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: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

WatchMeDisappear

Hardcover, 368 pages                             Publication: July 11th 2017 by Spiegel & Grau

ISBN13: 9780812989465                          Rating 5*

Billie Flanagan was a beautiful woman, a free- spirit, charismatic with a picture perfect life. She had a brilliant beautiful daughter Olive and Jonathan, a husband who loved her!  Now it has been a year since Billie went on a solo hike in the Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail.  After weeks of searching the only things found are one of her hiking boots and a smashed cell phone.   No body!  And with no body, no closure, no burial, a husband and father desolate now turned to drink; and her determined that her mother is alive and sending her messages from the unknown to come and find her.

Olive’s dreams / hallucinations or whatever they are have convinced her that her mom is alive and she must try to interpret the messages she receives as clues to help her on her search for her mother. Except some of the clues lead to secrets that Billie had kept – shaking the very foundation of the pedestal which Olive and Billie’s husband had kept Billie on!

*** I have to say that this was a very interesting premise on a disappearance plot.   Naturally you have lots of red herrings that pop up all over the place but with Billie though one never gets to actually meet her as the story starts with her disappearance and small background glimpses of a person who appeared to have it all!   Billie did inspire loyalty though with the friends she did have.  Though I question the relationship of friend with regard to Billie whose so called friends kept a few facts from Jonathan that might have helped him determine the person Billie was.

The suspense was palpable and kept the action going. Whether you warmed up to Jonathan or not, who partially neglected his daughter as he drowned his grief with work and drink one can empathize with him – to a certain extent.   However, Olive was another matter. As a young teenager Olive needed her mom so much that the visions she was having (believe or not) were traumatic and to not be believed was even worse.    What was real, what was not.   What did the visions mean and where did they lead.  Had Olive followed them correctly and what would she find behind the door of the beach cottage all the clues lead her to?

Bottom line:  You will just have to read this very good thriller to find out!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

 

Review: Bring Her Home by David Bell

BringHerHome

Kindle Edition, 432 pages                                  Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Berkley

ASIN:    B01MAY1TSV                                      Rating:  5*

Still reeling a year and a half after the death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

Devastated, Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body.  The only sound she makes is one word – No.  In fact, the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he lets his mind imagine what happened and who could have done this horrific damage to another human being. He’s also beginning to wonder, if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter.

When Bill discovered new information about Summer’s life Bill is shocked to discover things about both his wife and daughter that begin to tear him apart….

***  Wow, wow, and wow!  BRING HER HOME is definitely one of the harder books I’ve read to put down without wanting to finish in one sitting.  The suspense was tremendous wondering if the injured girl would recover, never mind the fact that Bill had to attend Summer’s best friend Haley’s funeral which was an emotional moment where I needed a tissue.

Going through the psychological roller coaster along with Bill kept the emotions high and exciting. In fact, just when you thought – ah so that’s the answer – another issue would pop up sending you off to try and discover and digest the new information.  While reading you might think you know the answers but believe me, the TWIST is waiting for you when you least expect it.

Bottom Line:   Awesome read keeping the suspense high as well as the readers emotion.   VERY highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

Carnal Innocence

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins

Unabridged Audiobook Release Date:04-06-12

Publisher: Recorded Books Rating: 5*

In CARNAL INNOCENCE author Nora Roberts has created a mesmerizing tale of madness, murder, and love in a small southern town of the bayou.  Put into play is Caroline Waverly, a beautiful world renowned concert violinist who is still fragile from both a public breakup and private breakdown after witnessing her lover with another.  Caroline, has left the concert circuit escaping to her late grandmother’s home in Innocence, Mississippi.   However instead of the peace and tranquility she expected, she found a town reeling from two vicious and heinous murders. And, if that weren’t enough Caroline discovers a third victim on her property.

Enter Caroline’s devastatingly handsome bad-boy neighbor – Tucker Longstreet.  Big, beautiful with a devilish grin and the sexiest southern drawl ever.  But for some reason, Tucker makes Caroline feel safe even though his reputation for breaking hearts has put him at the top of the suspect list, seeing as how he was connected to each of the murdered women.

***  Lordy, lordy, but I have listened to Tom Stechschulte before and I have to say that NO ONE does sexy Southern drawls like Mr. Stechschulte!  He is a master of making a written hero pop to life as one very SEXY heart throb – just by hearing that rich southern interpretation.   Wow!  And let me also say that the sensuality both actual and implied was steaming all the way through to the very end!

Now mix that with exquisite storytelling by Nora Roberts and you have a perfect combination that will force you to keep listening way into the middle of the night and then turning it back on as soon as you wake up!  Be it children, heroes or heroines, pets, even nasty villains  – Ms. Roberts writes the books that grab you and simply won’t let you go.    Loved every minute of this audiobook, the outstanding performance of Mr. Stechschulte and the entire cast of characters who made this ‘very hard to put down’  and immensely satisfying book!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney

gunmetal-gray

ASIN:   B01FEY5ETS

Series:  The Gray Man #6 Rating:  5*

After five years on his own running away from the CIA which had at one time had a Terminate order on him, Court Gentry is back on the inside of the CIA. Regrets – he’s got a few –   especially after his first mission brings out a pair of Chinese assassins who try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert?

Right from the get-go, Court has the feeling that he doesn’t have the ‘whole story’ regarding the mission he’s been sent on.   When he discovers that his old friend and former handler, Donald Fitzroy is being held hostage by the Chinese, Court is forced to make a deal where by he can try to save Fitzroy’s life and still complete discover the whereabouts of his CIA target, a highly capable Chinese hacker called  Fan Jing.  The problem the CIA wants Fan working for him and the Chinese want Fan DEAD!However, there are more complications than one can shake a stick at because everyone one wants a piece of Fan including the Russians, the Vietnamese, the Thai drug cartel, and even Taiwan.

***  Mark Greaney has been a favorite author of mine since I first discovered him with his debut novel of the Gray Man and each successive book in this series has just gotten better and better.  With so many people all looking to find and capture Court’s quarry the action never stops or lets up.  It’s one dangerous adventure after another.  However, this is the first time I have actually seen Court become somewhat involved with another agent and it makes for questions as to maybe – Court has found a partner?

Enough said!  All I can say is Mark Greaney continues to deliver and I am just waiting for someone in Hollywood to pick up this book series and realize what a fabulous TV or Movie series this could be made into!  Move over Jason Bourne – there is definitely a new kid on the block!!!   VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose

everydarkcorner

Series: Cincinnati Series #3         ISBN -13: 9780755390052         624 pages

Expected publication: February 7th 2017        by Headline            RATING:   5*

Welcome back to the latest book (#3) in Karen Rose’s fabulous Cincinnati series.   Having started with the very first book in this series, I must admit that I am totally emotionally invested in seeing this entire series through to the end.   The act of human trafficking and sex slaves is abhorrent, but when it involves young children the act becomes even more despicable.  This set of stories follows the brave men and women who are determined to stop and shut down the monsters who perpetuate these foul acts against humanity.

FBI Special Agent Griffin “Decker” Davenport finally wakes from a medically induced coma.  His brain is a bit fuzzy but slowly he remembers the desperation he needs to remember moron order to find the missing children he knows are in danger. Just at the end of his last undercover investigation, Decker had thought it was all over.   Just before the case would have been closed, Decker discovered not everyone had been rescued, but he was severely shot and was unable to tell anyone that the case couldn’t be closed. .

Special Agent Kate Coppola had recently been assigned to Cincinnati and had a hand in saving Decker’s life and took it upon herself to sit by his hospital bed while listening to the tapes that Decker had recorded while undercover.   She has been trying to piece together the crime he was investigating and growing closer to the agent she was finding more and more attractive as time went by.   Thankfully it was Kate who realized that there were missing pieces and and Decker’s life was in danger and when someone tried to poison him in the hospital Kate was able to save him before it was too late.

Not only were Kate and Decker the main characters in book #3 but anyone following the series would be happy to see and enjoy the interaction of secondary characters that were introduced in the first two books of the series.   Actually I do believe EVERY DARK CORNER could stand alone but if you want my advice I would highly suggest reading them in order so that the reader enjoys seeing how the previous characters are making out as time marched on.

Bottom line:   EVERY DARK CORNER is a remarkable book that is packed with non-stop suspense and action.  Ms. Rose’s villain is a master of disguise and a genius at staying one step ahead of the authorities.  The chase is on with very little to go on and the suspense is amazing because of the cleverness of said villain.   Highly recommended!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Hanover House by Brenda Novak

hanover-house

Series:  The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles 0.5    Kindle Edition, 244 pages

Published September 1st 2015 by Brenda Novak, Inc. ASIN:   B013F9NVY4

Rating:  5*

In her teenaged years, Evelyn loved and trusted her boyfriend.  A boyfriend  who ended up killing her two best friends, then tortured her for 3 days, slit her throat and left her for dead.  After that Evelyn’s future had been determined.  Evelyn needed to know what made psychopaths do what they did?  How could they appear to be like any other human being and then turn into monsters with no conscience, and/or feel no remorse for the terror they delivered unto their victims?

Now 25 years later as an adult and renowned psychiatrist Evelyn has worked tirelessly to establish a center strictly for the study of solving the mysteries of the antisocial psychopath mind.   Naturally, it took years but finally a site had been selected to build this facility where she could gather some of the worst criminal minds together to be studied.  The place, a remote Alaskan town called Hilltop, Alaska and the facility would be called Hanover House.  As expected  – most all the inhabitants of Hilltop were not happy including State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok who was one of the few police officers who was in charge of keeping the people of Hilltop safe.

While Amarok could empathize with Evelyn’s childhood history and  even though attracted to her, he does not see having all these psychopaths settled nearby his town as a good thing.  While the facility is being built and Evelyn is still putting it all together, her ex-boyfriend who had never been caught from 25 years ago and was still obsessed with her was making plans to finish what he started.

*** Actually this was just the introduction to the Hanover House series and it gives all the background and insights as to just what is going on as well as re-introduces the sick mind of Evelyn’s nemesis and tormentor. It is definitely an edge-of-your-seat suspense and highly addictive tome to those who like myself are fascinated by the genius minds of some of the worst criminals humanity has to offer.    Bottom line:  This is a series you don’t want to miss!!

Marilyn Rondeau