Over the last few weeks, I have listened to several thrillers that had me staying up way too late at night. At one time, I received The Last Thing to Burn and Dying Truth from the publisher, but either purchased or borrowed the audiobook. I did not do read/listen with these, just enjoyed the audiobooks. Scroll down to see what I thought.

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The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean, Sarah Lam (Narrator)

Published April 20th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Audio, Atria/Emily Bestler Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thanh Dao came to the UK with her sister and the promise of a good job, but instead, it was a trafficking operation and she was sold to Lenn. Lenn names her Jane and keeps her prisoner for seven years. He uses threats against her sister to keep her submissive. Every time she does something he doesn’t like, he burns one of her possessions. When Jane realizes she is pregnant, she knows she must escape. When she realizes that there is another woman being held prisoner in the basement, she knows that she must save her as well. Will they escape?

This story was similar to others I had read, yet also different. Jane had no one looking for her, she was pretty much alone and isolated except for a neighbour lady that occasionally stopped by. She went into town with Lenn, but didn’t let anyone know she was actually his prisoner. I felt for her and the helplessness she felt, but I wasn’t gripped with this story. Lenn was a creepy character. Jane was a replacement for his mother and wife and she had to do everything they had done, every day, over and over. He tested her constantly and just gave me the heebie jeebies. This is a cringe worthy story that won’t be for everyone. The twists did surprise me and I loved the ending, so I do recommend it to those who enjoy twisty thrillers. The audiobook was narrated by Sarah Lam and I was pleased with her performance. She conveyed that sense of helplessness that Jane would be feeling.

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Dying Truth (D.I. Kim Stone #8) by Angela Marsons, Jan Cramer (Narrator)

Published May 11th 2018 by Bookouture

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dying Truth, the 8th book in the D.I. Kim Stone series is another wonderful addition to the series. This story is set at a posh, private school where a young girl jumps off the roof to her death, or does she? This is a school where connections are made that continue into adulthood. Sadie Winters does not want to be at Heathcrest. She is a loner, one that others leave alone, a self-harmer and now she is dead. As Kim and her team want to investigate her death as a murder, they are constantly stonewalled. How can the good of a school’s reputation be put before the safety of the students?

This book has a large cast of characters and there were times I had to listen twice to make sure I knew who the story was referring to. Once I got into it, I was fine. Kim is the main character and I have enjoyed seeing her growth during the previous books. She has changed but still carries a lot of guilt whenever she can’t save someone and that is a large reason she does not give up, even when she is ordered to. The setting of a prestigious school is one I usually steer clear of (I was a teacher for 33 years) but this book pulled me in. There was a foreboding air and a bit of a gothic feel to this story. Throw in private societies and a creepy manipulator and this made a great October read. When more students are either found dead or endangered, Kim and her team know they are against the clock. They spilt up with DS Kevin Dawson investigating incidents from the past and the secret groups, while the others dig into Sadie Winter’s life and that of her family. I enjoyed seeing how this investigation played out and how the team put the pieces together. The short chapters kept me listening long into the night with just one more chapter. This a well-written, twisty crime thriller that tackles the subjects of bullying and self-harm, initiations and secret societies. Wealth and power do not show well in this story either. As this story winds down, I was holding my breath and shocked at the ending, but once again, Angela Marsons has penned a book that gripped me from the beginning and did not let go until the story ended. Jan Cramer does an amazing job narrating this series and once again, she kept me on pins and needles with her expression, tone and voice. I definitely recommend Dying Truth to those who enjoy police procedurals and crime thrillers.

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False Witness by Karin Slaughter, Kathleen Early (Narrator)

Published July 20th 2021 by Blackstone Publishing

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

False Witness is a twisted, complicated story of abuse and addiction. There is paedophilia (in flashbacks), parental abuse and neglect and sexual abuse and rape. There is alcohol, drug, and sadism all wrapped up in a story that is set during the Covid-19 pandemic. I will say that there things I didn’t like about this one. It may just be me, but the graphic portrayal of these characters with profanity etc. was a bit more than I was expecting. I had been warned and now I get it. This is a book that I can’t say much about the plot because I don’t want to give away the story. If you read the blurb you will have all you need to know and more. Once I got past the realism and graphic descriptions, the story was definitely gripping.

Callie and Harleigh, sisters and main characters were great characters. Callie, a drug addict, was also strong in some ways and smart as well. As I got to know her and what her life had been like, I began to like her despite my original feelings. Harleigh was a smart woman, who pulled herself up by the bootstraps, and would do whatever she needed to do to keep her sister and daughter safe. They were both sympathetic characters who had a troubled past and were full of guilt. There were several secondary characters that played important roles in the story. I really liked the veterinarian that Callie worked for as well as Harleigh’s husband. There is also a cat that adds some humanity to this story. I love the various names that Callie gives him, adding just a bit of levity. There were lots of twists in this story that kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this book will not be for everyone. It is graphic, gritty and some may find it offensive, but the characterizations are real. There is a lot wrong in our world and this book highlights some of those issues. Kathleen Early narrates this book and does a wonderful job with it. I always look forward to seeing her name as narrator.