REVIEW: SUNBURN By Laura Lippman

35207298

Published Feb 20, 2018 by William Morrow 

One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

******

Isn’t that cover fantastic?! It’s what drew me to take a closer look at this one and then to go against my self-imposed ban on psychological suspense/thrillers. I’ve been wanting to read Laura Lippman for a few years so this seemed like the perfect time to give her a try.

From the opening pages I was very taken with the whole cat and mouse vibe this story has going on! Within the first 50 pages I realized it reminded me of the tone of The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (loved). That is, no one was especially likable or trustworthy but I couldn’t stop reading . In Sunburn, you have Polly AKA Pauline and Adam, both with rather shady pasts and even murkier intentions in their current situations. In an effort to be concise and quick I’ll sum up my main points about what I really enjoyed…

  • The web of deceit playing out between Polly and Adam left me off balance with not knowing who to trust
  • The story is told in alternating perspectives (POVs) between Polly and Adam with a sprinkling of other POVs which surprisingly didn’t bother me
  • The instability of the characters….who was playing who?
  • Lippman’s ability to tease the reader with tidbits thrown here and there, creating heightened confusion and layers of questions
  • Small town setting
  • This story felt original and had me guessing about everyone’s motives and end games
  • The ending…loved it and NOT what I expected.

What you should know before diving into this one is, it’s a SLOW BURN of the highest level. I’m not saying that in a negative way, only that if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller this isn’t it. This novel is high on introspection depending on the POV and Lippman takes her time peeling away the layers of the characters and story. It works. I think many readers are going to love this and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for  psychological suspense with an underlying mystery and an intriguing game of cat and mouse

Many thanks to William Morrow via Edelweiss for my copy

 

 

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’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published months or years 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.

My Pick This Week is….

20758175

 

Published Oct 2014 by Seventh Street Books

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction, but can he discover the truth before it’s too late? 

******

This is my first Allen Eskens book but I know for certain it won’t be my last. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked this up but this story had a little bit of everything which was a pleasant surprise. I immediately connected with Joe and felt for him as he struggled to make it in college while also having to take care of his autistic brother due to his mom’s neglect. She was THE worst! Then there was Carl and of course I felt for him all the while wondering if he was guilty of murder or had he spent 30 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. I especially loved the way the author structured the story with Carl flashing back to the past to give his story of events.

Another major plus for me was the pace, it was fast, efficient and flowed extremely well, so much so that I read this in about a day and a half. I’d say it was pretty unputdownable. Some may say the author tried to do too much, I mean we’ve got a mystery, drama with Joe’s family, a love story and then in the last quarter some serious action scenes I’d call thrilling but guess what…I thought it all worked brilliantly! And no, I didn’t have the mystery figured out which made it all the better. If you’re looking for a fast paced, well plotted story I hope you’ll give this a chance.

Happy Reading! 

 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Annie at The Misstery

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Caryl at Mrs Bloggs Books

 

 

5 UNDERRATED BOOKS I LOVED

My friend Annie at The Misstery recently wrote about her favorite underrated books and it got me thinking about my own.  I was curious to see what favorites of mine had only 500 or less ratings on Goodreads…surely there couldn’t be that many, right? I have to say I’m pretty shocked that the following books I loved have all received (as of today) only around 500 or less ratings on Goodreads. I know there’s still time for word of mouth to spread on these awesome reads but…just to put things into perspective, The Help by Kathryn Stockett currently has 1,645,869 ratings so these have some catching up to do. I thought all of these were SO good for different reasons so I hope they’ll catch your eye as  you’re finishing up your 2017 reads!

29939086

Castle of Water was one of my favorite books this summer. I thought the writing was outstanding and the story grabbed me from beginning to end. At less than 300 pages this is an easy one sit read

31451016

Trophy Son might be my surprise hit of the year because I almost passed it by but something made me take a closer look and I’m so glad I did. This was such a unique coming of age story with a very likable main character. You don’t have to love tennis to appreciate this story either, it just happens to be the backdrop just as hockey was in Beartown. Such a fast, easy read!

 

9950022   26025680

Favorite Sons is such a wonderful mystery that takes place around 4 childhood friends involved in a death and a coverup which alternates between 1974 and 2004. This actually worked SO much better for me than the very similar storyline of The Chalk Man

A Brilliant Death  ….hmmm, I’m seeing a theme I really can’t believe! Robin Yocum is a fantastic writer and is clearly underrated on Goodreads imo. If you like atmospheric, well plotted mysteries with outstanding characterization you really should pick up A Brilliant Death 

 

28933003

Tall Oaks is one of those quietly amazing books that had mystery, suspense, humor, and lots of drama. I hope Chris’s books gain a huge following in the US soon because he’s an author to watch out for. I’ve read and loved both his books and forced, hounded nicely encouraged most of my book club to read this one and everyone has really liked it!

 What are YOUR underrated favorites? 

 

 

MY MOST ANTICIPATED SEQUELS OF 2018

2018 sequels

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…

35791968

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

 

34275222

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!

******

blank-133x176-8b769f39ba6687a82d2eef30bdf46977

 

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!

******

9781501174650_0ef42

 

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!

******

31450687

 

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.

******

514epPrH9CL.SX316.SY316

 

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!

******

35960953

 

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! 

 

 

REVIEW: THE CHILD FINDER By Rene Denfeld

32223884

Published Sept 5th by Harper

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

******

Just when I think there’s no possible way to tell a missing child story in an original, creative way…in my opinion, the market is kind of saturated with this concept… along comes this luminously written book by Rene Denfeld and just like that I’m a believer again. I don’t typically toss out words like luminous when talking about a mystery, in fact, I don’t think I’ve used that adjective to describe any book I’ve read this year but that word absolutely describes how I felt about this story and Denfeld’s writing. There’s something magical at work here and I’m hardly likely to do this book justice with this review.

From the opening page I was drawn into the world of Naomi, a dedicated, bordering on obsessed child finder, who’s come back to her home state of Oregon to search for Madison, a little girl who’s been missing for three years. Madison and her parents had drove to the mountains to cut down a Christmas tree and in the blink of an eye a blizzard was upon them and Madison had vanished. Naomi is the last resort for Madison’s parents as she has been for so many others and she combines her skills as an investigator with her own life experience of knowing what it feels like to be found. You see, Naomi has a past very similar to those of the children she tries to find, only her memories of the early years of her life are very limited.

The plot flows and evolves brilliantly with the use of alternating POVs of Naomi and “The Snow Child” as well as thankfully short ones from Mr. B…you’ll have to read to find out who he is! It’s very hard for me to put into concise words everything I loved about this story and the writing. The way Denfeld paints a picture with words… of the forest and snow,  the fascinating use of imagination to survive, the intense feelings of hope and despair, the longing to belong and experience love when pain and fear have been so prominent…it all weaved together to create images that were seared in my mind. She created an almost dreamlike quality with her writing that enabled me to get through what I will say were some tough aspects of this story as far as abuse, neglect, and child trauma goes. At no time, however, was any aspect “in your face” or gratuitous;  rather, it was an element of the story that couldn’t be avoided.

All this being said, this is a wonderful and unique part mystery, part thriller, character driven novel that I couldn’t put down. I loved how the author handled the ending and I have to say, my fingers are tightly crossed that we haven’t seen the last of Naomi! In the meantime, I’ll be grabbing a copy of Denfeld’s first book, Enchanted, as fast as I can.

MINI-REVIEWS: CASTLE OF WATER By Dane Huckelbridge & LIE TO ME By J.T Ellison

29939086

Published April 4, 2017 By Thomas Dunne Books

Two very different people, one very small island. When their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love’s restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home—be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away—is where the heart is.

******

I don’t know what it is about this book but I finished it almost 2 weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. First, that cover is just gorgeous isn’t it? And I love the title which is so reminiscent of the story. I want to keep this review very simple because I went into this story knowing only that it was a unique castaway story and for me that made for perfect reading. What’s most important to know is this…there’s a plane crash, two survivors, and a tiny island in the middle of nowhere because the pilot flew off course. The survivors are opposites in every sense and yet they must find a way to come together to not only survive physically but emotionally as well.

It’s not often that I re-read sentences because the words seem to have been put together to create a magic spell on the reader but I did many, many times while reading Dane Huckelbridge’s captivating prose. It was storytelling at it’s finest and I literally couldn’t put this book down. There’s a little bit of everything in this story: drama, heartbreak, suspense, action, humor, sadness, and so much love and resilience. Oh…and there’s a twist that left me stunned!  Seriously, I know my jaw dropped. I love it when an author manages to surprise me like that. If you’re looking for something different I highly recommend giving this a try….just make sure to have tissues handy.

***

 

33258453

Published Sept 5th By Mira 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

******

I love it when I prove myself wrong because when I read the blurb about this book I assumed I wouldn’t like it because my track record with psychological thrillers has been dismal this year. But when a very trusted reading friend emailed me to say I HAD to read this, my ears perked up and just like that I was tempted. I have to say, from the very first page I was hooked! Ellison began the story with just the right level of creepiness by using an obviously disturbed narrator to start the story and of course I was consumed with finding out who it was and how he/she figured into the picture perfect marriage of Sutton and Ethan…or was it actually one of them? The puzzle had begun and I was on board to solve it.

As questions swirled and we are given slivers of information and detail into the marriage of Ethan and Sutton, I found myself completely and totally entertained by the level of intrigue and shadiness the author was creating. We first hear from Ethan and there were times I thought ‘Oh I like him, I trust what he’s saying about his wife ‘ and then on the next page I would think ‘No, he’s lying.’ J. T. Ellison was messing with my head and I was loving it! About halfway through we get to hear from Sutton and then things really get twisted. What I loved was that this isn’t just your typical he said/she said, this is also a puzzle of the best jigsaw kind and I was addicted to sifting through the tiny pieces the author scattered until I could establish my theory surrounding the who, what and why regarding the crimes in this story. An extra treat for me were the scenes set in Paris…the bars, the streets, the people…I could see it all thanks to the vivid prose of the author. So,  thank you  J. T. Ellison for showing me there are still psychological thrillers out there that can leave me so thoroughly entertained!

Many thanks to Mira books via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

Last week was another pretty great reading week and I managed to finish reading two books and listening to one. I’ve been more in the mood to read rather than write reviews so I’m playing around with a shorter review style, possible changing them up with different formats as well. I’ve got so many books on my fall TBR that in order to get to them all and be able to share my thoughts, I think review writing changes need to be made.

RECENTLY READ & LISTENED TO….

314509583325321531702740

According to a Source  was one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. The story was just plain fun and the narrator was fantastic! If you’re at all interested in the behind the scenes workings of celebrity gossip this is the book for you.

 The Heart’s Invisible Furies was my complete obsession Thurs through Sat. night. At almost 600 pages, I finished it in 2 1/2 days and am now left with a very large book hangover. I laughed and I cried and I almost have no words for the amazement of this book….hopefully I can find some soon and get a review up! What I can say is this book may have edged out The Force for my top read of 2017 so far!

Gone to Dust was a much anticipated read for me after I read the preview excerpt on Netgalley. In the end, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would but in fairness to the story, I read this yesterday while in the midst of my full on book hangover from The Heart’s Invisible Furries. No book was probably going to live up to that one the day after! I hope to have a full review up soon.

 

CURRENTLY READING…..

28693376

I started this late last night so I haven’t gotten too far but I’m loving the setting (Venice) and the action and intrigue. I’ve never read a book by either Catherine Coulter or J. T. Ellison so I’m looking forward to seeing what makes them both so popular. I’ll be having a giveaway for this one when I put up my review (hopefully around the end of this month) so don’t forget to check back for that!

 

UPCOMING READING POSSIBILITIES…..

3402001933602108

The Salt Line is an out of my comfort zone pick but I loved the idea of a literary dystopian survivalist story with a murderous plot! Sounds intriguing.

The Saboteur  caught my eye because it’s a historical thriller which I don’t read a lot of and it’s based on a true story. I think I read somewhere that it’s a Jason Bourne type character set in the WWII time frame. I haven’t read anything by Andrew Gross so I’m curious to see how this goes.

Have you read any of these or have any interest in doing so?

Have a wonderful reading week! 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

I have to say, I think last week was a great reading week overall. I finished 2 books which may not seem like a lot but since one was almost 600 pages, I’m happy! I started several others last week searching for something that would draw me in within the first several pages…this is curse of being a picky mood reader….and I would say the book that most drew me in was Tennison by Lyndia Laplante. I was fully prepared to keep reading this tome (about 600 pages) but then my approval for a much anticipated new release (see below) came through on Edelweiss so I dropped everything to read that one. I will absolutely return to Tennison though, I was really liking Jane. Also, the third book in this series releases in the US in Sept. so I need to get reading to be caught up with the series.

RECENTLY READ…

3323088931200537

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter was the book that I dropped everything else for last week! This standalone mystery/thriller was fantastic and if you missed my review you can read it here.

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor is touted as a psychological thriller which at first made me hesitant due to my not having the best luck with that genre lately but I found this to be more a combination romantic/political suspense which I was very pleasantly surprised by…my review will be coming soon.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO….

31450958

According to a Source by Abby Stern is proving to be one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to since YOU by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana. For me, the narrator makes ALL the difference and Therese Plummer is amazing. Plus, I’m a People Magazine & Entertainment Weekly junkie so this book is just plain fun! I have to thank Susie at Novel Visits for sharing this audiobook with me via Audible…I owe you one Susie:)

CURRENTLY READING….

32920264

I just started this last night so it’s early but so far the story has really drew me in…it’s creepy yet action filled in the first few pages and this book is getting lots of great reviews so I’m excited to see how it progresses. (Published Aug.1)

UPCOMING POSSIBILITES….

3325321531702740

I’ve read the preview excerpt of Gone To Dust (Netgalley) and it’s SO good…witty and atmospheric! I’m dying to get my hands on this one when it releases tomorrow...it’s by a writer of the tv show Seinfeld AND as my good friend Joe from  BookReporter.com said..”It’s an ACTUAL mystery!” All of us die hard mystery lovers can appreciate this excitement! I’m also super excited to read John Boyne as well(another new to me author)…plus I want to get back to Tennison…is it possible I can completely shut out everything else and read ALL of these this week?? I’d sure like to try! I hope you all have a wonderful reading week and be sure to let me know what’s on your must-read lists this week…

HAPPY READING!

 

BLOG TOUR & GUEST POST: WATCHING THE BODIES By Graham Smith

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Graham Smith’s new crime novel Watching the Bodies available now from Bloodhound Books. I’m thrilled to share with you this awesome guest post from the author. Enjoy!

 

Watching the Bodies

 

Book Description:

When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

Guest Post by Graham Smith

Is violence on the page entertaining or gratuitous?

This is a debate that’s as old as the hills or at least the debate about using clichés in writing.

Let’s be clear from the start; violence of any kind towards a human being or another living creature is abhorrent.

Yet as a writer, I love the elements that violence puts into my toolbox.

First and foremost, violence or the threat of violence, is a major driver of stories. Once our hero, Clint Squarejaw, has been established as a decent person we need to have something for him (or her) to do.

As someone who writes at the darker end of the spectrum, I’m not going to have Clint looking for a lost wedding ring or kidnapped cat. I’ll give him a task I find more interesting.

In my hands he’s basically going to be tasked with one or two scenarios. He’ll either be investigating an act of violence or trying to prevent one. It could be a single murder or a plot to kill millions.

Sometimes I’ll use both methods. In the case of a serial killer, the first murders are being investigated in the hope future ones will be prevented.

Now that I’ve established my jumping off point, I think it’s fair to point out that my stories include a lot of violent acts. In a different series, I have had someone executed with a nailgun, another person lost a limb to a blowtorch and naturally, I had to decapitate another character.

The issue I always have with violence is striking the balance between using it to drive the story and writing gratuitously visceral scenes. As a reader, I have read about torture as it happens and have read passages which had me wincing and shifting my eyes from the page every few lines.

I’ve never wanted to have my readers doing the peek and wince method so I keep most of my violence off the page. This is especially true for the more brutal murders which my villains tend to commit.

I’m very much of the opinion that Clint Squarejaw’s imaginings of the vicious murders is far more palatable than me writing page after page of some poor character being killed, dismembered, raped or otherwise hurt. The aftermath is always a more fertile playground for me and I can toss in a little forensic detail, some mysterious element and a sense of angst for poor old Clint.

Another facet to this, is that I firmly believe my readers are more interested in my characters than the random acts of brutality which litter my stories. Once in a while I will show some violence on the page and it will usually involve my hero fighting those who are guilty or are trying to hurt him.

For me this is acceptable violence to show; as however violent my hero may be when the need arises, he’ll never cross to the point where he’s being brutal for the sake of it. Sure, he may kill people and dish out a generous helping of retribution from time to time, but he’ll never be sadistic for the sake of it.

Any violence I do put onto the page which involves my villains harming their victims will always be done with the minimum of detail and will often focus on the emotional implications rather than the physical ones.

This is my outlook on violence in crime stories, but please comment below or look me up on social media as I’d love to hear what other writers and readers deem acceptable.

Wasn’t this interesting? Thank you Graham for sharing your thoughts on violence in novels. I for one appreciate the violence being left off the page and not the focus of scenes! 

 

Graham Smith Author Pic

 

Author Bio:

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

“Watching the Bodies is a storming addition to the action thriller genre, and Jake Boulder a new tough guy to root for. Be under no illusion, Boulder is no Jack Reacher or Joe Hunter c

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

#unleashboulder

 

Links:

Facebook

Author Website

Twitter

Amazon

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

 images

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….

594139

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**

******

10822858

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.

******

15803037

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. \

******

10996342

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.

******

21681

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.

******

2308837

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.

******

13586743

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.

******

15818278

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

******

85424

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. 
******
21685

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:)