Carla Loves To Read



A Healing Justice by Kristin von Kreisler

A Healing Justice by Kristin von Kreisler4.5 Stars

Published September 25th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

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Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone #25) by Sue Grafton

Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone, #25)4 Stars

Published August 22nd 2017 by Marian Wood Books/Putnam

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The Life We Bury (Detective Max Rupert #1) by Allen Eskens

The Life We Bury5 Stars

Published October 14th 2014 by Seventh Street Books

Our narrator and main character, Joe, is a street-smart college student forced to struggle for everything he has achieved. He never knew his dad, and his mom is a narcissistic alcoholic who uses every weapon she can on Joe. He has an adult brother (in age), Jeremy, who is autistic and developmentally delayed. Joe is writing a biography for an English college course and is trying to interview Carl Iverson. Carl is a paroled killer with cancer living his last years out in a nursing home. He is a VietNam vet, who only has one friend, and that friend knows Carl did not kill anyone. With the pushing of his neighbour, Carl begins to investigate the murder from 30 years earlier and thinks that perhaps Carl is innocent. Carl doesn’t seem to care if he is exonerated or not, but Joe does care.

I loved the character of Jo. He is caring, compassionate, honest, moral and tough as nails. His brother shows his soft side while he cares for him, although he also has a bit of a selfish side, but rightly so. The story flows effortlessly from Carl’s life story to Joe’s back story. The ending has a twist that didn’t surprise me as there were tidbits dropped along the way. It was however very fitting and satisfying. I listened to the audiobook of this story as it had been recommended by several reviewers I follow and I am glad that I did. It is narrated by a talented actor, Zach Villa, who did a wonderful job with both the voice of Joe and Carl. This book was an excellent choice for listening to as the pacing of the narrative kept my attention throughout and my mind didn’t wander. I definitely recommend this one and will look for more books by this talented author, Allen Eskens. Continue reading “The Life We Bury (Detective Max Rupert #1) by Allen Eskens”

Now That She’s Gone (Waterman and Stark #2) by Gregg Olsen

Now That She's Gone (Waterman and Stark, #2)3.5 Stars

Published November 24th 2015 by Pinnacle

This is the middle book in a trilogy, but fortunately for me, could be read as a standalone. Having said that, I will go back and read/listen to the first one in this serial killer trilogy. Serial killer Brenda Nevins, escapes from prison, with the help of Warden Janie Thomas. Detective Kendall Stark and Forensic Pathologist, Birdy Waterman are assumed to be targets. As this is going on, Stark is assigned to help a reality television show featuring a psychic and disgraced cop solve a local cold case. Kendall is overwhelmed with work and with her deteriorating circumstances at home. Frustrated on both fronts, Kendall uses her dogged determination to try to solve the cases and right the wrongs.

This book has a fast paced plot, good side story and great characters. Kendall Stark and Native American Birdy Waterman are a great team. They are supreme problem solvers. There was a line in the book that describes Birdy very accurately. When Birdy has a body on the table she “prays for them and promises to find out what happened.” Kendall is just as determined to solve the case. I enjoyed the unmasking of the reality show and the characters involved in that, it gave credence to that storyline for me. I had some issues with parts of this story though. I did not like how Kendall fell apart when dealing with Brenda (the serial killer). She provoked her, whether on purpose of unintentionally and that was a bit disconcerting. I also dislike abrupt and cliffhanger type endings. I know I will have to read the next book to find out what happens, but will read book 1 first. Continue reading “Now That She’s Gone (Waterman and Stark #2) by Gregg Olsen”

Land of Careful Shadows (Jimmy Vega Mystery #1) by Suzanne Chazin

209495034.5 Stars 

Published November 25th, 2014 by Kensington

When the body of an undocumented woman from Guatemala is found in the lake in a tonny area of Lake Holly, New York, Jimmy Vega, a Latino himself, is assigned to the case. Growing up in both Brooklyn and Lake Holly, Jimmy knows full-well how this case will be treated. What intensifies the plot is a photo of the woman with a small girl on her lap. When there is a small shoe found in the lake, the search is kicked up a notch. Who is this child and is she still alive? When an undocumented male is found to have had a relationship with the dead woman, he is immediately the suspect. Vega finds himself in between a rock and a hard place due to his sworn duty, but also because of his own heritage. As the story unfolds, he finds himself bucking the trend to stop the railroading of an innocent man, find a missing child and pushing for the truth, even if he does not like the outcome.

This is a solid series and Chazin’s characters have incredible depth. The relationships are hard to understand as they seem to have some loyalty, but there are so many questions. There are plenty of twists and turns with a highly-flawed protagonist. Vega is a complex character that I hope to get to know better as this series progresses. This was not an easy story to read or listen to. It was highly controversial with a plot that is timely and relevant. It touches on events such as racial profiling, immigration issues, police/civilian relations, and hate crimes. Chazin did an great job weaving together a multilayered crime amidst complex issues. The ending was totally unexpected, yet fit the story perfectly. I am looking forward to the next in this series. I listened to the audio book and although it took me awhile to get used to the narrator, it was well done. I enjoyed listening to this one and will look for the audiobook of A Blossom of Bright Light, the next in the Jimmy Vega Mystery series. Continue reading “Land of Careful Shadows (Jimmy Vega Mystery #1) by Suzanne Chazin”

Widow’s Island 1 & 2: Close To the Bone & A Bone To Pick

Close to the Bone (Widow's Island, #1)4 Stars

Published October 23rd 2018 by Montlake Romance




Close to the Bone by Kendra Elliot is the first book in the new romantic suspense Widow’s Island series. This is a series written by Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh, with them alternating books. They are all novellas, yet read like a full length story.

This book introduces the reader to FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde. She was suffering from a gun shot injury and came home to Widow Island to recuperate. Her recuperation is cut short when a skeleton is found on a nearby island and she is the only agent close enough to respond. Cate teams up with her old friend Tessa Black, who is a deputy. When Cate and Tessa were 15, a friend disappeared, so they are wondering if this skeleton could be her, or is the local girl who went missing two years earlier. We also meet Henry, the new doctor to the island, who did not know that meant he was also the coroner. There are some sparks between Henry and Cate that I hope will come to fruition in future books.

Close to the Bone was a great start to this series. It is surprising that even with the short novella length story, the plot is well done with all the elements of a good mystery. The characters were fleshed out enough that I got to know them well enough to be looking forward to what will come next in their lives. Well done Kendra Elliot. I listened to this book from Kindle Unlimited and enjoy the narration for this quick read and I hope to continue listening to this series.

Continue reading “Widow’s Island 1 & 2: Close To the Bone & A Bone To Pick”

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite #6) by Robert Dugoni

363928405 Stars

Published June 26th 2018 by Thomas & Mercer

A Steep Price, though 6th in this series, can be read as a standalone, but this is such an excellent series, I recommend you read them all. Once again, there are two stories being told as anyone knows that there is always more than one crime happening at a time. Detectives Del Castigliano and Vic Fazzio of the Seattle Police Department A Team are called to a shooting. It is daytime and a mother of two, Monique Rogers is gunned down in broad daylight in a city park. She is an African American community activist, who is trying to clean up the drug trade in her neighbourhood of South Park. Was this a retaliatory shooting or was Mrs. Rogers just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Not a soul will offer any information whatsoever. Faz, is sure that Little Jimmy, has something to do with this killing as he runs the drugs for the Sureno Cartel. Meanwhile, Detective Tracy Crosswhite is tied up in court as a witness while trying to keep her pregnancy a secret. Even though she has not revealed her pregnancy, a young female detective, Andrea Gonzalez, shows up as a new member of the A Team. Gonzalez already crosses swords with Tracy by asking her about her secret pregnancy. Has Captain Nolasco set plans into motion for a replacement for Tracy? When their only suspect is killed by Gonzalez, it looks like Faz is the fall guy for this shooting of an unarmed man. As Tracy is trying to reconcile why Gonzalez is there, she receives a call about a missing woman, Kavita Mukherjee. According to her best friend, Aditi, both women had their eyes set on medical school and roomed together. When Vita finds out Aditi is now married, she is angry and disappears. Is she just hiding to wrap her mind around the changes this will bring to her life, or has something bad happened to her?

I liked that this story has Del and Faz front and center. Not only is Faz dealing with the issues plaguing his career, but his wife Vera has been diagnosed with cancer and he is also dealing with that. Del is off with a bad back, but when he comes back, he knows it is up to him to find out what really happened and clear Faz’s name. This one is layered with crimes, brutality, gangs and drugs in one plotline, as well as arranged marriages, the place of women and how families believe that woman are property in some cultures. The issues of breast cancer are also dealt with to a degree. So much going on, yet is all fits and Dugoni has once again penned suspenseful story with a lot of realism and family issues. Once again, be sure to read the acknowledgments at the end of the story to find out more about the topics chosen for this book. I am still very happy with this series and will continue to read it as long as Robert Dugoni continues to write the Tracy Crosswhite series.

Continue reading “A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite #6) by Robert Dugoni”

Close to Home (Tracy Crosswhite #5) by Robert Dugoni

338451325 Stars

Published September 5th 2017 by Thomas & Mercer

This is the latest in the Tracy Crosswhite series set in Seattle but could be read as a standalone. There are two main threads in the novel that begins with a hit and run that turns out to be so much more and the increasing fatal heroin ODs in the city, especially among high school students. Tracy and the “A Team” are called in to investigate the hit and run, especially as the black community are paying close attention and fear that once again it will be a case of black lives don’t matter.

Tracy and Kins Rowe are looking into a hit and run that killed the 12 year old D’Andre Miller. They manage to track down and arrest a suspect, who turns out to be in the military, and is based at a local Naval base. The Navy claim jurisdiction and manage to get the case transferred to a military court. When a major piece of evidence disappears and the suspect is cleared, Tracy refuses to let this injustice go and digs deeper. When she uncovers what appears to be a conspiracy, danger to her and others comes about. In the other story, Del is grieving while struggling to come to terms with the fatal heroin overdose that claimed his niece. With his partner, Vic Fazzio, he is determined to hunt down the dealer and look into a rise in the number of deaths due to a deadly heroin that is causing ODs in the city.

This is a well plotted and gripping story that has me hooked from the start. I liked that we got to know Kins and Del better in this book. We also meet a new character, Celia, who Del is beginning to date. There is plenty of humour and glimpses into the everyday lives of the team. It is nice to see them as real, with Tracy’s fertility concerns, Kins’ health scares and the meeting of Del’s extended family (especially his nephews). There were issues dealt with in this story, but especially the heroin trafficking and addiction. Be sure to read the Author’s acknowledgments where he talks about this. Also the issue of crimes against African Americans, how they are investigated and handled by law enforcement, including the military are probed with both sides of the story getting equal time. Once again, Robert Dugoni has penned a thriller that kept me up late into the night wanting to find out where this story was going. I was very satisfied when this story ended, with all the ends tied up and the reader sated. Well done! This was another read and listen book from Kindle Unlimited and I enjoyed the narration. It was well paced, with good expression. I highly recommend this story to lovers of thrillers and suspense.

Continue reading “Close to Home (Tracy Crosswhite #5) by Robert Dugoni”

A Merciful Silence (Mercy Kilpatrick #4) by Kendra Elliot

366056874.5 Stars

Published June 19th 2018 by Montlake Romance

The latest in the Mercy Kilpatrick series is a solid crime/police procedural/thriller. This series is best read in order as the books continue on from where the last one left off as far as Mercy and Truman go, but with a new crime/mystery.

With heavy rain and flooding in Eagle Rock, five skulls and bones have been discovered in a ditch/culvert. Each of them have been bashed in the temple and mouth. When the coroner looks at the bones, she immediately recognizes the similarity to a case from over 20 years ago. A man was convicted of those crimes and is in prison. Did they arrest and convict the wrong person? Coincidentally, the one surviving family member of that earlier crime is back in Eagle’s Nest, hoping to be able to put her ghosts to rest. There is also a secondary plot line with the Sovereign Citizens living in the woods of Eagle Rock. Truman stops one for speeding and he ends up in jail after resisting arrest. He then sues Truman and more troubles erupt there. Trying to get information from the anti-government preppers and sovereign citizens is not easy and hampers the investigation at times.

Mercy’s anxiety is back in force with the loss of her cabin in book three. She is also dealing with a physical recovery from her injuries, but this does not stop her. I like seeing this side of Mercy, it made her seem more vulnerable and ultimately, more realistic. She takes center stage in this story, and showed her strength of character as well as an agent. Truman is not as integral in the investigation in this book, but as you read it you will see the reason behind that and how well it fits into the plot. We meet some other characters involved in the police forces in the area and I hope they will continue to be present in the next book, it adds a bit more realism. This is a fast paced book that had me on the edge of my seat. I’ve come to enjoy Mercy and Truman very much and enjoy how their relationship has evolved. I liked the character of Ollie who Truman takes under his wing. I would love to see more of him in the next book. Do I see a new spinoff series in the future here? The publisher, Montlake Romance, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Continue reading “A Merciful Silence (Mercy Kilpatrick #4) by Kendra Elliot”

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