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Crime/Detective/Mystery

Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3) by Nancy Boyarsky

Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3)4 Stars

Published September 25th 2018 by Light Messages Publishing

Liar Liar by Nancy Boyarsky, is the first book in the Nicole Graves Mystery series that I have read. I would probably recommend that readers start at the beginning of this series and I know that I will go back and read the first two. In this book, Nicole Graves finds herself in a predicament once again. She is continuing to get in hours working as a PI, when her co-worker calls out sick. Nicole is entrusted to look after a witness in the high-profile, Oceanside University rape trial. Wanting to do her job and see justice served, she takes on the assignment despite her newly-engaged fiance’s concerns for her safety and privacy. After spending time with the rape victim in close quarters, Nicole catches small things that lead her to believe the victim may not be as truthful as others think. Will this young football player have his future derailed by this young girl? Is he telling the truth? Who else is lying in this mess? When Nicole decides to do some investigating on her own, she puts her relationship on the line. How far will she go to find the truth?

I was not sure what to expect when I started this book, but it was an excellent mystery. I was fully invested in this story, having a hard time stopping it when I had things to do. I really like the character of Nicole. She is smart and persistent and I really like her desire to seek justice and the truth. While the subject matter of a rape trial can be off putting, this book has no graphic descriptions of the crime. This is not a cozy mystery, but it has the same clean feel to it. There is a gripping storyline that had me thinking of various scenarios and the twist near the end was a good one. The red herrings along the way were there, but not obvious until you looked back on the story. A great mystery story that I would recommend to any mystery lover. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jane Oppenheimer was well done and I enjoyed listening to this one.

Continue reading “Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3) by Nancy Boyarsky”

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Secret Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #3) by Michael Hambling

Secret Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen, #3)4 Stars

Published June 10th 2016 by Joffe Books

I am glad I stuck with this series as each book has gotten better, with this one being the best so far. I like Sophie as she is a pleasant and competent senior police detective without too much turmoil in her private life. Her husband and children so seem to be somewhat unworried about her line of work, but there were some hints in this book that they are concerned abou ther. She is becoming more human with each story as we have gotten to know more about her past and her home life.

During a weekend blue’s festival at the seaside town of Swanage the body of a woman is found on the beach. She had been attending the festival with a girlfriend but had spent the night with a man in their hotel room. Police soon discover that the victim, Sarah Sheldon,had some secrets and was a bit of a swinger often having sex with more than one partner at a time. Sarah and her friend, Rosemary, had met a couple of men on the Friday night, but while Sarah and Derek were hot and heavy, Rosemary was not keen on the other man, Brian. She ended up spending the night with an old aquaintance, Ed and his daughter in their apartment. A few days later Derek’s body is found at the base of some cliffs and Brian has not been located. Another anomaly is that the hotel where the women were staying had a booking for a John Renton, and after staying the Friday night he, too, was unaccounted for. Every piece of evidence turned up, added another twist and question to this case.

The characters in this case are not very likeable. Everyone seems to have secrets, be a bit surly and does not want to answer questions. Rosemary and Ed, while seeming to be innocent, have suspicions thrown on them by the police as well. Rae Greyson, is a new member of Sophie’s team. She is a transgender woman and I did like the way this was handled by the author. Rae turns out to be an excellent detective who shows a lot of initiative and drive. This police procedural was well done. I like that Sophie does not worry about who finds the information or where it came from if it helps to solve the crime. She does not hog the limelight and easily hands out praise to her co-workers. There was not a lot of suspense, it was more of a mystery with a lot of drama. This crime was solved by good old fashioned police work, not luck. I continue to listen to the audio version of this series and am enjoying the narration with each addition to the series.

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Deadly Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #2) by Michael Hambling

Deadly Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen, #2)3 Stars

Published April 24th 2016 by Joffe Books Mystery

Detective Inspector Sophie Allen is head of the Violent Crime Unit in the English County of Dorset. In the second book of the series Sophie faces a tough challenge finding out who murdered the young man whose body was found on top of Agglestone, a local landmark with is tongue cut out. When a young woman is found to have escaped from human traffickers, they are able to tie the death to the ring, but finding them is another matter. We also find out more about Sophie’s family when the body of her father is found and she meets her grandparents that she did not know.

This was an interesting and well written story, which I liked better than the first in this series. There are two crimes being investigated that have occurred two decades apart and throughout the story, it becomes apparent that they are linked. With bodies being discovered throughout the area, time is ticking before more young women may be killed. This is a police procedural with a flawed main character. Her past comes to a head in this story. We meet her family in this book and they are a rather staid bunch in my opinion. The villians in this book have great personalities, they are vicious people, yet are loved by others. The police that Sophie works with are all smart, yet sometimes stumble upon clues and information. I loved the interaction between Sophie and Barry, her Detective Sergeant, both are so different yet they seemingly have the perfect working partnership. Once again I listened to this book and I am not sure about this series. I have the next two ready to go on audio, so will go ahead and listen to them and see if this is a series I plan to continue with or not. I enjoyed the audio more this book as I had gotten used to the narrator.

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Dark Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #1) by Michael Hambling

Dark Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen, #1)3 Stars

Published March 14th 2016 by Joffe Books 

DARK CRIMES is the first in a series of police procedurals/mysteries featuring DCI Sophie Allen and DS Barry Marsh. Sophie has recently been appointed the head of the newly formed Violent Crime Unit in Dorset. When a young woman is found stabbed through the hearts, the team think this will be a simple case to close, until they begin to ask questions. Not only has she been stabbed, but it looks like she has also been beaten, and her mother was found strangled in her apartment. The more questions they ask, the more complicated this case becomes. Is there a psychopath running around Dorset. How many woman have been killed by this man? When he begins to threaten Sophie’s family, he does not realize that he has unleashed the anger of a brilliant woman who is not only a DCI, but has a law degree and a master’s in criminal psychology.

The books are set in the beautiful county of Dorset, which includes a stunning section of the English coastline. The plot is well-written, well paced and moves smoothly from one crime scene to another. The ending of the book moved quickly with some twists that I had not expected, but the crimes were resolved nicely. The characters in the police work very well together and the secondary characters, who may or may not become victims, are schmoozed by Sophie and easily answer her questions. Her team is made up of men and women of varying ages and temperaments who lend a lot of contrast to the story. They are able to gather the information she needs to piece together the crime and motives in order to find the killer. Sophie makes a great antagonist, she is strong, but not overbearing. She’s extremely good at her job and lets no one stand in her way of seeking truth. When she needs to be intimidating, she can be. I listened to the audio book and once I got used to the accent and voice of the narrator, I did enjoy this story. I will definitely listen to more of this series and recommend this book to anyone who enjoys British Police Procedurals.

Continue reading “Dark Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #1) by Michael Hambling”

Bones Don’t Lie (Morgan Dane #3) by Melinda Leigh

Bones Don't Lie (Morgan Dane #3)5 Stars

Published March 13th 2018 by Montlake Romance

Bones Don’t Lie by Melinda Leigh is the third installment of the Morgan Dane series and the best so far. This series touches so many genres from crime, romance, suspense and even family relationships/dynamics thrown in. Each book in the series has featured a new case for lawyer, Morgan and P.I.s Lance Kreuger and his boss to investigate. This book is Lance’s story. I would suggest that the reader start at the beginning of this series as there is a lot of character development and information about their back stories that are important to fully enjoying this book.

The book opens with a car has being pulled from a lake The car belongs to Lance’s father, a man who has been missing for over 20 years. In the trunk is a body, a woman’s body. Who is it and where is Lance’s father? Morgan knows that this case is a tough one for Lance to get involved in, but she knows he will not step aside. He wants to finally get closure regarding his father’s disappearance for both himself and his homebound (agoraphobic) mother, Jenny. As they start asking questions, it becomes apparent that Morgan has a stalker. She finds out that someone they put in jail in a previous story, has been set free, so now she has another thing to worry about.

I am really enjoying this series. Morgan and Lance are a great team, a lawyer and a retired police officer. I enjoyed the storyline that has Morgan and Lance developing a relationship and his acceptance by her girls. He is becoming the strong male figure in their lives and not only is this benefiting the girls but Morgan and Lance as well. The case/crime they are investigating is interesting. How do you find out what happened over twenty years ago? There are a few deaths that follow in their wake and several scary moments, that had me on the edge of my seat. There were just enough twists to make it interesting and the culprit was hidden in the open, as is often the case. I have been listening to this series via Kindle Unlimited and the narration is wonderful. It is easy to determine which character is speaking and the action is intensified with the voice. I definitely recommend this series to lovers or Romantic Suspense, Crime and Private Investigator stories.

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Her Last Goodbye (Morgan Dane #2) by Melinda Leigh

Her Last Goodbye (Morgan Dane #2)4.5 Stars

Published September 26th 2017 by Montlake Romance

Chelsea Clark, a loving young mother to two young children, disappears. When the police focus on her husband Tim, he hires Morgan Dane, an attorney. Morgan, a widow with three children, teams up with Lance Kurger, a retired cop and P.I. to investigate. As they uncover things, and poke into the wrong anthills, Morgan finds herself becoming a target of a stalker and possible kidnapper. Will they find Chelsea before she ends up dead?

Her Last Goodbye is the second book in the Morgan Dane series by Melinda Leigh. This book finds Lance and Morgan becoming closer in their personal relationship. Morgan’s sisters also make an appearance in this story showing how close and loyal they are to family. I enjoyed meeting Morgan’s youngest daughter as well. She is a cutie who is a bit leary of some, but not all. When she is scared, her actions and feelings will melt your heart. This book was a thriller that has a few small twists and a huge one near the end. I had an inkling something big was coming and I was right. I really enjoyed the plot and the quick pace of this story. The romance part of the book is not a huge story line, but meshes well with the action that is taking place. This is the second book in the series, but you can read it as a standalone, however, I loved the first book as well and recommend not missing any. I listened to the audio book that was available on Kindle Unlimited and it was very well done, once again, pulling me in to the action just a bit more than reading it. I am looking forward to picking up the next one in this series, Bones Don’t Lie.

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Redemption Road by John Hart

Redemption Road5 Stars

Published May 3rd 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books

This is the first book I have read by John Hart, and actually I listened to this one. Between the words and the voice (Scott Shepherd narrated), I could feel the slow burn of the south. The atmosphere of this story came across so well, that I could almost picture what was happening as if I was watching a movie. It unraveled at a steady pace until BAM! it took off and had me sitting on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen next.

The book opens with us meeting ex-con and former cop Adrian Wall who is to be released from prison after thirteen years for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the same day, we meet Gideon Strange, the victim’s young son, who travels to a bar near the prison, determined to kill Wall in retribution for murdering his mother. He does not succeed and ends up being shot by the bartender and is rushed to the hospital. This is when we meet the main character of this novel, Elizabeth Black. She has been a surrogate mother to Gideon, protecting him from his alcoholic father. Elizabeth is a 13 year veteran cop, who has a complicated relationship with Adrian Wall. She is also being investigated for killing 2 rapists. This part of the story unfolds in flashbacks from Liz as well as Channing Shore, the victim. There are also a couple of other threads going on with a crooked prison warden and some guards as well as a serial killer. As the story unravels, Wall, Black, Strange, and Shore all become interconnected.

Hart does an amazing job of creating his characters. They are realistic and evoked real emotions in me as I read this book. One of the secondary characters that I loved was elderly attorney Faircloth “Crybaby” Jones. He stood up for what he believed in and what was right. When the opportunity to extricate himself came, he would not leave his home. Liz as the main character was a great choice. She was a flawed character who had some great values and character traits. The way she took care of the “kids” in the story shows what a great mother she would make. There seems to be a possible romance between Liz and Adrian, so I was constantly waiting to see where this story line would go. Everyone in this North Carolina town knew everyone else’s business, at least what they thought was accurate information. The last third of the book had me reading quickly to find out if the bad guys were going to get what they deserved and if the good ones, would be safe. Just when we think someone is going to get injured or even murdered, something happens to send us in another direction. This mystery/thriller tugged at raw emotions and left me thinking about the story and characters after I finished. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of mystery and thrillers. I will be looking for more by John Hart in the future.

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Paradox (FBI Thriller #22) by Catherine Coulter

Paradox (FBI Thriller #22)4 Stars

Published July 31st 2018 by Gallery Books

Another interesting, complicated book in the FBI Thriller series. One of the great things about this series is that there are two story lines going on that usually intertwine in some way. This story begins with someone trying to kill and/or kidnap Sean, Sherlock’s and Savich’s five year old son. As they figure out who it is from a previous case they were involved in, they become embroiled in the chase for this mentally ill suspect. The second story involves FBI agent Sala Porto, who is missing. His girlfriend has been murdered, witnessed by Police Chief Ty Christie while drinking coffee on her lakeside dock. While dredging for the body, the nets bring up bones, many bones, from the bottom of the lake. The assumption is that a serial killer has been using the lake as a personal dumping ground.

Once again, there is a lot of action with some twists. It is fun trying to figure out how the characters and events will eventually fit together. There were new characters who I hope will appear in future books. This story did not end with anyone falling in love, but there was relationship building involved. There is a bit of psychic activity involved (i.e. visions, dreams and gut feelings) but it does not overwhelm the police work. The things that irked me just a bit is that the FBI agents and police are all good looking, extremely fit and well dressed; that is not what most people relate too. The other thing, as mentioned by another reviewer, is the use of the word “bespoke”. By the time I read it for about the third or fourth time, I was cringing. Of course I had to look it up to see where it came from and what it meant. Overall I enjoyed this book. I always watch for this series by Catherine Coulter as I know it will be a quick, enjoyable story. I recommend this book to those who enjoy a quick crime/mystery thriller that is sure to entertain. The publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada – Gallery Books, provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions stated are my own.

Continue reading “Paradox (FBI Thriller #22) by Catherine Coulter”

Her Last Word by Mary Burton

Her Last Word4.5 Stars

Published May 8th 2018 by Montlake Romance

Her Last Word is a fast-paced, suspenseful, mystery that not only investigates a 14-year-old cold-case involving an abducted teenager, but takes you on a hunt for an obsessed serial killer consumed with revenge. When Kaitlyn Roe returns to Virginia to try and get closure into the abduction and presumed death of her cousin Gina, she opens a can of worms that brings more than she bargained for.

The characters are flawed, scarred, and tenacious. Kaitlyn and the other two girls who spent the last night with Gina are all suffering from Gina’s disappearance. They don’t want to talk to Kaitlyn and it seems they might be hiding things. Detective John Adler has his own issues to deal with, but has an attraction to Kaitlyn that he doesn’t understand. When it seems she might be in danger, he steps up their relationship to protect her. He is smart, tenacious and loyal. The plot is complex and is told through a mixture of narration and interviews for Kaitlyn’s blog. They mesh well together to give a compelling story with lots of twists, turns, red herrings, violence, sexual attraction, and murder. Mary Burton has written an entertaining suspenseful mystery with just a bit of romance thrown in to lighten the story a bit. As I have come to expect from this author, this was story that I had a hard time putting down, it did not disappoint. The publisher, Montlake Romance, provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.

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