Review: Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell

Somebody's Daughter

Hardcover, 432 pages                      Publication: July 10th 2018 by Berkley Books

ISBN13: 9780399584466                 Rating 4-1/2*

Michael Frazier and his wife Angela were happily married and trying everything to get pregnant which would make their life complete.  The strains of trying for this one important element for complete happiness was only made all the more tenuous when Michael’s ex-wife Erica showed up on his doorstep pleading for his help… She then dropped a bombshell that her nine-year old daughter Felicity was missing – and the bigger shocker he – Michael was her father!  

Naturally, even though Michael was finding his new fatherhood was hard to believe there was a niggling fact that it might also be true.  Against his wife’s objections, Michael had no choice but to try and follow the trail of crumbs that Erica’s story left behind.  Could it be true and could the bond he had with his soul-mate Angela withhold the stretch to the limit suspense as more and more facts came to life?

This truly was an amazing suspense thriller with a plethora of characters all having this or that in common and fingers pointing all over the place as to who had kidnapped the child.   The only reason this didn’t earn a coveted FIVE star review is that I felt that the end was a bit rushed and there were threads that seemed hastily brushed away or forgotten.   However, don’t let this dissuade you from picking this up as SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER was a truly great and rapidly paced read!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillerman

Jar of Hearts

June 12, 2018                   RATING 4-1/2*

One would have to give this a wow just by reading a brief description of what the story entailed.  It is the story of three best friends – one who was murdered; one who went to prison; and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years. 

Angela Wong was beautiful, popular, and accomplished then disappeared without a trace.  No one ever suspected that Georgina Shaw, her best friend had been involved in any way.   It’s fourteen years later and Georgina is a fast rising star at a pharmaceutical company where she will soon be marrying the CEO’s son!  Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was part of their threesome of inseparable best friends!

However, Angela’s remains have finally turned up and it looks to be the handiwork of Calvin James, a known rapist and serial killer and a young man that Georgina dated back at the time of Angela’s disappearance.

*** And here it is – WOW! This was one very suspenseful and exciting story.  Twists and turns and all the things I like in a suspense story.  The pace was quick and the story really engrossing as to what seemed an open and shut case and having a really quirky ending I wasn’t expecting.  

Georgina – love her or hate her, I’m not really quite sure where I stand at the moment, other than on the fence one week after finishing the story. Guess you’ll have to decide that one for yourself.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Her Last Word by Mary Burton

HerLastWord

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 360 pages         Published May 8th 2018 by Montlake Romance

ASIN: B075LK442Z                                    Rating: 4 1/2*

Talk about amazing suspense stories by author and you simply must come up with Mary Burton!  I have read numerous books by Ms. Burton and she plays all her cards close to her chest in trying to figure out who the villain truly is!   Once again, the twist of “who” the murderer was and the “why” of it was a closely guarded secret right up to the very end.

Fourteen years earlier, Kaitlin Roe was the lone witness to her cousin Gina’s abduction.  She couldn’t get the memories out of her head and the guilt she felt over leaving her screaming  so Kaitlin did what she’d always done – run away.  Kaitlin was a troubled teen and used drugs and alcohol to drown out the memories which really never left her.  Now she is ready to do something – anything  – to solve the mystery of who killed her cousin.

However the ‘bad reputation” she had as a teen doesn’t make people very agreeable to talk to her.  When the people she has started to talk to somehow end up murdered, it becomes even harder to to get people to open up and it seems her questions seem to have drawn the murderer out of retirement and put a target on Kaitlin’s back.  

Even as Detective John Adler is drawn into the cold case, he realizes that finding the murderer is a priority, but keeping Kaitlin save seems even more of a priority.

Fast action – lots of red herrings and a great twist ending.  Just the way I like them! 

Marilyn Rondeau

Review – Becker’s Circle by Addison Bray

BeckerCircle

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (March 14, 2018)

ASIN: B07B3HT15Y                           Rating: 4*

Gillian’s  boyfriend believed she was too gutless and dependent upon him to leave. WRONG! Gillian graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas quite determined to make it on my own.   She found  a job in an accounting firm as she worked towards her CPA and then landed a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub.  Tips were good but it’s smack in the middle of drug central where almost every jerk in the neighborhood hits on her.

Soon after starting her bartending gig, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer fell to his death a few feet from the table Gillian was serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in  the band and she suspect foul play.   They started their mini investigation and as they discover more and more they’re drawn closer to each other. Before long they discovered, they knew who the murderer is!

*** Well talk about some colorful characters!  BECKER’S CIRCLE had them all and then some!  From the ‘witchy’ boss from hell at Gillian’s ‘day’ job at the accounting firm, to the girls who frequented the bar scene identified by their drink of choice names.

One has to commend Gillian by taking control of her life and setting off for a new life away from a toxic boyfriend who wanted complete control over her.   Yes, she made a couple of mistakes before she hooked up with her guitar wheeling buddy but overall I think she did well; juggling full time and part time  jobs while studying for her CPA exam.  The clues she came across to discover who the murderer was  were actually pretty minute, but in the end she persevered, and came out the heroine of Becker Circle.

Frankly this was a pretty sweet and suspenseful story with lots of twists and turns.  At the end  I loved the career choice!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

TwoGirlsDown

Kindle Edition, 322 pages

Expected publication: January 9th 2018 by Doubleday

ASIN    B071HCW3V8

When there are no leads on missing persons, the first person you should call is Alice Vega, a PI who seems to do the impossible.  Like a dog with a bone, Vega is tenacious in digging for the seemingly smallest clue and finding missing children.

After two young sisters had disappeared from a strip mall parking lot in a small town, the devastated mother fearing that the police were doing nothing, hires an enigmatic bounty hunter.  The police in this small town are stretched to the limit fighting a drug epidemic so they aren’t about to give Vega any leads (not that they had any).  Needing some tie-in with the police, Vega hires a disgraced ex-cop, Max Caplan who only wants to put the scandal of his past behind him. But Vega needs the help and bulldogs him into helping her.

***  Wow, with very little to go on and practically no clues whatsoever, Vega proves she is the best!  She was like a bloodhound to untangle what few clues she had to go on. One thing for sure is that she was a very private individual and as she and Max followed all the threads that sprung up now and then I was hoping that these two lonely souls would get something personal going on.  One thing for sure they did form a wonderful working relationship!

The story was brisk and it was a fast read, with lots of twists and turns which made the finale a real edge-of -the-seat- thrill ride.   Whether we see Max show up in future Vega books is something I hope the author considers.  I really like Vega even though you never get to ‘know’ her.  Determined and someone you want in your corner if the need ever arose!     Great story!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: When Time is A River by Susan Clayton-Goldener

WhenTimIsaRiver

Published September 6th 2017 by Tirgearr Publishing

ASIN:  B0741DSKCK Rating:  5*

Because I’ve read the National Writers Award Winner Book  A BEND IN THE WILLOW by Susan Clayton-Goldener I was more than happy to be able to read and review her newest book WHEN TIME IS A RIVER.    Now that I have read both, I know that with this author, who writes with heart and emotion and a very fresh and eloquent voice, she is an author who must be placed on an auto-buy list.

The dynamics of the family that had Emily their 3 year old child kidnapped from a park, while her much older step-sister Brandy was in charge of  watching her certainly played a huge part in the intense emotional play of the story.   Yes, Brandy was not on the best of terms with her new step-mother who was once her professor father’s student and only 4-5 years older than Brandy, but that was never a factor in what Brandy felt for her baby sister.  Brandy was probably more of a mother to Emily than Christine (the mother) was.

Unbeknownst to Brandy, was that she and Emily had been stalked for weeks by someone who wanted Emily – the perfect child.   Brandy was quite beautiful and talented but for a noticeable scar on her cheek which she’d received when she fell out of her stroller at age 3 and was caught in the escalator at a department store.    The trauma was intense for Brandy because all her life she wanted to be an actress and singer.  But when Emily disappeared from her stroller while Brandy was in a restroom keeping an eye on the stroller wheels and talking to Emily, the stalker came in and took Emily right out of the stroller without Brandy ever knowing she was gone.    This incident trounced any kind of trauma Brandy had ever had over her scars.  Enter Detective Radhauser who is brought in on the case, and insists Brandy stay out of the investigation – however, Brandy’s tortured soul and guilt wouldn’t allow her to just sit around.

With the story set, be aware that the pages will fly by as Brandy chases down every clue she gives to Radhauser.   Radhauser insists Brandy stay safe and away from the investigation but Brandy wouldn’t listen and when she discovers more than she ever wanted to know, she must race before it was too late to save Emily.

Bottom line:   Top notch story and deserving of another award!  Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

AreYouSleeping

Hardcover, 336 pages                        Published August 1st 2017 by Gallery Books

ISBN13: 9781501157660                      Rating: 4-1/2*

Josie Buhrman has for the last ten years hidden and trying to escape the dysfunctional and tragic family she grew up in.  After her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment to run away and join a cult leaving her and her twin sister Lanie to live with an Aunt, life had never been the same.   Lanie, her other half did a one-eighty and spiraled out of control getting int all sorts of trouble, but what truly blew the closeness the twins once had was a betrayal Josie simply could not forgive.

Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York with the love of her life, best friend and live in partner Caleb.  It’s taken a long time for Josie to develop the kind of close attachment she has with Caleb, but when a phone call from her cousin comes thru begging Josie to come home for her long lost mother’s funeral, her first though was that her carefully constructed life of lies was finally going to have to be explained.

An investigative reporter Poppy Parnell was running a ‘True Crime’ episode of the murder and supposedly false imprisonment of the person who was charged with her fathers murder.  The podcast had become a hit and in an effort to keep Caleb from learn the truth she again lied and left for the mid-west in order to attend the funeral of the mother who abandoned her and her sister.

***  This was a really great read with characters i found to be pretty much fleshed out and eventually discovering all the secrets both twins had buried deep from the tragic night of their father’s murder.  I’m sure a psychiatrist would delight in reading this tome for great examples of how one buries trauma from their mind.

The story was fast paced and very interesting with a plethora of high emotions, blame, betrayals and mental instability.   Bottom line is that this was a very enjoyable read .

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

MarriagePact

Kindle Edition, 432 pages                                               Publication: July 25th 2017 by Bantam

ASIN:  B01M4PWDWF Rating:  4-1/2*

Okay, THE MARRIAGE PACT is definitely a WOW book – total psychological suspense and then some!  It asks the question, “How far would you go to protect your marriage?”

In this page-turner you have two newlyweds, a picture-perfect couple today, after growing out of some very definitive free-living younger days.  Alice was once an up-and-coming singer with a band and had an album or two.  Now she is a successful lawyer whose future seems quite bright.  Jake is a partner in an up-and coming Psychology practice.  For both the future looks enormously bright.

As a marriage gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients Alice and Jake are invited to join an exclusive  and secret mysterious group known as the Pact.  Seemed harmless enough with it seemed one goal – to keep their marriage, fresh, intact, and loving forever.   Who wouldn’t want that?  The rule book also contained other things as well with some of the rules not necessarily alarming at the time but as their lives and “Friends” they were introduced to at glamorous parties Jake and Alice began to feel as if they had made a huge mistake.

The tension was quite palpable and Jake and Alice started to think of ways out, particularly after Jake was warned by a former colleague who told him disturbing truths of how the Pact dealt with those who wanted ‘out’.

Bottom line:   A really great read with fast pacing.  Definitely highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

SomeKindHero

NET GALLEY July 11, 2017                             ISBN13: 9780345543820

Published: Ballantine Books                      Series   Troubleshooters #17

Rating:  5*

Navy men are pretty cool, but in spite of being highly intelligent, strong, determined and even bit stubborn, I am beginning to think that good looks are also a key to becoming a top Navy Seal.  Peter Green is a very tough cookie – he has to be to in order to accept only the top of the crop for entrance into the Seal program.  However, after his ex-wife’s death and his somewhat estranged daughter, Maddie came to live with him, Peter was at his wit’s end!   He thought he was doing everything right but tough rules and standards he taught his recruits were not something that his daughter was ready to accept.  In fact – Maddie had just disappeared and Peter had no idea where to turn.

Romance writer and author Shayla Whitman could solve all sorts of problems with her writing and the assistance of her imaginary sidekick Harry.  Never did she ever expect to be drawn into the drama her new hottie neighbor was having since his daughter had come to live with him.  However, she is a mother and having the experience of raising two sons, she was more than willing to steer Peter in the right direction to begin looking for clues and obtaining information the could help him in his search.

*** Well now here is the gist of the story.   Rather than think this is just a simple runaway kid theme – well it is – but it’s not.  Being new in town, Maddie was befriended by a not so good ‘friend’.  So called ‘friend’ happened to be dealing drugs unbeknownst to Maddie then left town leaving Maddie holding the bag – only the bag was empty and the bad guys believed Maddie had absconded with their ‘stuff’ so Maddie, aged 15, is on the run with her boyfriend who happens to be 21 and Peter finding this out is ready to roast the boyfriend alive.

However, Shayla, his neighbor has been sticking to him and advising him about how teenaged daughters react to somewhat overbearing fathers (who have never been part of their daughters life until now).  The dialogs between Peter and Shayla (including comments from Harry which sometimes Shayla forgets that Harry is imaginary and answers) are downright hilarious.   And naturally what would this very hot Navy Seal want with an older woman like her – even if she still looked pretty damn hot with a very active libido that could match his.

Bottom Line:  SOME KIND OF HERO was a terrific read, suspensefull, hard to put down, amusing, and sensual.  Obviously it is definitely a recommended read!

Marilyn Rondeau