First Cut

by Judy Mitchell and TJ Melinek

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I’ve always been interested in the medical examiner field, and this book while it was a work of fiction was written by forensic pathologist which makes it very realistic and very knowledgeable! If you like medical drama’s, and solving a mystery than FIRST CUT will be perfect for you!

 

About the book:  A gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

About the Authors: Husband and Wife duo release their first fiction collaboration. If you are a non fiction reader or interested in the medical examiner field check out there book: Working Stiff: Two Years,  262 Bodies, and the Making of A Medical Examiner 

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Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.

T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

Thank you Netgalley and Hanover Square Press for allowing me to read FIRST CUT. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Kill Club

by Wendy Heard

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About the Book:A haunting thriller about a woman who attempts to save her brother’s life by making a dangerous pact with a network of vigilantes who’ve been hunting down the predators of Los Angeles.

Jazz can’t let her younger brother die.

Their foster mother Carol has always been fanatical, but with Jazz grown up and out of the house, Carol takes a dangerous turn that threatens thirteen-year-old Joaquin’s life. Over and over, child services fails to intervene, and Joaquin is running out of time.

Then Jazz gets a blocked call from someone offering a solution. There are others like her, people the law has failed. They’ve formed an underground network of “helpers,” each agreeing to murder the abuser of another. They’re taking back their power and leaving a trail of bodies throughout Los Angeles—dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz joins them, they’ll take care of Carol for good.

All she has to do is kill a stranger.

Jazz soon learns there’s more to fear than getting caught carrying out her assignment. The leader of the club has a zero tolerance policy for mistakes.

And the punishment for disobeying orders is death.

Book Excerpt: The ceiling above the crowd sparkles with strings of golden lights. They twinkle just bright enough to illuminate the faces. I adjust a microscopic issue with my toms and run my fingers through my bangs, straightening them over my eyes. The guys are tuning up, creating a clatter of discordant notes in the monitors. When they’re done, they approach my kit for our usual last-minute debate about the set list. Dao humps his bass in his ready-to-play dance, black hair swishing around his shoulders. “Dude, stop,” Matt groans and readjusts the cable that connects his Telecaster to his pedal board.

“Your mom loves my dancing,” Dao says.

“You dance like Napoleon Dynamite,” Matt retorts.

“Your mom dances like Napoleon Dynamite.”

Andre raises his hands. “Y’all both dance like Napoleon Dynamite, and so do both your moms, so let’s just—”

I wave a stick at them. “Guys. Focus. The sound guy is watching. We’re three minutes behind.” I have no patience for this shit tonight. This all feels extra and stupid. I should be doing something to help Joaquin. His dwindling supply of insulin sits at the front of my brain like a ticking clock.

The guys get into their spots, the distance between them set by muscle memory. Andre leans forward into the mic and drawls, “Arright DTLA, lez get a little dirty in here.” His New Orleans accent trickles off his tongue like honey.

The room inhales, anticipates, a sphere of silence.

“Two three four,” I yell. I clack my sticks together and we let loose, four on the floor and loud as hell. I’m hitting hard tonight. It feels great. I need to hit things. My heart beats in tempo. My arms fly through the air, the impact of the drums sharp in my joints, in my muscles, the kick drum a pulse keeping the audience alive. This is what I love about drumming, this forcing of myself into the crowd, making their hearts pound in time to my beat…

 

 

About the Author: Wendy Heard, author of Hunting Annabelle, was born in San Francisco and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles. When not writing, she can be found hiking the Griffith Park trails, taking the Metro and then questioning this decision, and haunting local bookstores.

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Thank you Netgalley and MIRA books for allowing me to read THE KILL CLUB. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Last Affair

by Margot Hunt

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I could not put this book down. I read it so fast and enjoyed every minute of it. This book was all over the place but in a good way. The author weaved such a story with so many characters and their take on the events as they unfolded. We got many different points of view and got the see the people and how 1 affair unraveled and destroyed so many people. Yet that wasn’t even the shocking moment. While I knew many of the characters were unhinged I never ever guessed that what went down was going to go down! WOW – totally didn’t see it coming.

I loved how the book opens with the murder then we get all the months leading up to the climatic moment. Got to say in this one I can’t think of one main character that was likable or reliable.

If your looking for a great book to gift this holiday season to you or a fellow bookworm. Please think about adding THE LAST AFFAIR to your list. I know I will be reading more by this author in the future.

About the book: Gwen Landon—poster woman for perfect wife, mother, and suburban bliss—is found brutally bludgeoned to death behind her Floridian McMansion. Beautiful and beloved by her community, Gwen makes an unlikely victim. But just a scratch below the surface of her perfectly curated world reveals one far more sinister. When looking back over the six months leading up to her death, the question of, “who would do this?” quickly shifts to, “who wouldn’t?”

Commercially successful food blogger and mother of three, Nora Holliday never imagined she would have the nerve, let alone time, to get involved an affair. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she does whatever it takes to keep it all together. But when Nora runs into Gwen Landon’s husband at a hotel in Orlando, his easy kindness and warmth proves too tempting to resist. As their affair spirals dangerously out of control, it seems things can’t get more complicated—until Gwen turns up dead.

Prologue Excerpt: Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard.

There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine.

Again, except for the dead body.

The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death. The responding officers called the sheriff, who responded by sending in a full investigative team. The medical examiner was now doing a preliminary examination of the body, while police officers combed the area for additional evidence. Two detectives, Mike Monroe and Gavin Reddick—separated by twenty years and sixty pounds—were overseeing the operation, standing at the edge of the patio under the shade of the pergola. It was the third week in April, but this was South Florida and the temperature had already climbed into the low nineties.

“The paving stone came from the stack out in the front yard. They were delivered last week by the company who’s installing the driveway,” Detective Reddick said. He was the younger of the two men and had a wiry frame and angular face.

“Weapon of convenience. Suggests it wasn’t premeditated,” Detective Monroe said. He had a ruddy complexion and a full head of thick dark hair, swept back off his face. A strand never moved out of place, even in a strong wind.

Plus he dropped the weapon, rather than taking it with him. Probably panicked.”

“Could be a she,” Monroe said mildly.

Reddick shrugged. “Blunt force trauma to the back of the head? You know the stats. Overwhelming likelihood that it’s a man, and probably someone the victim was intimately involved with. Husband, maybe a boyfriend.”

“The husband was with the daughter when she called it in.”

“Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, and then had her place the call.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

The family had been sequestered indoors, both to keep them out of the way, and so that the officers waiting in the house with them could observe anything they did or said. Other than the husband, there was a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son. The daughter was reportedly distraught, while the husband and son had both been eerily quiet. It was possible they were in shock.

“Do we have an ID on the victim?” Reddick asked.

“It’s her house,” Monroe grunted.

“Yeah, but I like doing things the official way, you know? I’s dotted, t’s crossed, all of that. Building a case, basic detective work.”

Despite the chilling scene in front of them—the woman’s body still sprawled on the grass, the back of her head a pulpy, bloody mess—the corner of Monroe’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. “Sure, kid, tell me all about basic detective work. I’ve only been doing this for, what…thirty-two years now? The husband ID’d her. Victim is Gwen Landon, age forty-nine. Married, mother of two. Husband said she hasn’t had any recent conflict with anyone.”

“Other than the person who caved in the back of her head with a paving stone,” Reddick pointed out.

“Wouldn’t be the first time a husband didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did.”

“Possible. But there’s another possibility, too.”

“What’s that?”

Reddick turned to look at his partner. His eyes were small and dark, and he had a habit of squinting when he concentrated intently on something.

“The husband is a liar,” Reddick said.

 

 

Author BioMargot Hunt is a critically acclaimed author of psychological suspense. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

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Thank you Netgalley and MIRA books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of THE LAST AFFAIR.

The Escape Room

by Megan Goldin

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The Escape Room has probably been one of the most buzzed about books this summer on Instagram and such. So many people have it on their TBR’s so I was so happy to be able to read it before it’s publication date. I want to go on an escape room adventure sometime, however not if they are like this! 🙂 This book is such a great escape and I enjoyed reading it. Were the characters like-able? NO! I don’t think I liked any of them. They were some of the most hateful people. However I think that was the author’s intentions, at least I hope it was. Was the book believable? I’m not sure for me no it wasn’t, it was good and predictable and a entertaining book to read. The one thing I really liked that I think is absolutely perfect for this book is we read the ending more or less as the prologue and then we go back to the beginning where it all began. So while we know the ending we get to see how it all unfolds and unravels to get to that point. While some books this would ruin the whole story for The Escape Room it totally works. In the end I enjoyed it, would recommend it and gave it 4 solid stars. I will be seeking out the author’s previous book and will read anything else she publishes. This is in my top 10 of 2019 for sure.

About the book: 

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.

About the author:

 

 

MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. THE ESCAPE ROOM is her debut novel.

 

Thank you St Martin Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read The Escape Room. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Gretchen

by Shannon Kirk

Publication date: July 23 2019

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Oh. My. Stars! This is the first book I’ve read by Shannon Kirk and it will not be the last. I’m on hold right now for her first one In The Vines. I couldn’t stop reading this book I was walking around my house cleaning and cooking all one handed because my kindle was glued to my hand. There was so many plot twist and turns, I couldn’t figure it out and I loved that I was surprised through out the whole book. I some what figured out the cat angle but that was it. Gretchen was probably the most creepy person I’ve read about in a thriller fiction. My stars she has more than a screw loose she is beyond words. Lucy and her mom’s dynamic was believable and I liked Lucy. She was a strong girl who had a lot of questions, no friends till she meets Gretchen and she’s not to sure about her but happy they are staying put and laying down some roots. She is getting older and starting to question things and that’s when her whole life takes a huge detour.  This whole book is like that one thread that is hanging off a blanket or shirt and you pull it to tighten but the whole thing just falls in a puddle. In this case it’s totally a good thing!  This book is a creepy, get under your skin unnerving psychological thrill ride that I didn’t want to get off. I was so sad when I finished it but I will read it again in a year or so but it will be one I re-read and buy the physical copy of the book when it comes to have on my shelf. I am going pre-ordered 2 books one for me and  I’m gifting one to my mom to read during her chemo treatments. She is going to love it and it will defiantly make time fly by. Gretchen gets 5 stars from me and is right now number 1 on my best books I’ve read in 2019 (and I’ve read 45 so far this year!) Will it fall from number 1 I really don’t see that happening but I do still need to read In The Vines so we will see. 🙂

About the book: The new tenants have a terrible secret. So do the landlord and his daughter… Ever since Lucy was two, she’s been on the run alongside her mother. She’s never understood the reason for a lifetime of paranoia, aliases, and lies. All she understands are the rules: never lock eyes with strangers, never let down your guard, and always be ready to move on. Finally, after thirteen years and eleven states, their next hideaway seems perfect. An isolated, fortress like place in the New Hampshire woods is the new home they share with its owner, a gentlemanly pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. She’s Lucy’s age and soon becomes Lucy’s first real friend. But Gretchen and her father have secrets of their own—and an obsession with puzzles that draws Lucy into a terrifying new game of hide-and-seek. Lucy’s dark past is about to come calling. And this time, for her and her mother in the house on the hill, it might be too late to run.

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read Gretchen by Shannon Kirk. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

The Night Before

by Wendy Walker

Publication Date: May 14 2019

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The Night Before was really good and while I thought I might have figured out what was going on I was wrong about a few things. Once it started to unfold I couldn’t believe I missed some clues. I’m usually really good at figuring things out but not this time. I got about 80% of the mystery right so the author did a great job at keeping me in the dark. I was thrown but the curve balls within the story line that had some holes that I couldn’t figure out. As the ending was drawing near and everything was spelled out I saw it all and was like yes this makes perfect sense, now why didn’t I see that! This was non stop not sure I’d call it action but it was a non stop roller coaster ride with a lot of loops and turns. It was told in 3 story lines: What Laura was experiencing – What Rosie (Laura’s sister) was experiencing – and lastly Laura and Dr Brody’s transcripts.

The characters are fully developed and while they all grew up together they still have their own secrets that they don’t necessarily want to be exposed. I felt for Rosie she was in the dark most of the time throughout the book. She trusted her sister Laura and would do anything for her. She is trying to unravel what went on the night her sister didn’t come home but she might be the only one that really wants the whole truth.

This was a mystery suspense with both a past mystery that unravels the book progresses and the new mystery of where is Laura and what really happened the night of her first date in a long time. I won’t say much because anything more would start a spoiler. Overall I enjoyed every minute of this book and it was the first Wendy Walker book I’ve read. I do own Emma At Night and moving that one up my TBR stack so I can read it soon. If it is as good as The Night Before I know I won’t be disappointed!

About the book: The night before…and the nightmare after.

Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands.

But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets or is the night before her last night alive?

Told in dual timelines—the night before and the day after—The Night Before is a riveting thriller about family loyalty, obsession, and what happens when the desire for love spins out of control

Thank you Netgalley and St Martin Press for allowing me to read The Night Before. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Things She’s Seen

by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Winner of Australia’s prestigious Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults

Shortlisted for Australia’s Indie Book Awards

 

This book looks slim and comes in at just 208 pages but it a packed through story that grabs the reader instantly. The story is told is written and in verse formats. When you are in the main part of the book you get regular written format. When you are listening to Catching’s story you get it in verse format. The story is told by many view points Catching and Beth Teller are the main characters but really the whole cast of characters are equally important. This story unfolds immediately.  The reader follows Beth, Beth’s dad, Catching and Allie through the small Australian town trying to solve the reason behind the fire, the murder of key figures and maybe the disappearance that happened 20 years ago. Could they all be connected? This ARC copy is full of wonderful quotes that I highlighted and hope they stay in the final copy.  The story highlights magical realism, true crime, the treatment of the Aboriginal people and heartbreaking pain a parent goes through after losing a child. A heavy hard hitting YA book that is perfect for readers from middle grade through adult.

 

About the book: This brilliantly written thriller explores the lives–and deaths–of two girls, and what they will do to win justice. Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year!

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He’s also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she’s got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he needs to reconnect with the living.

The case takes them to a remote Australian town, where there’s been a suspicious fire. All that remains are an unidentifiable body and an unreliable witness found wandering nearby. This witness speaks in riddles. Isobel Catching has a story to tell, and it’s a tale to haunt your dreams–but does it even connect to the case at hand?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town.

Thank you Alfred A Knopf for sending me a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.