Review: A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman @mastermanbecky @MinotaurBooks


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: March 21, 2017

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, “the most original female character to anchor a crime series in years,” (The New York Times) is back—on a case staking family, friendship, and a man on death row.


Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, now happily settled in Tucson, doesn’t go back to visit her family in Florida much. But her former partner Laura Coleman, whose life she has saved and who saved her life, is living there now. When Laura calls about a case that is not going well, Brigid doesn’t hesitate to get on a plane.


On leave from the Bureau, Laura has been volunteering for a legal group that is trying to prove the innocence of a man who is on death row for killing his family. Laura is firmly convinced that he didn’t do it, while Brigid isn’t so sure—but the date for his execution is coming up so quickly that she shares Laura’s fear that any evidence absolving him from the crime may come too late.


Edgar Award and CWA Gold Dagger finalist Becky Masterman’s third Brigid Quinn novel is the masterful follow-up to Fear the Darkness and Rage Against the Dying. 

Review: 

I’m sadly wrapping up my Becky Masterman binge here, I reviewed Rage Against the Dying and Fear the Darkness earlier this week, and though I LOVED my experience with this series, I’m bummed that I’m now caught up and I have to wait along with everyone else to see what Brigid Quinn gets up to next. This series is fantastic, the more I read, the more I loved Brigid and the third installment revealed so much more about her personal life and brought a deeper understanding of who she is and what drives her.

All of the books in this series have some seriously gripping prologues, but this one is my favorite thus far. It’s 1980 and a young Brigid is about to witness her first execution, a man on death row is about to be killed in the form of the electric chair. She talks about the odd feelings she has while simply sitting and watching as a man dies despite everything on the inside screaming at her to help him, its unnatural and goes against every instinct she has. It was very chilling and set the stage for the story perfectly.

Brigid leaves Arizona and heads to Florida when she receives word that her father is sick and in the hospital. While I missed the setting of AZ, I also appreciated seeing Brigid back home where it all began. Laura Coleman from Rage Against the Dying is back and it was nice to check in and see how she was recovering after the events that happened in that book. Coleman is working to exonerate a man named Marcus Creighton who was sentenced to death after the murder of his wife and the disappearance of his three children. 

I’ve had a kind of morbid fascination about cases where an innocent man (or woman) is incarcerated for awhile now, so the premise for this one intrigued me. In 2015 alone, 149 people in US prisons were exonerated and released after their innocence was proven. On average, they spent 15 years behind bars. 15 years for something they didn’t do. Can you even imagine? It’s a terrifying thought, and while I won’t reveal if Creighton was actually innocent or guilty, I will say that this one gave me plenty of food for thought. 

I don’t quite know how, but Brigid’s voice just gets stronger and more distinctive with each book. Maybe it’s because as the series progresses Masterman delves deeper into her character and peels back more layers of her personality, or maybe it’s because by now I’ve grown rather attached to her, but whatever the case is, my connection with this sarcastic, bullheaded, amazing woman continues to grow. She doesn’t just skirt the boundaries of the law when it suits her, she stomps on them, grinds them into dust and never looks back. She is one seriously tough, intimidating woman and if she was real, I would be tempted to knock on her door with a cup of coffee in my hand, the stories she could tell… The glimpses inside her head as she struggles to work out a case always draws me in, it’s like watching an extremely complicated puzzle being put together. Sometimes you think you have everything in the right spot until just a couple of pieces don’t fit exactly right, but then, you have an AHA moment and it all makes sense. Brigid always fits it all together faster than me, and that’s exactly how I like it as I don’t want to be able to figure it all out alone. Masterman is now an autobuy author for me and I can’t wait for book four, what a brilliant series this is. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Minotaur Books for my review copy. 

Audiobook Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller 


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Genre: Chick Lit

Narrator: Jorjeana Marie

A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home—and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking.


When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.


Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

 

With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

 

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.

Review: 

This was a really fantastic book to listen to, I’m sure it was just as delightful to read, but there was something special about the audio version of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. The narrator was amazing, she really brought the characters to life and I can still clearly hear her melodic and pleasant voice in my head days after finishing the book. 

My favorite part about this book was the gorgeous descriptions of the food that Livvy made. Louise Miller is a pastry chef and her knowledge was so very apparent as she went into great detail about several of the recipes Livvy makes and the combination of the lovely descriptions and Marie’s soothing voice was a magical combination for me. 

The characterization was fantastic, Livvy was extremely well developed as was Margaret, her new boss at the Sugar Maple Inn. Dottie is Margaret’s best friend and Hannah is Livvy’s and both of them were well drawn as well. It follows Livvy’s life over the course of a year and is broken down into sections by season and by the end, I felt like I had really come to know and admire Livvy. She’s really quirky, a true individual who dies her hair every color of the rainbow depending on her mood and she plays the banjo. 

This was a warm, cozy read that made me smile, but there were also tender, sad scenes that touched me as well. Miller infused plenty of humor, small town charm, and heartfelt moments into a charming story about starting fresh and learning to depend on someone besides yourself. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Blogging for Books for my review copy. 

Blog Tour: Ice Cold Alice by C. P. Wilson @bellshillwilson @Bloodhoundbook


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: April 12, 2017

Publisher: Bloodhound Books 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.


A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID. 


This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind. 


Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match… 


What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands? 


Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante? 

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Ice Cold Alice today!


Review: 

Oohh I love a good female serial killer novel, I realize that says…something about me and I’m ok with that! This was a super fast paced read, I think I may even have whiplash now. 

The premise of this immediately caught my attention, as I already mentioned I love a female serial killer and combine that with a clever social media angle and I’m all in. Alice chronicles all of her kills on her blog, and at first, it garners little attention. When a celebrity shares one of her posts on twitter, it goes viral and her following grows exponentially and now the game is really on. This wasn’t full of a bunch of crazy twists, though it did have its fair share of surprises, but instead it was a good old fashioned game of cat and mouse. You have Alice, the vigilante killer targeting abusive spouses and you also have the viewpoint of Kathy, the police officer working the case. It flips back and forth between Now and Then so you see what pushed Alice to her breaking point and you also see Kathy climbing the ranks in the department. These are two strong women who have a lot more in common than you would think. 

I don’t know if I’ve ever rooted for a serial killer so hard before, as much as I knew what Alice was doing was very wrong, there is still a sense of justice in her actions. It’s hard to feel bad about the death of a person who abuses their wife and kids. It ended well, but things were also left wide open for a sequel and I’m eager to see what will happen next. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bloodhound Books for my review copy. 

About the Author: 


C.P. Wilson writes Psychological Thrillers. Ice Cold Alice is due for publication by Bloodhound Books on April 20th, 2017 and is currently being adapted to a screenplay. 


Wilson is also the author of ten works of fiction in multiple genre and one non-fiction memoir under the name Mark Wilson.


Wilson currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school, is one half of a parent-team to two very active children, and mentors independent authors. He writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.



Wilson’s short story ‘Glass Ceiling’ won first prize in May, 2015 on Spinetingler’s Short story competition. dEaDINBURGH: Vantage reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 and was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 2015.

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Review: Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman @mastermanbecky


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: January 20, 2015

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

Ex-FBI Agent Brigid Quinn thinks she has a second chance at life. After too many years spent in the company of evil, she’s quit the Feds and is working out what normal is meant to feel like. She’s swapped serial killers, stakeouts and interrogation for a husband, friends and free time. But when you’ve walked in darkness for so long, can you stand the light? When a local teenager dies in a tragic drowning accident, the community thinks Brigid might be able to help comfort the family. But when she does so, something doesn’t add up. And it’s no easier at home: after a bereavement in the family, Brigid has reluctantly taken in her niece to give her a break before she starts college. Brigid’s ever-patient husband Carlo tells her they must go easy on Gemma-Kate, the grieving youngster. Which is fine, until she starts taking an unhealthy interest in dissecting the local wildlife. For Brigid, death still seems to be wherever she turns. But as she herself starts to feel unwell, it’s her own mortality that is the most troubling. And as she tries to get to the bottom of a series of allegedly accidental deaths and increasingly gruesome occurrences at home, she slowly realises that maybe this time, she’s let the darkness inside the only place she ever felt safe. Sometimes, death is closer than you think. 

Review: 

There’s something special about this series, I don’t remember being this excited about discovering a new to me author, or bingeing a series in record time since I picked up Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. (I then proceeded to race to Goodreads where I found out she had a series and I never looked back) Anyway, my Becky Masterman binge has been amazingly fun and I have to thank Chelsea (again) for putting this phenomenal series on my radar. 

Things pick up shortly where the first book ended and Brigid Quinn has slipped back into her peaceful existence in Tucson, Arizona and is still married to Carlo. I may be developing a bit of a crush on him, he has the patience of a saint and as much as I like Brigid, she would be very hard to be married to. She’s taking on some cases as a PI as she physically can’t just stop investigating and life is pretty great. Then her sister in law dies and despite some reservations, she honors her promise of taking in her teenaged niece, Gemma Kate so she can establish residency for college. 

I fell more in love with Brigid in this book and it’s just as strong as the first one. She has such a powerful voice, and Masterman delved deeper into her psyche this time around. I liked finding out more about her family and though they only make a brief appearance, the insight explained a whole lot about who she is. She narrates the story in hindsight, which was so clever as she would drop subtle hints about the events to come that piqued my curiosity without giving anything away. 

This time around Brigid isn’t hunting down a mad killer, she’s searching for a danger very close to home. She’s extremely paranoid and I found myself very wary of all the characters and their motives as well. The plot twist stunned me and was executed to perfection, as this point, I don’t think Masterman can do any wrong, she’s an incredibly talented writer and Brigid is the type of character that stays on your mind long after you turn the final page. I can’t wait to dive into book three, but what will I do when I’m done, there’s no book four yet?!

Overall rating: 5/5

Blog Tour: Tag You’re Dead by Douglas Skelton #Q&A @DouglasSkelton1


Goodreads|Amazon UK|Amazon US
Release date: April 27, 2017

Publisher: Saraband Books

Genre: Crime Fiction 

Blurb: 

Sam the butcher is missing, and maverick investigator Dominic Queste is on the case. But it’s not because he misses Sam’s prize-winning steak pies… A dangerous man has arrived in Glasgow. He’s no small-town crook, and he’s leaving a trail of disturbing clues across the city, starting with the missing cousin of Queste’s new lover. Amidst a twisted game of cat and mouse, suspicious coppers and a seemingly random burglary at the judge’s house, Queste has to keep his wits about him. Or he might just find himself on the butcher’s block. 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tag You’re Dead. I have a Q & A with the author to share today. 


Q & A:  

 

Welcome Douglas. Before we start, could you tell me a little about yourself?

 

I’m a former shelf stacker, bank clerk, office paper pusher, ad salesman, civil servant, taxi driver (for two days), wine waiter (for two hours), journalist and newspaper editor. Never got the hang of any of them. I began by writing non-fiction but made the leap into fiction in 2013. I now have six crime thrillers to my name.

 

Today we are talking about your new novel: Tag You’re Dead. Could you give us a quick summary and introduce us to Dominic Queste?

 

Dominic Queste calls himself an odd-job man. He’s not a private eye in the strictest sense but he walks the same mean streets. He’s quirky (I hope!) in that he can view the world through the perspective of movies and TV shows. He’s not a fantasist, he’s too hard-headed for that, but he does love his movies. He’s also quick-witted, fast-talking and, when forced, pretty tough. In TAG, a missing person case he undertakes for his girlfriend turns lethal when he finds himself being stalked by a serial killer.

 

When we meet Dominic, first in The Dead Don’t Boogie and now in Tag, you have made it clear that his past has not been the easiest of rides – a recovering addict who has had more than a few run-ins with the police. Does the rocky background give you more leeway to develop the character?

I like characters who struggle against their demons to do the right thing. For me it does, as you say, provide leeway to develop them. People who have something for which to atone. Dominic, as one character says, is Raymond Chandler’s slightly tarnished knight. There’s more scope in someone with an edge. I was never interested in squeaky clean heroes – as a child I much preferred Batman to Superman, for instance. I’m drawn to darkness. Must be my Celtic blood.

 

 

Dominic is a one-man “IMDB” and has a film reference for every occasion, how does this become a problem for him in Tag? Also, how much of the film trivia comes from your own fascination with cinema?

The serial killer discovers Dom is a buff and uses film references and quotes to taunt him, to keep him on the knife-edge. And ALL the film trivia comes from my own film geekiness. My head is cluttered with movie trivia.

 

Tag You’re Dead is primarily set in Glasgow but you take the action out of the city too. Could you tell us about the locations which feature in the story? Have you chosen to write about places you enjoy visiting?

The story takes Dom to the Highlands, specifically the area around Loch Rannoch in Perthshire, although the specific cottages I mention are fictional. It’s a part of Scotland I love. Everywhere you look is picture postcard beautiful and the air is so fresh and clear. I’ve set it in the autumn (or the Fall, as the Americans say) and the colours are breathtaking. I would encourage everyone to visit. Dom was certainly impressed!

 

Dominic Queste has a tendency to use humour and quip his way through conversations but Tag is quite a dark read. Was that a difficult balance to achieve when you were writing?

It happened naturally. As they say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye (Note – no one actually loses an eye. Or do they?) Dom uses humour as a weapon, as a defence, as a barrier, as a way to leaven his own darkness and that which lies around him. However, it’s a tricky thing to write – too much and the book becomes a comedy, too little and it becomes TOO dark. I hope I’ve struck the correct balance. My problem is that I have to often resist the need to go for the quick, or cheap, laugh – in my writing and in my own life.

 

The phrase “Tartan Noir” is widely recognised but I get the impression quite a few Scottish authors are not overly fond of it. Is it a convenient marketing hook or a chain around your neck?

It’s both. I understand why it’s done but a large part of me doesn’t see the need. We’re writing crime thrillers. It shouldn’t matter where it’s set, as long as that background comes alive, as long as the reader believes it. I see no label for crime fiction set in England, or the US. However, I am very proud to be a part of the clan – and one of the best things to come from the trend is Bloody Scotland, our very own International crime writing festival, which takes place every September in Stirling.

 

Do you believe that a number of the crime stories set in Scotland have a distinctive “voice” that a reader could identify and associate with?

There’s a great deal of superb crime writing coming out of Scotland and there’s no doubt that much of it carries that distinctive voice that comes from the setting and the rhythms of Scottish speech, just as authors from other parts of the world can do with their backdrops. Scottish readers like to see actual locations but what about those who are unfortunate enough not be Scottish? They are drawn by character, plot and readability.

 

On a final note, I’d be keen to know which authors you enjoy reading. Which inspire you or have influenced the stories you want to write?

My earliest influence was the western ‘Shane’ by Jack Schaeffer. That generated my fascination with characters trying to shake off their murky past.

The 87th Precinct novels of Ed McBain were my next big influence. They were fast-moving and funny and occasionally shocking. His dialogue was sharp and sassy. The early books didn’t have an ounce of fat on them.

There are so many great authors out there but I’m drawn very much to Americans. I think Dennis Lehane is absolutely wonderful, as is Robert Crais. Both can have a strong thread of humour running through the darkness. Although Irish, John Connolly sets his books in the States and they are fabulous.

 Huge thanks to Douglas for joining me today! 

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

What I Read Last Week: 


Game Point was the fourth in a series that I jumped into and really liked!

Last Breath was another excellent addition to the Erika Foster series. 

A Wedding in Italy is the second in a perfect spring series.

Sleep Tight is the second in the Ruby Preston series, I love these books!

I finished listening to French Kiss, a fun beginning to a new series about a French detective. 


I LOVED Slightly South of Simple, I have a giveaway that’s still open for a copy!


Lie to Me was an interesting read. 

Rage Against the Dying was an outstanding read. 
Currently Reading: 


I’ve been having a Becky Masterman binge, it’s been awesome! 

Up Next: 



I’m also reading a super secret ARC that I’m excited about! More on that in May. 

I’ve been reading even more than usual as my husband is out of town and my nights after the kids are in bed are quiet. I’m also trying to scramble to read all of the books I had planned on reading in April before the months over! 

What are you currently reading? Anything good? 

Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton 


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: April 20, 2017

Publisher: Transworld

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb: 
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. 


She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. 


Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . . 

Review: 

If someone would have told me yesterday that I would be raving about a book with hot air balloons, peacocks, nuns, and human trafficking, I would’ve laughed in their face. The combination sounds totally insane, just reading the above sentence makes me think of a light cozy mystery or something similar. But when a book by Sharon Bolton combines all of these elements you can rest assured that the last thing you’ll feel is cozy, this was chilling, compelling, and raised my blood pressure more than a few times. 

I’m keeping things vague here, this won’t be an in depth review. This isn’t because I don’t have much to say, it’s because the less you know about the plot, the more I think you’ll enjoy the experience. Thank goodness I had Renee at It’s Book Talk to chat with as soon as I finished, she was also sweet enough to send me her copy. This isn’t even out in the US until September, we totally couldn’t wait that long! 

There are a few things that I will say, beginning with this is the definition of a compulsive read. It has multiple narrators, enabling you to see several sides to the same complicated story, it flips back and forth from the past and present, which is always something I like. There were so many times where I thought, how in the hell is this all going to fit together?! Well, it fit seamlessly in ways that I couldn’t guess. Ok, so I guessed one of the twists, but I didn’t care when I was right, it was that good anyway. But there were several additional turns that I didn’t work out and my head was spinning in the end. My favorite moments were the opening chapters with the hot air balloon disaster and the nuns, so brilliantly funny. Yes, I laughed quite a bit in between moments of anxiety. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Huge thanks to Renee for sending me her copy, you’re the best my friend!

Monday Matinee Giveaway #MondayMatinee


Last month I read The Last Chance Matinee and loved it and now I’ve partnered up with Gallery Books and have a copy to giveaway! Giveaway is open to US only and for a chance to win, tell me what your favorite book about sisters is in the comment section. That’s it, easy peasy! I’ll choose a winner with random.org on Friday, April 28 at 8 am MST. 
Good luck! 

Monday Matinee Giveaway:
Follow XOXO After Dark on Twitter (@xoxoafterdark) Mondays in April to see which blogs on the blog tour will host a giveaway for The Last Chance Matinee: April 3, 10, 17, 24! #MondayMatinee
 
 
Monday, April 3rd
Suzy Approved
Lit Loving Mom
Collectors of Book Boyfriends
Hardly A Goddess
The Librarian
Staircase Wit
 
Monday, April 10th
The Book Nympho
Reviews By Crystal
PNW Bookworm
Abigail Books Addiction
Sour Puss
Lorelei’s Lit Lair
 
Monday, April 17th
Lovey Dovey Books
Dawn’s Reading Nook
My Novelesque Life
Books According to Abby
I Wish I Lived In A Library
 
Monday, April 24th
Novel Gossip
Blonde Bookworm
Up ‘Til Dawn
Devilishly

Review: Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman @mastermanbecky


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb: 

You have never met an (ex) FBI agent like Brigid Quinn


“Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that’s hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can’t keep that secret, she can’t keep yours. I’m fifty-nine.”


Brigid Quinn’s experiences in hunting sexual predators for the FBI have left her with memories she wishes she didn’t have and lethal skills she hopes never to need again. Having been pushed into early retirement by events she thinks she’s put firmly behind her, Brigid keeps telling herself she is settling down nicely in Tucson with a wonderful new husband, Carlo, and their dogs.


But the past intervenes when a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to the worst unsolved case of Brigid’s career—the disappearance and presumed murder of her young protégée, Jessica. Floyd knows things about that terrible night that were never made public, and offers to lead the cops to Jessica’s body in return for a plea bargain.


It should finally be the end of a dark chapter in Brigid’s life. Except…the new FBI agent on the case, Laura Coleman, thinks the confession is fake, and Brigid finds she cannot walk away from violence and retribution after all, no matter what the cost.


With a fiercely original and compelling voice, Becky Masterman’s Rage Against the Dying marks the heart-stopping debut of a brilliant new thriller writer. 

Review: 

I’m way late to this series, but one of the advantages to this is that I don’t have to wait for a new book to be released! When Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me asked if I had read Becky Masterman and I said no, she was sweet enough to send me the first two books. Then I recently received the third from the publisher and figured it was about time I started reading about Brigid Quinn. I’ve been hopping into a lot of new to me series in the middle, but I’m so glad I started at the beginning as this was such a fantastic read. 

Brigid is one of the most interesting and original protagonists that I’ve come across in a long time. She has such a multifaceted personality, there are so many layers to peel back to find out who she truly is inside, but what Masterman revealed in this series opener was a woman who is tough, determined, sharp, raw, and wholly relatable. She was also really quirky and when she’s uncomfortable or just trying to dodge a pointed question she deflects with black humor, I love that characteristic. Having a more mature woman as the lead in a crime series is clever and I really appreciated it. 

Brigid is a retired FBI agent living in Tucson, Arizona and reading a novel set in a familiar place was really fun. Masterman captured the rugged beauty of my home state perfectly and being able to recall places I’ve been to myself was fun! The fact that Brigid is no longer employed by the FBI made for some tricky investigative maneuvers on her part which added another breath of fresh air to this already highly original story. 

This was pretty violent and graphic, think Karin Slaughter in terms of the visual descriptions. The writing is fluid and Brigid narrates in a very conversational style that makes you feel like you’re chatting with an old friend. The plot twists were unexpected and I devoured this in a few hours, it was that gripping. I’m really glad I decided to binge this series straight through as I’m dying to know what happens next. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Blog Tour: Lie to Me by Jess Ryder @jessryderauthor @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: April 19, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Blurb: 

We’re going to tell our story and then it will all stop and Mummy will be safe. You want Mummy to be safe, don’t you? 


Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother she’s never known. 


Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 


The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim? 


To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking… 

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Lie to Me today! 


Review: 

This is the type of book that I would call a slow burner, one where there’s a sense of underlying tension that’s waiting to rise to the surface. When it begins, Meri has come across an old VHS tape with her mothers handwriting on the label. This is significant to her as her mom, Becca left when she was a toddler and she hasn’t heard from her since. When she asks her father about the tape she is stunned by his strong, angry reaction and knows that whatever is on the tape means something for her, but she’s unaware that this discovery will set off a chain of events with shocking outcomes. 

This is told in two timelines, the first is Meri in the present day, and then it jumps back to 1984 and is told from Cara’s perspective. There are also some chapters told from a man named Jay’s point of view in the present day as well. At first I was a bit confused about how a cold murder case (Cara) would link to Meri but it all became clear when it’s revealed that Becca is the one who found Cara’s body and Jay was in a relationship with Cara. That may seem like a slight spoiler, but if you pick this one up I don’t want you to get discouraged as Ryder links all the plot threads together in a very interesting way. 

This had a steady pace throughout that gradually intensified as it neared the conclusion and towards the last quarter of the book, there was a twist that knocked me off balance. It was a bit different than what I had anticipated as it didn’t focus so much on the murder case or any particular crimes but rather the characters and how they all had secrets hiding in the shadows and how these lies affected them personally. It still had a tricky plot and kept me gripped the whole time and the epilogue was really strong as was Ryder’s writing style. I’m looking forward to reading what she comes up with next! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my review copy. 

About the Author: 


Jess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer. After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime. Writing, that is. So she’s very excited about the publication of her debut thriller Lie to Me. Her other big love is making pots.

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