Book Review: Strange Lineup by Hannah Holborn

30517155Title: Strange Lineup (A Missing and Exploited Suspense Novel, Book 2)

Author: Hannah Holborn

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

How far will a woman go to protect and provide for her family?
Detective Harvey Sam is about to find out.

Five years after botching the Gabriel Wheeler abduction case, Detective Harvey Sam faces the second major case of his career. An asthmatic mother, Gillian, eats peanut butter before surgery—and dies on the operating table as planned. Her suicide ends an abusive affair and is meant to provide for her family through a malpractice settlement. Instead, Gillian’s husband, her teenage son, and a doctor with an undiagnosed dissociative identity disorder, must flee for their lives. They are pursued by the doctor’s husband, the psychopathic lover who drove Gillian to her death.
Book 2 in the Missing & Exploited Suspense Series, Strange Lineup explores power imbalances between men, women and children and the alternative realities some young victims create to survive.

I’m not quite sure where Hannah Holborn gets her inspiration from for her books, but it’s a dark, menacing and utterly fascinating place that I want to visit too. Last week, I read and reviewed All That Remains, and mentioned how much I enjoyed the book. I was eager to get started on the sequel, Strange Lineup, and well… I liked the first book. I enjoyed it a lot. But book two? That book totally blew me away.

Harvey Sam, our detective in charge, is back to solve another case. Well, hopefully solve another case, because this case is complicated, filled with twists and surprises, and he’ll need all his wit and intelligence to figure this one out, and get everyone out alvie.

We also get some scenes from Harvey’s personal life, with his wife Romy and stepdaughter Helena, and I really enjoyed those scenes. They show a softer side to detective Sam, a loving, caring side, which is a stark contrast to the gruesome reality he often finds himself in while working.

The case at hand isn’t straightforward at all. A woman, Gillian, mother and wife, commits suicide on the operating table, a plan long hatched in her mind. While her plan is for this to provide for her husband, Frank, and son, Anatole, reality is quite different. Frank and Anatole have to run for their lives, pursued by the lover who drove Gillian to her death.

The writing is fast-paced, throwing us from one scene into another flawlessly. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. A truly enjoyable mystery / thriller.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Darkview: Psychosis

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I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for horror “Darkview: Psychosis”. Enjoy the tour, and stay tuned for my review on July 2!

Tour Schedule

June 6th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

June 6th: Book Excerpt @ Stormy Night Reviewing

June 9th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

June 12th: Book Excerpt @ The Readers Hollow

June 15th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

June 17th: Book Excerpt @ Maari Loves Her Indies

June 21st: Author Interview @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

June 23rd: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

June 25th: Book Excerpt @ The Bookworm Lodge

June 29th: Book Review @ The Pursuit of Bookiness

June 30th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

July 2nd: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

July 5th: Book Excerpt @ Mello and June It’s A Book Thing

July 6th: Book Review @ Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog

About the Book

Darkview-PsychosisTitle: Darkview: Psychosis

Author: R.J. Bathgate & M.J. Hall

Genre: Psychological Thriller / Horror

Teaser

Take a journey into the disturbed, delusional mind of Jack Cyrus … take a journey into Darkview … a small, remote coastal town, deep within the Scottish Highlands. The sleepy, isolated spot bears a sinister, horrific history, shrouded by a chilling secret. A secret one man must unveil, which will ravage his soul … and sanity!

Synopsis

Jack Cyrus is in damnation! After witnessing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, he has become plagued by dark memories and devilish visions, the result of post traumatic stress. Compounding his trauma, he is faced with the sudden death of his wife, from cancer, after returning home to Scotland. Lost and alone, and struggling to forget the horrific circumstances surrounding her passing, Jack has developed schizophrenia, experiencing chaotic, disturbed thoughts and demonic hallucinations.

On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, Jack receives a cryptic, hand written letter from her, telling him she is still alive. Suffering and held captive, she pleads with him to return to Darkview, the place she spent her last days, and rescue her from purgatory. Upon arrival in Darkview, strange things start happening, and what appears to be a centuries old mystery, starts unravelling itself. Jack must piece together the clues and lost fragments of his sanity to solve the unravelling mystery. Is any of it real, or is it just a manifestation of Jack’s mind, or another facet of his schizophrenia?

Author bio

Bathgate&Hall_Author-Picture

R.J. Bathgate, born and bred in Scotland, is the creator and co-author of Darkview: Psychosis. A father of two, and enormously proud of his heritage, he has studied psychology, social sciences, and is currently working towards an advanced diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling and hypnotherapy. His heart lies with new experiences and an interest into the unknown, particularly with writing. He has travelled the world from the dusty, wildlife-filled plains of Zambia, to the glaciers of Alaska, and the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies. He is extremely fond of NHL ice hockey, video games, good films, fine wine, and Jack Daniels. He originally wrote Darkview as a screenplay when living in Canada, but upon returning to Scotland, researched mental health issues, namely psychosis and schizophrenia. Inspired by this research, he brought in his lifelong friend, M.J. Hall, to help create a more realistic take on Darkview. The result is a story that combines traditional Scottish history with real life, catastrophic world events, told through the eyes of the protagonist, Jack Cyrus.

M.J. Hall was born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, at the turn of the eighties. Despite being born in England, he identifies more with his ‘adopted’ country, Scotland – he’s lived there since he was four, and his late maternal grandfather was Scottish, too. He presently lives in Edinburgh and is currently studying Environmental Science at the Open University, but has always dreamed of a career in music or writing, or both. He is vegetarian, loves animals (especially cats) and is devoted to his black and white moggy, Tahlula. He humbly admits being just a small voice in a big chorus, and his life changed for the better, or at least would never be the same, when his lifelong and best friend – R.J. Bathgate – invited him to collaborate on Darkview.

 

Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Goodreads

Author Interview with David Kummer

  • my abigail coverHow long have you been writing?
  • I have been writing since an early age. When I was younger, I would write fantasy novels that never got finished, and I’ve just recently picked up and now work on it. My first published work was in May of 2015, when my short story collection As Trees Turned Away finally got released. Since then, I’ve added a couple more works and have many in store.
  • What is your favorite genre to write? Most of what I write is Horror and/or Psychological Thriller, but I’m also working on a Literary Fiction novel and a Fantasy, Lord of the Rings-type novel.
  • Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out? A week ago, I would have said Fantasy, but I’m trying that out now I guess. Um… I’ve never written any Comedy or any Detective Stories? Probably the detective ones. Sherlock Holmes is pretty inspiring in that regard.
  • Please tell us about your book. My Abigail is a thrilling book that will disturb your conscience. There’s a twist about three-quarters of the way through that I know you won’t see coming. As of now, nobody I’ve talked to has predicted it. Good luck, though 😉 Anyways, the book is about a teenage boy who falls in love with a girl, only to find out she’s nothing like he expected. Sound pretty cliched? That’s where the unpredictable twist and the creepy little things I add come into play.
  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why? My favorite character was this little girl named Ayva, who’s got lots of quirks and little habits that are sure to creep you out. I liked her so much I wrote another short story, which I published under the title My Other Friends (it also has some of my author-friend’s stories as bonus material.) My least favorite character was the unnamed father in one of the flashback scenes. There’s no way to express how hard that chapter was write, which leads me to the next question…
  • What was the hardest part about writing your book? About halfway through the book, there’s one chapter that explains everything and demystifies all the secrets. Writing those 7 or 8 pages brought me to tears and broke me down like no other piece of literature has done. Hopefully, it will have the same effect on you.
  • What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing? Well, I get home from school and work out. Then I shower and eat. I start writing around 7:30 (unless I’m answering interview questions like this), and stop about three hours later. To write, all I need is my laptop. Most of the time, I’ll play some music, but if I don’t have it I’m still fine.
  • How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish? My Abigail is only 30,000 words long (half the size of a normal novel), so it took me about a month to write after the outline was set. The editing process took another two months, mainly because I was chasing reviews at the same time.
  • Can you tell us about your editing process? My editing process consists of a few steps. First, I do a quick read-through and fix any mistakes I see, whether that be punctuation or word choice. My dad will then do his own review of the text. Once I apply his corrections, I’ll find a few other people to read it and then do one last scan myself before formatting it and getting it published.
  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned? As I said, there is a short story add-on to this which centers around Ayva and her own story, although it does tie up some loose ends from the main book. Besides that, I have no other installments planned, but you never know. I refuse to close this door.
  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Never give up, and never stop reading. Whether it’s lack of sales, lack of (good) reviews, or lack of inspiration, you will find plenty of challenges that stand between you and that final button to publish. There are a plethora of books on this subject, and I highly suggest Rayne Hall’s books on the various parts of publishing. Besides reading nonfiction books, though, you should also read in your genre and whatever you enjoy. If you’re not a reader, it’s hard to be a writer.
  • Why should everyone read your book? I am very proud of every word I put into this book. While it’s nowhere near perfect (what book is, really?), the story line is unique, the book is easy to read, and the characters are some that you will never forget. And if you need yet another reason, it’ll take you maybe three hours to read at the most. This is like paying 99 cents to see an epic, emotional, three-hour movie, people!
  • If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose? K. Rowling, because her series (Harry Potter, if you somehow don’t know) has inspired me, shaped me, and been especially helpful in improving my dialogue. Second on my list, John Green just because he’s really cool and makes me laugh with his Crash Course World History videos (Youtube it). Lastly, I’d choose to meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle just because I wanna see what Sherlock Holmes could decipher about me from just a glance.
  • What inspired you to write your book? I’d been longing to write something beautiful, emotional, and never written before. When I got the idea for the plot twist, I decided there was only one way to make this as effective, and that was with teenage characters. Before long, I’d written the outline, filled out my character charts, and I was staring at the blank page, having no clue just how far the story would take me.
  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it? Of course I am! Right now, I’m working on a trio of horror novellas that I will publish in the summertime hopefully. I’m also editing the first book of my Literary Fiction series, and writing my Fantasy novel, so I’ve got a lot on my plate. Wish me luck everybody 😉 And have a fantastic day. If you have any questions, I can be reached at davidkummer7@gmail.com

About the Book

A great thriller from the beginning … kept me reading until the endAlysia on Goodreads

Never a dull moment … A great set of unique characters … Could make another great movie— Tony on Goodreads
-Kummer had me going crazy wondering what Abigail’s secret was … A plot that is so complex and unique … It is one that I have never read before— J. Garcia for Readers’ Favorite
In this gripping, terrifying readCaleb meets the girl of his dreams. She’s different, beautiful, and cares more than anyone ever has. But Abigail isn’t who he thinks.


He begins to notice things. The way she disappears for days on end… How she won’t go home at night… All the warnings he gets about her… He must ask himself, Who is she really?


When Caleb is faced with the choice of a lifetime -to love or to hate, to give in and try again- he must make the ultimate decision. Who will he hurt? What will he choose? And is it too late to turn back now?
…Abigail had a secret.
I knew it soon after meeting her.
She was different than other girls, and not just because she actually showed some interest in me. She was really different. I loved it. I loved her.
But Abigail had a secret.
Damian told me so, the first time I met him. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. He wasn’t trustworthy. He wasn’t nice. He was a terrifying figure, the embodiment of fear. But he was right.
She had a secret.
I’m sorry I keep repeating it. It’s still hard to believe. How could somebody so gentle, nice, and loving be so… scary?
That’s the only word I knew to describe her after it all ended. Everything about her being was scary.
Abigail was my life, I told myself. She was my everything.
She left me with nothing.
If she was my life, does that make this suicide?…

Links

Book Review: Cold-Blooded by Lisa Regan

perf6.000x9.000.inddTitle: Cold-Blooded
Author: Lisa Regan
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase:  Amazon

Fourteen years ago, high school track star Sydney Adams was gunned down in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The investigation yielded useless clues, and the case went cold. But homicide detective Augustus Knox never gave up on finding Sydney’s killer. Now, retired from the police force and with only months to live, he enlists the help of private investigator Jocelyn Rush to clear the case once and for all.

Armed with little more than a theory as to who murdered Sydney, Jocelyn tries to lure a killer into the open. But unraveling the mystery means facing off against a cunning psychopath whose ruthlessness knows no bounds. When more bodies start to pile up, Jocelyn has to decide just how far she’s willing to go to catch a cold-blooded killer.

In Cold Blooded, fourteen years ago, high school track star Sydney Adams was gunned down in Fairmount Park. The clues were usless, the investigation went cold. But Augustus Knox never gave up on finding Sydney’s killer. Now he’s retired and only has a few months to live, and enlists the help of Jocelyn Rush to clear the case. Jocelyn only has a theory and tries to lure the killer into the open. But he’s a cunning psychopath, not an easy match, and Jocelyn has to decide how far she’s willing to go.

Once I started reading, I really didn’t want to put it down. From the start, it was fast-paced and had so many twists and turns I couldn’t put it down. The villain, the killer, was creative and sick, and deliciously evil, and you never knew what would happen next. All characters were flawed, and felt real, relatable, in particular Jocelyn. She still struggled with what happened to her in the past, and she came across as three-dimensional, almost as a real person.

The writing was excellent and really immersed the reader into the story. An excellent read, recommended to all thriller / mystery fans.

Mini-Reviews: The Dead House, If You Wrong Us, The Girl With No Past

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Dead House

Tite: The Dead House

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

Review: I enjoyed the book’s unique format the most, with the newspaper clippings, screenshots…this gave the book a realistic feel. The main character is compelling, and the way the author describes her dissociative identity disorder added an interesting angle to the book. However, the reason why is a little flat, and the book lacked creepiness.

If You Wrong Us

Title: If You Wrong Us

Author: Dawn Klehr

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

“An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen lens.” – Kirkus Reviews

Becca and Johnny become entangled after a car crash steals the lives of two people they love. Officially, the crash is an accident. But Becca and Johnny are convinced: someone did this.

As they plot revenge against the person responsible, a bond—intense, unyielding, and manic—takes hold of them. And in an unexpected turn of events, they fall for each other.

Or so they think.

In an upside-down world where decay is beautiful and love and hate become one, Becca and Johnny find themselves grappling with reality. Nothing is exactly what it seems, including what they’ve come to believe about the crash. Question is: will they learn the truth before it’s too late?

No. The question is: when they learn the truth, will they care?

Review: The first half of this book had all the ingredients for being a fast-paced, chilling psychological thriller, but unfortunately this unraveled during the second half. The climax was underwhelming, and it didn’t tie up all loose ends. The dual narrative worked well, and the characters were intriguing though. Enjoyable, but did not fulfill the high hopes I had for it after reading the first half.

The Girl with No Past

Title: The Girl With No Past

Author: Kathryn Croft

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.

Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

Review: It seems the opinions on this book are divided, but I’m fairly in the “I love this” camp. The back and forth between past and present works surprisingly well, and I could really connect to the main character, and understand most of her motivations. The author kept me guessing until the end, and overall, this was an amazing reading experience.

Release Party The Phoenix Project

phoenixprojectrelease

About the Book

coverTitle: The Phoenix Project

Author: D.M. Cain

Genre: Psychological Thriller

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

Author Bio

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

Links

Website: http://dmcain84.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmcain84

Twitter: @DMCain84

Buy on Amazon

Cover Reveal Party The Phoenix Project

It’s here! Dark, gritty psychological thriller The Phoenix Project undergoes a makeover in the brand new Booktrope edition. Completely re-edited and re-designed, don’t miss this stunning cover by the talented Amalia Chitulescu.

 
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The book will be available to buy soon from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors.

 

Author: D.M. Cain

Title: The Phoenix Project

Genre: Psychological thriller/Dark thriller/Dystopian

Book Content: Occasional adult language, graphic violence, and mild sexual content.

Original Cover Design from the first edition: 12162197_1633967296855889_160284965_o

 

Synopsis:

How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting re-released novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

 

D.M. Cain Biography

D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released two full length novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series – ‘The Shield of Soren’ and a novella to accompany it.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DMCainauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMCain84

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH

Website: www.dmcain84.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DMCain/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7888430.D_M_Cain

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

 

Book Review: Hanover House (Hanover Chronicles #0.5)

25394138Title: Hanover House (Hanover Chronicles #0.5)

Author: Brenda Novak

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Thriller

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Prequel novella to my new Hanover House Chronicles (digital only).
Welcome to Hanover House….
Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?
After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.
But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.
He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…
From Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

For what’s supposed to be a novella prequel, Hanover House is quite a long read. It’s roughly 200 pages, and I felt more like I was reading a full-length novel (and let’s face it, most 200-page books are considered full-length novels, I’d say) rather than a novella. For a book that serves as an introduction to  series, it also read more like it was an actual book all on its own. It had a plot, engaging characters, and it told a whole story. So why this is a prequel novella and not just book one of the series, I have no idea.

Anway, on to the plot. Evelyn Talbot, Dr. Talbot as most people know her, is a renowned psychiatrist who works with the criminally insane, in particular psychopaths. She’s quite obsessed with her test subjects. Even when she gets injured by one, it only makes her more determined to figure out what drives them. This obsession started when she was sixteen years old, and when her best friends got murdered by a psychopath posing as her boyfriend. Jasper. A boy she trusted and loved, and who ended up locking her in a shed for days, torturing her and eventually tried to kill her. While Evelyn escaped alive, so did Jasper, and he’s still on the run. Evelyn hasn’t felt safe ever since.

She’s determined to open up a facility in Alaska, where she’ll put a bunch of psychopaths together and research them. The local community, especially Sergeant Amarok, the police trooper in town, aren’t too keen on her building the facility. But when she tries to convince the locals and ends up in a bar with aforementioned Sgt. Amarok, she discovers feelings within herself that she never thought she could feel, not after what Jasper did to her.

Let’s start with the good. The plot isn’t too bad. It’s what convinced me to read the book in the first place, and the idea of a facility solely occupied by psychopaths, and a woman so scarred by her past she’s devorted her life to discover more about psychopaths? That sounds amazing, if you ask me. The author obviously did some research into the mind of psychopaths too, and that shows while reading. The writing is all right.

But the characters. At first, I rather liked Evelyn. She showed tenacity. Drive. Her past had scarred her, but she hadn’t given up. But then, the moment Amarok walked in, everything went wrong. Now Amarok isn’t a bad guy as such (and he’s a real champ when compared to most of the other guys portrayed in the book). On his own, he’s not bad. Typical cop persona. BUT the main problem here is Evelyn’s past. She’s never had a boyfriend. She herself claims she’s been scarred beyond repair. Yet all it takes to undo all that damage is one drunken night at a bar. Sure enough, she’s not really ready to give in, and Amarok and Evelyn never really make it past first base, but still, that’s an awful lot of progress for someone who spent twenty years dodging relationships and men in general.

It wasn’t insta-love, and heck I can usually manage insta-lust, but not with a character claiming to be as damaged as Evelyn says she is. That’s just plain character assassination there, and Evelyn lost a lot of credibility then.

Either way, as I said, it’s definitely not a bad read. It wasn’t as unique as I’d hoped, and I had some issues with the characters, but it’s an enjoyable book all the same. I’ll pick up the rest of the series to see what happens next to Evelyn, although admittingly more to read about her psychopaths than to read about Evelyn herself.

Book Review: My Sister’s Grave (The Tracy Crosswhite Series #1) by Robert Dugoni

22341263Tite: My Sister’s Grave (The Tracy Crosswhite Series #1)

Author: Robert Dugoni

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.
When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

In My Sister’s Grave, detective Tracy Crosswhite lost her sister Sarah over twenty years ago. She disappeared one day, and police believed Edmund House, a convicted rapist, was responsible. Tracy doesn’t buy that, though. Too many things about her sister’s disappearance don’t add up. And when Sarah’s remains are finally discovered, Tracy is more determined than ever to find out the truth. But tracking down killers is a dangerous job, and the truth may not always be crystal clear.

Part thriller, part courtroom drama, My Sister’s Grave is an excellent addition to the crime genre. Although I saw the “big reveal” coming from miles away, that didn’t keep me from enjoying the plot, the characters and the setting. Tracy Crosswhite is an engaging heroine, and now I noticed this book is the first in a series, I can’t wait to read the other installments.

The characters, especially Tracy, really carry the book. The small town setting, with secrets harbored by just about everyone, works great for this type of plot. And the plot itself was certainly refreshing. The flashbacks from past to present worked well too, and overall, this was just a really enjoyable read, and one I’d recommend to any thriller / mystery fan.

Book Review: Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

24833801Title: Follows You Home

Author: Mark Edwards

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.
After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura’s travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest…a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning…
Follow You Home is a chilling tale of secrets, lies and deadly consequences from the author of #1 bestsellers The Magpies and Because She Loves Me.

In Follow You Home, Daniel and Laura are travelling to Europe when they get their passports stolen on board a night train in Romania, square in the middle of nowhere. Security throws them off the train, along with a local girl they met on board the train, and they’re forced to walk back to the nearest visit. But then something happens, and the couple finds themselves in the nightmare of a lifetime. Narrowly escaping from this terror, it haunts them long afterward, een when they make it back to London.

The two of them vow to never talk about it, but that fateful night has driven a wedge between them. They seperate, but Daniel is still in love with Laura and wants her back, no matter what. But Laura is too traumatized to even think about a relationship…And when the events of what happened that night start having consequences for the present, the two of them will have to face their demons.

This book has a lot of five star reviews, and overall, it is quite enjoyable. There is suspense, the characters (especially Daniel) are fleshed out and interesting, and the plot has good pacing, but still, I felt like it lacked some suspense. I was curious about what happened for the first part of the book but had lost interest by the time it was revealed. The plot was also far-fetched, especially with the two subplots colliding, it sounded all a little too unbelievable for my tastes. I can’t really justify giving it more than three stars based on that, although I did enjoy reading it.

The author obviously knows how to write and often crafts delicious prose. The characters are intriguing, and the plot works well, and if it hadn’t all turned so unbelievable at the end, I would’ve given it a higher rating.