Recently I read and/or listened to a few thrillers that I enjoyed. They are all different (psychological thriller, domestic thriller, crime thriller) but all top notch. All were received from the publishers upon request and the ratings and opinions are my own.
Where I Left Her by Amber Garza, Vivienne Leheny (Narrator)
Expected publication: August 24th 2021 by Harlequin Audio, Mira
This is a psychological thriller dealing with a mother trying to find her teenage daughter. She dropped her off for a sleepover at a friend’s house and she did not come home the next day. She is unable to contact her and as she goes over the last few months, realizes that she has been lying to her and keeping secrets. Has she left of her own accord, or is something sinister going on.
I enjoyed Amber Garza’s last book, When I Was You, so was anticipating another thrilling ride with Where I Left Her. Although, I enjoyed this story, it didn’t measure up to the last one. The story starts off well and hooked me in, but then it drags a bit in the middle. There are two timelines, the first as Whitney begins looking for Amelia. I got the impression that something accidental may have happened to her and was waiting to see if she was alive or dead. Whitney had always been an overprotective mom, so was shocked at all the secrets Amelia had been keeping, but they were close and that closeness will come into play. The second is Whitney’s past story, and I was quite intrigued with it. I thought I had it all figured out, but boy was I wrong. The two ran parallel through the book and only came together near the end. Once again, Amber Garza has surprised me with her cunning mind. Yes, you will have to suspend belief, because what happened would not be possible in today’s times, but it was a fun and chilling twist. Overall, I enjoyed this story, but be prepared for a bit of a slowdown in the middle. The audiobook was narrated by Vivienne Leheny. I liked the voices she used for the various characters. She used various tones and inflection for each that gave them some personality. Her expression added to the story and I will continue to listen to books narrated by her.
Vortex (FBI Thriller #25) by Catherine Coulter, Narrators Saskia Maarleveld and Pete Simonelli
Published August 10th 2021 by William Morrow, HarperAudio
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Catherine Coulter’s FBI series began back in 1996 and I have read and enjoyed all but two of the 25 books in this series. Over this period, the series wandered off into some paranormal areas, but it is back on the straight and narrow and I really enjoyed this addition to the series. In this book we have three cases going on. Sherlock and trying to solve the case of a psychopathic serial killer, Savage is dealing with the case of a CIA operative being targeted after an extraction in Iran and possible drug dealing and a mole in the operation, and an investigative reporter uncovering some secrets that the mayoral candidate for NYC wants to keep hidden which deals with a cold case.
One thing I do enjoy about this series is the fact that there is NOT just one case being investigated. It is more realistic to be juggling several balls and trying to sort out what is happening. Catherine Coulter does a great job with these storylines and I was always able to keep track. Because I have been following these stories, it was great to be back with FBI married couple, Savage and Sherlock. Even though this is the 25th book in the series, this book can easily be read as a standalone. The chapters are written with alternating storylines, so at times that was frustrating. This was one of those books where I just one more chaptered myself well into the wee hours. This book had just enough fact gathering, secrets, suspicions and twists to make me listen in one day. I has figured out a few things along the way, but there were a few surprises that I enjoyed. I will add that there is talk of women being “roofied and raped” several times, but the act is not described. As I have come to expect from this author, the book was engaging and the ending, was very satisfying. The audiobook was narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and Pete Simonelli, I enjoyed the dual narration and find that always adds to my enjoyment of a story. The expression, voices and tones were well done and these are narrators that I watch for.
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
Expected publication: September 7th 2021 by Atria Books
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Night She Disappeared is a slow burn domestic mystery/thriller that I enjoyed. It is 2017 and Talullah and her boyfriend go out for a nice evening. Her mother, Kim, looks after their young son and wakes up the next morning realizing they did not come home. Neither of them are answering their phone. What happened to them? Did they run off together, wanting freedom from raising a child when they were so young, or did something nefarious happen. Fast forward to 2019. A new headmaster for an exclusive boarding school and his author girlfriend have moved into a cottage on the grounds. While exploring the property, Sophie finds a sign on the gate saying, “Dig Here.” This reopens the case of the missing teens. Her experience at writing mysteries makes Sophie throw herself into discovering what happened to them. She teams up with Kim to try and find out if Tallulah is still alive and if not, what happened to her and Zach.
As usual, I always enjoy one timeline more than the other and that is the case here. I really liked all that was happening in 2019, but the story of Lula and Scarlett meeting in 2017 was not as relatable to me. However, it was essential to the story to learn what happened before. The friendship Lula had gotten involved in with Scarlett is very important to finding out what happened to the teens. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, some I loved, some not so much. There were times I love Tallulah and other times I wanted to shake her, but that is to be expected with teenagers. I think I felt for Kim the most. She wants to know what happened to her daughter, and is now raising her grandson which is not the easiest for her. This was a great mystery and domestic thriller that I enjoyed. The final twists were amazing and and had me shaking my head, that Lisa Jewell had taken me there and not suspecting it. The ending was great and I enjoyed the epilogue that tied everything up for me. I will say this was not my favourite Lisa Jewell novel, but still one I recommend.