Q & A with Ed Duncan, author of Pigeon Blood Red @pigeonbloodred


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: February 25, 2016

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb:

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.


As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves? 

Hey everyone! I hope y’all are having a wonderful weekend. I have a Q & A with Ed Duncan to share today, enjoy!

Q & A

1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.

Since I’m retired, I really don’t have a typical writing day. I just came back from a writing conference, and one of the key note speakers, Lisa Scottoline, said that she writes, I believe, 2 to 3,000 words a day without fail. I’ve heard a number of other writers say they spend a certain number of hours per day in front of the keyboard or that they write a minimum number of words per day, and sometimes I feel guilty about not having a set routine that I follow day in and day out. However, that would make writing feel like too much of a job (and Lisa and the other writers referred to above do indeed treat writing as a job — which they enjoy), and having retired after 37 years of practicing law, often under highly pressurized circumstances, having another “job,” even one more relaxing than my last one, is the last thing I need. 

 

In short, I only write when the muse arrives, and that can be any time except bright and early in the morning since I’m an insomniac and don’t go to bed until the wee hours of the morning. When I was practicing law, I had to force myself to get up in the morning. Now I stay up until I’m sleepy. When the muse does arrive, the perfect writing environment for me is the upstairs room where I write, surrounded by silence, save for the sounds of me typing on the keyboard of the computer.


 


2. How did you get started writing? Was it something you’ve always loved?

 


I’ve enjoyed writing since English composition days in high school. My teachers often complimented me on my writing, and one of them wrote on a term paper of mine that my writing was seldom, if ever, equaled among her students. I considered that to be the ultimate compliment, and it caused me to think that I might have the talent to become a writer some day. Alas, I became a lawyer instead and I did a great deal of writing in that career. For instance, in 2008 I wrote a legal treatise for lawyers and judges called Ohio Insurance Coverage and updated it annually through 2012. But what I really wanted to do was write fiction and I retired to do just that (and also to travel.)

3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?

Some of my favorite writers in my genre (crime) are Dashiell Hammett, Lee Child, Dennis Lehane, Walter Moseley, and Scott Turow. Other favorites are Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, Somerset Maugham, Richard Wright, Ken Follett, Theodore Dreiser, Bruce Catton, and Michael Shaara. They are a diverse group but, of course, what they all have in common is their command of the English language.

4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?

Pigeon-Blood Red is the first installment in a trilogy. I just finished the second, which will be called The Last Straw. It reunites the main characters from the first book. Here is the log line: “When a teen-age girl witnesses a carjacking gone bad, she is marked for death by a crime boss with no apparent motive. A black lawyer and a white enforcer with an unlikely history join forces to protect her from a hit man with an agenda of his own.” The third book in the trilogy is tentatively entitled Rico Stays.

 5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.

The two main characters in my trilogy — Paul, a lawyer, and Rico, an enforcer/hit man — come from different sides of the tracks. Consequently, their paths would not normally intersect. Therefore, I had to dream up realistic fact patterns that would bring them together in the context of a crime that impacted both of them. So that required a fair amount of brainstorming. I have come up with the ingredients for each book in the trilogy and after I finish the third, I may decide whether to add one or more books.

6. Favorite character from Pigeon-Blood Red?

Rico is my favorite character. I suspect he will be readers’ favorite as well. A “killer with a conscience,” he is filled with contradictions, which makes for a complex character. He has no qualms about killing men but he never kills children and he kills women only reluctantly and when they richly deserve it. He justifies killing at all on grounds that his victims all “had it coming,” but he knows he cannot always be certain of that. He is loyal to a fault and if you do him a favor, he’ll never forget it, even if you want him to. His girlfriend is a prostitute but that doesn’t bother him because her job doesn’t define her. He is a man of few words and he can be distant and brooding, but he also has a quick, dark sense of humor. In sum, you may question how he makes his living, but if you are in trouble, you want him on your side.

7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?

Readers can check out my author page on Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/edduncan), and they can visit my web page (www.eduncan.net). I’m also on Facebook (www.fb.com/ed.duncan 1210), Twitter ((@pigeonbloodred), and Pinterest.

8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

That’s difficult to answer because I don’t maintain a strict writing schedule. So it depends on how much time I happen to be writing per day when I’m writing at all. I worked on Pigeon-Blood Red for years because I wrote only at night after work and on weekends, and sometimes I set it aside for months on end. By contrast, I think I was able to finish The Last Straw in about 9 months.

9. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?


 


I relate to Paul the most. He is a greatly exaggerated version of my younger self, only he is taller, smarter, better looking, more resourceful, etc. In fact, Paul was meant to be the main focus of the novel, but Rico fought me at every turn and ultimately took over the narrative by dent of his strong personality.


 


10. If writing wasn’t your career, what would you be doing?


 


I would be traveling to every corner of the world. Actually, I’m doing quite a bit of that now. I’ll be leaving for China, Hong Kong, and Japan in late September, and I visited South Africa and Cuba last year. Assuming I had to earn a living, though, I would probably still be a lawyer.


 


11. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?


 


I’ll quote it:  


 


“Duncan is definitely an author to keep an eye on. He can do humour and he can do heartbreak. This was more than just a crime thriller [sic] it was also about love, marriage and second chances. Pigeon-Blood Red is a superb crime thriller debut and I’m looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.”


 


That was high praise indeed and I hope every novel in the trilogy lives up to it.

Huge thanks to Ed for joining me today and to Kelsey at Book Publicity Services for arranging this! 

Blog Tour: The Kindred Killers by @GrahamSmith1972 @bloodhoundbook #BoulderUnleashed



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Release date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Crime Fiction

Blurb:

Jake Boulder’s help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children. As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realises both murders have something unusual in common. 


With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer’s identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more? 


After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI are invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation. When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all the major US News outlets and the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts. But with the authorities against him can Boulder catch the killer before it’s too late?

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the North American blog tour for The Kindred Killers today!


Review:

This is the second book in a series featuring Jake Boulder, I read the first, Watching the Bodies a few months ago and was seriously impressed! Jake is a fantastic lead with a unique viewpoint, I may even have a bit of a crush on him and I don’t think I’m alone there. He has that whole bad boy thing going on, he’s kind of grumpy but his sarcasm and quick wit are so appealing to me. With a strong protagonist and an exciting plot combined with a fluid, easy writing style this series is one crime fiction fans don’t want to miss. 

The story follows Jake as he tries to help Alfonse find the people who killed his cousin and his entire family in a horrific manner. The methods the killer uses were sick, twisted and highly disturbing. This is a graphic read, Smith pulls no punches, it’s hard hitting and in your face, but very purposeful. The storyline was so timely as it deals with hate crimes and was especially unsettling in the wake of the current events here in the US. This had a complex plot and plenty of misdirection, I never could predict what would happen next. 

This was incredibly fast paced, an electrifying read with more thrills than my poor heart could handle. Since Boulder is not bound by the law he’s able to chase leads in exciting ways, really get down and dirty and is one of my favorite aspects of this series. Smith is such a unique storyteller with a strong voice, I cannot wait to see what happens in book three!!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author:


A time served joiner Graham has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 



An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009



He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and now two books in the crime series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

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Review:  Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 20, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb: 

She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.


The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…


When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before. 


As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago. 


Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack. 


But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer. 


Brilliantly gripping, Cold Blood will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath to the heart-stopping and shocking ending. 

I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for Cold Blood today!!


Review:

Erika Foster is back and I couldn’t be more excited! This is one of my favorite series out there and every single time a new book is released, I celebrate. I swear, not only does each book get better but there is a sense of maturity and growth, not only in Bryndza’s writing but also within the characters themselves. If you want to catch up with my reviews from the earlier books, here’s Dark Water and Last Breath. I read the first couple of books before I started blogging so no links I’m afraid! 

Erika undergoes quite a bit of emotional upheaval throughout this book and I loved seeing this side of her. Of course it wasn’t fun to see her struggling, but seeing how she handles various challenges and situations just provides such depth of character and really made me feel like I know her now. Peterson is still recovering and not on the job after the events in the last book, but Marsh is back and the dynamic between him and Erika is interesting to say the least. There’s also a new supervisor, Melanie and her and Erika are trying to find their footing with each other, Erika’s abrupt manner is not conducive to making friends. All of that to say, you go even deeper with Erika and team this time around and the characterization is just superb. 

This stays mostly in the present day as Erika works on a bizarre case where bodies are being found hacked up and stuffed into suitcases. There are flashbacks from a young woman named Nina starting in 2015 and ending up in the present day. At first I had no idea who Nina was, or why she was important but rest assured, things all come together in an impeccable manner that never fails to leave me breathless. 

A few distinct things make this series a standout for me. First, Bryndza always comes up with a fresh angle in regards to the cases Erika works on and this is no exception. You know how sometimes you’ll have a series you’re really into and then things sort of fall flat towards the middle? That doesn’t happen here, I’m just as invested and excited about these books as the day I finished book one. This really has everything a fantastic police procedural needs, it’s dark, gritty and disturbing, always intricately plotted, has a group of characters that you know and love, and pacing that leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author:


Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series. 


The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood is now available to pre-order.


Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies, and have been translated into 27 languages.


In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.


Review: Sweet Reality by Laura Heffernan 


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Release date: September 5, 2017

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb: 

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

 

Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

 

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Review: 

Most of you have heard me say this before, but for those of you that don’t already know, I’m a HUGE reality TV junkie, the trashier the better. If you saw my DVR you would probably cringe in embarrassment, but I have no shame. Real Housewives? Yep, every city. Teen Mom? Yes please, both OG, 2 and the U.K. versions. Top Chef? Uh huh. Big Brother? Hell yes, I can’t wait for the finale tonight although I can’t stand any of the remaining cast members. I could go on and on, but my point here is that combining my love of reading with reality TV is my idea of nirvana.

This is the second book in a series and unfortunately I did not have a chance to read the first. This one picks up over a year after the first book ends and the author provided just enough backstory for me to feel all caught up. Jen and her boyfriend Justin met on a reality show, they had a showmance, and against all odds are still happily dating. When they get invited to film a different show aboard a cruise ship they jump at the chance. It’s seven days of drama and I loved every bit of it!

This is a total guilty pleasure read, light, fluffy and totally outrageous. Jen is the girl next door type with a side of sass and her and Justin were adorable, even if their communication skills were awful, but their miscommunication was my fortune as it added some very juicy drama. There’s backstabbing, frenemies, plain old enemies, and it has a racy, naughty aspect as well. There were even some tender moments in the end that I wasn’t expecting. If you want a behind the scenes look at the world of reality TV and the manipulations and betrayals it produces, you’ll like this one! 

Overall rating: 3.5/5 (I knocked off half a star because I hate the cover. Yes, I’m awful but it bothers me that much.)

Thanks to the author for my review copy. 

Review: Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda @KairaRouda


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Release date: September 19, 2017

Publisher: Graydon House

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb: 

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…


Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.


But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? 


Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life. 

Review: 

I have to start by saying that as gorgeous as the cover for Best Day Ever is in a picture it is absolutely stunning in person! I think it may be my favorite book cover of the year so far. If you’re a sucker for a pretty book do yourself a favor and order a copy of this one. 

This is told solely from Paul’s point of view as him and his wife Mia head out to their lake house for a much needed weekend away. He speaks directly to the reader and at times it felt like he was slowly confessing his past sins, secrets and betrayals. He spoon feeds information only when he is ready, it’s very important for this man to be in total control at all times. The tension is a slow build, you know right from the start that not all is as perfect as Paul wants everyone to think it is, there is a simmering hostility bubbling underneath the surface of every single page. I questioned his reliability constantly and never knew if he was delusional, totally insane or maybe even telling the truth?!

Paul as a character is super over the top, his sinister behavior is extreme to the max, but he is an extremely well drawn villian, I really felt like I was getting a glimpse inside the mind of a very disturbed individual with terrible intentions. As you slowly learn what motivates him I was completely captivated by his past and also how his relationship with Mia first began and how it progressed to the point it’s at today.

I did see where things were headed fairly early on, but I think this was purposeful on Rouda’s part, she wanted you to pick up on some subtle hints and veiled threats, it really heightened the anticipation factor. And as far as guessing what would happen? Well, I wasn’t totally right anyway, there were plenty of surprises towards the end that I didn’t see coming at all, I always LOVE that! The ending was really strong, I especially liked the epilogue and felt it added something necessary and it left things pretty much reconciled which I always appreciate. This was a chilling look at one messed up marriage, if you like domestic suspense you’ll enjoy this one. 

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the Great Thought’s Ninja Review Team for my advanced copy and to Get Red PR for my physical ARC! All opinions are my own.”

Review: She Did It by Mel Sherratt @writermels


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Release date: September 19, 2017

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Blurb: 

Work colleague. Friend. Killer. 


From the million seller author comes a gripping psychological thriller. 


A successful businesswoman, Tamara enjoys her champagne lifestyle to the full. At least, that is the front she displays to the world. As well as being lonely, she’s running out of money. A promising new member of staff brings the injection of fresh blood needed to win the contract that will turn things around.


Working for Tamara is a perfect ruse for Esther. But, along with fake references and qualifications, she also has a plan for revenge. Sensing Tamara’s vulnerability, Esther uses their acquaintance as a way of getting close to someone who hurt her in the past. 


Tamara is keeping things secret. Esther has a dark side she is trying to hide. For both of them, lying is a habit. But when mistakes begin to catch up with Esther, and people start dying, Tamara realises she’s chosen the wrong person to trust as a friend. 

Review: 

I have to start by wishing Mel a very happy publication day!! Though she has written many books I’ve only read two, the books in the Eden Berrishford series and I’ve not read any of her psychological thrillers before, and boy have I been missing out! While her other books are more dark and gritty, this one was still dark, albeit in a different manner but there was still a very strong sinister vibe and twists and turns aplenty. 

The story focuses on two women, Tamara and Esther who at first glance seem worlds apart, but upon further inspection they may have more in common than meets the eye. Both have secrets in their pasts that they would like to keep quiet and both have a history of instability, making me constantly question who was reliable or if either of them even were?! The lies and betrayals run deep with these two and they both seemed to have hidden agendas that weren’t revealed until the end. 

True to Sherratt’s usual form this opens with a tense scene then flips to three months prior and it also occasionally flashes to the present day. This is fairly fast paced and kept me on my toes throughout as I tried to piece together the past events as well as try to connect them to what was happening currently. Sherratt has the unique ability to create characters that are memorable but also believable, the scenarios she conjures up are scary because you can actually imagine them happening, there is a realism to her writing style that is riveting. 

I feel like I’ve said enough in terms of the plot, but if you like psychological thrillers you will enjoy this one. That sense of uneasiness and dread is felt throughout, the various plot threads come together in a stunning way and the ending had the exact type of chill that I adore in a great book! 

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy. 

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: 


House of Spines was a great atmospheric psychological thriller. 

When We Were Worthy was about a small southern town after a devastating car accident. 

One Day in December was a lovely book from a fantastic author. 

Thief’s Mark was a decent romantic suspense, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more had I read the earlier books in the series.


The Missing Girls was awesome, I love this series! 

The Names of Dead Girls is the second in a series I’m loving!

Lies She Told was excellent, a book within a book that was extremely well done. 
Currently Reading 


Up Next: 



I’m hoping to get to a couple more this week, just not sure what yet! 

How was your week? 

Review: Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix @quirkbooks


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Release date: September 19, 2017

Publisher: Quirk Books

Genre: Non Fiction 

Blurb: 

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried. 

Review: 

Paperbacks from Hell is not the sort of book I would normally gravitate towards, in general I don’t real much non fiction and I rarely read a horror novel. But when I was a kid, mainly from around nine to thirteen I read a ton of R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike and the southern gothic horror of V. C. Andrews. When I was offered a review copy of this book I thought it would be a great opportunity to revisit some long forgotten authors, but I didn’t anticipate being so fascinated by the history of horror fiction! 

This is a cross between a textbook and a coffee table book, it sounds weird, and it totally is, this book definitely has a touch of odd, but it works brilliantly. It’s a really cool book, the pages are matte and the quality is outstanding. There is a plethora of amazingly horrifying old book covers that made me laugh and cringe, they’re so bad they’re good, and Hendrix has culminated a list of the best of the worst divided into chapters based on what was hot at the time. There are sections on creepy kids, cults, gothic romance, animal attacks and science mishaps and much more. He also provides some insight into what publishing houses were going for during the seventies and eighties and it was shocking, eye opening and totally entertaining. 

This was a really fun read, a total blast from the past and one that even caught my husband’s eye while I was reading it. Mostly in a WTF are you reading now kind of way, but still.  I can’t wait to leave this laying around the house, it’ll be an awesome conversation piece and I can see myself flipping through it again and again for amusement. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan @CateHolahan @crookedlanebks


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb: 

Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.


Liza Jones has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing down in both her professional and her personal life, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine.


Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone providing for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, Beth sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the river.


Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the Hudson and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own. 

Review: 

There is something about a book within a book that always intrigues me and when it’s done well it can be mind blowingly good. Lies She Told is done extremely well, it’s cleverly plotted, the protagonist is an author, (I LOVE books that give me a glimpse into the literary world) and is SO addictive, it really is unputdownable, I raced through it in one sitting. Ok, I did have to stop a few times, my kids wanted food. So needy. But I was totally engrossed by every single page of this twisty thriller. 

This alternates between Liza, an suspense author who has thirty days to deliver her next book and it better be good because her last novel? Forgettable. She’s undergoing experimental fertility treatments and dealing with the disappearance of her husband’s best friend, Nick. Beth is the lead in Liza’s work in progress, a young new mom who finds out her husband is cheating. The lines between reality and fiction are blurred when Liza’s real life is eerily similar to Beth’s fictional life. Or is Beth’s life real and Liza’s actually fake? Is Liza taking inspiration from her own life when writing Beth’s story? Unreliable narration at it’s finest ladies and gentleman, I had no idea who was telling the truth and then Holahan kept delivering killer twists that left me breathless. 

Lies She Told has SO many layers that slowly get peeled back, it’s one of those books where you really need to pay attention, both in Liza’s chapters as well as Beth’s. It’s highly complex but not confusing, the switch between narrators is seamless and I was equally engaged by both storylines. It’s intelligent and compulsive with a unique premise that will have you flipping pages faster and faster right up until the dramatic conclusion. I highly recommend this one for suspense lovers looking for a fresh, unique take on a psychological thriller!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad @ericrickstad


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eric Rickstad delivers another Canaan Crime novel and features once again detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a depraved killer through rural Vermont.


Every murder tells a story. Some stories never end . . . 


In a remote northern Vermont town, college student Rachel Rath is being watched. She can feel the stranger’s eyes on her, relentless and possessive. And she’s sure the man watching her is the same man who killed her mother and father years ago: Ned Preacher, a serial rapist and murderer who gamed the system to get a light sentence. Now, he’s free.


Detective Frank Rath adopted Rachel, his niece, after the shocking murder of her parents when she was a baby. Ever since, Rath’s tried to protect her from the true story of her parents’ deaths. But now Preacher is calling Rath to torment him. He’s threatening Rachel and plotting cruelties for her, of the flesh and of the mind. When other girls are found brutally murdered, and a woman goes missing, Rath and Detective Sonja Test must untangle the threads that tie these new crimes and some long-ago nightmares together. Soon they will learn that the truth is more perverse than anyone could guess, rife with secrets, cruel desires, and warped, deadly loyalty.


Mesmerizing, startling, and intricately plotted, The Names of Dead Girls builds relentlessly on its spellbinding premise, luring readers into its dark and macabre mystery, right to its shocking end.

Review: 

Last month I read the first book in this series, The Silent Girls and really enjoyed it so I’ve been looking forward to The Names of Dead Girls and was really excited to start it. If you haven’t read the first book, here’s your warning to stop reading now because there will be some mild spoilers for the first book. 

Things pick up almost immediately where they ended in the last book, Rath is on edge knowing that Preacher is out of prison and taunting him with phone calls and veiled threats. His daughter, Rachel is also on high alert as she keeps getting the feeling that she’s being watched. Rickstad wrote the scenes where Rachel’s being observed in such a chilling manner, I could feel her fear and panic and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. 

The characterization in this installment is solid as you learn even more about Rath’s past and also more about his relationship with Rachel. Sonja is also back and her family life plays a role in this story, I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens to her both personally and professionally in the future. I will say that though you could read this as a standalone I wouldn’t recommend it. There are many characters from the first book back again in this one and you would be missing out on some pertinent background information. Plus, it was a really great read. 

Rickstad’s writing style is super dark, gritty and disturbing and the atmosphere plays a huge role again. The small Vermont town where this is set is stark and this time its shrouded in fog which added a sense of gloom and doom to a story already full of despair. There is a very strong sense of underlying dread and evil lurking throughout and the tension builds at a steady pace making this a true page turner. I liked this book even more than the first one and am very eager to see what happens next. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.