Monster In The Closet (The Baltimore Series Book 5) by Karen Rose

Book blurb…

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime…

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter’s stables so that she can observe the program’s security director – her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she’s getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne’s handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

My thoughts…

The writing, in particular the special bond that builds and the reconnection had me a blubbering mess, and not a third of the way into the book! I loved all the characters in this story with one exception! You will have to read the story to know who this is! And Taylor is a character that any reader will love, simply because she is strong, capable, but also vulnerable.

The father/daughter relationships tugged at my heartstrings more than once as I read, bumping this novel up into ‘page-turner’ category.

This story is well worth your precious reading time.

Review also posted on Goodreads

Published by Hachette Australia

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The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

Book blurb…

 ‘If you only read one thriller this year, make it The Marsh King’s Daughter. It’s sensational’ CLARE MACKINTOSH The suspense thriller of the year – The Marsh King’s Daughter will captivate you from the start and chill you to the bone.

‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I would have been a lot more understanding of my mother. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When the notorious child abductor known as the Marsh King escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

My thoughts…

Wow, wow and wow! This story will hold you captive until the end. I loved the use of the Hans Christen’s tale of the same name. Brilliant!

The Marsh King’s Daughter is the kind of story that lingers long after the last page is read. Even though it is fiction, this story is so powerful and so well told I was left wondering about some real-life abduction cases and what makes a person capable of such appalling cruelty to another human being.

Little else to be said about this story other than if this type of plotline/thriller interests you, the Marsh King’s Daughter will not disappoint.

Review also posted on Goodreads

Published by Hachette Australia

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The Lake and the Lost Girl by Jacquelyn Vincenta

Book blurb…

An intricately plotted debut about love, obsession, and the destruction of a family from the inside out.

When Frank’s single-minded pursuit for Mary’s lost poems puts his family in jeopardy, Lydia throws herself into the mystery, hoping to solve it and bring peace back to her home. But as Lydia begins investigating, her son takes action with a plan of his own…one that will bring the family to a breaking point and change Lydia’s destiny forever.

It’s 1999 in White Hill, Michigan, and Lydia Carroll’s husband is in love with a dead woman. English Professor Frank Carroll has invested years searching for the lost works of local poet Mary Stone Walker, whose mysterious disappearance in 1939 is only rivaled by the beautiful words she left behind.


My thoughts…

This book fascinated me from beginning to end – mysterious, mesmeric, and marvelous storytelling that shows how easily a family can destroy itself once obsession and disrespect enter a relationship.

Told predominantly in current day with glimpses from Mary’s life sixty years earlier. We get an understanding of the how she lived and suffered in her marriage. The story is well plotted and easy to follow.

I look forward to future novels by Jacquelyn Vincent.

The review is also published on Goodreads

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The Switch by Joseph Finder

Book blurb…

Michael Tanner is heading home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong laptop from security. What he doesn’t know is that the owner is US senator Susan Robbins, and her laptop contains top secret files that should never have been on there in the first place.

And Senator Robbins is not the only one who wants the laptop back… Suddenly, Tanner is a hunted man. On the run, terrified for the safety of his family – he is in desperate need of a plan – but who can he trust?

My thoughts…

LISA GARDNER described The Switch as “Completely original, emotionally satisfying, expertly twisted. The thriller to read this year.”

I could not agree more.  I loved everything about his book: the plot, the characters and how the suspense forced me to keep reading. This is a genuine page turner, extraordinarily plotted, and that ending…? Inspired. Love, love loved it.

I have not read any stories by Joseph Finder before but be assured I will read him again.

If you like reading thrillers, make sure this one goes on your to be read pile.

This review has been placed on Goodreads

 

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Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Book blurb…

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.”

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out — and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date — one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

My thoughts…

Clara and Nick’s life totally consumed me and I felt for them both.

My only negative (and it is tiny) is the way Clara talks herself into some terrible states, but it’s understandable from a narrative structure point of view (as it is told in first person, which did make me relate to her and care about her and feel her grief).

There is some very powerful imagery, especially early on in the book. Then it ramps up to be more of a mystery – and I do love a good mystery. The way the author chose to write the story from alternating perspectives is fantastic and had me wondering all the way through the book just when and how the two events would collide. Such an intricate plot in many ways and all the threads were tied up in the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to readers of general and women’s fiction.

This  review is also on Goodreads

Published by Harlequin (Australia). TEEN / MIRA

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Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Book blurb…

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters — her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

My thoughts…

I thoroughly enjoyed this story (and not just because it features a faithful canine companion named Stitch). The assistance dog, as a character, added a uniqueness to this novel, which I really loved.

My feelings about the character, Amelia, switched from being annoyed AT her, to feeling scared FOR her, then to cheering her on in her quest (while coping with personal circumstances I could not imagine having to endure).

Creating such a range of emotions in the reader demonstrates how capable this author is at their craft. I enjoy a story written in first person, usually because the pace is such that I cannot put the book down. This was definitely the case when reading Not A Sound.

Not the first time I have read this author and certainly not the last.

This review is also on Goodreads

Not a Sound published by Harlequin (Australia) TEEN/MIRA

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The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Book blurb…

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

My thoughts…

This book was as good as I expected it would be.  Having read this author before. Lisa Unger’s storytelling grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page.

Both main characters have different emotional demons that they battle independently on a daily basis. The novel reads like two different stories, but with two common denominators: the house that needed love and the evil that needed to be confronted.

The Red Hunter comes under my ‘highly recommended read’ list. Definitely one for your ‘to be read’ pile if you like a great mystery/thriller.

This review is on Goodreads

Published by Simon and Schuster (Australia)

Simon & Schuster (Australia)
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The White Road by Sarah Lotz

Book blurb…

Death waits at the top of the world in this adrenaline-laced thriller from Sarah Lotz, perfect for anyone who loves the film The Descent or John Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air.

Adrenaline-junky Simon Newman sneaks onto private land to explore a dangerous cave in Wales with a strange man he’s met online. But Simon gets more than he bargained for when the expedition goes horribly wrong. Simon emerges, the only survivor, after a rainstorm trap the two in the cave. Simon thinks he’s had a lucky escape.

But his video of his near-death experience has just gone viral.

Suddenly Simon finds himself more famous than he could ever have imagined. Now he’s faced with an impossible task: he’s got to defy death once again, and film the entire thing. The whole world will be watching. There’s only on place on earth for him to pit himself against the elements: Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

But Everest is also one of the deadliest spots on the planet. Two hundred and eighty people have died trying to reach its peak.

And Simon’s luck is about to run out.

My thoughts…

I am still a little gob smacked by this book. Absolutely fascinating – from story concept to crafting the plot. The White Road is the type of novel that you keep pondering, well past the last page.

Riveting, remarkable and highly recommended. The White Road has given me a new respect for those adventure-seeking people who enjoy thrills, spills and taking on Mother Nature.

This review is also on Goodreads and is published by Hachette Australia

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Fatal Mistake by Karen M. Davis

Book blurb…

Thrilling new crime from Karen M. Davis

Detective Lexie Rogers is tough, smart and at the top of her game. She’s seen it all, from bikies, blood and betrayal to drugs, deviants and deception … and the violent knife attack that almost killed her as a young cop on the beat.

Lexie’s sent on the job of a lifetime — to go deep undercover, as beautiful Lara Wild, a drug distributor, to expose a huge dealing ring among Sydney’s most treacherous criminals. What she discovers is that being undercover is the safest place to be, especially when you’re a cop with target on your head, but one false move means she’ll die. And creeping from the shadows is the darkness of her past, something she can never outrun.

Lexie knows she can’t trust anyone — but the trouble is, she’s not even sure if she can trust herself.

My thoughts…

For the third time, Karen Davis has written a story that I loved. I particulalry enjoyed catching up with the characters. (NB: the Lexie Roger’s series can still be read as stand alone reads. Don’t put off buying this book because you think you need to read books 1 and 2 first.)

This story, like the previous two in the series, has you side-by-side with Detective Lexie Rogers and her colleagues as they delve into the seedy side of Sydney to bring the bad guys to justice. I often find myself second-guessing crime plots, but not this time. Karen Davis writes her stories so well. I couldn’t guess who the person was who would ultimately put Lexie in the most danger, or if she would find her way out to live another day (and maybe in another novel!)

If you like crime thrillers, make sure this one goes on your reading list.

Well done. Karen. Looking forward to more great and realistic stories in the future.

This review is also on Goodreads and Australian Women Writers Challenge

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Jewel in the North by Tricia Stringer

Book blurb…

Jewel in the North: A longstanding feud of land and love, a family torn apart and a quest for the ultimate prize…

A breathtaking historical family saga of love, death and forgiveness and a quest for the Jewel in the North

1895 The Flinders Ranges are a beautiful but harsh landscape as Joseph Baker, a pastoralist in that unforgiving environment, knows all too well. For three generations his family have farmed the land, married and had children at their property at Wildu Creek, but now, struggling with hostility from the local community for his choice of wife, Joseph finds himself fighting to save not just his friends and family but his very existence.

His son William has his own battles to fight: not only the drought that takes over the land but his own despair, as he faces rejection from the woman he loves. Meanwhile, a ruthless enemy will stop at nothing to take from William what he considers to be his. Could the vicious and cunning Charles Wiltshire be his nemesis? Or does another man, in a quest for the Jewel of the North, hold the key to his destruction?

As the First World War looms on the horizon, two men struggle to survive both the elements and each other on a quest to find that they hold dear — but only one will have the courage to stand strong.

The deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Flinders Ranges series.

My thoughts…

I have been looking forward to reading this third book in the series.  I loved every bit of Jewel of the North, particularly Patricia Stringer’s ability to transport her readers to those early years in Australia’s history. The pictures she paints of the hardship suffered by families working their properties draws the reader in so they, too, experience the hostility of the land. She stirs every sense in her readers until there is no denying you are right there, in the Australian landscape with the characters.

Speaking of characters, there are a lot in this three-book series and all are easy to love and to hate and that means, when good things happen, or when ruthless enemies face their comeuppance, it makes for a very satisfying read.

I cannot recommend it highly enough for lovers of historical fiction.

A definite for the to TBR pile.

This review is also on Goodreads and Australian Women Writers Challenge

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