STANDALONE SUNDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

standalone-sunday

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is:

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Published January 2016 by Harper

My Rating 3.5/5 Stars

In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him —and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him? 

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I almost didn’t read this book because of the worn out marketing ploy comparing it to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, only one of which (Gone Girl) I really liked. For more on the topic of books being overly hyped check out Jen’s post yesterday at jenmedsbookreviews.comI tend to be disappointed in every book that’s compared to either of those. However, I really like Alafair Burke so my enjoyment of her other books (All Day and A Night for one) won out for this read.

Overall, I really liked this book. The premise is great, as well as the setting and the narrative structure. It all worked. You might be wondering why I didn’t give this book 4 or 5 stars then? Well, it was a solid 4 star book until the resolution and I realized I had it  figured out….correctly. That almost never happens and I may be being too harsh in my rating, but if I have theories woven together in my head as to the who, how, why of the mystery and I end up being correct, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed. You see, I don’t really want to be correct, at least not fully; I want the author to pull the rug out from under me and/or throw in a twist that leads somewhere I wasn’t expecting. Too high of expectations? Possibly. But most of the time in the mysteries and thrillers I read this is exactly what happens. All in all, I know I really don’t have that good of detective skills, I think I just got lucky on this one.  Hopefully you’ll decide to give this a try, it’s a great book to put your own detective skills to work.  And you really can’t go wrong when Alafair Burke’s the author. Happy Reading!

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

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 June 2014 by Harper

My Rating: 4 Stars

A murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads a young defense lawyer and an NYPD homicide detective into parallel investigations with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery.

The latest story dominating the tabloids – the murder of psychotherapist Helen Brunswick-couldn’t be further from Carrie Blank’s world handling federal appeals at an elite Manhattan law firm. But then a hard-charging celebrity trial lawyer calls Carrie with an offer she can’t refuse: Anthony Amaro, the serial killer police blamed for the murder of Carrie’s older sister, Donna, has new evidence related to Brunswick’s murder that he believes can exonerate him. Determined to force the government to catch Donna’s real killer, Carrie takes on Amaro’s wrongful conviction claim.

On the other side of Amaro’s case is NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, who, along with her partner, JJ Rogan, is tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case is personal for them, too: Ellie wonders whether they got the assignment because of her relationship with the lead prosecutor, and Rogan has his own reasons to distrust Amaro’s defense team.

As the NYPD and Amaro’s lawyers search for certainty among years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, it becomes clear that the young attorney got too close to the truth. 

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When I read the blurb for this a couple summers ago, I thought it sounded right up my alley, so when I started reading I didn’t even realize it was actually the fifth book in the Ellie Hatcher series. Oops! I have to say I didn’t have any problem getting to know Ellie or following the story threads as Alafair Burke did a great job providing adequate backstory. I loved the wrongful conviction storyline, I always find those so fascinating as it really adds another dimension of did-he/didn’t-he. I also really enjoyed Ellie’s character. If you’re in the mood to put together an intriguing puzzle give this page turner a try!