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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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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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Have you read What We Did?

What did you think?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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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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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

 

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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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

 

 

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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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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4 Star Books · Book Reviews · fiction · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Perfect Girls by Alison James

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Perfect Girls by Alison James

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 333

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, suspense, crime

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted psychological thrillers, can’t get enough of them books, the horrors of modern day techonlogy

Foodie Vibes: tea and biscuits but beware …

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe. Tiffany. Melissa. They all made one little mistake…

When twenty-five-year-old Phoebe Stiles opens the door to her perfect apartment she doesn’t realise it’s the mistake that will kill her…

The body of the beautiful English girl is discovered months later – dumped behind the back of a department store. But who was the stranger she let into the safety of her home?

As Detective Rachel Prince pieces together the mystery surrounding Phoebe’s death, another young, blonde girl is found brutally murdered and abandoned in the grounds of an old theatre.

In the most dangerous case of her career, Rachel must track down the faceless individual to stop the body count rising. But to uncover the shocking truth, Rachel has to put herself at risk… can she catch the twisted killer, before they catch her?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Alison James for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Perfect Girls is a perfectly addictive novel. A psychological thriller that uses all of the modern day technology and social media advances to truly scare you. The author didn’t resort of cliches to make the book work. Definitely a unique and chilling novel. Perfect for a creepy Halloween read!

The detective from England ends up going to Hollywood to investigate the death of a young woman, who previously lived in her country. The local police wrap up the case quickly, but Rachel has some lingering doubts. Following her hunches, she crosses the country to investigate until she can figure out the truth. 

The book pulled me right in and captivated me throughout the whole read. I thought the premise and little details made for a unique, complex and intriguing story. The author was great at making me feel as if I was right there, especially with her descriptions of scent. Such little details, but they make the book that much better. 

The mystery was great. However the romance, which didn’t play much of a role, was kind of annoying. I could have done without it completely. Since it wasn’t featured much, it didn’t really bother me though. 

Overall, a phenomenal mystery that uses technology and social media to keep you guessing until the very end. 

 

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Have you read this book yet? What did you think? 

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Domestic Fiction · suspense · thriller

ARC Review | The Au Pair

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The Au Pair 

Published: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 368

Genres: thriller, suspense, domestic fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: the Roanoke Girls, unsettling families, books about houses that take on a story of their own, twin mysteries 

Foodie Vibes: apricots fresh off the trees

 

Synopsis:

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Berkley Books, and Emma Rous for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

The Au Pair is an almost other worldly tale of a family who lives at Summerbourne, the massive infamous property. One summer they hire Laura to be the au pair to Edwin, their young son. We soon learn that there is something odd about the family. Twins are common at Summerbourne, but twins never last. Myths, creepy stories, and tall tales are spread by the towns people about the happenings at the house. It makes for a creepy, suspense filled and almost cultish read. I love it! The property and strong family matriarch, Vera, set up the entire story. There is a certain undeniable, almost indescribable feel to the book. It gets under your skin and doesn’t let up, forcing your to keep turning the pages.

The book starts out in 2017 right after the adult childrens’ father has died. After some strange happenings and unanswered questions Seraphine, the daughter, decides she will get her answers about her mysterious family once and for all. The chapters alternate between present day and 1993, right before Seraphine and her twin brother are born. It’s an effective way to tell the story. 

However between the changes in time and confusion about identity, I had a bit of trouble distinguishing between a few non central characters. Eventually I figured it out, but it was frustrating. Also, I wish Laura was a more well defined character. She’s meant to be a more submissive personality, compared to all the Summerbournes. However, Laura plays such a vital role in the story that she needed more depth and influence. 

All in all, the intensity, suspense, and family secrets make The Au Pair an undeniably good read.

 

If you could have a home anywhere in the world, where would it be located?

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

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

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The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

Published: July 10, 2018

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 529

Genres: thriller, mystery, suspense

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: police mysteries, series with cliffhangers to make you read all the books

Read with food: fast food because you’re busy hunting down serial killers

 

Synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days.

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thanks to Goodreads, J.D. Barker and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the book. As always, an honest review from me.

The Fifth to Die seems to be a continuation of the book before it in the series. I haven’t read it, but am able to keep up. Certain references to the characters’ personal lives or little nuances are lost on me, but for the most part makes sense. If you’re looking for a book to really get into the detectives’ lives, then read the whole series. But like most police investigation novels, they’re meant to also be read as a stand alone. Now with that being said, let’s get into the rest of the review.

Teenage girls are going missing in the city of Chicago, and then their bodies found. They’ve been disposed of in some strange ways with other peculiar clues. The police know there’s something strange about it all, but can’t quite put their finger on it. The book takes us through a slow to moderate progression as the cops work to solve the crimes. With the book being over 500 pages, there’s time to dive into the small details of the case and more than just a glance at the characters’ personal lives. While it took me some time to read, the number of pages didn’t feel too overwhelming. I was intrigued throughout.

However, while I enjoyed the book I didn’t absolutely love it. Solving the case pulled me in but I didn’t connect with the anger/passion towards finding the serial killer’s past.

Overall an enjoyable slow burn of a police mystery. I recommend reading the other books in the series first to get the most out of it.

 

 

Do you ever read books in a series out of order?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

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Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

Published: August 30, 2018

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 348

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, police procedural, psychological thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted serial killers, police procedurals, characters to root for, the TV show Criminal Minds

Foodie Vibes: home cooked meals alternating with bad police station coffee

 

Synopsis:

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

 

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Caroline Mitchell for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

Truth and Lies pulled me in right from the beginning. I was so engrossed in the story that I hardly stopped to take notes for my book review. The character of Amy, a Detective Inspector, made the entire book work. She’s the daughter of a serial killer and is being contacted by her imprisoned mother. Forced to unearth haunting memories of her childhood to solve the case.

I really enjoyed the creepy multilayer story. It reminded me of a Criminal Minds episode but set in the U.K. And Criminal Minds is my favorite TV show, so that’s good all around. The evil from Amy’s mother was so far reaching. It impacted many people and made for a great novel.

At the beginning I had trouble figuring out which police personal were which. As the story went on, it made more sense. Also, I wish the characters were more developed. Now this isn’t always possible with an intense police procedural. I really want to get to know Amy better and find out what happens to her next. I hope there’s a sequel!

 

Have you read the book?

Do books ever remind you of TV shows?