“Second Story Man”–Review

61RkJrP7i9LGood evening, bloggers! I hope you were able to enjoy World Book Day. This afternoon, I finished reading another great one from Charles Salzberg, so here’s my review.

Francis Hoyt is athletic, brilliant, arrogant, manipulative, and ruthless. He cares for no one but himself. In fact, he loves talking about himself, all the while truly believing he’ll always be the best at anything. What he’s always excelled in, though, is stealing high-end silver. Somehow, he’s been able to enter homes—usually while families were eating dinner—swipe the silver, and make his escape without leaving any trace of his DNA. How was it all possible? How did he manage to avoid getting caught?

Charlie Floyd is a recently retired investigator with Connecticut’s attorney general department. For years, he’s been a stubborn, yet highly-skilled investigator, but now felt it was the time to take some time for himself. When he receives a phone call from Manny Perez—a Miami police officer who’s worked with him in the past—regarding Francis Hoyt, Charlie is a bit hesitant. It isn’t long before Manny talks him into taking on the case with him, however, and the two friends work endlessly together, determined to not rest until Hoyt is behind bars.

Each chapter alternates from the points-of-view of Hoyt, Floyd, and Perez. When Hoyt eventually learns that Floyd and Perez are gaining on him, he taunts them. There’s no way he’s backing down, no matter the situation. He’ll do whatever it takes to have them out of the picture, even if some people may have to get hurt. I really liked where the story was going and the narration and dialog was well-written. Getting to know Hoyt’s story and why he did what he did made the story even better. Even the ending had me saying, “Are you kidding me?” No spoilers, of course. The whole story was realistic, which is what I do like in a novel. I recommend this one for crime fiction enthusiasts.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, and Swann’s Way Out. He also is the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a Founding Member. For more info, click here. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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“Pretty Lost Dolls”–Review

411UUFkwQEL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Welcome home, little doll…

Detective Jade Phillips is back in the second installment of the Pretty Little Dolls series. In fact, she’s back in the same cell where her captor, Benny, held her prisoner for four years, along with her sister, Macy—who Jade had left behind during her escape over eight years ago. While she is fighting to stay strong and to overpower Benny once and for all, Jade has high hopes that she’ll make her escape again and to finally bring Macy home. But after years of Benny’s abuse, Macy has lost her mind. Will Jade still be able to save Macy?

Meanwhile, Detective Dillon Scott—Jade’s lover and partner on the police force—is doing everything in his power to find Jade and to destroy Benny. Until Benny is dead, Dillon knows Jade will never be at peace.

Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. It definitely got better, especially because most of the chapters were from Benny’s point-of-view. If you’ve read the previous book, you know how much of a psycho he is. In this book, though, he gets worse. This installment was twice as disturbing and graphic, but it’s still worth reading. Also, the book had more of Dillon’s perspective and I liked that he was quick to act when it came to Jade. His love for her was strong and he was willing to stop at nothing to have her back.

If you haven’t read the first book, Pretty Stolen Dolls, I encourage you to do so. You just might love it. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. As I’ve mentioned regarding the previous book, the second book also contains violence, language, and adult content. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the authors: K Webster is a USA Today Bestselling author of dozens of romance books in many different genres including dark romance, taboo romance, contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her supportive husband and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers. For more info, click here.

Ker Dukey’s books tend to be darker romance, edge-of-your-seat, angst-filled reads. Her advice to readers: “When starting one of my titles…prepare for the unexpected.”
For info on Ker Dukey, click here.

“Pretty Stolen Dolls”–Review

41XHfrHYd2LGood evening, all! I believe I finally got out of my reading slump, since I finished reading the first book in the Pretty Little Dolls series.

When the main character, Jade, was 14 years old, she and her younger sister, Macy, were abducted by Benny, a doll vendor who knew how to charm the two sisters. After four years in captivity and enduring unspeakable torment, Jade escapes. Fast forward to the present, Jade is a police officer, working homicide and missing person cases. Although the trauma remains after eight years, a guilt-ridden Jade is determined to find the sister she’d left behind during her escape. She knows Benny is still out there, doing whatever it takes to bring Jade, his “dirty little doll,” back home.

I couldn’t get enough of this book. Now I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. Each chapter was creepy and violent. Just the idea of Benny’s abducting girls and making them his own, personal doll collection is disturbing. This book is for mature readers, containing violence, language, and sexuality. I’m not sure it can be recommended for the faint-hearted, but it’s up to you.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the authors: Click here for info on K. Webster and Ker Dukey.

 

“The Dark Lake”–Review

51ZIhQaUz2L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

In a rural town in Australia, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is on the case involving a murder of a high school classmate, Rosalind Ryan. To many, Rosalind was beautiful, talented, and mysterious. People seemed to be obsessed with her. But why? After the news of her death comes out, everyone is devastated. What had made Rosalind so special?

As the case goes on, Gemma tries to figure out why Rosalind had quit her teaching job in Sydney to return to her hometown. Even though her father was one of the richest men in town, why did Rosalind live in a run-down apartment? And did anyone truly know her? Was she as great as people claimed?

The longer the case goes on, the more frustrated Gemma becomes. All the while, she’s juggling her own problems and secrets: an affair with her colleague, including a tragedy from long ago that Gemma fears may not stay in the past.

I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this great debut. The dialogue was well-written and it all left me curious as to what secrets would be revealed. For thriller fans, this might be the book for you. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived all her life and resides with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and works in advertising. She is currently a partner at the creative agency Mr Smith. The Dark Lake is her first novel.

“Swann’s Way Out”–Review

51q6G4-8iKLGood evening, all! I finally had the opportunity to read the fourth Henry Swann novel. If you haven’t read the first three, I highly encourage you to do so, especially if you like some good detective fiction.

The story begins with skip tracer Henry Swann, at a poker game, who is trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do with his life. After all, he’s spent years taking on cases involving delinquents, runaways, thieves, etc. He wasn’t quite sure if being a skip tracer was actually his calling. After the game, however, Swann is offered a case which sends him to Hollywood in order to find Rusty Jacobs, the man responsible for embezzling $1,000,000 from his client. All Swann has to do is get the money back and all will be okay. Swann does find Jacobs, but learns that this wannabe film producer is convinced his movie project will make it big in the Christian market. As for the $1,000,000 that was used to make the movie trailer? It seems to have disappeared. While Swann’s client claims the money was stolen, Jacobs claims it was used as an investment. Although Swann’s motive is to just get the money back—he couldn’t really care less for the reason for the so-called investments—he can’t help wondering who’s telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Swann has another job thrown at him—thanks to his business partner, Goldblatt—where he has to help another client in the New York City art world who may have been defrauded on the purchase of a valuable painting that may or may not be a fake.

While it all seems to be one thing after another, Swann gets a call regarding his estranged teenage son who has run away from his grandparents’ home in Minnesota and has possibly joined a cult. Now a guilt-ridden Swann must take time out from his paying cases to find the son he hasn’t seen in years.

This installment is definitely worth reading. Henry Swann is the best! Like the first three books, this one also has excellent narration and dialogue. Everything just gets right to the point. I enjoyed the quirky relationship between Swann and Goldblatt. Great humor, sarcasm, and Swann doesn’t take BS from anyone.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, as well as the sequels, Swann Dives In and Swann’s Lake of Despair. He is also the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a founding member. For more info about the author, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

“The St. Lucia Island Club”–Review

51Mt4PPgMlL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_This is Book 5 of the John Le Brun novels.

It is 1910, New York City, when retired sheriff-turned-detective John Le Brun and his wife, Lordis, travel to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia for a long-awaited honeymoon.  They expect to find paradise and relaxation, once they arrive.  However, they discover they’ve been lured in to solicit the island’s attributes as a vacation retreat to wealthy investors back home.  They, soon, find the land to be filled with racial, social, and economic tension.

John puts his detective skills to use when he learns of the brutal murders of a local plantation owner’s family.  He must figure out if the culprit is one of the white landowners of the exclusive St. Lucia Island Club, the descendants of former African slaves, or another person entirely.  John and Lordis race to uncover the mysteries as the body count rises.

Although I was unaware, at first, that this book is part of a series, I still gave it a chance.  After five chapters, to be honest, I couldn’t get into the story.  I like the idea behind it, but it didn’t work for me.  Perhaps I need to go back to the first book—The Jekyl Island Club—to get a better idea.  Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of John Le Brun, I encourage you to read this book, and I hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this book from Turner Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Brent Monahan was born in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan in 1948, as a World War II occupation baby. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in Music and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has performed, stage directed and taught music and writing professionally. He has authored fourteen published novels and a number of short stories. Two of his novels have been made into motion pictures. Brent lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Bonnie.

“Most Wanted”–Review

41y7VzBGw9L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Donor 3319.  Tall.  Blonde.  Blue eyes.  Medical Student.  Wanted for Murder.

For quite some time, Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, have tried to get pregnant.  After going from one appointment to the other with specialists, research, and therapy, Christine and Marcus finally decide to seek a donor.

After two months, Christine is finally pregnant.  She’s happy and ready to start a family.  But during her farewell party at her school—where she teaches literacy to children—she sees on the news a young, blond man being arrested for a series of murders.  What shocks Christine is that the man has an uncanny resemblance to her donor.  Christine soon becomes obsessed with the man accused of murder, leading her to play detective to uncover the truth for the sake of her unborn child.

I wasn’t that big a fan during the first half of the story; however, once I got toward the middle, it started to get better.  More tension was created and I liked the big risk that Christine was taking, not just for the sake of the murder victims and that her marriage was in trouble, but for the sake of her baby’s future.  Although I wasn’t crazy about the story, I did like the conflict.  It’s definitely worth the read.

Most Wanted, by Lisa Scottoline, is available now.  Feel free to post your comments.

Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in a giveaway, for an honest review.