Genre: Thriller

Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

May 7, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 19 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on June 4th 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Broken Monsters, Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

five-stars

The girl who wouldn’t die. Hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist.

Chicago 1931. Violent drifter Harper Curtis stumbles upon a house that hides a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature: it opens onto other times.

Harper uses it to stalk his ‘shining girls’ across decades – and cut the fire out of them.

He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. Until one of his victims survives and turns the hunt around.

Chicago, 1992. Kirby Mazrachi’s determination to find the man who tried to kill her has taken over her life.

The cops no longer return her calls. Her mother copes by writing morbid children’s books. Her only ally is Dan, the burnt-out ex-homicide reporter who covered her case.

As Kirby closes in on her would-be killer, what she finds is ... impossible. Murders scattered across the decades along with evidence that makes no sense. Meanwhile, Harper is closing in on her, too.

‘Everything happens for a reason. He should be grateful. It’s because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.’

Harper stalks his Shining Girls through time and the House helps him. He visits the girls when they are children, takes mementos from them and tells them he’ll be back for them when it’s time. When that time comes, he leaves their bodies with a new memento, one taken from a different Shining Girl. His goal is to kill them all, all who Shine, and his mission is complete. Except one survived. And now she’s the one looking for him.

The writing style is extremely explicit. The murders are terribly graphic and incredibly detailed so if you can’t stomach ‘Dexter’ you’re definitely not going to be able to manage this one. I have quite the stomach for gruesome tales but even this one came close to pushing my boundaries. Added to the gruesome details is the heartbreaking bits. There’s this one scene in particular where one of the women is trying to stop the killer and in the process is telling him about her kids and how she has to be there for them because they’re going to be waking up soon… I’m not much of a softie for sad times but even that got to me pretty bad. Plus, I think it should be mentioned there’s also a gruesome scene involving a dog that may or may not have caused a tear or two.

‘He only has to think of a time and it will open onto it, although he can’t always tell if his thoughts are his own or if the House is deciding for him.’

Much like what karen says in her review of The Shining Girls, this book reminds me very much of Life After Life despite it’s obvious differences. Life After Life isn’t technically time-travel but the transitions through time are quite similar, also both novels lack the scientific backing to support the time-traveling, it’s either believable or it’s not. Both novels had similar writing styles with bouncing back and forth to different times. It shouldn’t make sense and it should be terribly confusing and hard to follow but somehow it manages to make complete and utter sense. Lauren Beukes writes with such confidence though that it really leaves no room for questioning. I never had a doubt.

‘It’s the same tug in his stomach that brought him to the House. That jolt of recognition when he walks into someplace he’s meant to be. He knows it when he sees the tokens that match the ones in the room. It is a game. It’s a destiny he’s writing for them. Inevitably, they’re waiting for him.’

This book blew my mind. I finished it late one night and ended up unable to fall asleep because I simply could not stop thinking about it. There were a few questions that went unanswered that I wish had been but my overall opinion of the book remained bright and shiny. (ha, pun intended) The two things I had issue with her major spoilers but I had to include them. Please do not click if you have any intention of reading this!
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The Shining Girls is a horrid and nightmarish tale but so completely intense and unforgettable that it’s certain to leave a lasting impression. It’s a story possessing such vehemence you practically need a good, strong drink to aid you through it. In honor of the drink the House never failed to provide I recommend a whisky straight-up, no ice.

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Early Review – A Textbook Case (A Lincoln Rhyme Short Story) by Jeffery Deaver

March 29, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, Short Stories 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – A Textbook Case (A Lincoln Rhyme Short Story) by Jeffery DeaverA Textbook Case by Jeffery Deaver
Series: Lincoln Rhyme #11
Published by Grand Cen­tral Publishing on April 2nd 2013
Pages: 65
Genres: Contemporary, Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Kill Room, The October List, The Skin Collector

three-half-stars

From Jeffery Deaver--the New York Times bestselling author of the upcoming Lincoln Rhyme novel THE KILL ROOM (on sale June 4, 2013)--comes an original short story featuring Rhyme.

When a young woman is found brutally murdered in a parking garage, with a veritable mountain of potential evidence to sift through, it may be the most challenging case former NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme has ever taken on.

‘It was clear that the classic textbook procedure for running a case forensically wasn’t going to work’

Lincoln Rhyme is renowned for his forensic knowledge but even he is tested when a recent murder is buried, literally, in evidence. The perpetrator has attempted to cover any evidence they personally left in the smartest way possible; by flooding the scene full of incidental evidence. Extremely smart, except he detailed that exact scenario in his highly prominent forensic textbook. The more digging his team does in uncovering the relevant pieces of evidence, the greater Rhyme’s suspicion that someone may be using his textbook against him to get away with murder.

I’ve read eight of Jeffery Deaver’s ‘Lincoln Rhyme’ novels but this is my first short story of his. His books always contain a mystery so skilfully constructed it’s almost as if you’re watching a puzzle slowly disassemble itself as you turn each page. All of his novels are quite large and the disassembling takes time so I was interested in seeing how well he’s able to build a mystery with so few pages. Admittedly it doesn’t have the same flair that his full-length novels have but it was still an enjoyable and quick read. Any of the Lincoln Rhyme novels work fairly well as a stand-alone, but if you’re a newbie to Deaver’s works I’d recommend A Textbook Case to give you a glimpse at what he’s capable of.

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Early Review – The Burning Air: A Novel by Erin Kelly

February 14, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 3 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Burning Air: A Novel by Erin KellyThe Burning Air by Erin Kelly
Published by Viking Adult on February 21st 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.

The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.

The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on - but when they leave her looking after Sophie's baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest...

Gripping and chilling, with a killer twist, The Burning Air reaffirms Erin Kelly as one of Britain's foremost psychological thriller writers.

‘Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.’

The Burning Air tells the story of a privileged family, the MacBrides, and how one small decision changed their lives forever. The story opens with Lydia, the matriarch, in her final days of life looking back on past regrets and one in particular that altered life far more than she had ever thought possible.

It’s funny, but this first came out in the UK and not only does it have a different cover but a completely different summary that, in my opinion, gives away far too much regarding the plot. I’m quite glad I didn’t actually notice this until after I had finished reading and knew less going into this. It made it much more exciting (so stay away from those UK summaries!)

There is much that can be given away, so I will keep this brief. Erin Kelly can really write one twisted, sordid mystery. I actually had a hard time getting into this one at first, I believe because you’re given information in huge chunks that doesn’t make a single bit of sense at first until you continue reading and all the answers slowly unravel themselves. And once those answers slowly begin unraveling and you think you know what’s going on, you’re thrown for a loop, then you find yourself reading at break-neck speed because you have to know what’s going on right now. I was completely captivated. To me, there’s not a better book than one like this.

So why only 4 stars? Wellll…. I was looking for a different ending and was actually looking for ‘evil’ to trump ‘good’. This family is the definition of prominent, however, even they have their sordid secrets and those secrets definitely had the effect of changing your opinion of them. This essentially caused questions as to which side to root for, since neither side is truly ‘good’. The Burning Air is a highly convoluted yet fantastically written tale of family secrets and an obsession that changes their lives forever.

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Early Review – Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

November 12, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwanSweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Published by Anchor on November 13th 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Atonement

three-stars

In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.

Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

“I was the basest of readers. All I wanted was my own world, and myself in it, given back to me in artful shapes and accessible form.”

Sweet Tooth tells the story of Serena, a woman living in early 1970’s England. She is an avid reader of modern literature and is eventually recruited to MI5, the United Kingdom’s security agency, after receiving an interview via her middle-aged lover. Her task is to recruit a writer, Tom Haley, who has been pegged as unsympathetic to communism in order for him to write articles with the intent to change the people’s perception. Except he can’t know that he’s doing this for the sole benefit of the government. When Serena realizes that falling in love with Tom means she needs to decide whether or not to continue lying to him or risk everything and tell him all.

Ian McEwan managed to portray an extremely convincing story from a female’s point-of-view. Admittedly, Serena was not a terribly easy character to like but I’m thinking that was quite possibly the intention. Sweet Tooth certainly had an extremely authentic atmosphere, his portrayal of 1970’s England was brilliantly detailed and exact. The 1970’s was of course quite different especially regarding the attitude towards women in the workplace.

Yes, this is a spy novel and several scenes reminded me of a John le Carré novel, but the whole espionage bit was really put on the back burner in regards to the rest of the story. The story really focuses on Serena’s personal development, her maturity, and finding love. The writing was brilliant at times, and most other times was dreadfully dull. It was really hard to be invested in the story as a whole; emotions were described but were hard to get a true grasp on them in order to really understand and appreciate the story. Enjoyable read, but certainly wasn’t as anticipated and lacked in overall impressiveness.

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Recommend A… Book You Read On a Vacation

September 10, 2012 Bonnie Recommend A... 0 Comments

Recommend A… Book You Read On a VacationI Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on April 3, 2012
Pages: 368
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: I Hunt Killers, Game, Blood of My Blood

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Recommend A… is a new meme hosted by Chick Loves Lit. Every Monday is a new topic which allows participants to recommend a favorite book of theirs.
This week’s topic?

Recommend A…Book You Read On a Vacation

It took me FOREVER to get through this on my last vacation, despite how truly awesome this book is. My excuse is I just got engaged and I was totally in the mood for romance and not serial killers. 🙂 This was still one seriously awesome book though and I can’t wait for the next installment.
Read my review of this book here!
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Early Review – 12.21: A Novel by Dustin Thomason

August 3, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 0 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – 12.21: A Novel by Dustin Thomason12.21 by Dustin Thomason
Published by The Dial Press on August 7th 2012
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end.

In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands.

By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life’s work and to one of history’s great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate.

With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out.

This is actually the first ‘2012’ type story I’ve ever read and it truly blew me away. Look up the definition of ‘page-turner’ and you should see a picture of this book. It was thrilling, addicting, and I couldn’t put it down. One of those that I was more than willing to sacrifice sleep so I could keep reading. 12.21 tells the story of an infection that once it starts spreading it cannot be stopped and how it could very well be the reason the Maya civilization originally disappeared.

I wouldn’t consider myself a 2012 fanatic but I have seen my fair share of Mayan prophecy shows on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. I’ve never considered the fact that the world is truly going to end on December 21, 2012, but I think it’s a fair assumption that something may very well indeed happen that changes the world we live in. Or it could be like every other normal day, who knows. I guess we’ll just have to wait a few short months and find out firsthand. But the storyline in 12.21 of one possible outcome was terrifyingly realistic and incredibly convincing.

I loved how this wasn’t just an end of world tale and how it was actually linked to the very reason the Maya civilization disappeared so very long ago. Based on the Authors Note, ‘there is no evidence that the Maya suffered from a transmissible prion disease’, but regardless this was a riveting concept. Dustin Thomason created an amazing yet lifelike end of days story that is hands down my favorite read of 2012.

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Early Review – Dare Me by Megan Abbott

July 28, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 4 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Dare Me by Megan AbbottDare Me by Megan Abbott
Published by Reagan Arthur Books on July 31st 2012
Pages: 290
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Fever

four-half-stars

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

‘The drone in my ear, it’s like the tornado drill in elementary school, the hand-cranked siren that rang mercilessly, all of us hunched over on ourselves, facing the basement walls, heads tucked into our chests. Beth and me wedged tight, jeaned legs pressed against each other. The sound of our own breathing. Before we all stopped believing a tornado, or anything, could touch us, ever.’

Ah, the sordid lives that teenagers lead, hidden under their masks of perfection. Seemingly perfect girls Addy and Beth are cheerleaders but it’s more than just a hobby to them; it’s a part of who they are. Their lives would mean nothing if they weren’t in cheer. When the new school year comes around and with it a new cheer coach, it sets about a change so big that no one can even begin to imagine the end results.

‘…we work hard because it raises a din, a rabid, high-pitched din that can nearly drown out the sound of the current and coming chaos. The sense that everything is changing in ways we can’t guess and that nothing can stop it.’

Now, when I first read the synopsis and how it’s about two troubled high school girls who are best friends and also cheerleaders my mind automatically flashed to scenes from Bring It On and Gossip Girl and I physically winced and completely lost all interest in ever pursuing it. And then it shows up in my mailbox. FINE. I’ll give it a shot. Well. These girls make Gossip Girls look tame in comparison and they are far from the perky preppy bitches in Bring It On. They are brilliantly methodical and the strength they exude is at times quite scary, especially when you realize these are 16 and 17 year-olds. Often I’ll read a story based on young adults and if it’s not done well their mature acts come across as phony and insincere. Addy and Beth were real and it was nothing short of enthralling.

‘Time comes, you have to listen to yourself.
As if listening to yourself was just something you could do. As if there were something there to listen to. A self inside you with all kinds of smart things to say.’

And as far as the writing goes, the only way I can think of describing it is being incredibly intense. This is not YA so just because the main characters are in high school, do yourself a favor and don’t jump to conclusions. But wow, the storyline was already extreme, the characters vivid, but the powerful lines thrown in really completed it. Megan Abbott… where have you been hiding?

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Early Review – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

May 5, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published by Crown on June 5, 2012
Pages: 434
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dark Places

three-stars

Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

On the day of Nick and Amy’s five year wedding anniversary Nick comes home to find the door ajar, the iron still on, but no Amy. Amy’s typical anniversary gift to Nick includes a treasure hunt with small personal messages to help lead him to the next location and to the big present. When he finds the first clue she had left for him he begins to follow the clues and realizes that Amy had been trying to fix their fractured marriage, but it may have been too late.

The alternating POV (from present time to a past entry in Amy’s diary) absolutely killed this story for me. I’ve ready stories that were written in this same format before but for some reason this one caused me to develop ADD and I was being distracted by the tiniest things. I think I started and stopped this one at minimum a half a dozen times. Now despite this, I must say that it was an extremely detailed and well-written story, I just obviously lack the patience and focus to truly appreciate it.

As far as the characters go, Nick in particular was a very hard read. I didn’t find myself liking him or even feeling sorry for him; however, I suppose that’s to be expected as the way it was written made him a very obvious suspect for the reason Amy went missing in the first place. But of course, it’s hardly that simple. Once the story picked up, and Nick finally started to follow Amy’s clues I got into it a lot more. And once the story hit the midway point and did a complete 180? I was enthralled. Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last very long and I felt that the last half of the book was very disheveled and seriously crazy, and not in a good way.

This is a stand alone novel so I expect a wrapped up ending that answers all of my questions and gives some semblance of a resolution for the characters. I’m not asking for it to be all tied up in a pretty bow or anything but at least don’t leave me with out big wtf. Well, that’s exactly what I got. By the end, the story seemed so unraveled to the point of being undetectable from the story that I originally started reading. Having a story surprise me and go a completely different direction is one thing, but that’s not what happened here. Not a lot can be said without giving serious spoilers to the story but suffice it to say I failed to be impressed by the end. I do give this story credit for the intricate build-up even if the resolution was less than satisfactory.

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Short and Sweet Review – Down the Darkest Road (Oak Knoll #3) by Tami Hoag

March 9, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short and Sweet Review – Down the Darkest Road (Oak Knoll #3) by Tami HoagDown the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag
Series: Oak Knoll #3
Published by Dutton Adult on December 27th 2011
Pages: 445
Genres: Contemporary, Detective, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Deeper Than the Dead

three-half-stars

Once upon a time I had the perfect family. I had the perfect husband. I had the perfect children. I had the perfect life in the perfect home. And then, as in all fairy tales, evil came into our lives and destroyed us.

Four years after the unsolved disappearance of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lauren Lawton is the only one still chasing the ghosts of her perfect Santa Barbara life. The world has given her daughter up for dead. Her husband ended his own life in the aftermath. Even Lauren's younger daughter is desperate to find what's left of the childhood she hasn't been allowed to have.

Lauren knows exactly who took her oldest child, but there is not a shred of evidence against the man. Even as he stalks her family, Lauren is powerless to stop him. The Santa Barbara police are handcuffed by the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Looking for a fresh start in a town with no memories, Lauren and her younger daughter, Leah, move to idyllic Oak Knoll. But when Lauren's suspect turns up in the same city, it feels to all the world that history is about to repeat itself. Leah Lawton will soon turn sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt.

Sheriff's detective Tony Mendez and his team begin to close in on the suspected killer, desperate to keep the young women of their picturesque town safe. But as the investigators sift through the murky circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew. In Down the Darkest Road, #1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag proves again why she is one of the world's most beloved storytellers.

Set in the early 90s, ‘Down the Darkest Road’ is the third installment in Tami Hoag’s ‘Oak Knoll’ series. Once again we’re thrown into the world of Vince and Anne and Mendez where the current investigation deals with missing 16 year-old Leslie who disappears without a trace and her mother Laura who is left to cope with her absence. This was definitely a heartbreaking and emotional story; one that could have been plucked right from the front pages which made it scarily realistic.

I’m becoming a big fan of Tami Hoag’s mysteries as she’s such a talented writer who is able to successfully write a concrete mystery with strong characters. Each detail is described extremely well and the story practically absorbs you straight into the pages. The pages flew with this one and I quite enjoyed the wrap-up on this one. The books in this series continue to be intense and exciting. Definitely recommended for existing Tami Hoag and for fans of mystery/thrillers!

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Book Review – Deeper Than the Dead (Oak Knoll, #1) by Tami Hoag

December 21, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Deeper Than the Dead (Oak Knoll, #1) by Tami HoagDeeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag
Series: Oak Knoll #1
Published by Dutton Adult on December 29th 2009
Pages: 421
Genres: Detective, Mystery-Contemporary, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Down the Darkest Road

three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author joins the Dutton list with the thriller her millions of fans have been awaiting for two years.

Tami Hoag is in a class by herself, beloved by readers and critic s alike, with more than 22 million copies of her books in print.
California, 1984. Three children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer's escalating activity.

Detective Tony Mendez, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is charged with interpreting those now revealed secrets. He's using a new technique-profiling-to develop a theory of the case, a strategy that pushes him ever deeper into the lives of the three children, and closer to the young teacher whose interest in recent events becomes as intense as his own.

As new victims are found and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Mendez and Navarre are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves-or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath.

The body of a woman with her eyes and mouth glued shut are discovered in the woods by three school children on their way home from school. Discovering the woman’s body is only the beginning of how they become entangled in this mystery in a small town.

This was my first Tami Hoag book. I’ve been seeing her books everywhere for years and have been meaning to get around to it. My coworker actually brought me her copy from home and let me borrow it so it gave me the extra shove I needed to finally get on it.

One thing to note about ‘Deeper than the Dead’ is that it’s set in 1985. I must have glanced over these previous information, if it had been mentioned earlier, but not until I read a part where they were talking about an individual having a car phone and calling it an extravagant toy.

”But I doubt he and his cronies are playing cards in his car, and why would he lug that phone into his card game with him? You have to carry the damn things around in a suitcase.”

I need to get me one of those.

What I found most interesting about this murder mystery is the fact that there were three very prominent suspects that were regular members of society. I find that typical serial killer novels I’ve read are always lurking in the background and aren’t out standing in the spot light. I first liked that there were SO many suspects so that it wasn’t quite so obvious, but as the story progressed not only did I know exactly who it was but the intense focus that was placed on the other ‘suspects’ made it seem cheesy and a bit annoying after a while. I’m big on the murder mysteries but this one definitely wasn’t my favorite. I’ve got more of Tami Hoag’s books that I’ll be diving into in the future, I just hope that she spices things up a bit more.

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