THROWBACK THURSDAY…AND THE WINNER IS…

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

THE WINNER OF LAST WEEK’S THROWBACK VOTE IS….

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Published Oct 1, 2002 by Harper

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

 

 

 

 

******

Well, it was a close race but Blindsighted beat My Sister’s Grave by 3 votes last week! Thanks so much to everyone who voted, that was fun. I was a little nervous starting this one only for the fact that I know with Karin Slaughter there’s going to be graphic scenes, the question is…how much and will I have to read with one eye open?

I was immediately taken with the setting of the small Georgia town on a lake as well as with the main characters, Sara and Jeffrey. Sara is the town’s pediatrician as well as the coroner and I was curious to see how she juggled those two very different jobs. Turns out, a lot of her time is spent as the coroner and she doesn’t seem to sleep EVER! Jeffrey is Sara’s ex-husband and let’s just say there’s quite a bit of unfinished business between these two and I had a feeling this would make for an intriguing part of the storyline. Another main player is detective Lena Adams who’s sister has just been murdered. Despite feeling bad for Lena, I have to say…I didn’t like her very much.

Little by little the threads of the murder investigation are weaved and when another girl goes missing, the suspense is ratcheted up immensely.  I should note, there are several scenes of fairly graphic violence as well as rape but they are never gratuitous and the author keeps them pertinent to the storyline. There was so much I Iiked about this book, but one of the main things was the fact that I felt like I knew these characters. I know I said it before in my review of The Good Daughter but Karin Slaughter is a master at bringing her characters to life. The icing on the cake for me is always a really good mystery that allows me to put on my detective hat and Slaughter provided one in this novel. I do have to say that, in the end, my theory turned out to be correct but I really wasn’t all that bothered by being right as I enjoyed the puzzle game of seeing if I put the clues together correctly. Well, the good news is… I really enjoyed this book….the bad news (for me) is now I have to figure out how I’m going to squeeze in the rest of this series amongst my exploding Fall tbr!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Amy at NovelGossip

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Caryl at Mrs Bloggs Books

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Annie at The Misstery

Speedy Reader

REVIEW: GONE TO DUST By Matt Goldman

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Published Aug 15, 2017 by Forge Books

Set in Minnesota, Gone to Dust is the debut private eye murder mystery from Emmy Award-winning Seinfeld writer Matt Goldman.

A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence?

Suburban divorcee Maggie Somerville was found murdered in her bedroom, her body, bedroom and house covered in some sort of dirty dust leading to all potential DNA evidence being obscured by the calculating killer.

Nils Shapiro is called in by his friend Ellegaard to help investigate and soon his leads are making the higher ups very uncomfortable.

After the FBI demands that Nils drop the case, Nils and Ellegaard are forced to take their investigation underground. Is this a strange case of domestic violence or something with far reaching, sinister implications?

******

This murder mystery is narrated by Nils Shapiro, former police officer turned private detective who’s made a name for himself as a pretty successful PI in Minneapolis. I really enjoyed hearing from Nils right away in the first few chapters. I thought he seemed smart, yet sarcastic, with more of that dry sense of humor that I would imagine is very hard to pull off as a writer. I was immediately immersed in the frigid Minneapolis winter and thinking how hard it would be to live in a place that cold. Brrr! Of course, these dark, cold and dreary winter days made for the perfect backdrop for murder and it wasn’t long into the story until Nils arrives at Maggie Somerville’s home. Maggie was divorced and lived on her own and was found dead in her bed. What made this so interesting was the fact that she, as well as pretty much her whole house, was covered in thick layers of dust. What a brilliant way to cover your tracks if you’re a killer huh?

The story progresses at a fairly slow pace and as Nils puts pieces of the puzzle together and makes several key discoveries, he starts making others, namely the FBI, very nervous. Not one to back down, Nils is eventually forced off the case and he and his detective friend continue their investigation in secret.

Much of the puzzle solving as well as the writing style worked for me and I really did want to find out ‘whodunit’, however, for much of the book after the initial few chapters I found my mind wandering. There were several suspects and possibilities but I didn’t feel that tension and page turning quality that I look for in mysteries that really keep me on the edge of my seat. I’m not sure if it was the added extras of Nils personal drama with his ex-wife but something was keeping me from being excited and not wanting to put this down. I will say that I didn’t have the ‘whodunit’ or the why figured out but when I did reach the conclusion I felt like maybe if I’d have payed a little more attention I would’ve. I think die hard mystery lovers may really like this debut but may very well be able to figure it out. All in all, I think this was a solid debut and may appeal to those who like slower paced mysteries that can be read in an afternoon.

Many thanks to Forge Books for my copy 

 

 

REVIEW: THE GOOD DAUGHTER By Karin Slaughter

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Published Aug.8th, 2017 by William Morrow

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home.  And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

******

This book should really come with a warning…BEWARE…once you start reading this small town secret filled thriller, you will likely avoid your friends, family, exercise and oh yeah, sleep! I should know because I pretty much ignored everyone and stayed up until after 1:00am because I couldn’t possibly sleep without knowing how this puzzle turned out. I do have to say I was a little hesitant to start this because my last Slaughter book was Pretty Girls which I found just too violently graphic and all who know Karin’s wonderful writing know that she writes so realistically that it’s often hard to get those images out of your head. That’s not to say there isn’t violence in this story, there is, and quite a lot, so if you’re a reader that struggles with that you should take note.

If you haven’t read Karin Slaughter before I think this would be the absolute perfect book to pick up to experience a level of writing that is really so far above so many others in terms of characterization and making readers FEEL that they know these characters. In the beginning of this story we meet Samantha, her sister Charlotte and their parents, Gamma and Rusty Quinn, and within the first few pages I felt like they were real people and I was witnessing their conversations and their heartache over having to move because their home had been firebombed due to Rusty’s job as a defense lawyer in town. I mean, this is where I think Karin Slaughter is light years above other writers…how did she manage to make me feel SO invested in these people so quickly?? Sorry, I digress from my actual review….

The story is structured in such a way that we get to know the characters starting in 1989 in their small Pikeville, Ga town. Before this section closes Slaughter will have managed to toss in a twist that caused me to virtual buckle up for what I predicted was going to be a wild ride. The narration then shifts as we fast forward 28 years and Charlotte is now a defense attorney in the same building as Rusty (who’s still practicing) and trying to navigate the rocky waters of her marriage. I found Rusty to be an absolutely fascinating character. On the one hand, I felt like shaking him for being abrupt and emotionally unavailable for his daughter and on the other, I found him funny and witty. That’s top notch writing for you…characters who are FLAWED are characters we can relate to, root for, and mourn when we close the book and realize their story is over.

I haven’t even touched on the the crimes in the past and present and that’s because the less you know starting out as far as the plot, the more surprises you’ll get to experience!  To put it simply, there’s a devastating crime (home invasion) committed in 1989 and there’s an equally devastating one (school shooting) committed 28 years later; both occurring in Pikeville and both involving the Quinns. BUT, here’s what you need to remember…no matter how things appear on the surface, nothing is as it seems dear reader.  I felt my anxiety rising in so many places trying to figure out what happened, who might be involved, how does it all fit together…that I finally took the advice of my  friend Annie (The Misstery) who said…”don’t even try to figure it out!” So I’ll pass this good advice on to you…just sit back and enjoy being enthralled by some of the most gripping writing you’re likely to read all year. If you’re in the mood for a character driven story that includes plenty of mystery and quite a few thrills, I think you’ve found your next read!

Many thanks to William Morrow via Edelweiss for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review  

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: SAFE By Ryan Gattis

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Published Aug 1, 2017 by MCD

Ricky Mendoza Jr. (aka Ghost) is trying to make good. As a teenager, he was a ruthless gangbanger, addict, and killer until he got out and met Rose. As an adult, in recovery and working as a safecracker for the DEA, Ghost is determined to live “clean” to honor Rose’s memory—until he stumbles upon an opportunity to repay the debts of his past. All he has to do is crack a safe and steal drug money from under the noses of the gangs and the feds without getting caught. Or killed.

A propulsive, engaging thriller by a novelist whose writing David Mitchell called “audacious, unflinching and subversive,” Ryan Gattis’s Safe drives readers toward a shocking conclusion while exploring deeper questions about what it means to be “good.”

******

For some reason I’m finding this book hard to review. On the one hand, there is so much I liked about it and up until about 60%, I felt it was ticking along quite nicely. I loved that it started off with a safecracking scene and felt that until that point I was really invested in the story. After that, however,  it started to slip for me and by the end I feel like I had disconnected from the story just a little which is very strange considering how much I started off liking it.

The story starts off action packed as we are introduced to Ricky, aka Ghost, a safecracker who freelances for the DEA. He’s been called to a house of the DEA’s most recent drug bust and then left alone (yes alone!) to open the safe with instructions to call the DEA agent in charge after he gets it open. Here’s what’s so interesting about this scene….we learn from Ricky’s first person narration that in his past he was an addict and criminal who did some very bad things but for the past several years he’s tried to do right and now has a plan to really help some people who need it. His plan involves taking the cash in that safe and using it to help others in need.  And with this current safe, he hits the jackpot. Time is ticking though because the safe he has just cracked and the money he has stolen belongs to one of the biggest drug lords in LA and you just know things aren’t going to go well when he finds out his money is gone.

Here is where the story alternates narration and we then meet Rudy Reyes, aka Glasses, the top associate of the drug lord who’s safe Ricky just cracked. Glasses has his own story to tell and soon a very interesting tale is weaved that will connect him and Ricky in ways that ended up being very surprising and in several instances quite suspenseful. The author’s style certainly shines with his use of language and dialect for both of these characters.

On paper, this is the perfect story for me and I found the author’s writing to be so wonderfully authentic. The dialogue was perfect and I really felt the characters were unique and multi-dimensional. Where it started to go downhill for me is the repetitive number of times Ghost was driving in a car and playing various songs on the mix-tape that his past girlfriend, Rose (she had died), had made for him. As narrator, he would then reminesce about times together (in detail) and repeat over and over how much she meant to him. I got it, I really did but by about 65% I’d heard enough because what that effectively did was break up the pace of the story and cause me to become bored which isn’t at all how I felt starting out and during the safe cracking scenes. Couple this with an ending that I just don’t feel made sense for what we knew of the characters and I was left slightly disconnected.

Many thanks to MCD for my copy via Netgalley, I’m happy to provide an honest review 

 

 

 

REVIEW: ALL THE WICKED GIRLS By Chris Whitaker

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Publication date Aug 24, 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

“Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.”
Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.
Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.
But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

******

First things first, if you love crime fiction and well-plotted mysteries and you haven’t read Chris Whitaker yet…what are you waiting for?? I first discovered his wonderful writing when my friend Annie at The Misstery introduced me to his debut novel Tall Oaks last year. Months later, I still think about Manny, one of my favorite fictional characters ever! Needless to say, I was so excited to get a copy of All the Wicked Girls…could Chris Whitaker create more memorable characters and another mystery that would fool me? Often we readers go into highly anticipated second novels with high expectations to love it as much as we loved the first…sometimes it works out and sometimes not so much. So, read on to find out if All the Wicked Girls lived up to my high expectations.

In Grace, Alabama , a small southern town brimming with secrets, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and grief, five of their own”Briar” girls have gone missing over the recent years. All are church going girls who seemed to have vanished without a trace and except for a possible suspect they call the “Bird” there’s been no leads. The latest girl to go missing is Summer Ryan, the question is… did she run or was she taken? It seems Summer left a note and packed a bag and well, we soon learn Summer had some BIG secrets she was keeping from her parents and her closest friend and twin sister Raine. Raine enlists the help of two teenage boys in town, Noah and Purv, and the three of them conduct their own investigation into what happened to Summer. Now, I’ll admit, that sounds like a fairy simple and straightforward plot but I’m here to say it’s anything but and if you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall under the spell of these tragic, yet endearing, quick-witted characters. I loved Noah and Purv, both had stories that will break your heart and along with Raine I was fully invested in the lives and outcomes of these characters.

At the heart of this story is an intricate mystery that put every single detective skill I think I have to the test and guess what?…I failed miserably. Chris Whitaker completely fooled me (again) and I couldn’t be happier. In the end, this is a story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, redemption, and yes hope and I highly recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of mysteries and memorable characters! So, yes it definitely lived up to my high expectations.

P.S..Fun Flashback….As a former Blockbuster Video employee in my college days (remember Blockbuster & VHS?) I loved the part when Purv is talking about getting he and Noah’s (VHS) movies from “that bastard Goodwill lady…Ain’t never at the start neither. She never heard of be kind, please rewind?” Too funny! This totally took me back to spending hours putting those little stickers on the VHS movies and then having to rewind most of the movies anyway when lazy rewinders returned them:) 

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review

**If you don’t want to wait for Amazon to have available you can order from Book Depository. I’m not affiliated, just providing the link**

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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Published Feb 2015 by Amy Einhorn Books
My Rating: 4.5/5

 

“It was the summer everything changed….”

My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson–free spirit, track star, and belle of the block–experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

******

Here’s something I don’t often say…I love that blurb! It evokes such an accurate portrait of the story without giving a single thing away. And that opening sentence completely drew me in. I don’t know about you but I totally judge a book by the opening sentence or two. I can’t say this is a good reading trait to have as I just recently abandoned a very hyped book because the opening sentence bothered me. This could be part of my super picky reading mood lately which thankfully had no impact on this book which has been on my tbr for 2 years!

I just finished this book yesterday and could go on and on as there’s so much I loved about this literary coming-of-age-mystery but in the name of keeping with the TBT short post format bullet points are needed:
  •  The writing was phenomenal…not in a ‘talks over your head, wordy literary prose’ type of way; rather, in a ‘how did he put together such a wonderful sentence that so perfectly evokes just the right feeling’ type of way.
  • The mystery…there are 4 suspects in the crime against Lindy Simpson and I LOVE that the narrator was one of them. The author did a masterful job of making me feel I knew this narrator, I trusted him, I felt for his awkward teenage dilemmas and his  unrequited love for Lindy, though all the while I still had whispers of doubts about his innocence.
  • The 1989 time period….I was a high school teenager in 1989 and this author literally took me back to that time…talking to friends on a phone with a CORD while hoping no one else picked up the second home phone, watching the Challenger explosion at school, banana seat bikes, no helmet bike riding, those certain kids from those certain families that you knew were just “off” but being a kid yourself you didn’t know why.
  • The cliffhanger chapters…brilliant!
  • The unnamed narrator (I swear I didn’t even realize I didn’t know his name until I went to write this!) is telling the story from a point many years in the future, a technique I love and that enables him to provide the hindsight of an adult while still telling the story from a teenager’s perspective
  • The tension the author managed to create in the last 10% took my rating from a solid 4 to a 4.5

If you’re wondering what kept this from being a 5 star rating, it was one minor issue I had with what I’d describe as an odd veering off of the plot when there was an entire chapter devoted to the difference between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This threw the pace off for me and I found myself skimming to get back to the main storyline. Minor issue but that’s why. In the end, I really enjoyed this book and I’m so glad I’ve decided to incorporate these older reads into my summer reading along with the new releases…there are so many gems from the past still out there! If you’ve read this one I’d love to hear your thoughts…

HAPPY READING! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: WOLVES IN THE DARK By Gunnar Staalesen

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark, published by the wonderful Orenda books and available now as an ebook and Oct 1 in paperback

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About the book

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a pedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material . . . and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest—and most personal—case yet. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

REVIEW

Well, this is my second foray into the world of Varg Veum and I have to say I’ll officially follow him wherever he goes! I first met Varg in Where Roses Never Die (review here) and there was just something so compelling about his character that by the end of that book I felt like I’d found a new friend. I know many of you may see that this book is #21 in the series and may think you’re too far behind to give it a try but you can most definitely pick this up as a standalone as the author does a brilliant job of providing enough backstory for new readers as well as enticing established readers with a different side of Varg.

When Wolves in the Dark begins, Varg is in a much better place emotionally and physically than when we left him in Where Roses Never Die. After having been consumed by his grief over losing his love Karin, Varg had sought to drown his sorrows with copious amounts of alcohol, often blacking out and losing large chunks of time. In Wolves in the Dark, he’s in a stable relationship, sober, and feeling like he’s got a reason to be happy again. This new found happiness is short lived, however, as Varg soon finds himself implicated in a web of internet child pornography so intricate that he may never get himself out and clear his name. Who hates him so much they’d set him up in such a despicable way?  I absolutely loved how the author set this all up. In order to sift through possible suspects in terms of who had it in for Varg, he revisits some of his old cases which was a perfect way to help orient new readers to the bad guys from Varg’s past. Needless to say, there are plenty and soon we have many viable suspects. I have to say a quick point here about the subject matter involved in this story: child pornography. Now, part of me dreaded reading this because I didn’t know how I would get through those details and while it was certainly hard to read certain bits and pieces, overall the author kept the details to a minimum, allowing the subject matter to stay on the periphery of the story.

In terms of the pacing, I really loved how Staalesen upped the action in this story, especially about a third of the way in when Varg makes a snap decision to take matters into his own hands, going rogue so to speak! I loved this aspect as it made for suspenseful, action packed reading. Make sure to pay close attention though, as this is an intricate puzzle of a mystery that had me completely in the dark as far as ‘whodunit’ which, by the way, is exactly where I like to be. If you like gritty, noir mysteries with compelling, layered characters I think you should definitely put this book, or any of the other Varg Veum’s at the top of your tbr.

Gunnar Staalesen

 

About the Author

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Many Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy and for inviting me on the blog tour! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Varg in the future

Be sure to stop by the other fantastic blogs on the tour!

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THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published 2011 by Arcade Publishing 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

Narrator of Favorite Sons Hutch Van Buren is fifteen years old, playing sports and searching for arrowheads in a small industrial town in Ohio with his three closest friends when an altercation between the comrades and a troubled seventeen- year-old, leads to an accidental death. Together, Hutch and his friends become ensnared in a web of secrets and moral dilemmas. Each boy shoulders the burden of truth in his own way as each attempts to leave the past behind.

Thirty-three years later, in 2004, Van Buren is the prosecuting attorney in Summit County, Ohio, and a candidate for state attorney general when he learns that he and his boyhood friends weren’t the only ones keeping a secret about the death.  Van Buren must decide between his political career and the duty of the office he has sworn to uphold. 

******

I have to say I’m on a roll lately with these older reads that I’m managing to squeeze in between new release reads. Favorite Sons is another fantastic read by Robin Yocum, an author I hadn’t heard of a year ago, yet I now consider an auto buy!  Over the last few months I’ve read (and loved) A Brilliant Death ( review here) and A Welcome Murder (review here) and Favorite Sons, although published before both of those, was just as good. This story again takes place in a small, southeast Ohio river town and Yocum really nails the setting because I literally felt like I was there watching the events unfold. I’m an Ohioan so I really love the fact that he sets his books in my home state.

The story begins in 1974 when four teenage boys who’ve been friends since they were young kids find themselves involved in a death and make a spur of the moment decision that will alter the course of all their lives. Yocum has created the ultimate moral dilemma  and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what consequences would befall the boys. Because you just know there’s going to be consequences at some point in time, right? Especially since someone else, an “innocent” someone, ends up paying the price for the death. How all this plays out as well as how each boy’s life changes is the basis for the rest of the story which about the halfway mark moves to present day 2004 and we get to see how each boy’s life has faired after that fateful summer day and that one split second decision.

This is a compelling coming-of-age story filled with mystery, drama, and complicated moral/ethical questions that beg the reader to think about ‘what would I do’ in that situation. I think it would be a perfect pick for book clubs as there’s so much to discuss and I have a feeling opinions would vary greatly in terms of the moral questions.  If you like well-plotted mysteries with a small town, coming-of-age backdrop and you haven’t yet read Robin Yocum, I hope I’ve encouraged you to pick up one of his books, I think you’ll be happy you did!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Abby at Crime By the Book

Cathy at Between the Lines

Delphine at Delphines Publications

 

REVIEW: THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK BY Kristen Lepionka

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Published June 13, 2017 by Minotaur Books

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

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I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a sucker for books, podcasts, movies, etc where someone in prison, especially death row, is claiming their innocence. For me, that’s the perfect ‘what if’ set up, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this read. An added bonus is the setting…I knew so many of the streets and locations where this book takes place! From  the get go I liked Roxane. She came across as competent and determined to do a good job despite being her own worst enemy in terms of drinking and relationship drama with both a man and a woman. The author did a fantastic job of weaving Roxane’s personal life into the narrative by having her dig into her dad’s old case files. This enabled us to get to know her brothers as well as her mom and really brought an extra dynamic to the story, especially as all the characters were very well developed.

I have to say, the mysteries had me completely stumped and I’m extremely happy about that. On the one hand, Brad seemed to be hiding something but nothing you could quite put your finger on and then there was the other missing girl who was found murdered from the past…could they be connected and if so, does that mean the killer is still out there? So many unanswered questions and suspects equals a wonderful read for us mystery lovers! That’s not to say I didn’t have a couple minor issues with the story. For me, I sometimes felt that Roxane’s drinking binges became a little repetitive. I understood she had a drinking problem and didn’t necessarily need so many repetitive scenes of binging and blacking out; sometimes, in my opinion, less is more for readers. I also felt that Roxane’s continued jumping back and forth between 2 separate relationships detracted a little from the storyline. As I said, minor issues. As for the ending, I didn’t have it figured out which is always a bonus. I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for Roxane in the future.

Thanks to Minotaur Books via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published 2011 by Scribner

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

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I can’t believe I haven’t featured what might be my very favorite Stephen King read! Whether you’re looking for your next summer read or want to put this on your fall tbr,  this would be THE PERFECT read for anyone looking to be swept away by amazing storytelling but don’t want the traditional horror that is associated with Stephen King. In my opinion, no one tells a story better than King and what makes this one so fantastic is there’s literally a little bit of everything….time-travel, suspense, thrills, and yes a love story! Of course, nothing in this story is as simple as I just made it seem and really isn’t that what we’re all hoping to find when we pick up a book? To be transported to another time and/or place, to be entertained and maybe to just contemplate the ‘what if’ of a significant part of history? You’ll get all that and more with 11/22/63, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

HAPPY READING! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Nicki at The Secret Library

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction