Podcast Fun: Talking Mystery/Thriller Book Recommendations with Sarah from Sarah’s Bookshelves LIve

Hi All! Did you know my friend Sarah from the blog Sarah’s Book Shelves has a new bookish podcast called Sarah’s Book Shelves Live?  Today I’m Sarah’s guest and I’m talking about some of my favorite mystery/thriller reads as well as one I wasn’t crazy about. I had the best time talking with Sarah and I hope you’ll enjoy our book chat!

 

 

Sarah’s Book Shelves Live is a weekly show featuring real talk about books and book recommendations from a featured guest. Each week, Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Book Shelves will talk with her guest about: 
 

– 2 OLD BOOKS THEY LOVE
– 2 NEW BOOKS THEY LOVE
– 1 BOOK THEY DON’T LOVE
– AND 1 NEW RELEASE THEY’RE EXCITED ABOUT

 

Sarah gets real about all things books and serves you up a bit of snark on the side.

 

You can subscribe to Sarah’s Book Shelves Live anywhere you normally subscribe to podcasts: iTunes, Casts, Stitcher, etc., or click on one of the links (in blue ) which will take you directly to Sarah’s Book Shelves , where Sarah has provided you with various ways to download the episode. She’s also provided the show notes for our episode so you don’t miss any of our fun conversation. I hope you enjoy listening and find some new mystery/thriller recommendations! Let me know what you think in the comments below

Happy Listening!

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MY MOST ANTICIPATED SEQUELS OF 2018

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My ongoing reading slump got me thinking about and researching whether there would be any 2018 sequels to some of my favorite books from the past. I found so many that I want to share today and while I’m positive there will be more, I’m so excited about these…2018 can’t come soon enough for me in terms of anticipated reads!!  I’ve included the preceding book’s title (with my review if available)  before the 2018 sequel in case you missed it…

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Publication date: January 23, 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

This is book 3 after Me Before You (book 1) and After You (book 2), both of which I read before blogging. I absolutely loved Me Before You but I wasn’t at all crazy about the path the author made for Louisa in After You. I’m really hoping she brings back the Louisa we loved from Me Before You…after all she is calling it Still Me so I’m super hopeful

 

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Publication date: Feb 6th, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – in just a matter of days she was to provide the documents that will bring down the company she works for.

Falk discovers that far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. But does it include murder?

Book 1 was The Dry and was one of my favorite debuts of 2017. Jane Harper can weave a fantastic puzzle and her setting details make you feel like you’re THERE!

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This seemingly anonymous book is Hangman by Daniel Cole! I couldn’t find a pic of this cover anywhere but I HAD to include this gem in my lineup

Publication Date: Feb 8th (I believe this is the UK pub date, I couldn’t find one for US so if anyone knows it let me know) 

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings

Book 1 is Ragdoll and was such a creative take on the serial killer novel. If you think (like me) you’re not in the mood for a serial killer book but you like intriguing puzzles, give this a try. It was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read all year!

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Publication date February 20th by Scribner

A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. Preliminary investigations are put in the hands of Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli.
     
The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists. But investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.
     
The trail leads to Berlin and Venice, where the waters of the Venetian Lagoon will turn blood red …

Book 1 was Kill the Father which had an intriguing Italian setting and such an intricate puzzle, along with 2 of the most likable detectives I’ve come across in recent crime fiction. I really can’t wait for this one!

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Publication date: Feb 27, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; he has fans, groupies. Living alone in the wilderness beyond town, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

I can’t recommend John Hart enough! Book 1 is The Last Child, one of my all-time favorite books and if you enjoy your mysteries with gorgeous literary writing you MUST read that one.

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Publication date: March 8 by Transworld

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling.
The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…
But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.
When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.
And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

Ok, I have a little explaining to do for this one:) Book 1 is Sirens and is so fantastic that I find myself still thinking about the main character,  Aidan, and the jaw dropping mysteries of this one 8 months after reading it! Sirens  will likely have a place on my top 10 reads of 2017 and will actually be published in the US for the first time on Feb 20, 2018. However, if you just can’t wait that long (and why should you:) you can get your copy from Book Depository (free international shipping) right now and then you’ll be ready for the sequel The Smiling Man in March. I’m going to be pre-ordering that one from Book Depository myself because there’s no way I can wait for the US publication to find out what’s in store for Aidan Waits. This one is worth it guys, it’s just that good!

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Publication Date: June 2018 by Orenda 

Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

This is book 5 in the Henning Juul series but WAIT, the absolute best part about this series is you don’t have to read every title to catch up with the series. In fact, I’ve only read 2…Pierced and Cursed which are both amazing Nordic crime fiction books. Now, I also have book 3 Scarred which I will go back and read soon. What’s so great about this series aside from brilliant writing and a main character you will root for is that each book has a different mystery to solve while at the same time having the common mystery thread of who started the fire that killed Henning’s son. I’m so glad I discovered this author in 2017, I highly recommend this series if you enjoy crime fiction.

***I tried so hard to find out if Jane Casey has another Maeve Kerrigan book coming out next year but I couldn’t find anything…I hope that doesn’t mean she’s skipping a year:( This is an outstanding detective series and currently my very favorite so if anyone knows if she has a sequel coming out in 2018 please let me know!

Are you looking forward to any of these sequels? What am I missing? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

HAPPY READING! 

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS…BOOK BUZZWORDS I JUST CAN’T RESIST

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I thought it would be fun to incorporate some bookish discussions every once in awhile to break up the reviews…for me and for you! I love talking about books as well as reviewing them and every now and then I plan to toss out a book topic that interests me and I hope you’ll join in for a fun chat!

Like everyone, my tbr is exploding for the Fall and Winter and I’ve started to notice that I’ve been adding some interesting titles based on the fact that some of my favorite buzzwords have been in the blurb or other’s reviews. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has favorite book words…those buzz worthy words that when you see them in a book’s description you think to yourself  “I MUST read that book!”

 

Here are 3 recent additions to my tbr based solely on me seeing several favorite buzzwords in the book’s description.  

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A Dark and Broken Heart (Published Aug 2017)…included buzzwords are anti-hero cop, NYPD, heist, drug lord, corruption, deception and redemption. Based on these it sounds perfect!

Glass Town (Publishing Dec 5, 2017)…Mystery, magic, London, disappearance, gangsters, unsolved case, gritty, secrets, and betrayals. This is possibly out of my comfort zone but I love the sound of it!

The Alienist (Published Oct 2006)…Gilded age NYC setting, murder, criminology, profiling, corrupt cops, gangsters…yes please!! I’ve just come across this one and it sounds amazing.

What do you think, do you, like me, often pick books based on words that call out to you and if so what are YOUR book buzzwords? I’d love to know and if you have time let me know a recent book you’ve added to your TBR because it had your buzzwords!

HAPPY READING!

 

 

JUNE READING WRAP UP & BLOGGING CHANGES ON THE HORIZON

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Happy 4th of July to all in the US and Happy Monday to everyone else in other parts of the world! Welcome to my first monthly wrap up post since I started blogging last Sept. I decided to put this one together to share what has perhaps been my best reading month in terms of the number of books I’ve read (13) BUT the worst reading month for me in terms of the most amount of average to below average reads (5), DNF’s (Did Not Finish) (2) and just plain struggles with my picky mood reading kicking into high gear. Along with my reading struggles I’ve had some blogging ones as well which I’ll share with you at the end. With regards to reading, I’m not sure if I’ve just had too many new releases that didn’t hit the mark for me and had I been able to read a writing sample on Netgalley I wouldn’t have requested them, but I’ve had better luck this month with older books I’ve featured on my TBT post and one surprise book a publisher sent that I probably wouldn’t have requested but ended up absolutely loving!

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BOOK READ IN JUNE 

Trophy Son  By Douglas Brunt ( A 5 star surprise that ended up being a page turner)

The Marsh King’s Daughter By Karen Dionne ( Loved by so many others, this fell very                  short for me and was one of my 2 star reads this month)

The Last Place You Look By Kristen Lepionka ( A solid, well-written debut mystery with a likable main character, 4 stars)

It Happens In the Hamptons by Holly Peterson ( My book club’s pick for June, other than the setting there wasn’t much I enjoyed about this debut, 2 stars)

Favorite Sons By Robin Yocum ( An enjoyable coming of age mystery by one of my new favorite authors, 4 Stars)

Wolves in the Dark By Gunnar Staaleson ( Another great Orenda book, I enjoyed more of Varg Veum and the stellar mystery that I couldn’t solve, 4 stars)

My Sunshine Away By M.O Walsh ( A TBT older pick, I loved the 80s time period, the coming of age plot and the mystery, 4.5 stars)

Final Girls By Riley Sager ( Another one getting rave reviews that just didn’t work for me. I found the plot unbelievable and the characters unlikeable, 2 Stars)

The Bright Hour By Nina Riggs ( My first 5 star memoir this year, I loved everything about this book)

The Weight of Lies By Emily Carpenter ( This was an ok read for me, I couldn’t connect that well with the main character and I had trouble with the alternating timeframes,  3 stars)

The Salt House By Lisa Duffy (Another average read, I expected to like this more than I did. I wasn’t crazy about the characters or the way the plot played out, 3 Stars)

Let the Dead Speak By Jane Casey (I loved this latest Maeve and Josh mystery, as always Jane Casey is a stellar writer and I was stumped by the mystery. Love this series SO much, 4 Stars)

Match Me if You Can By Susan Elizabeth Phillips (This was a fun, witty, romantic comedy with excellent dialogue and characters, loved it, 4 stars)

THE UNFORTUNATE DID NOT FINISH’S FOR JUNE

The Fourth Monkey By J.D. Barker (This is probably my most disappointing DNF ever because I couldn’t wait to read this, however, it was too over the top in the graphic violence for me and I decided to put it down)

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon ( I thought the pace was slow and I didn’t care for the diary flashbacks, gave up at 22%)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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** The Bright Hour is a super close second for favorite of June**

So there you have it, my first wrap up! I’d love to hear your thoughts, do any of these make your favorite lists this month? Is anyone else having reading struggles or issues with your mood dictating your reading? I’d love to know how you handle this.

BLOGGING STRUGGLES & CHANGES

If you’re still with me, I’d like to take a quick minute and share with you my recent blogging struggles before I finish this post.  Since I started blogging last Sept, I have thoroughly enjoyed finding so many awesome blogs to follow and I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts and reviews, sharing, and commenting every day of the week for the most part. What I’ve found lately, however, is that I can no longer keep up the pace of reading, sharing, commenting on blog posts, and then social media on top of that…and I’m not even on Facebook!  For me, if I’m going to share a review, I want to read it first and that often leads to me commenting because the number one thing I love about blogging is chatting with fellow readers. So, what I’ve discovered is that I’m often spending 2-3 hours a day (sometimes more) reading, sharing, and commenting on just blog posts then add twitter and instagram on top of that and what I’ve discovered is that my reading is suffering greatly as my days have gotten busier overall. After much thought, I’ve decided that, for me, commenting and interacting is the most important part of blogging and my favorite thing to do, so with that being said, I’m going to be focusing mostly on doing that in the future while still occasionally sharing posts just not on a daily basis. I apologize if I miss sharing posts that I normally would’ve shared in the past, I just hope you all know it’s not personal, I just need a new plan that works for me so I can avoid the dreaded “blogger burnout” and also get back to more reading so I can continue to shout about the great books I come across. Thanks for sticking with this super long post!! I’ve noticed there’s others out there possibly experiencing the same feelings and struggles I am and I’d love to hear how you’re handling it…please leave me a comment and let’s discuss!!

HAPPY READING & HAPPY JULY!

 

 

 

TALKING BOOK HANGOVERS & MORE WITH AMY FROM @NovelGossip

I really wanted to do a fun discussion post on book hangovers and thought it’d be even better to chat with my friend Amy about her book hangovers as well as some other fun stuff.  I’ve gotten to know Amy through the world of blogging and over the past 8 months we’ve chatted about books, wine, kids, and our love of all things Bachelor and Bachelorette! Amy was SO helpful when I started blogging and knew nothing about WordPress, connecting with publishers etc and I’m so happy to be able to call her a friend. I decided to post our book hangover chat in June as it’s Amy’s 1 year Blogiversay 🎉🍾! If you haven’t already visited her blog NovelGossip you should absolutely check it out! Amy reviews a wide variety of books and she’s a speed reading wonder so there’s lots to choose from:) I hope you enjoy our chat and as always I’d love to hear all about the books that led to YOUR biggest book hangovers so please feel free to leave a comment! 

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 You’ve been featured on other posts so we know you are a speed reader and you love reality tv but share a couple other things we don’t know about you including….favorite Bachelor and favorite Bachelorette:)

Amy: Haha both of those are true! Hmm, things you don’t know…Ok, I danced from the age of 3 until I was 17 and really thought that would be my career but sadly, I got so burnt out and I quit. I did all kinds, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, etc. I still remember some of my old dances too, my kids get embarrassed when I try to recreate my youth.

I’m trying to think of something else, is that sad that I have to think so hard? Don’t answer that. I’m at that stage in my life where I’m so defined by being a mom, maybe because my kids are so little still and need me for everything. Does that change as they get older? Your kids are teenagers…Anyway, I’m honestly so simple and get pleasure from small things. I am a homebody and prefer to be home with all of my kids and husband together. I’m pretty introverted but I do talk a lot. I’m a ball of contradictions!

Now the Bachelor question is tough! I could easily gab about who I hate much easier haha. I really liked Chris, something about the good old farmer made me swoon! I also really liked Andi, she was classy and smart. I predict I’ll love Rachel though she’s so great

Renee: Having teenagers is very different as they tend to try to pretend they don’t need you for anything…except money and rides to their friends:) My favorite Bachelor so far would have to be Ben, he was such a nice guy and fav Bachelorette is Rachel, but I also really liked JoJo.

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If you could spend an evening at your fav pub drinking wine with 1 author who would it be and why did you choose that person?

Amy: I actually just recently had a similar thought after reading one of Sue Watson’s books. It was hilarious and I imagine she must be funny as well to write that way. Plus, she’s published by Bookouture so I’m thinking in my fantasy I can get Kim Nash to meet us as well, I just adore that woman and would love to meet her one day! We have fantasized about a house swap. Except that doesn’t help us to actually meet.

Renee: I have to choose Jane Casey. I would love to find out how she creates such intricate mystery plots and also what she’s got in store for my book boyfriend Derwent

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Favorite summer reading spot and favorite drink for summer reading?

Amy: Always by the pool or on the beach. I don’t have a pool and I live in Arizona, so that doesn’t happen often, but occasionally! Favorite drink while reading is normally wine, but if I’m enjoying the beach I need some sort of fruity cocktail. We go to the same resort in Mexico every time we travel there and I love their pina coladas.

Renee: I second that…pool or beach is the best! I tend to stick with very cold Pinot Grigio but this summer I’m expanding my wine options to include Rose…crazy I know:)

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What book series do you predict will cause you the biggest book hangover when it ends?

Amy: Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. I’m SO invested in the characters lives that I don’t know how I’ll cope if I have to say goodbye! I’m in denial and convinced she’ll never choose to end the series.

Renee: I need to try that series then! Mine has to be Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series which I’ve recently binged. I feel like the characters are friends and I can’t imagine not hearing from them again

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What’s the first book that pops into your head when you think of having a book hangover in the past 6 months?

Amy: A Twist of the Knife. I’m sure everyone is sick of me blabbing on and on about this series (especially you Renee 😂) but I binge read it and didn’t want it to end. Luckily the series isn’t over yet, there’s just not another book out currently.

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Renee: Not at all, you’ve got me really wanting to read this series as well as the Will Trent one…I just need about 8 more hours in the day😂 For me it’s Sirens by Joseph Knox. That book had everything I love and I was so bummed to see it end, fingers crossed there may be a second book though

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So you read fast and you read tons BUT are there 3 books that you would say stand out in your mind over the last few YEARS that you automatically think of when we talk about book hangovers? What was it about each one that makes them unforgettable?

Amy: It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany was such an emotional read, heavy stuff, but so extremely important and relevant. It was hard for me to switch gears and read a new book after such a powerful read.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris was a book that left me breathless and had one of my favorite endings of all time.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall had a stunning twist, it was just perfectly executed and looking back, I wonder how I missed it?! One of those that I want to reread at some point.

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Renee: A Little Life by Hanya Yangihara has given me my biggest book hangover to date ( 6 weeks!). I thought about the characters every moment when I wasn’t reading. It was raw and emotionally draining but I loved it

One Day by David Nichols was not only an unputdownable love story with characters I became invested in, it had such a big out of the blue twist that brought out many emotions in me…not all of them good

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was a book that sat on my shelf for months and then when I finally read it I didn’t want to say goodbye to that story or those characters.

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 We all look forward to our favorite author’s new releases every year…so that being said, what 3 authors do you know without a doubt would create a book hangover for you if you found out tomorrow they were never writing another book?

Amy: Harlan Coben because I already feel like I have to wait forever between his books sometimes. If took five years (I think??) for him to write a new book in his Myron Bolitar series and it was torture!

Angie Marsons because I’m addicted to her Kim Stone series and if it just stopped where it is now I would be crushed.

Jodie Picoult because her books are just so impressive and always leave me thinking on a profound level. She’s one of those authors who just speaks to me. Thinking now, her most recent book, Small Great Things, left me with a pretty epic book hangover.

Renee: I also say Harlan Coben but because of his standalones which I’ve read all and loved so many of them.

Sharon Bolton because I love both her standalones as well as her Lacey Flint series. I love that I can never figure out her mysteries

Dennis Lehane because there’s something magical about his writing and his ability to take the reader into a completely different world. No matter what he writes I’ll read it

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Top upcoming summer reads on your TBR that you’re hoping may lead to your next book hangover?

Amy: I’m really excited about Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, her books are all amazing. Exquisite is another that I’m looking forward to, the early buzz is awesome. Kerry Lonsdale’s sequel to Everything We Keep is out in July and I can’t wait! Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena, Bring Her Home by David Bell, The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green, I’ll stop there 😂

Renee: I’m super excited about The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, Unsub by Meg Gardiner, Final Girls by Riley Sager, My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallant and The Force by Don Winslow

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How do you see the next year of your blogging life? Any changes you’d like to make? Types of books you’d like to read? 

Amy: I’m hoping to slow down as far as committing to specific dates, like blog tours. I’m trying to stick with Bookouture and Orenda who are both amazing publishers and who also took a chance on me as a new blogger, I’m so grateful for their support. I really want to read more of what I want when I want and I’m starting that in July. I read a pretty wide range of genres already but I do want to continue reading more historical fiction as it’s amazing.

Renee: I’m also limiting my blog tours in the future and have already started actually, I only have one this summer and it’s for Orenda who I agree have such consistently good books that I feel confident in whatever Karen publishes. I find that since I’m a mood reader I do better reading without deadlines, basically what I want when I want most of the time. In the future, I’d like to find more quality character driven books that make me really FEEL something, good or bad.

This has been so fun! Thanks so much for chatting Amy and I’m looking forward to talking with you about what books cause our future book hangovers:) 

What books have led to YOUR biggest book hangovers? 

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MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF SUMMER 2017

Summer-Reading

Summer reading is officially in full swing on It’s Book Talk and I can’t wait to share with you some of the books that have come across my radar recently. I’ve been really looking forward to putting together this post because, in my opinion, this summer’s crop of books is the best I’ve seen in the last couple summers.  Now comes the hard part…choosing my MOST anticipated reads. After much back and forth with myself I’ve decided the following books are the ones I’m super excited about and maybe you will be to…as always I’d love to hear from you in the comments if any of these are also on your summer tbr as well as others you think I should add! I literally can’t wait to sit on my patio or at the pool with a chilled glass of wine and dive into each one of these books!  **this super cute summer reading photo is courtesy of Susie at Novel Visits**
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JUNE

The Salt House by Lisa Duffy (June 13, Touchstone Books)  In the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, this gorgeously written, heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut set during a Maine summer traces the lives of a young family in the aftermath of tragedy. Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.

The Force  by Don Winslow (June 20, William Morrow)  All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. This is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve

The Fourth Monkey  by J.D. Barker (June 27, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 

The Confusion of Languages  by Siobhan Fallon (June 27, G.P. Putnam’s Sons) Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan. When a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas.

JULY

The Final Girls by Riley Sager (July 11, Dutton) Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Stephen King calls The Final Girls the first great thriller of 2017!

The Almost Sisters  by Joshilyn Jackson (July 11, William Morrow) With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

 Fitness Junkie  by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (July 11, Doubleday) From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt–through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes–to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds. A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

Let the Dead Speak  by Jane Casey (July 25, Minotaur Books) When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there’s no sign of the body. As a body fails to materialize, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? With Let the Dead Speak, Jane Casey returns with another taut, richly drawn novel that will grip readers from the opening pages to the stunning conclusion.

Yesterday by Felicia Yap (August 1, Mulholland Books) How do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday? Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Told from four different perspectives, that of Mark, Claire, the detective on the case, and the victim—Felicia Yap’s staggeringly inventive debut leads us on a race against an ever-resetting clock to find the killer. With the science-fiction world-building of Philip K. Dick and the twisted ingenuity of Memento , Yesterday is a thriller you’ll never forget.

Young Jane Young  by Gabrielle Zevin (August 22, Algonquin Books) From the bestselling author of the beloved The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another perfect fable for our times–a story about women, choices, and recovering from past mistakes.Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it.

All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker (August 24, Bonnier Zaffre) 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 . . .

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (August 29, Riverbed Books) A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer. 

**All summaries are from Goodreads**

I’d love to hear your thoughts and other summer book recommendations! 

HAPPY SUMMER READING!

 

 

BOOK HOARDING: WHAT’S BEEN ON MY TBR THE LONGEST

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After seeing this post by Danielle at The Blonde Iikes Books, Sam at Clues and reviews, and Chelsea at The Suspense is ThriIIing Me, I thought it would be fun to jump in with my own. The idea is to choose the top 10 books that have been on your TBR the longest with the plan to read them by the end of the year.

It’s high time I read some of the books that have fallen down my TBR rabbit hole. I read mainly on my kindle so once I buy a book if I don’t read it ASAP, it can tend to fall by the wayside and end up in my kindle purgatory…for years!! Looking over my 10 on this list I can’t believe how long I’ve had these and forgotten about them…poor books! Most of these aren’t even on my Goodreads To Read shelf because I like to “spring clean” that at the start of the new year. I had to go through my kindle to see what was lost and these are the gems that have been on it the longest and I’m making it my mission to read them by the end of the year.  Here we go….

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A classic novel of romantic suspense finds the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter entering the home of her mysterious and enigmatic new husband and learning the story of the house’s first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted.

**Rebecca is the only print copy on the list I own, poor thing has been sitting in my closet for YEARS**

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Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet.

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In today’s Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller. \

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At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others.

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The master of the new “noir,” Dennis Lehane magnificently evokes the dignity and savagery of working-class Boston in this terrifying tale of darkness and redemption.  Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything–including the truth.

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Moving to remote Shetland has been unsettling enough for consultant surgeon Tora Hamilton, even before the gruesome discovery she makes one rain-drenched Sunday afternoon… Deep in the peat soil of her field she’s shocked to find the perfectly preserved body of a young woman, a gaping hole in her chest where her heart has been brutally removed.
Three rune marks etched into the woman’s skin bear an eerie resemblance to carvings Tora has seen all over the islands: in homes she has visited, even around a fireplace in her own cellar. But, as she uncovers disturbing links to an ancient Shetland legend, the police, her smooth-talking boss and even her own husband are at pains to persuade her to leave well alone.
Is their concern genuine? Perhaps, for when terrifying threats start rolling in like the cold island mists, it seems someone wants Tora out of the picture, once and for all…
Sacrifice will grip readers from start to finish. It is a bone-chilling, spellbinding debut set on a deceptively beautiful island.

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Drew Silver has begun to accept that life isn’t going to turn out as he expected. His fleeting fame as the drummer for a one-hit wonder rock band is nearly a decade behind him. His ex-wife is about to marry a terrific guy. And his Princeton-bound teenage daughter Casey has just confided in him that she’s pregnant—because Silver is the one she cares least about letting down.  So when Silver learns that he requires emergency life-saving heart surgery, he makes the radical decision to refuse the operation, choosing instead to spend what time he has left to repair his relationship with Casey, become a better man, and live in the moment—even if that moment isn’t going to last very long. As his exasperated family looks on, Silver grapples with the ultimate question of whether or not his own life is worth saving.

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The summer of 1985 changed Reggie’s life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school’s outcasts-Charlie, the local detective’s son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera-an ex-model with many “boyfriends” and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.
Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn’t trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.
With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder

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Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk the Green Mile, keeping a date with “Old Sparky,” Cold Mountain’s electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working the Mile. But he’s never seen anyone like John Coffey, a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. In this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefes… and yours. 
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Kenzie and Gennaro are private investigators in the blue-collar neighborhoods and ghettos of South Boston-they know it as only natives can. Working out of an old church belfry, Kenzie and Gennaro take on a seemingly simple assignment for a prominent politician: to uncover the whereabouts of Jenna Angeline, a black cleaning woman who has allegedly stolen confidential state documents.Finding Jenna, however, is easy compared to staying alive once they’ve got her. The investigation escalates, implicating members of Jenna’s family and rival gang leaders while uncovering extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extending from bombed-out ghetto streets to the highest levels of government.

 
So there you have it…now I’m wondering which one you think I should read first? Have you read and loved/hated any of these? Maybe you’re also up for the challenge of reading your top 10 longest TBR books by the end of the year? It was fun to “dig” these back out and I’m excited to get started! Thanks to Danielle, Sam, and Chelsea for putting this challenge on my radar:)  

GETTING TO KNOW BOOKREPORTER.COM’S INFLUENTIAL BOOK REVIEWER JOE HARTLAUB

With the start of the new year and my blog still being pretty new I wanted to have a special feature every now and then that either highlights a book discussion topic or showcases someone interesting in the book world! When I think of an interesting person in the book world I need look no further than my good friend and fellow book reviewer Joe Hartlaub. I met Joe almost 3 years ago when I reviewed for Bookreporter.com for a short time. I had read his reviews every week and thoroughly enjoyed his reviewing style and recommendations. I wrote to him asking for advice on reviewing and he graciously took the time to help out a newbie and a friendship was born. I always like discussing all things books and authors with Joe as we have very similar interests in genres and he has THE BEST stories about happenings in the world of books, authors and publishing!! So, welcome to my blog Joe and thanks so much for taking the time to answer some reviewing questions and share some of your advice, recommendations, and stories with us!! Oh and you won’t want to miss Joe’s Top Reads of 2016, so let’s get started…

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m 65. I am married and have 3.75 adult children, as well as a granddaughter who is 10 going on 22. I currently live in the Columbus, Ohio area. I’ve been a practicing attorney for forty years and specialize in intellectual property law. To date I’ve had several short stories published, one of which — “Starlets and Spaceboys” — has been optioned for film. And speaking of film, I have a feature role in the film LA-308. Oh, and I review books for Bookreporter.com, too!

 How many years have you been with Bookreporter.com and what led you to book reviewing?

I have been with Bookreporter.com for almost 20 years. Way back in 1997 The Book Report (as Book Reporter was known at that time) was the “Books” section for AOL. Life was different then. You dialed up on a dedicated phone line to access the internet — cell phones were only for talking — and AOL was the portal. I sent an email to one of TBR’s reviewers and started a correspondence. She asked me at one point if I was interested in reviewing. I said yes and we went from there.
Have you been a reader all your life? What are your current favorite genres? How, if at all, has your reading preferences or genre favorites changed over the years?

I have been reading since I was three years old My mom read me Rudy Kazootie books before I could read myself. I really learned to read myself when I discovered comic strips in newspapers. I LOVED Dick Tracy, The Phantom, and Prince Valiant. I went from there to comic books — which I still look at, occasionally — and then to detective fiction — everything from The Hardy Boys to Shell Scott — and science fiction. Isaac Asimov wrote a children’s science fiction series — Lucky Starr — under the name “Paul French” and that got me going into that genre. I don’t read much science fiction anymore but still read primarily mystery and detective fiction.

 You’ve reviewed thousands of books, how do you keep your reviews fresh?

I try to keep in mind that every single author spent months trying to produce something new and original that would interest people enough to read it. I figure that the least I can do in acknowledgement of that is spend a few minutes finding a new way to discuss it.
 What’s the best part of being a book reviewer? The worst or most challenging?
The best part is having access to so many new books. The worst part is not having the time to read and review everything I would like to. It seems like so much gets past me.
 Do you have a reviewing format as far as things you always make sure you discuss in reviews?
What has kind of evolved over time is a three paragraph review. The first paragraph tells something about the author and the series. The second discusses the book itself. The third tries to sum up the literary elements that I particularly enjoyed. I don’t hold to this as a hard and fast rule but more often than not it’s what happens.
 How do you tackle a review for a book that you didn’t particularly enjoy?
Ahhh…excellent question. At Bookreporter.com we try to steer readers toward books they might look, as opposed to away from books. When I read a book that I don’t particularly like I try to focus on two things: 1) just because I didn’t like a book doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book. There are authors who are enormously popular who I don’t read for whatever reason. I accordingly try to evaluate the plot and characters and focus upon how well they hold the book together. 2) I made this statement on a panel several years ago — before ebooks and kindles and widespread self-publishing — and another reviewer took exception with it, but it’s true….every book that is traditionally published has some worth to it. It went through an agent, to an editor, and onward and upward. Those folks all saw something in it. That’s what I look for.
 What are some of your favorite book events you’ve attended and can you share any memorable author stories with us?

Bouchercon is always a good time. I haven’t been to a Thrillerfest for a while but they were fun as well and I imagine they still are. Killer Nashville is terrific. The folks who run it are first rate and Nashville is a wonderful city.

Memorable author stories? Oh yeah! I have a bunch of them. The most memorable one is driving to the first official Thrillerfest in Phoenix with the incomparable Marcus Wynne. We gave a few weapons instruction panels so we had a trunkload of shotguns, weapons, knives, and hand grenades, driving across he desert. My transmission went out in Phoenix so I was delayed a week, stuck in a seedy hotel room alone — Marcus had to get back to Illinois — with a roomful of weapons. And then things got worse. I met the wrong guy while my car was being fixed and got in the middle of some things and had to go a little over the top to get out of town. I’ll never forget that.

 What are your favorite titles that stand out for you over the last year or two?

THE EEL by David McKinnon immediately comes to mind, particularly because my reaction was a) how did he even conceive of this? and b) this is so beautifully written. Right now I’m reading DESPERATION ROAD by Michael Farris Smith which is so good that I’m deliberately pacing myself while I read it because I don’t want it to end. Your readers might especially like SECURITY by Gina Wohlsdorf, a very literate thriller which has contains multiple twists and has a very subtle dose of traditional romance thrown into the mix.

 What authors do you think everyone should be reading?
Oh, wow…James Lee Burke, James Sallis, Peter Farris, Cormac McCarthy, the late Larry Brown, Donald Ray Pollack, James O. Born, Robin Yocum, John Connolly, the late Elmore Leonard, David McKinnon…I could go on and on. I’ll think of several more by the time you post this and kick myself for not mentioning them.

 You also write for  Kill Zone Blog.com, how do you come up with your topics for those posts?

With great difficulty. It’s primarily an instructional writing site and I do not consider myself a good teacher. I usually fall back on an experience I’ve had and try to compare that to the writing life. I’ve been very fortunate to be part of that and hope to continue.
 What advice can you give reviewers/bloggers when it comes to writing reviews, creating interesting discussion posts, and just trying to keep it all fresh and creative?

Try to have fun with it. If you can’t get an idea or what you are writing seems boring to you go do something else, like listening to music or watching fifteen minutes of a series that is new to you before resuming your writing.
 Any projects in the works you’d like to share with us?

I’m working on a few things, but primarily a straight fiction, non-genre novel based on the experiences of a friend of mine from when he was in his mid-twenties. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing but it’s coming along nicely.

Thanks so much Joe and best of luck to you on your writing project , I for one will be first in line to read it…I’m sure I’ll get a coveted advanced copy (hint hint:) 

Be sure to stop by Bookreporter.com for all of Joe’s reviews as well as many others. They also run fun contests and sneak peaks!!

Now to finish off this fantastic interview I give you Joe’s Top Reads of 2016.…hopefully you find many new books to add to your already towering TBR’s:) 

JOE’S TOP READS OF 2016

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
The employees of a new resort hotel are systematically being murdered on the eve of the property’s opening in this wonderfully literate and claustrophobic thriller by a debut author who along the way redefines heroism and romance. A must-read.

A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum
This gem of a book offers a mystery, a coming-of-age story, and a character study set in a place and time that is all but gone. Most of all, however, it is a wonderfully told story that deserves to be read over and over.

Willnot by James Sallis
One of fiction’s most reliable authors, well into his fifth decade of work, returns and yet once again rewrites the rules of constructing the mystery novel in this tale of a small town physician (and occasional veterinarian) who finds himself acting as a somewhat reluctant private investigator. It hopefully will be the first of a series.

The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burke
This 1950s period piece and coming-of-age tale contains a mystery at its heart. If The Hardy Boys series of the 1950s had been a series for adults and written by our finest contemporary author, it would have looked something like this.

Friday on My Mind  A Frieda Klein Mystery by Nicci French
This husband and wife writing team deserves far greater recognition than it has received for this superlative series involving Frieda Klein, a damaged and difficult psychotherapist, and this latest installment is the best of the lot so far.

Every Man a Menace by Patrick Hoffman
Read the first paragraph of this wonderfully dark, noir caper novel with five interlocking sections, and you will not stop reading until story’s end. Then pick up last year’s THE WHITE VAN.

IQ by Joe Ide
Just when you think you’ve read every permutation of protagonist there is, a debut author presents a quiet, realistic private investigator with genius level functioning and pragmatic compassion. I hope that this series runs until the end of time.

Bronx Requiem by John Clarkson
Veteran author John Clarkson surpasses the significant expectations that he created last year with AMONG THIEVES in this sophomore installment of a series concerning a group of hardened ex-cons who attempt to assist newly released offenders and often find themselves on the wrong end of both sides of the law. Gritty and memorable.

A Time of Torment A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly
My bucket list includes re-reading all of the Charlie Parker books from alpha to present, and A TIME OF TORMENT is the latest reason why, as Parker, recovering from serious injuries, leaves his familiar Maine environs to confront an ancient evil in West Virginia.

The EEl by David MacKinnon
David MacKinnon is one of the best and smartest authors out there, and THE EEL, which defies classification and a short summary, is an instant old school and new school classic dealing with a failed author obsessed with the life, work and death of Blaise Cendrars, among many other things. It informs, challenges and entertains from first page to last.