Review: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Release date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Flatiron

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Review:

Is there anything better than being able to count on a thriller author to consistently surprise you?! In a genre that can oftentimes feel stale and repetitive AF seems to be that rare author for me that keeps things fresh and exciting time and time again and her latest is no exception.

Face blindness as a critical plot point was absolutely fascinating for me, the sheer idea of it is terrifying, seriously imagine not being able to recognize your loved ones by sight? So interesting! Besides that you have this married couple that both seem unreliable and untrustworthy from the jump, then there’s a third POV that I struggled to work out how they would fit into the narrative, but when all was revealed I was 🤯 I found it to be incredibly clever and I didn’t see where it was going. It was also fast paced, atmospheric and extremely addictive reading. Once again the author pulled one over on me and I loved everything about it!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

Goodreads

Release date: May 13, 2021

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

Review:

You know those books that are all consuming type of reads, the ones where when something or someone from your real life interrupts you it takes a second for you to renter the real world and leave the fictional one behind? That was this sort of book for me, I am so attached to the world of Kim Stone and company that once I started this one I was truly absorbed and had a difficult time switching my mind off when I had to set it down. I found myself making dinner or folding laundry and thinking about the case the team was trying to solve. So I guess you could say this one got in my head and under my skin!

Marsons raised the stakes here, this is one of her darker, grittier and more disturbing books in the series and is a contender for one of my favorites. As always there was a fresh and intriguing new angle here, I swear the plot lines in this series just keep getting better and more fascinating and once again, I learned something new. So you have a tense and exciting plot and then as always you have the characters themselves, and just when I think they’ve been developed just about as far as they can be there’s another layer to them that gets peeled back revealing something new. Kim’s old nemesis Tracy Frost plays a large role here, mostly as a subplot and the repartee between these two cracks me up. Surprisingly I loved learning more about Frost and her personal life as well and will be interested to see what kind of role she will have in future books. The case was wrapped up in the end but the ending left me desperate for the next book, sort of a mini cliffhanger. Once again highly recommended by me, this series never lets me down and is always a guaranteed five star, heart pounding, twisty, intense must read.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

Release date: November 13, 2020

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Amazon

Blurb:

You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional kill. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

With her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.

Review:

This is book thirteen in the beloved Kim Stone series and there is absolutely no sign of slowing down, each book packs a powerful punch and I can honestly say that each of the thirteen books is strong in its own right. Sometimes a series can have a few books that are just ok but I can assure you there are no duds here. Per usual this installment had me firmly in its clutches from the first chapter and I had a difficult time setting it down when real life beckoned. I feel like this series should be pictured under the definition of the word gripping in the dictionary, you seriously cannot put a Kim Stone book down easily!

As soon as I finished this I spent some time contemplating what made Deadly Cry such an incredible read for me. Is it the amazingly well drawn characters that I talk about like they’re my real friends? Yes, but it’s more than that too. Is it the fresh and exciting cases that the team are trying to solve? Definitely, I always learn something new and am captivated too. Maybe it’s the humorous writing style mixed with brutal depictions of crimes that creates a perfect balance for me. But what I really think sets it apart for me personally is that I really feel like I’m working alongside Kim and team to solve a case, that’s how vividly I can picture what’s going on. There is just something really unique and special about the authors writing style that draws the reader in and makes you feel like you’re inside the story with the characters. It’s quite the experience and as odd as it may be for me to say about a crime novel, it’s a special experience as well and one that I cherish each time I get to read a news book. As always, highly recommended by me!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Last One to See Her by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyauthor

Goodreads

Release date: June 4, 2020

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

He says he is innocent. So why did he lie?


Mathew Hillock was the last person to see eleven-year-old Jodie Willis alive. When her dead body turns up four days later in his garden shed, the police think he’s guilty of her murder. So do most people in the town. But there’s no DNA evidence to link him to the crime.
 
Battling the weight of public opinion and mental illness due to a childhood head trauma, he sinks into a deep depression.
 
Can Mathew do what the police failed to do and find evidence linking the real killer to the crime?
The Last One to See Her is a terrifying story of what happens when you’re accused of a crime and no one believes you are innocent.

Review:

Do you like your thrillers dark, fast paced, disturbing and wholly unsettling? Then allow me to introduce you to the work of Mark Tilbury. He’s one of the few thriller authors who I can count on to always deliver a story that is at once compelling and twisty and his latest is no exception. There’s a reason he’s referred to as Twisted Tilbury after all…

As much as I love a dark plot if you add in some great characterization then I’m really satisfied and this book had some fantastic characters. Some I just adored and some I hated beyond comprehension, but they were all very well drawn. The plot was also great, you have several suspects and no clue who the bad guy really is right until the end and I never saw anything coming ahead of time either. The tension is palpable the whole time but as you get closer to the end things reach a whole new level of tense and the end was powerful and satisfying.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: Killing Mind by Angela Marsons @writeangie @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: May 13, 2020

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

It had seemed so simple. Get in, get the information, get out. But now they were getting inside her mind and she didn’t know how to stop them…

When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.

But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.

Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.

Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.

Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.

With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?

An unbelievably gripping crime thriller from multi-million copy bestseller Angela Marsons that will have you hooked on the Detective Kim Stone series.  

Review:

Not many authors can continue writing a successful series twelve books in, but OMG can Angie Marsons continue to wow me! There has not been one moment of the Kim Stone series that’s felt stale or boring for me me, each book is just as exciting and fresh as the last one and I I have my fingers crossed that this series will continue on forever. I think it’s especially difficult to keep a crime series feeling original so it’s a huge feat that when I finish each book I just immediately want more, and y’all know how disenchanted I’ve been with thrillers lately anyway but this series is the real deal and book twelve is another winner!

This time around Kim and team are dealing with murders surrounding a cult and I’ve long had a morbid fascination with cult life. I’ve read several fiction and non fiction books about the subject but low and behold Marsons managed to enlighten me with a side of cults I’ve never heard about before and it was both interesting and awful. The author always does her research, it’s very apparent in each of her books and this was no exception. It’s not often I finish a thriller and feel like I’ve learned something but when I finish a Kim Stone book I have!

I always love catching up with Kim and crew and now more then ever I needed the familiarity and comfort that well loved characters provide. Each book allows another layer to be peeled back on the teams lives and they’re so well crafted that you swear they’re real, living, breathing people. Per usual I had absolutely nothing figured out before all was revealed as the author is a master at pulling the wool over my eyes. I can’t say enough good things about this series or this book, so get reading if you haven’t taken my advice before now!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Torment by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: August 5, 2019

Publisher: Bloodhound

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Who can you really trust?

Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.

Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.

But who would want Beth dead?

Does the past hold the clue?

And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice. 

Review:

When I’m in the mood for a fast paced, dark and twisted thriller I know I can always count on a Mark Tilbury book to deliver and this was no exception. I swear his books are all unputdownable, once I start I’m instantly sucked in and I have a hard time stopping for anything!

One of my favorite things about this one was that it was nonstop action, even in the more sedate parts of the story there was always a feel that something more was about to happen, there was a sense of menace and danger always lurking around the corner. Or the next page haha but seriously it was such an unsettling read, Beth was basically on pins and needles throughout which also made me anxious, a sure sign of a good psychological thriller.

This was definitely both twisted and twisty, Tilbury never shies away from exploring the dark and depraved depths of humanity, if you like very bold and dark crime reads you have to try his books. While I did predict a couple of the smaller twists, I definitely didn’t have everything worked out in the end, which was both clever and a bit shocking. Definitely recommended by me, but again it’s dark, don’t read this late at night.

Torment in three words: Menacing, Twisted and Dark

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game. 
They’re fighting for their lives.

Review:

I love a locked room mystery, there’s something old school about them for me, but this one had a cool, modern twist. I don’t know anyone would really likes elevators, but the thought of being trapped inside one is enough to make me anxious just imagining it! Throw in a group of pretty despicable people who all have secrets and I’m all in.

This flips back and forth between the elevator and the elusive Sara Hall as she begins her professional career. I found this to be a nice balance between the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere in the elevator and the more calm, sedate pace of Sara’s story. I was equally interested in both timelines, there was plenty going on and I was dying to know what could have possibly lead up to them all being trapped in an elevator together under such strange circumstances. There was so much hostility and intense anger swirling around the coworkers that you just knew some crazy shit must’ve went down in the past and I was SO here for that.

Was this plausible? Nope, but for a super fun summer thriller, it’s great! If you can suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride this is really fun and makes for quite the page turner.

The Escape Room in three words: Entertaining, Suspenseful and Creative

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Review: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @orendabooks @PaulBurston #TheCloserIGet

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: May 11, 2019

Publisher: Orenda

Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

Review:

Talk about a book that gets right under your skin! Social media has become firmly ingrained in all of lives and this book takes a hard look at the dark side and is a truly thought provoking read, full of paranoia, dread and just an overall feeling of uneasiness.

You hear from both Evie and Tom as this flips back and forth between them both in alternating chapters and I questioned how reliable they both were the entire way through, it kept me on my toes for sure. At times they both come across as slightly unhinged and desperate and as the details of their relationship are slowly and methodically revealed it’s unclear who is victim and who is villain, maybe both of them? As I said earlier, this one makes you think, not only was I thinking about the characters use of social media and how deeply this effected their lives, you can’t help but think about how your own behaviors online as well.

This was a very timely read and made all the more unsettling because it’s something that could easily happen and already does I’m sure. Totally recommended by me, this was an excellent and dark read that consumed me.

The Closer I Get in three words: Unsettling, Obsessive, and Engrossing

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Last Summer by Kerry Lonsdale

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union

Blurb:

Lifestyle journalist Ella Skye remembers every celebrity she interviewed, every politician she charmed between the sheets, and every socialite who eyed her with envy. The chance meeting with her husband, Damien; their rapid free fall into love; and their low-key, intimate wedding are all locked in her memory. But what she can’t remember is the tragic car accident that ripped her unborn child from her. Ella can’t even recall being pregnant.

Hoping to find the memories of a lost pregnancy that’s left her husband devastated and their home empty, Ella begins delving into her past when she’s assigned an exclusive story about Nathan Donovan, a retired celebrity adventurer who seems to know more about her than she does him. To unravel the mystery of her selective memory loss, Ella follows Nathan from the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the frozen slopes of southeast Alaska. There she discovers the people she trusts most aren’t the only ones keeping secrets from her—she’s hiding them from herself. Ella quickly learns that some truths are best left forgotten.

Review:

I’ve been a huge fan of KL’s books since her debut and this book is such a big departure from her books, but in a really awesome way! Her other books have been solidly Women’s Fiction and this was much edgier and much sexier than her previous books and I loved every single page.

This was basically the definition of a binge read for me, I was supposed to be buddy reading it with my friends Chelsea and Jamie and ended up tearing through it because I seriously could NOT put it down! It was such a fast and well paced read, full of shocks and surprises that I finished it on record time because I was just as eager to learn what happened last summer as Ella was.

Memory loss is nothing new in books but KL manages to put her own unique spin on it that was totally unexpected and incredibly fascinating. Besides that angle, you have this surprisingly steamy side that I wasn’t expecting at all, but I really loved it and felt like it gave the whole thing a really cool edge. I’m always impressed when authors try something new from their usual style and I’m so impressed by what KL did here. This was a highly entertaining and wildly addictive read that is perfect for summer!

Last Summer in three words: Compulsive, Sexy and Tense

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Child’s Play by Angela Marsons @bookouture @writeangie

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: July 11, 2019

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck. 

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. 

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

The addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy, number one bestseller Angela Marsons explores the dark side of child prodigies and will have you absolutely hooked.

Review:

If over the years my raving and gushing over this superb series hasn’t somehow already convinced you to read them, let me try and persuade you one more time. This is the eleventh book in the incomparable Kim Stone series, and yes you could technically read any of them as standalones, but I don’t recommend doing so because every single dang book is phenomenal. This is quite the feat because usually after only a handful of books a series can get boring but there is absolutely none of that here. Each installment raises the bar somehow and just solidified Marsons spot as one of my favorite crime writers on the planet.

As usual Kim and her team have several things going on at all once. Of course they have the main investigation where someone is killing people linked to child prodigies which is a subject that I found endlessly fascinating and was obviously well researched by the author. All of the members of the team has separate personal issues cropping up as well, Penn is called back to his old team during a trial leaving Kim and crew a man down, Stacey is having some sort of issue at home but is keeping quiet, Bryant is just good old Bryant, driving Kim and his wife crazy, and then a new temporary member joins the team just to keep things interesting. It may sound like a lot, and it is, for sure, but it’s not too much. In fact, it’s the perfect balance between personal and professional life that makes these characters feel like my own dear friends.

Marsons is one of the few crime writers left who always, without fail, manages to surprise me. I never work out what direction the case will take, much less who the actual killer is and the excitement and action is nonstop. You cannot put one of her books down once you get started and this was no exception, another highly impressive addition to a fantastic series that I cannot recommend highly enough!

Child’s Play in three words: Thrilling, Complex, and Pacey

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.