates feels extremely immersive

Dislike: 

  • All the talk about food poisoning, illnesses, etc. seems to be discussed more than most books

Wish that:

  • everything could be happily ever after by going back in time to change bad events 

Overall, I am so glad that I finally read a Stephen King book. I know, I know, how could I not have read one of his books before? I loved 11/22/63 and am looking forward to reading more of the author’s work in the future. 

 

Bookish Question:

How many Stephen King books have you read?

Which ones do you recommend?

 

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3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry | Release Day

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Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry

Published: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 320

Genres: thriller, mystery 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: psycho ex-girlfriends, the #MeToo Movement, revenge

Foodie Vibes: takeout delivered by a delivery app service 

 

Synopsis:

Dana Diaz is an aspiring stand‑up comedian—a woman in a man’s world. When she meets a tough computer programmer named Amanda Dorn, the two bond over their struggles in boys’ club professions. Dana confides that she’s recently been harassed and assaulted while in L.A., and Amanda comes up with a plan: they should go after each other’s assailants, Strangers on a Train–style. But Dana finds that revenge, however sweet, draws her into a more complicated series of betrayals. Soon her distrust turns to paranoia, encompassing strangers, friends—and even herself. At what cost will she get her vengeance? Who will end up getting hurt? And when it’s all over, will there be anyone left to trust?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Amy Gentry for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

I’m going to try a bit of different review format for this book review. Let me know what you think of it. Thanks!

Trigger Warning: sexual assault, domestic violence, murder

Like:

  • Good representation of women in comedy
  • Presents information and an opportunity to discuss different types of sexual violence
  • The twists & turns are timed very well
  • A high intensity thriller
  • Use of up to date technology in crimes
  • Main character: Dana

Love:

Dislike:

  • Revenge because of being sexually assaulted
  • Most of the plot was about getting back at the men  — made me feel incredibly uncomfortable
  • Beginning: lots of information presented all at once and seemed forced
  • The cold realization that the characters, and readers, have at the end

Wish that: 

  • There was a less intense way of proving the men sexually assaulted them
  • We were about to explore more about Dana’s relationship with her mom and other close friend
  • I could feel less uncomfortable about the main plot line, of revenge

 

Overall, a revenge thriller that will keep you reading, but if you’re like me make you feel very uncomfortable. Well written, action packed, and interesting. 

 

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Bookish Question:

Is it okay to like a character who does bad things?

 

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4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · Police Procedural · suspense · thriller

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge |ARC Review

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She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

Published: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 368

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, police procedural, contemporary fiction 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: mystery and suspense books, people who rock climb 

Foodie Vibes: orange juice and vodka for the wild parties the teenagers had 30 years ago 

 

Synopsis: 

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust? A teen girl goes missing after a night of partying; thirty years later, the discovery of her body reopens a cold case in an absorbing novel featuring a small-town cop determined to finally get to the truth—for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson.

On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.

This searing, psychologically captivating novel marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent, and the start of a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House and Gytha Lodge for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

She Lies in Wait is quite an addictive read. This mystery captures my attention from the very beginning and didn’t let up. The author creates suspense in part by alternating chapters, between present day and the night Aurora died. As soon as we get another clue, we can’t be sure what’s the truth or a lie.

The book was especially suspenseful, because everyone had something to hide, even  one of the police detectives. As a reader, I didn’t know who to trust, but also wanted to believe that everyone was innocent. The mystery and tension was great.

A few parts I found myself getting a little lost, but nothing that dramatically affected the story. Also I much preferred the friends as teenagers and the police as adults. The friends as adults weren’t as intriguing and tension filled as it could have been. 

Overall, a really good book in the genre. I definitely recommend giving it a read!

 

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Do you love being able to guess the killer correctly early on, or never figure it out yourself?

 

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