Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Archive for the tag “Detective Fiction”

You Can Trust Me by Sophie McKenzie

You Can Trust MeLivy Jackson is a stay at home mom with a hormonal tween and a doting son.

She and the kids head out to her best friend Julia’s house for lunch and are devastated to discover that Julia is dead, an apparent suicide. Livy refuses to believe that her best friend would ever kill herself, but her attempts to convince anyone else of that are fruitless.

Soon after, Livy meets Julia’s secret boyfriend, who also refuses to believe that she killed herself. Together they start to investigate Julia’s last days. Julia’s diary leads them on a chase looking for a killer who is so much closer than they realize. Too late, they discover how much danger they are in and that they may be the next victims.

This was a twisted suspenseful thriller and I really enjoyed it.

– Tina

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The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

The Fifth GospelI can honestly say that I was leery in reading this novel for a couple of reasons.  First being that I didn’t read the author’s first novel, The Rule of Four, and second, I’m not very big on religious reads.  The outcome was pleasantly surprising.

Alex Andreou is a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican as a single parent with his five-year-old son.  Simon, Alex’s brother, has moved into the main Catholic Church and is a priest in the Vatican Secretariat.

Simon calls Alex and begs him to pick him up at the Castel Gandolfo.  When Alex arrives, he sees his friend Ugo, curator of a groundbreaking exhibit, dead.    Ugo was set to disprove the scientific evidence based on scriptural and historical documentation of the Shroud of Turin, which has been a symbol of Christianity for centuries, but it was recently proven to be a fake dating back to the Middle Ages.

Simon is being implicated in Ugo’s murder and Alex’s only hope to save him is to reconstruct Ugo’s secret.    This secret is about the four Christian gospels and the fifth gospel named the Diatessaron, which reveals information about the Church’s most controversial holy relic.

Can Alex uncover the mystery and save his brother?  Pick up a copy and find out for yourself.

  • Amanda

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Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

Someone is WatchingBailey Carpenter is a private investigator who is very good at her job. But late one night, while watching a house, she is brutally beaten and raped. Devastated, and with her whole life turned upside down, Bailey refuses to leave her apartment and is suffering from PTSD and panic attacks. When her estranged half-sister, Claire, and her daughter start coming around to help take care of her, Bailey begins to get her strength back and decides to start investigating the attack herself.

After several false alarms thinking she’s seen her rapist the cops are not taking her seriously anymore. When Bailey begins spying on her male neighbor and sees alarming things happening, she reports them to the police who are threatening to arrest her for harassment and stalking. Is Bailey losing her mind or is someone close to her messing with her head? Her attacker may be closer than she thinks.

I really enjoyed this suspense thriller by Fielding. It moved along at a fast pace and keeps you guessing right to the very last page.

– Tina

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The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

The Third TwinBefore readers meet the identical twins, Alexa, aka Lexi, and Ava, the book opens with what could be one of a girl’s worst nightmares.  We then learn the back story of Alicia, the third sister that the girls made up when they were little.

Now, seniors in high school, they only use Alicia to amp up their courage and sex appeal when dealing with attracting men.  Things quickly turn deadly and strange things begin happening that can’t be explained.

Before you know it, DNA evidence and surveillance photos don’t bode well for Ava and Lexi.  If neither one of them have committed the murders of boys they we’re linked to, then who is responsible and why are they framing the twins or are they?

Fast paced and engaging, this is a great read for fans of who-done-its.  The Third Twin keeps you guessing, right up until just about the end.  When you think you might know, you have no idea….

– Amanda

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The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

The Forgotten GirlsLouise Rick is in her second week as commander of Denmark’s Missing Persons Agency, a newly established unit in the police department. Her first case is a woman who was found dead in the forest. The unknown woman should be easy to identify as the side of her face was covered by a large scar.

When no one comes forward to report a missing person, Louise releases a photo to the media in hopes that this would lead to some answers. An elderly woman comes forward to say that she recognized the person in the photo as a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. The dead woman’s name was Lisemette and she had been abandoned by her family at a young age.  Like other children at the institution, she was thought of as one of the “forgotten girls”.

Upon talking with Lisemette’s father, Louise is informed of some shocking news.  Many years ago, the father had been told that Lisemette and her twin sister had both died from pneumonia. The girls had been living in an institution after their mother had died after a difficult childbirth. Now the greater mystery is where have they been all this time and where is the other twin?

As Louise gets closer to solving this mystery, she uncovers more hidden crimes as well as links to her own past and memories of love and heartbreak.

– Ellen

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Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz

Trust No OneGrace Elland tries to live a very positive life. She works for a motivational speaker who she has helped get to the top of his game. When her boss fails to show up for work she goes to his house to check on him and finds him murdered in his bed. A disturbing clue at the scene of the murder causes Grace to flashback to when she was 16 years old and had to kill someone to save herself and a young boy.

When she meets Julius she tries to keep some distance between them, but there are sparks immediately.

As it becomes clear that Grace has a stalker and her boss’ murder is related to the past, she and Julius start investigating to find the killer. Will they figure it out before it’s too late or will the murderer get away? Grace is in great danger and the killer is closer than she could ever imagine.

This was a great suspense thriller that kept me guessing the whole way.

– Tina

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Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley

Jesus Jackson cover.inddWhat better placement for an adolescent, self-proclaimed atheist than to start at a new Catholic High School? This story is a parallel of two battles for young Jonathan Stiles.   His search to uncover the mystery of his older brother’s death leads him down a path that runs into love, friendships, enemies and suspects.   Jonathan’s internal battle to find faith in something is embodied by his interactions with the eccentric character, Jesus Jackson.   This story was excellently written in the precise tone of a teenage boy.   Jonathan’s view of the world was so perfectly in sync with the angst of adolescence and the struggle to find a place in the world and something to believe in.  Jesus Jackson is able to perform his miracle and help Jonathan grasp the concept of faith.  This revelation turns Jonathan’s attitudes toward all religion in a new direction that allows him to begin accepting the loss of his brother and the possibility of something bigger in the universe.

– Jolie

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2014 Great Group Reads for National Reading Group Month in October

Have you ever been part of a book club or reading group?  It doesn’t have to be a large group.  For example, I always pass books that I read on to my mom and sisters and then we discuss the book. We’ve never formally called ourselves a book club but that’s essentially what it is.  It’s great to hear their opinions and reactions to the characters and plot.  Also, it gives us an excuse to get together and chat over coffee.  October is National Reading Group Month so what better time to get together with friends/family and discuss some great books.  The following selections are perfect titles that can spark some thought-provoking questions and discussions.  Try them out!    View the entire list here.

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrThe story of a blind French girl named Marie-Laure and a German boy named Werner, whose paths collide in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.  Against all odds, the two show ways that there’s good in the world.  Learn more and order here.
Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah KentBased on a true story, Agnes has been accused of killing her old master and sentenced to death.  She’s sent to an isolated farm to await her execution where she unexpectedly finds comfort from the farmer’s wife and daughters.  They open their hearts and minds to the tragedy of Agnes’ life.  Learn more and order here.
Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste NgA small town 1970s Chinese-American family is torn apart after their beloved middle daughter goes missing and is later found dead in a local lake.  The mother, Marilyn, seeks revenge, while the father, James Lee, has an affair.  The family unravels as secrets are revealed and only the youngest child could hold the key to the truth. Learn more and order here.
NeverhomeNeverhome by Laird Hunt Constance “Ash” Thompson, feels strongly about supporting the Union cause, and knows her husband isn’t able to fight in the war.  She leaves him to tend after the farm, dons a uniform, and disguises herself as a man to fight in the Civil War.  She becomes an expert at hiding her secret and faces difficult challenges and battles.  Learn more and order here.

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Trust Me, I'm LyingIn this book we meet Julep Dupree. She is going to high school at St. Agatha’s Preparatory School. Julep is what is referred to as a grafter or a con artist. She was taught this trade by her father.  They live in an apartment in the West Side Slums of Chicago.

As we are introduced to Julep she is helping out a friend from high school. Actually she is working for a friend trying to convince her mom that she is getting an interview from New York University. She convinces the mom to write an admissions check that goes back to her daughter, who will use it to live on as she tries to become a model in New York after graduation.

When Julep returns home from her friend’s, she finds the apartment trashed and her father missing. After scouring the apartment she finds a note from her father and a gun that belonged to her mother. Julep calls her best friend and stays at his place for the night.

This starts a long search while trying to decipher the note from her father.  Along the way, she finds more friends and other clues to what happened to him. When the FBI becomes involved, Julep and her friends must work with them. She also discovers that she is a strong person even in the face of death.

This book is a great read into the strength of one young woman and her hopes for a normal life.

– Ellen

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Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

SkinkCome along for a ride with Richard and a crazy eyed stranger turned friend and collaborator – Skink. Richard’s world goes sideways when his best friend and wild cousin, Malley, never shows up at her new school. 

Malley has always been the adventurous one but this time something was different. It wasn’t like her to run off with a stranger she met online but that appears to be what happened.  Richard is worried about the fate of his cousin as he tries to figure out where Malley has gone and who she’s with.

He has to work fast and try to sneak away before his parents catch on to what’s happening. Not to mention he has a secret of his own that he doesn’t want to get out.

Things get interesting when Richard meets an imposing figure named Skink on a beach who turns out to be much more than just an old homeless guy in fatigues. After some revealing insights and internet searches they team up, and hit the road.  It’s not long before Richard learns enough about this beach going stranger to begin to trust him.

With the help of Skink, Richard finds out Malley’s online hook up is not who he says he is, and that Malley may be in more trouble then even she realizes. Adventure awaits…

This is my first reading of the author’s work. I enjoyed the quick pace and wit. The characters are very well developed and the storyline follows through. I would highly recommend this book to young adult readers.  Adult readers would also find it enjoyable.

– Angel

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