Hey, readers. I read my first Rebecca Zanetti book last year. You Can Run was one of my top reads for 2021. I eagerly awaited the sequel. You Can Hide releases on November 29, but you can pre-order a copy now. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy from Net Galley.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Wow! What else can I say about this book? I thought You Can Run, the first of the series, was fantastic. This one surpasses it.
FBI Special Agent Laurel Snow is back in her hometown of Genesis Valley after a brief time in Washington, DC. There’s a serial killer on the loose and his target is highly intelligent professional women. Laurel’s half-sister Abigail is a likely target.
Once again Laurel is paired with Agent Huck Rivers. There is an undeniable chemistry between the two of them. When his ex-fiancée shows up, it creates tension between the two of them. Not only that, Abigail claims interest in Huck.
Readers will see familiar characters and new ones are introduced. I especially liked Nestor, who is not your average computer geek.
Zanetti throws in clues to keep the reader guessing the killer’s identity, and it wasn’t until the last few chapters of the book that I figured it out. While this book wrapped up with a satisfactory ending, the author left some things open that I hope will be addressed in future books.
After all, “What’s the likelihood of two serial killers working in our small Genesis Valley within months of each other?”
A solid five stars from me.
Thanks to Net Galley and Kensington Books for an advanced reader copy.
Hey, everyone. I posted the first part of my April reviews last week. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Now for the second half.
Means to Deceive
Rating: 5 out of 5.
This was my first time reading anything by author Alex Craigie. I’m glad I did.
If I had to summarize this book in one word, that word would be “wow!”
Gwen Meredith left her job and returned home in order to help care for her aging grandmother who is in the early stages of dementia. She takes a job as a learning support assistant in a local school. On the last day of the school year, she manages to make not only one but two, enemies. When a misinterpreted photo of her appears on social media, her problems really begin.
The situation quickly escalates—graffiti spray-painted on her car, weed killer used in her garden, dead goldfish in the backyard pond. Gwen also has a past event that has haunted her since childhood. She has support from her older brother Gethin, who comes to stay for a few days. There’s also a new neighbor, Ben, whom she becomes romantically interested in.
The book starts as a slow burn, but the suspense and tension increase until I didn’t want to put it down.
Although I figured out the culprit, the author threw in plenty of red herrings that kept me second-guessing. And the ending? You just need to read for yourself.
You can bet I’ll be reading more books from this author.
After reading Mae Clair’s review of this book, I immediately went to Net Galley to request an advanced reader copy. The book releases on May 31.
I almost always enjoy stories when there is an unsolved mystery from the past, so I was drawn to this one. Carolina Moonset did not disappoint.
Joey Green returns to Beaufort, South Carolina to visit his aging parents. He immediately recognizes something is wrong with his father. Marshall Green has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. His short-term memory is practically non-existent, but he can remember things from long ago in vivid detail. Marshall is also starting to hallucinate, another symptom of the disease.
The stress of caring for her husband has taken its toll on Carol Green. When she has an opportunity to accompany a friend to Florida for a Pickleball tournament, Joey encourages her to go, saying he’ll care for his father.
But when a prominent citizen of Beaufort is murdered, police suspect Marshall may be responsible. He hadn’t tried to hide his dislike of the man and his entire family. What’s worse is that an antique gun belonging to Marshall turns up missing and police determine it’s the same type of gun used in the murder.
Carolina Moonset is not only a murder mystery, but there is also romance, family dynamics, and enduring friendships. Both the major and minor characters are well-developed. The mystery of the past probably intrigued me the most, but I also was eager to learn the identity of the present-day killer.
The book has a comfortable pace—not exactly a page-turner, but neither a slow burn. I found it just right for the genre and recommend it to anyone who enjoys not only a good mystery but also for the enduring family dynamics.
Thanks to Net Galley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for an advanced reader copy.
Arthur Herbert is a new to me author. I learned of The Bones of Amoret after reading a review by Jan Sikes.
The book is set in a small west Texas town near the Mexico border and takes place in the early 1980s. Those two things alone were enough to pique my interest.
Noah Grady, the main character, is a doctor who is beloved by many. He has a good heart and does a lot to help the people of the community, particularly the Mexican immigrants. The story is told from Noah’s reflections forty years later in a conversation between him and an unknown reporter.
In 1982, Blaine Beckett, one of Amoret’s residents, goes missing. His burned-out Jeep was found in a dry creek near a box canyon outside of town. There is no sign of Blaine. The local sheriff investigates, and we soon learn that Noah has secrets, one of which is that he carried on an affair with Beckett’s wife. Because of this, he briefly becomes a suspect but is quickly ruled out. After all, there isn’t a body. Eventually, the sheriff surmises Beckett chose to disappear.
But in the meantime, there are plenty of events that keep a reader guessing. Besides his medical practice, Noah helps illegal immigrants cross into Texas. On one run, when a young man who is nearly dead of dehydration is found carrying drugs, it could cause a problem. Noah, with his good heart, can’t leave the man to die.
Shortly afterward, Noah and his family become targets of someone bent on revenge. Is it the drug cartel or is Beckett involved? The author lays out plenty of events that keep the reader guessing. Near the end, we learn Noah’s biggest secret of all, which came as a total surprise to me.
The book is well written, and the descriptions of the Texas landscape are superb. Herbert did a fantastic job of capturing small town life in the early 1980s. The characters are well developed. Of note, there are times when Noah jumps back to the present day in his conversation. The first time this occurred, it jarred me a bit, but once I realized what he was doing, the story flowed. After all, you’d expect an eighty-four-year-old to digress at times.
I’m confident I’ll be reading more books by this author.
Wrapping up my review for this month is a quick and fun read.
I picked up a free copy of this book after seeing a friend’s recommendation. The Resort is a fast read—perfect for the beach or a lazy afternoon.
Three couples, a single woman, and a single man are invited to spend a week at a brand-new resort with all expenses paid before it opens to the public. They are treated to a life of luxury—gourmet meals, spa treatments, and exclusive shopping excursions.
Told from the point of view of the four females, we soon learn that each of their lives aren’t what they seem. Some of the characters are likable, others are despicable, and one of them is downright creepy. The suspense builds, and the ending surprised me.
The book had mixed reviews—some readers liked it, others hated it, but I found it satisfactory—enough that I finished it in an afternoon.
I’ve always been fascinated with lighthouses, so the title and cover of this book drew me in. After reading the blurb, it sounded like a good read, so I obtained an ARC.
Amy Tucker is struggling to put her life back together following the death of her mother. The loss has left the eighteen-year-old heartbroken, and she doesn’t know if her world will ever be whole again.
Meanwhile, in Seabrook, a small town famous for its haunted lighthouse, Ryan Porter lives a simple but busy life, maintaining the ranch which he shares with his father.
Separated by hundreds of miles, yet drawn to each other by forces they can’t understand, Amy and Ryan spend a magical day together and quickly forge a deep connection. But all is not what it seems in Seabrook and when strange events begin happening around town, they question if their meeting really was an accident at all.
Trusting in themselves and in each other, they attempt to unravel the mystery of why fate has brought them together, and in doing so they embark on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, a journey that leads straight to the heart of Seabrook’s mysterious lighthouse where they uncover the most shocking secret of all… a secret that will change the course of their lives forever.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Not what I expected, but…
Eighteen-year-old Amy Parker is trying to come to terms with her mother’s unexpected death. She and her father have never been close, and in the month since her mother’s death, she thinks he’s trying to micromanage her. This puts a further strain on their relationship.
Kevin Parker, a detective with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Oregon State Police also struggles with his wife’s death. Kevin’s brother Jack, also with the CID, sends him to the town of Seabrook to meet with the family of a missing person to inform them they are closing the case. Jack suggests Kevin take Amy with him, thinking the overnight trip might be good for both of them.
Once in Seabrook, strange things begin happening. The town is gearing up for its annual Lighthouse Festival. The derelict structure is the source of dispute—some believe it should be torn down, others think it should remain. Several people in the town believe the ghost of a former keeper still inhabits the place. And Amy finds herself caught in the middle.
The morning after arriving in Seabrook, she’s unable to find her father—or reach him by phone. She meets a young man, Ryan Porter, who lives on a nearby ranch with his ailing father. Amy and Ryan set about trying to discover the secret of the mysterious lighthouse.
I expected this to be more of a mystery, but it was a coming-of-age story with a blend of contemporary, a bit of magic, and a touch of romance. I loved the setting—the small town, the Porter ranch, the nearby forest, beaches, and cliffs. Amy and Ryan both had issues to overcome but they were both well-rounded and likable. And there was a mystery—just not what I expected.
I found it refreshing there was no graphic violence or excessive use of foul language (something a lot of authors often tend to do). A well-written debut novel for Christopher Parker.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Beacon Press for an advanced reader copy.
Today’s review is another book I picked up through Net Galley. The release date is April 26, 2022, but it’s available for preorder.
FOUR FRIENDS. A LUXURY RETREAT. IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.
It’s been years since Grace, Felicity, Alice, and Hannah were together. The “Wild Girls,” as they were once called, are no longer so wild. Alice is a teacher. Hannah has a new baby. Grace is a homebody. Only Felicity seems to have retained her former spark.
Then Felicity invites them all on the weekend of a lifetime—a birthday bash in Botswana. It will be a chance to have fun and rekindle their once bomb-proof friendship… and finally put that one horrible night, all those years ago, behind them for good.
But soon after arriving at the luxury safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They are on their own… and things start to go very, very wrong.
A fresh approach to the classic locked-room mystery, The Wild Girls is sure to appeal to fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Promising but Predictable
The classic locked-room mystery. Four friends gathered in a remote resort. Has all the makings of a great story.
Despite a life-long friendship between Grace, Hannah, Alice, and Felicity something happened two years earlier that drove them apart. But when Felicity reaches out to the others, inviting them to celebrate her birthday with a long weekend in Botswana with all expenses paid, they agree to go. It’s supposed to be a time to mend fences and rekindle their friendship.
When Grace, Hannah, and Alice reach the lodge (Felicity arrived a few days earlier), it’s apparent something is wrong. No staff members, poor cell phone service, no internet, and weirdest of all, no locks on their doors. They receive a message from Felicity saying she is sick but will catch up with them in the morning.
Each one receives a cryptic welcome note which could be easily described as passive-aggressive, but they choose not to share this information with one another. From that point, the situation becomes more bizarre and leads to murder.
The killer’s identity and motive were obvious from the start. However, the author did throw in a twist near the end to make the reader second guess.
The Wild Girls is written in three parts. The first begins with the invitation and leads up to the murders. Part two delves into the event two years earlier that caused the rift between the friends. Part three comes back to the present and follows to the end.
Scenes are written from each woman’s POV—two characters in first-person present tense, the other two in third person present. At times, those written in third person appeared to be author intrusion. This annoyed me.
Each character had secrets (not surprising) but there were several loose threads that weren’t tied up. Why throw those in if you’re not going to do anything with them? There were also too many details that served no purpose. For instance, one character is brushing her teeth and sees blood mixed in with the toothpaste residue in the sink. Was there a reason for writing that or was the author just trying to reach a specific word count?
None of the characters are that likable. Another issue I have is related to the title. They were known as the wild girls, but the back story didn’t provide any information that wouldn’t leave the reader to believe they acted like normal teenage girls. Nothing “wild” about them.
It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another book review. I read this back in July and had originally scheduled this post for early next year since the book releases on January 4, 2022. However, I decided to go ahead and post my review.
Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying)—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.
But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I read a lot of psychological and thriller fiction and most of the time, I’m able to figure out the villain’s identity long before the end of the book. Not so with Greenwich Park. While I had several suspects, the author wove a tangle of events that kept me wondering.
Helen lives a life many people would envy—a lovely Victorian home, a husband with a great career, and her first baby on the way. But all is not well in paradise. When Helen arrives at her first prenatal class, she’s disappointed that her husband won’t be able to make it. Neither will her sister-in-law and brother, who had agreed to attend the same classes.
So, she finds herself alone. In comes Rachel, a single mother-to-be with an outgoing personality and an unconventional way of looking at pregnancy. The two strike up a friendship and soon Helen begins to see Rachel everywhere—when she’s at lunch with her friend Katie, in a local pub, in the park.
Then Rachel shows up on Helen’s doorstep, saying she’s in trouble, and begging to stay the night. One night turns into two weeks and there’s no indication Rachel intends to leave. Helen suspects she is stealing from them and later asks her to leave.
But when Rachel turns up missing, the police begin asking questions. What did happen to her and who is responsible?
This book is a slow-burner. I admit after the first two chapters, I wondered if I’d like it. But once I moved on, I became engrossed and found it to be an extremely satisfying read. Greenwich Park is Katherine Faulkner’s debut novel, but I can see her becoming a successful author.
Thanks to Net Galley and Bloomsbury Publishing for a free ARC.
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