Tag Archive for: reviews

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Things We Do in the Dark & Blood Sugar

 

Hi Everyone! Sharon here with another addition of Thriller Thursday.  I hope everyone is having a good week. Last week I was on vacation. I just stayed home, but got a lot of projects done around the house that I wanted to, so it was very productive. This week I am excited to share my thoughts on Jennifer Hillier’s, Things We Do in the Dark and Sascha Rothchild’s, Blood Sugar. I loved both of these books. I especially loved the female protagonists, who are both accused of killing their husbands.  🙂

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Things We Do in the Dark & Blood SugarThings We Do in the Dark Goodreads

Author: Jennifer Hillier

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Minotaur Books

My first book by Jennifer Hillier was Little Secrets and I loved it. So I was excited for her new book, Things We Do in the Dark, and I am happy to report this book did not disappoint. This book was just as good as the previous book I read.

Paris Peralta has been arrested for killing her husband. She was found in their bathroom, covered in blood holding a straight edge razor and her husband was dead in the bathtub behind her. Paris did not kill her husband, but it is not that she has been arrested that worries her, it is the fact that her husband was a famous comedian and his death, and her arrest is going to bring media attention to her, and Paris does not want anyone from her past to recognize her and destroy the new life she has worked hard to build for herself. Twenty-five years ago, Ruby Reyes was convicted of killing her married lover. Ruby knows who Paris is and after being released from prison early, she is threatening to expose Paris. Paris has no choice but to face her dark past.

This story is told in a dual timeline. The first timeline is in the present and follows Paris as she tries to clear her name in the death of her husband, as well as trying to keep her past from being exposed. I liked Paris and hoped that she would be able to figure out a way to prove her innocence. I figured out pretty early on what were some of the secrets from her past she was running from. In this timeline we also get the POV of Drew Malcom. Drew is a journalist, who currently has a podcast called “Things We Do in the Dark” and he is currently doing a segment on Ruby Reyes. It is during his research for the podcast that Drew unintentionally uncovers the secrets that Paris is trying to hide.

The second timeline was my favorite. This timeline is told from the POV of Ruby Reyes’ daughter Joey and takes place twenty-five years ago. In this timeline we follow Joey before and after her mother was convicted of murder. I loved Joey so much and had such sympathy for her. She had a very hard life. Her mother was abusive to her. She also suffered abuse from her mother’s many boyfriends, and once her mother was in prison and she went to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins, things did not get any better. I had tears in my eyes a few times while reading.

There is so much I want to say about this book but cannot without spoiling things. I loved everything about it. Even though I figured out the connection between Paris and Joey, there were still a few twists that caught me off guard. Hillier did an amazing job of bringing this story and the characters to life. I highly recommend Things We Do in the Dark.  Be forewarned though, this book is pretty graphic in the blood department, and it does deal with child abuse.   4 ½ stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Things We Do in the Dark & Blood SugarBlood Sugar Goodreads

Author: Sascha Rothchild

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Blood Sugar is Sascha Rothchild’s debut thriller and what a debut it was. The story follows Ruby, a respected therapist living in Miami Beach, Florida, who has been accused of killing her husband, Jason. Ruby did not kill Jason, but that is not to say she is not a murderer. Ruby has killed three people before. She is not a sociopath or serial killer though. Each person she killed has wronged Ruby or someone she loved. She also has a ten-year span in between each murder. So see, it is not like she just goes off willy-nilly killing people. LOL!

When the story opens Ruby is in a police interrogation room being accused of killing Jason. The detective that is questioning her has four pictures face down on the table. Three are pictures of the ones Ruby did kill and the last picture is of Jason. As the detective flips each picture over Ruby remembers each of the killings and what lead up to them.

I loved Ruby! Yes she has killed people, but when I learned the reason for each killing, I really did not blame her. Okay maybe the first murder, but Ruby was only five-years old and the little boy she killed had been bullying her older sister.  As Ruby is remembering each killing, we get a look into her life. I love how the story unfolded this way. Ruby was actually a good person. She was very smart and loved to have her life organized. The more I got on her backstory, the more I loved Ruby.

I also really liked Ruby’s friendship with her best friend Roman. They were best friends who even though they had a falling out in college, they were still there for each other. When Roman was almost kicked out of law school, Ruby was there to save his butt. And even though they had not spoken for a long time, when Ruby called Roman to help her when she was accused of killing Jason, Roman hopped on a plane to help her.

The more I got to know and love Ruby, I was hoping that she would not be convicted of killing Jason. I was also hoping that her past murders were not going to come back and bite her and she would not go to jail for them.

So, who did Ruby kill and why? And what really happened to Jason? To get to those answers Rothchild weaves a great story that alternates between the past and present. I was glued to the pages and didn’t want this book to end. But I will say that I was very happy with how everything played out.

If you are looking for a book with a murderess protagonist, that you cannot help but love and root for, then I highly recommend, Blood Sugar. 4 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The It Girl & The House Across the Lake

 

Happy Thriller Thursday with Sharon! I hope everyone is doing well and getting some relaxation time in. I am so happy that next week I am on vacation from work, well a staycation LOL!  I plan on just sitting around and relaxing and reading of course 😀  Today I am reviewing two books that I have been very excited to read. Ruth Ware’s, The It Girl and Riley Sager’s, The House Across the Lake.  I am happy to report that these books did not disappoint.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The It Girl & The House Across the LakeThe It Girl Goodreads

Author: Ruth Ware

Publication Date: July 12, 2022

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

I couldn’t wait to read Ruth Ware’s newest book The It Girl and I am happy to report it did not disappoint. This book was everything I was hoping it would be.

Hannah Jones was excited to start a new chapter of her life at Oxford. Hannah and her roommate April Clarke-Cliveden became fast friends, and rounding out their friend group was Will, Emily, Ryan, and Hugh.  These six friends formed a close bond and were enjoying their time at the university. That is, until April was murdered at the end of the second term. The school porter, John Neville, is found guilty of April’s murder, mostly due to Hannah’s testimony. It is now ten years later and Hannah and Will are married and expecting their first child. Hannah has done all she can to try and put the past behind her and now that John Neville has died in prison, she can truly move on. But when a journalist contacts Hannah and presents evidence that John Neville may have been innocent, Hannah’s world and all she thought she knew is about to come crashing down.

I loved how Ware presented this book in a dual timeline. One timeline was during Hannah’s time at Oxford and we got to see the events that lead up to April’s murder unfold. This was my favorite timeline. I really liked getting to know Hannah, April, Will, Ryan, Emily and Hugh and watch their friendships form. I especially liked learning more about April and how she was not the nicest person all the time. That just made the suspect pool increase for me. The second timeline is in the present, and in this timeline, we follow Hannah as she tries to come to terms with the fact that she may have been wrong about John Neville. Hannah is determined to figure out what actually happened the night April was murdered. I really loved her determination on uncovering the truth; even when she did not like the direction it was taking, she still pushed forward. Hannah owes it to April and to John Neville to make sure the right person pays for the crime.

I was all over the place on who I thought murdered April with all the twists and turns this book had.  The more information Hannah uncovered in her quest to find the truth, the more my suspicions of everyone grew, especially when we learned of some of the mean things April did. By the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat, especially when it was revealed who the killer was.

I really don’t want to say too much because I think you need to go into this book not knowing anything. But if you are a fan of Ruth Ware, then I think you will love The It Girl4 stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The It Girl & The House Across the LakeThe House Across the Lake Goodreads

Author: Riley Sager

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Dutton

Riley Sager is an auto buy author for me. I have loved every book he has written and while The House Across the Lake did not have the WOW! factor his other books had, I still loved it.

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress, has escaped to her family’s lake house in Vermont. Casey’s husband drowned in the very lake she is now staying at. After her husband died, Casey started drowning her sorrows in alcohol and after being caught by the press in a few drunken states, she retreated to Vermont to hide. With lots of time and liquor on hand, Casey has started watching her new neighbors, Tom and Katherine Royce, across the lake.  When Katherine vanishes, Casey becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, Casey discovers that not only was the Royce’s marriage not perfect, but there is also something evil lurking in the lake.

When I first started reading I was a bit put off by the whole Rear Window vibe, but then Casey actually started mentioning how she was like Jimmy Stewart’s character and referring to the movie, that I got over the comparison quickly. And while that vibe was there, the book had many twists and turns that took it away from Rear Window.

There is not much I can say about this book without spoiling things. I loved the Vermont setting. I live in the New England area and have been to Vermont, so I could easily imagine the houses around the lake. It actually made me want to take a trip north and just sit out in the woods and relax with a book.

I thought Sager did a great job on creating all the characters, especially Casey. She was a very complex character, and with her drinking, at times she was also an unreliable character. I had a lot of sympathy for her, especially when she was remembering her husband. I also really liked how strong she was and determined to figure out what happened to Katherine. Casey became friends with Katherine when Casey saved her from drowning in the lake. Casey was sitting on her porch when she saw Katherine floating in the lake, and that brought back all kinds of memories from when her husband drowned.

The House Across the Lake was a slow burn read that sucked me in from the beginning. And then just as I was getting all settled in and trying to figure out what happened to Katherine, BAM! There was a plot twist that made me second guess myself and suspect someone new. LOL!  The only issue I really had with this book was one of the plot twists came out of nowhere and was a bit farfetched, in my opinion. I was a bit disappointed with the direction it took, but once I finished reading and thought about the book and that one twist, I let myself suspend reality and my opinion on what I read changed and I decided “Okay, that was actually really good.”   4 stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Housemaid & An Honest Lie

 

Hi everyone. It’s Sharon back with another Thriller Thursday.  This week I am reviewing Freida McFadden’s, The Housemaid and Tarryn Fisher’s, An Honest Lie.  I really enjoyed both of these books and I am happy to share my thoughts on them.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Housemaid & An Honest LieThe Housemaid Goodreads

Author: Freida McFadden

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher: Bookouture

I could not resist the eerie cover of an eye peeking out of a keyhole, for Freida McFadden’s new book The Housemaid. From that cover and the synopsis, I knew this would be one twisted read and I was right.

Millie has had a tough life. She went to prison for 10 years when she was seventeen-years-old. She has been out on parole for a year when she applies for a live-in housekeeper job she knows once they do a background check, she will not get it, but to Millie’s surprise she does get the job. Unfortunately for Millie the job isn’t what she expected.  When she interviewed for the job, the house was pristine and Nina Winchester, the owner, was such a nice person. When Millie showed up for her first day, the house was a mess and Nina was no longer the nice, caring person she was at the interview. Nina is doing everything she can to make Millie’s life a living hell, but Millie needs this job and she will not quit. And then Millie finds herself growing attracted to Nina’s husband, Andrew, and she dreams of what it would be like to be living Nina’s life. Be careful what you wish for, Millie!

This book is told in three parts. Part one is told from Millie’s POV. I liked Millie and sympathized with her as I got more information on her background. Millie is a strong person. When push comes to shove, she does not back down; she pushes back and pushes hard. From Millie’s perspective, we get to see how crazy Nina is. Oh, the things Nina would do! She accuses Millie of stealing her notes for the parent/teacher night and then after destroying the kitchen looking for them, yells at Millie for the mess. Nina has Millie get tickets to a play for a specific night and then accuses Millie of getting the tickets for the wrong night. Nina gives Millie some old clothes and then accuses her of stealing them. Everyday Nina seemed to be spiraling out of control more and more.

The second part of the book is told from Nina’s POV, and it is in this part we find out what is really going on. I didn’t like Nina very much in the first part of the book, but when I found out what was going on, I cut her some slack. Though I liked the outcome she was hoping for, I wasn’t fully on board with how she made it happen.   Yes, vague I know, but if I tell you then you wouldn’t be surprised. LOL!

The third part of the book alternates between Millie and Nina and in this part, we see the outcome and aftermath of everything that happened in the book. And what an outcome it was!

The Housemaid was a very twisted and engrossing read. And even though I have read books that are similar in plot and sort of guessed how things were going to go, I still really enjoyed this book. There were lots of twists and turns at the end that did surprise me.   3 ½ stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Housemaid & An Honest LieAn Honest Lie Goodreads

Author: Tarryn Fisher

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House

I have enjoyed the two other books I have read by Tarryn Fisher, but while they didn’t knock my socks off, I was still excited to read her new book, An Honest Lie. And I am happy to report that this book surpassed the other two books I read.

Rainey Ives is an artist who relocated from New York to Tiger Mountain in Washington a year ago to live with her boyfriend Grant. Rainey is a private person and has never been that good at making friends, but to make Grant happy, she joins the Tiger Mountain Group. This group of women are part of Grant’s friend group that he has known for over twenty years. Rainey does her best to fit in, but she cannot get over the fact that a couple of women in the group do not like her. When the women plan a weekend away in Vegas, Rainey reluctantly goes. Vegas holds bad memories for Rainey. When she was a child her mother and her were part of a cult there. Rainey escaped, but she knows the cult leader, Taured, will do anything to get her back. So, when one of the women, Braithe, goes missing after a night of partying and Rainey receives threatening text messages from her phone, Rainey knows who has taken Braithe and that it is really Rainey they want.  To save Braithe, Rainey has to face the past she has been running away from.

This book is told from the POV of Rainey but in two timelines, 1) present day and 2) when Rainey was fifteen years old and in the cult with her mother. Of the two timelines, my favorite was the past one. I really loved getting the back story on Rainey and what life was like for her in the cult. I had so much sympathy for everything she went through. At first, she bought into the whole cult thing, but as time passed and the more things she witnessed and discovered, she knew she had to get out of there. I loved how strong willed and determined she was.

That strong will and determination followed Rainey into adulthood, and while I thought the present-day chapters were a bit slow, once Braithe goes missing and Rainey sets her plan into motion to save her and face her past, the pace and tension picked up. I loved watching her take charge and plan everything out. Though some of her planning did not go as I thought it was supposed to, she had back-up plans as well, which just made me love her determination all the more. I was on the edge of my seat at the end of the book wondering how it was all going to play out.

If you like books that give you a look into the world of cults and that feature a strong protagonist then I recommend Tarryn Fisher’s An Honest Lie.  3 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Never Coming Home & Take Your Breath Away

 

Welcome back to Sharon’s edition of Thriller Thursday! This week I am reviewing Hannah Mary McKinnon’s, Never Coming Home and Linwood Barclay’s, Take Your Breath Away.  I really enjoyed both of these books and they both had similar themes; husbands that are at the center of their wives disappearance/murder. LOL!

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Never Coming Home & Take Your Breath AwayNever Coming Home Goodreads

Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

Publication Date: May 24, 2022

Publisher: MIRA

I have enjoyed every book I have read by Hannah Mary McKinnon and Never Coming Home is no exception. Lucas Forester didn’t really hate his wife, Michelle. She was beautiful, sophisticated, and very rich. It is because she is rich that Lucas married her. He had originally planned on divorcing her after a couple of years to get his millions, but thanks to his father-in-law and an airtight pre-nup, Lucas had to adjust his plans to get his hands on her money. For years Lucas planned Michelle’s death. He hired a hit man to kidnap and kill Michelle, and he made sure he left no trace that would lead police to him.  Lucas has been playing the grieving husband for a month and patiently waiting to be able to cash-in on Michelle’s fortune. But when shocking photos of Michelle start showing up, with notes stating, “I know what you did,” Lucas starts to unravel. How could anyone know what he did? Lucas is determined to find out who is behind the photos and notes and shut them up for good.

McKinnon did a great job of creating a villain that I hated, but also liked and had sympathy for at times.  Lucas was a great character. Yes, I know he put a hit out on his wife, but he also had me chuckling a few times and he was very devoted to his mother in-law, who has terminal cancer and does not have long to live. He was always going over and sitting with her and you could tell his feelings for her were genuine. He also loved his father, and it is because of his father he is doing all this. His father had a stroke years ago, which Lucas blames himself for, and he needs the money to be able to keep his father in the best care facility. And he rescued and adopted a stray dog. See, he is a good guy, well except for the killing his wife part. LOL!

The book was told from Lucas’ POV, and I really loved getting inside his head and learning all about him and what made him do what he did. I especially loved watching him unravel as the photos and notes started arriving. He went from this cool, collected, and calculated guy, to a nervous, always looking over his shoulder guy, who was starting to make many mistakes. It was really fun to watch.

I did figure a few things out early on who was behind everything, but I still enjoyed the ride while Lucas was trying to piece it all together.  The last chapter had me cringing, and I kind of felt bad for Lucas.  If you are looking for a psychological thriller that features a somewhat likable villain, then check out Hannah Mary McKinnon’s Never Coming Home.   3 ½ stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Never Coming Home & Take Your Breath AwayTake Your Breath Away Goodreads

Author: Linwood Barclay

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Publisher: William Morrow & Company

Take Your Breath Away is my second read by Linwood Barclay and while it did not knock my socks off like Find You First, I did enjoy it very much.

Andrew Mason’s wife, Brie, went missing six years ago while he was away on a fishing trip. Most everyone assumed he got away with murder but try as they might, the police could not build a case solid enough to arrest him. Andrew eventually sold his house, moved a couple of towns over and changed his last name. He has finally gotten his life back together and lives with his new girlfriend, Jayne, and her teenage brother, Tyler. Now six years after Brie went missing, a woman who looks just like her shows up at their old house, which has been torn down and rebuilt, screaming “Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?” As quickly as she appeared, she disappeared again. The appearance of this woman has a ripple effect that puts a lot of people’s lives in danger.  Who is this woman? If she is Brie, where has she been for six years? And if not, why is someone pretending to be her? And what did happen to Brie?

I really liked Andrew. Andrew’s life spiraled out of control after Brie disappeared, and it didn’t help that his sister-in-law, Isabel, was doing everything she could to make his life miserable. She was sure he was responsible and made it her mission to get the police to take action. I can totally relate to her on that aspect. If that had been my sister and I thought my brother-in-law was to blame, I would stop at nothing to make him pay. Now with the “Brie” sighting, Andrew’s life could come crashing down again and he is determined to figure out what is going on.

Detective Melissa Hardy was the original investigator on the case and she too made Andrew’s life hell. She had such tunnel vision that he was responsible for whatever happened to Brie, that she would not let up. And then when the mysterious woman appeared, Detective Hardy was back on Andrew’s case. I have to say I did not like her much. I thought she was too aggressive in her approach to things. She didn’t follow the true facts; she followed what she wanted to be facts.

Most of the characters in this book had secrets to hide, though some secrets were worse than others. And that just added to the mystery of who this mysterious woman was and what happened to Brie.

There is so much I cannot say about this book because I don’t want to spoil anything. There are so many twists and turns and I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. I was very surprised when everything was revealed at the end.  3 1/2 stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Twenty Years Later & The Shadow House

 

I hope everyone is having a good week and getting lots of good reading in. I am doing good, aside from working I have been getting a lot of chores done now that the good weather is finally here. I have also been reading some very good books as well. So for this week’s Thriller Thursday by Sharon, I am reviewing Charlie Donlea’s, Twenty Years Later and Anna Downes’, The Shadow House.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Twenty Years Later & The Shadow HouseTwenty Years Later Goodreads

Author: Charlie Donlea

Publication Date: December 28, 2021

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Twenty Years Later is my first read by Charlie Donlea, but it will definitely not be my last. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I want to thank Goodreads and Kensington Publishing Corp for my copy of this amazing book.

Avery Mason is the host of the television show, American Events. Avery’s ratings have been soaring this past year and she has come across a story that will make her ratings go even higher next year. Little does Avery know, but the story she heads to New York to cover is only the tip of the iceberg and there is an even bigger story underneath. New DNA technology has made it possible for the New York medical examiner to be able to identify a 9/11 victim after twenty years. The victim is Victoria Ford, and it is this story that Avery is going to New York to cover. Only when Avery talks to Victoria’s sister, Emma Kind, does she find more of a story. Emma has waited twenty years to be able to put her sister to rest, but she has also waited twenty years to clear her sister’s name.

Victoria was having an affair with a famous author and when he was found hanging from the balcony of his Catskills mansion and Victoria’s DNA was all over the crime scene, it did not take long for the DA to assemble a grand jury to indict Victoria. The day Victoria was to be arrested she was meeting with her lawyer in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the plane hit. Before she died, Victoria called her sister to tell her she loved her and to tell her she was innocent and to promise she would clear her name. Now, with the help of Walt Jenkins, the lead detective from the murder case, Avery starts to read through all the evidence and discovers that there were a lot of holes in the investigation and Victoria may very well be innocent.

Did that synopsis catch your interest? Well, hold on to your seats because that is just the tip of what goes on in the book! There were so many more smaller plots that are also taking place and they all tie together.  I don’t really want to say too much because anything I say could spoil things and I think going into this book not knowing is best.  I will say that I thought for sure that I knew what the outcome of everything was going to be, only to have twists and turns happen at the end of the book that proved everything I thought I knew, to be wrong.

I really liked both main characters, Avery and Walt. They were very well written and have flaws and pasts that have shaped who they are today, which I think makes them all the more relatable and realistic. I loved the growth they both had in this book and seeing them face their pasts.  Again, I am being vague as I don’t want to spoil anything.

Twenty Years Later is a fast paced mystery, full of twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages to a shocking ending.  4 ½ stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Twenty Years Later & The Shadow HouseThe Shadow House Goodreads

Author: Anna Downes

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Publisher: Minotaur Books

The Shadow House is my second book by Anna Downes. It follows two women who, though separated by six years, have similar eerie experiences involving their teenage sons.

Alex Ives is a single mother who fled an abusive relationship and is determined to make a fresh start in Pine Ridge, an ecovillage in Australia, for her 2 children, fourteen-year-old Ollie, and eight-month-old Kara. But as soon as they move into their new home disturbing events start to happen: a box with a dead bird, and a doll made out of wax and sticks was left on their doorstep. Alex soon realizes that Pine Ridge may not be the peaceful community she was hoping for and that her family may be in danger. To protect them Alex has to confront the shadows that are lurking in the woods.

The book is told from the POV of Alex, as well as Renee Kellerman. Renee and her husband and their fifteen-year-old son, Gabe, lived on the farmland six years ago before they sold it to Pine Ridge. A few months before they sold the farm, Gabe went missing. As with Alex, the Kellermans also had a box with a dead animal and a doll show up on their doorstep just before their son went missing.  I really liked both of these characters, their stories are quite similar, and I was very caught up in trying to uncover the mystery of what was going on.

Alex has not made the best decisions in life when it comes to men, and when the going got tough, Alex ran away. But she is determined to finally settle down and give her children the best life she can give them. When they first arrive at Pine Ridge, all of the neighbors were friendly and eager to help Alex out. But as the strange events start to happen, Alex is not sure who she can trust in Pine Ridge. And neither was I. I had so many theories on what I thought was going on and who was responsible.

Renee’s chapters are from 6 years ago and start a few months before Gabe goes missing. I had so much sympathy for Renee. Her husband really does not help out, Gabe has closed off from her and just wants to stay in his room all the time playing video games, and her in-laws are sure that Gabe is being possessed by the devil.

I loved having the alternating timelines and POV’s. With each new chapter, things slowly start coming together to a tension filled conclusion.

The Shadow House starts off slowly, but Anna Downes does a great job creating a creepy and supernatural vibe, as well as increasing the tension as the book progresses. I had no idea what the outcome was going to be and when a twist was revealed at the end, I was totally shocked. And I have to say the ending did bring a few tears to my eyes.   3 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Younger Wife & The Secretary

 

Welcome back to another edition of Thriller Thursday with Sharon. 😀  I hope everyone is doing well and getting in some good reading time. This week I am reviewing Sally Hepworth’s, The Younger Wife and Britney King’s, The Secretary.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Younger Wife & The SecretaryThe Younger Wife Goodreads

Author: Sally Hepworth

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Sally Hepworth’s newest book, The Younger Wife, is a domestic thriller that follows the dysfunctional Aston family.  Stephen Aston is a 63-year-old heart surgeon who is engaged to 34-year-old interior designer Heather. The only problem is that Stephen is still married to Pam, who is in a nursing home and suffers from dementia.  Stephen plans on divorcing Pam so he can marry Heather, although Stephen says that the divorce is on paper only, that Pam will always be a part of his family. Stephen’s two daughters, 37-year-old Tully and 35-year-old Rachel, are not too happy with this arrangement and as family secrets start to unravel, they are determined to find out who their father really is.

That synopsis sounds more sinister than the book really is. While this was not a heart thumping read, it was a great mystery with interesting and relatable characters. The story opens with Stephen and Heather’s wedding. The whole family is there including Pam. After the ceremony is over, they all go into the back of the church to sign the registry and it is there that someone is hurt. We do not know who is hurt, how bad or who did it. All we know is there was a scream and then the pastor comes out to ask if there is a doctor in the house and the pastor has blood on her. Then the story jumps back in time and progresses forward and is told through the POV of Tully, Rachel, and Heather. I have to say after that opening chapter, I had so many questions and was already speculating on what I thought happened.

Each of the three main characters are flawed and have secrets, which to me made them all the more interesting.  I also loved the growth they all had throughout the book.

Tully is married and has two small sons. Not only has her husband lost a substantial amount of money in an investment, but Tully is also a kleptomaniac.  I had a lot of sympathy for her because she felt there was no one she could talk to.

Rachel was my favorite character. After an incident that happened when she was sixteen, Rachel has given up on men, that is until she hires a new delivery guy for her bakery business, named Darcy. Darcy is able to finally break down the walls that Rachel has put up.

Heather was a character I thought I was going to hate, but actually ended up liking. Heather comes from an abusive childhood and has done everything she can to put all that behind her and make a life for herself. During her chapters we get to see a different side of Stephen and it is not a good side.

I really connected with Rachel and Tully as I watched their interactions with their mother who, due to dementia, didn’t know who they were most of the time. I could relate to them, as I too lost my mom to dementia a couple of years ago and the last few months were the toughest when she would forget who we were or where she was.

It is at the end of the book that we finally find out what happened at the wedding, and I have to say after reading all that leads up to the end, I was quite happy with what happened.  If you like domestic thrillers about dysfunctional families with lots of secrets, then Sally Hepworth’s The Younger Wife is the book for you. 4 stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Younger Wife & The SecretaryThe Secretary: A Psychological Thriller Goodreads

Author: Britney King

Publication Date: January 20, 2022

Publisher: Hot Banana Press

When I read the synopsis for Britney King’s new book The Secretary I was immediately intrigued. What murder does the protagonist Gillian have to cover up? I couldn’t wait to find out. But while I did enjoy this book, it was not what I was expecting at all. This was one weird and twisted book.

Gillian Martin wants to be a writer and is currently working as a Doordash delivery person, but she can hardly make ends meet. When she lands a job at Shergar, a medical research company, Gillian does not realize that her life is about to change, and not for the better.

The book is told from the POV of Gillian.  I did have a lot of sympathy for Gillian because so many bad things happened in her life. She was living paycheck to paycheck, one day she was robbed by a bunch of teenagers, her father died of a sudden heart attack the day before her interview at Shergar, and there was a lot of family drama with her mother and sister. But even though I had sympathy for Gillian, I also wanted to shake her and tell her to wise up because she made a lot of bad decisions.  Her boss, Ellis Harrison, left her a note on her desk “Will you have dinner with me?” “Check yes or no” and even though Gillian has a boyfriend who is overseas doing mission work for their church, she checks yes. Dinner leads to a more intimate relationship with her boss. There was also an occasion when her supervisor tells Gillian that Gillian needs to have her wisdom teeth out because they did not get a lot of participants to sign up for the procedure that would include some of the medical research the company is doing. I am sorry but heck no! No way would I do that.

We also get a few chapters from “Helper 256”. We do not know who this person is, but boy did these chapters give me the chills. Don’t let the name Helper fool you. The Helpers are not there to help you; they are there to help the company clean up anything that may have gone wrong. That could be anything from eliminating a threat to cleaning up a murder.

There is not a lot I can say without giving anything away, except that this book had a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing. I had no idea where this book was going and right near the end there was a twist that I totally did not see coming. There were also a few spots in the book that made me cringe, the wisdom teeth extraction being one of them.

If you are looking for a fast, weird, and twisted read, that features a sympathetic protagonist who makes questionable decisions, then be sure to check out Britney King’s The Secretary. 3 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Where They Wait & All These Bodies

 

Hi everyone. Welcome to another edition of Thriller Thursday with Sharon. 😀  This week I am happy to share my thoughts on Scott Carson’s, Where The Wait and Kendare Blake’s, All These Bodies. Both of these books were more on the side of Supernatural Thrillers, and I really enjoyed them.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Where They Wait & All These BodiesWhere They Wait Goodreads

Author: Scott Carson

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books

I read Scott Carson’s debut thriller The Chill a couple of years ago and while I liked it, it didn’t knock my socks off.  But I was still eager to read his newest book While They Wait, and I am very happy to report that this book exceeded my expectations and I’m already looking forward to his next book.

Nick Bishop is a war correspondent who has recently been laid off from the newspaper he works for. Nick gets a call from his longtime friend who tells him that there is a job waiting for him to write a profile for a new mindfulness App called “Clarity” if he wants it. Nick needs the money, so he heads back to his hometown in Maine. Nick uses the App and at first it seems like just a retread of Apps already out there, with relaxing white noises and guided meditation. But then there are the “sleep songs” with a woman’s hauntingly beautiful voice, but really disturbing lyrics. After listening to the sleep songs, Nick starts having very vivid nightmares that even start to affect him when he is awake. Nick soon learns that the profile he was hired to write is just a ruse and it is Nick that the creator of Clarity, Bryce Lermond, really wanted. Though he has no memory of it, Nick is the only person still alive out of twenty people who have heard these songs.

I don’t even know how to explain what I loved about this book without giving away any spoilers. This book has a creep factor of ten! When I first started reading, all I could think of was “Well remind me not to download any relaxing apps.” LOL. And then the more I got into the book and the creepy factor increased, I was ready to delete any and all apps on my phone, relaxation or not. Hahaha.

Scott Carson did a great job of bringing all the characters to life. All of the characters flowed so well together.  I also really got a kick out of how Carson used the Northeast accent in his writing. I live in Massachusetts, which is only a couple of hours from Maine, and I visit there often. We like to drop our R’s, so ‘car’ becomes ‘cah’, things like that. So I had no problem when the locals were speaking in the book, but some not used to it may have a bit of a hard time understanding what was written.

As well as being a creepy thriller, Where They Wait is also a supernatural tale. There are ghosts that haunt Nick while he is asleep and awake and there is also mind and memory manipulation going on, which just added to the creepiness.  3 ½ stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Where They Wait & All These BodiesAll These Bodies Goodreads

Author: Kendare Blake

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

Publisher: Quill Tree Books

I have had Kendare Blake’s newest book, All These Bodies, on my to read list since last August.  I really enjoyed her Three Dark Crowns series but kept putting off reading this book in favor of newer and more anticipated books that I wanted to read. I am really glad I finally picked this up and read it because I really liked it.

In 1958 a string of murders plagued the Midwest. All of the victims had the blood drained from their bodies, but there was never any blood found at the murder scenes. These murders became known as the “Bloodless Murders.”  In a small town in Minnesota, the Carson family are the latest victims in the bloodless murders, only this time a suspect is found at the murder scene. Fifteen-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found standing in the middle of the Carson’s living room and she is soaked from head to toe in their blood.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Jenson, the local sheriff’s son, wants to be a journalist, but he never thought that his first assignment would be the biggest story in the country or that he would be pulled into the bloodless murders investigation. But that is just what happens when Marie decides that she will confess and tell everything, but only to Michael. And what a story she tells.

This book is told from the narrative of Michael Jenson. While he is excited at first to have this opportunity, he soon realizes that he is in over his head. Not only due to the information that Marie is telling him, but also because Michael is starting to have feelings for Marie, and he knows that once she is done telling him her story, she is going to be brought to Nebraska to face charges there and will most certainly be put to death. I really liked Michael. He was an easy character to get behind. He was just an all-around good kid who was trying to make sense of the story he was being told, as well as his feelings for Marie. I also liked that Michael had a great support system in both his parents and his best friend. They were there for him when he needed them and stuck by him no matter what.

I also loved the character of Marie Catherine Hale. She was such a complex character. At times she seemed like the child she was and other times she came across as more mature. She was also a very unreliable character. There were times I was not sure if what she was saying was true or not.

All These Bodies may not be for the weak stomached, as there are a few squeamish moments such as when Marie was telling about why there was no blood at the murder scenes, vampires, and drinking of the blood. I did get a bit sad at the end of the book. I was hoping it would have ended differently, but at the same time, I thought it was a satisfying ending, though I did have a question or two.  3 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Night Shift & Beneath Devil’s Bridge

 

Sharon is back with Thriller Thursday! Sorry it has been a while since I posted my Thriller Thursday reviews, but life just got in the way. But all is good and back on track now. 🙂  This week I am happy to share my thoughts on Alex Finaly’s, The Night Shift and Loreth Anne White’s, Beneath Devil’s Bridge. I loved both of these books. They both involve relooking at old murder cases and figuring out if the original suspect was the correct one. I love this concept in thrillers because it always makes me put on my detective hat. LOL!

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Night Shift & Beneath Devil’s BridgeThe Night Shift Goodreads

Author: Alex Finlay

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Alex Finlay’s latest book The Night Shift, was everything I was hoping it would be. This was an edge of my seat thriller, that kept me guessing until the very end. It was also a trip down memory lane for me in regard to the Blockbuster Video store. Oh, the memories of the days of renting VHS tapes!

On New Year’s Eve in 1999, four teenage girls were attacked at a Blockbuster Video store in Linden, New Jersey. The only survivor was Ella. The police only had one suspect (Vince Whitaker), but before they could gather enough evidence to charge him, he disappeared and has not been seen since.  It is now fifteen years later and in the same town, four teenage girls were attacked at an ice cream store. The only survivor of this attack was Jesse. Ella is now a therapist and has been called to talk to Jesse and see if she can get any information on who attacked them. The only thing Jesse can remember is that the killer whispered to her “Goodnight, pretty girl.” These are the same words the killer whispered to Ella fifteen years ago. Has the original suspect resurfaced after all this time, and if so why? Or is there a copycat on the loose?

The story is told from the POVs of Ella, Sarah Keller and Vince’s younger brother, Chris.  All three of these characters will intercept as they each search for the truth, and their lives will be changed forever when the truth is finally revealed.

I really liked Ella. She was a damaged character, how could she not be with what she went through. But she is also a tough and determined character. She has formed a bond with Jesse and wants to do whatever she can to help her.  I also had a lot of sympathy for Ella. The current murders have brought back memories of the night she was attacked. Chris never believed that Vince was the killer in the 1999 murders. He and Ella team up when a mysterious vlogger, who Chris believes is Vince, has turned up in New Jersey.

Those of you who read Alex Finlay’s Every Last Fear, will remember FBI Agent Sarah Keller. I loved Sarah in both books. In this book Sarah has teamed up with local detective, Atticus Singh (yes he was named after the character from To Kill a Mockingbird and I loved every time this was referenced), and they are tasked with tracking down Vince Whitaker to see if he has resurfaced. During their investigation they discover that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the original investigation that pertained to evidence that pointed to Vince as the killer. I loved both of their determination to get to the truth.

I cannot really say what happens in this book, because anything I say will just spoil things. I will say though that The Night Shift is full of twists and turns and by the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat.  4 stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Night Shift & Beneath Devil’s BridgeBeneath Devil's Bridge Goodreads

Author: Loreth Anne White

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Montlake

I have had Loreth Anne White’s Beneath Devil’s Bridge on my to read list since last May and now that I have finally gotten around to reading it, I am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.

In 1997, 14-year-old Leena Rai was brutally murdered. Respected family man and guidance counselor, Clayton Jay Pelley confessed to the murder. Rachel Walczak was the detective who investigated the case, and even though there were a lot of loose ends, when Clayton confessed, the case was closed. Now in 2021, True Crime Podcaster Trinity Scott’s new podcast “It’s Criminal” is focusing on Leena Rai’s murder. In a series of exclusive interviews, Clayton is ready to tell what happened that night. But no one expects it when Clayton says he did not kill Leena. Is Clayton lying now? Or was he lying then? And if he didn’t kill Leena, then the actual killer is still roaming free.  As Clayton reveals more about what happened that night, it becomes clear that a lot of people in Twin Falls are keeping secrets.

I love how this story was presented from two different POV’s and timelines. From Rachel’s POV we get both timelines. In 1997 we get to follow Rachel as she investigates Leena’s murder and in the present we follow her as she tries to make sense of why Clayton would now recant his confession and the consequences this has on her original investigation and the loose ends that were never followed-up on.  From Trinity’s POV, we follow her as she tries to interview everyone who was connected to the original investigation, as well as her interview with Clayton.

I thought all the characters in this book were very well written. All of the characters had flaws and secrets they were hiding, from the teenagers that were classmates of Leena’s to Rachel and even Trinity. I really cannot say what any of the secrets were, as that would just spoil things. I will say I kept thinking I had things figured out, but then a secret would be revealed that would push me in a different direction.

I also loved how Loreth Anne White was able to bring Leena to life. From both timelines we were able to get to know Leena through interviews that were done with her family and peers. I felt such sadness for Leena. She was an unpopular girl that was just trying to fit in.  She was also a talented girl with dreams and wanted to leave her mark on the world.

Beneath Devil’s Bridge starts off with a bang with the murder of Leena and does not stop. It is full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. The only real issue I had with this book is that there were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of and I got a bit confused on who was who. But other than that, I would definitely recommend Loreth Anne White’s Beneath Devil’s Bridge.  4 stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Overnight Guest & Her Last Goodbye

 

Hi everyone! Welcome to another installment of Sharon’s Thriller Thursday 🙂  I hope you all are doing well. No complaints on my end, I have been reading a lot of great books lately. Today I would like to share my thoughts on two great mysteries I have read. The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf and Her Last Goodbye by Rick Mofina.  If you like mysteries, then I definitely recommend these books.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Overnight Guest & Her Last GoodbyeThe Overnight Guest Goodreads

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: Park Row

The Overnight Guest is my first read by Heather Gudenkauf. The eerie cover and the synopsis drew me in and I am so glad it did because I was hooked from beginning to end.

Wylie Lark is a true crime writer who is staying in an isolated farmhouse in a small town in Iowa to finish her latest book. Her book is about the people that were murdered twenty years ago in that very same farmhouse and the young girl that disappeared without a trace. With a snow and ice storm hammering down, Wylie finds herself trapped in the house haunted by its secrets as well as her own. When Wylie finds a child lying in the snow in the yard, she brings him into the house for warmth and safety, but Wylie soon learns that with this child comes danger.

This book is told in a dual timeline. The timeline in the present centers around Wylie. I loved the eeriness this timeline brought to the book. Gudenkauf’s writing of the snow and ice storm actually made me cold and I could just visualize everything I was reading. We get a little back story on Wylie in this timeline, she is divorced and is estranged from her teenage son. She comes across as a bit cold to start but I did grow to like her by the end of the book. When she first brings the child into the house, she gets very agitated when he shied away from her and wouldn’t talk. But when push came to shove, Wylie stepped up and did what ever she had to do to keep herself and the child safe from the evil that was after him.

The second timeline takes place in the summer of 2000 and is told from the POV of 12-year-old Josie. Josie’s parents were murdered in the farmhouse and her best friend Becky went missing. Again, Gudenkauf does an excellent job of describing the farms in this setting. This timeline starts the morning of the murders, and as we see the day playing out, we get a few murder suspects. Right from the start I was suspecting everyone. Josie was such a well written character and my heart just broke for her.

In addition to these two timelines, we also get short chapters from the POV of a little girl. This girl and her mother are living in the basement of their home, well I should say they are locked in the basement by the girl’s father. We do not know who this girl and her mother are, but they both pulled at my heart strings. These chapters also gave me an Emma Donoghue “Room” vibe.

I love how these seemly unconnected timelines eventually come together in an ending that had a few twists and left a few tears in my eyes.

Heather Gudenkauf’s The Overnight Guest, is a suspenseful mystery that kept me guessing for the most part. I thought all of the characters and each timeline setting was very well written. I also loved how Gudenkauf slowly increased the tension in the present day timeline until I was on the edge of my seat at the end. I definitely want to check out more of Heather Gudenkauf’s books.   4 stars

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: The Overnight Guest & Her Last GoodbyeHer Last Goodbye Goodreads

Author: Rick Mofina

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: Mira Books

Rick Mofina’s Her Last Goodbye is an addictive mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. It is full of twists and turns that kept my sleuth mind going until the final twist. It is also a book that deals with loss and how different we cope with grief, which made me shed a few tears.

Jennifer (Jenn) and Greg Griffin have a normal life.  Greg owns a construction company, Jenn works part time in a doctor’s office and is involved in a lot of charities as well as school activities for their eight-year-old son, Jake. The night Jenn went to her book club was an ordinary night so Greg did not think anything of it when he went to bed and Jenn was not home, sometimes the club went late. But when he woke up in the middle of the night and Jenn was still not home, Greg started to worry and called her friends from the book club. When they said she had left hours ago, Greg went out looking for her and when he could not find her he called the police to report her missing. As the police begin their investigation, they discover that Greg and Jenn both have secrets they have been keeping from each other. With their son at a sleep over, Greg has no alibi for that night, and he also has scrapes on his hands. Did Greg do something to Jenn? Did Jenn just take off on her own? Or did someone else take Jenn? And if so, why?   All of these questions made for a very engrossing mystery.

My favorite part of this book was how the investigation played out. Each chapter gave us information on leads the police were following as well as what seemed to be random events that were happening. And while they may have seemed random at the time, everything was somehow connected. I really liked having the chapters this way as it had the sleuth part of me trying to piece together how they were connected and how it was all going to unearth the mystery of what happened to Jenn and who was responsible. I really cannot say much about the investigation or the different events that were happening throughout the book because that would spoil the mystery.

While I did like all the characters in this book, to me they were more like secondary characters as the mystery and investigation took center stage. That’s not to say that I didn’t sympathize with them because I did. Both Jenn and Greg had suffered tragedy when they were younger. Jenn lost both of her parents in a house fire when she was a child and Greg lost his mother when he was a teenager. They both were also keeping secrets from each other that added to the mystery.

If you are looking for a mystery that will keep you guessing and have your inner detective working, then Rick Mofina’s Her Last Goodbye is the book for you.  3 ½ stars

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Nanny Dearest & The Night She Disappeared

 

Sharon is taking Thriller Thursday back! LOL! This week I am happy to share my thoughts on Flora Collins’ debut novel, Nanny Dearest and Kevin O’Brien’s new book, The Night She Disappeared (not to be confused with Lisa Jewell’s novel by the same name) 🙂

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Nanny Dearest & The Night She DisappearedNanny Dearest Goodreads

Author: Flora Collins

Publication Date: November 30, 2021

Publisher: MIRA

When I read the synopsis for Flora Collins’ debut novel Nanny Dearest, I was immediately intrigued. I am always in the mood for a good psychological thriller with flawed yet sympathetic characters and Nanny Dearest did not disappoint.

For the last year Sue Keller has been pretty much a recluse. Her father died in an accident a year before and it just broke her. He was all she had in her life, as her mother died when she was four years old. While on a rare day out, Sue runs into Anneliese (Annie), who was her nanny twenty years ago. Still grieving for her father and craving a motherly connection, Sue is happy to have Annie back in her life and the two become inseparable. But as Annie’s behavior starts to become smothering and as Sue starts to uncover the truth from the time Annie was her nanny, Sue realizes there is something very wrong with Annie.

This story alternates between Sue’s POV in the present and Annie’s POV in 1996 when she was Sue’s nanny. I loved having the book unfold this way. Seeing Annie’s behavior towards Sue in the present and then getting a look at her behavior when she was Sue’s nanny just added a lot of suspense to the book. It is clear from both timelines that Annie has some mental health issues. And while Annie came across as a whack-a-doodle in both timelines, the more we got on her backstory, the more I could understand why she had such a fascination with Sue and the more sympathy I had for her. Annie’s POV/timeline was my favorite part of the book. I loved getting all of the backstory and what life was like for them all back then.

I had a lot of sympathy for Sue as well. She doesn’t remember her mother very much and was devastated when her father died. When she meets up again with Annie, she so much wants to hear stories from when she was a child and about her mother. My favorite part of Sue though was when we got to see her as a child during Annie’s timeline. Sue was such a cute child, and it just broke my heart when her mother died, and she didn’t understand what was going on.

Nanny Dearest is a slow burn psychological thriller. I had no idea where this book was going to go and the not knowing added the suspense, tension, and creepiness to the read. By the end of this book I was flying through the pages to see how it was going to end. And what an ending it was! When I finished the last page, I literally sat there trying to comprehend what I just read. I am still not sure how I feel about the ending. LOL!  3 1/2 stars

Warning: There is a part in the book that has abuse to a cat. I will say I skimmed/jumped over that part of the book.

 

Thriller Thursday Reviews: Nanny Dearest & The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared Goodreads

Author: Kevin O’Brien

Publication Date: July 21, 2021

Publisher: Pinnacle Books

I have had Kevin O’Brien’s The Night She Disappeared on my to read shelf for almost a year. I am trying to tackle some of my older books, rather than leave them sitting there in favor of new releases (lol) and finally picked this one up to read. And I am glad I finally did. This was a twisty mystery that kept me guessing until the end.

Anna Malone is a TV reporter for a local station in Seattle. She is dating Russ Knoll, a married pediatrician. Russ’ wife Courtney is a best-selling author who Anna has just done a story on to promote her newest book.  When the book opens, Anna has woken up with a terrible hangover. All she can remember from the night before is meeting Russ and Courtney at an elegant restaurant to celebrate the story that Anna has done on Courtney. She does not remember how she got into her bed at home. When she gets a call from Russ saying that Courtney is missing, Anna cannot shake the feeling that something terrible happened the night before.  As the days go by and Courtney has not been found, Russ becomes the prime suspect in the police investigation. Anna is also thrust into the spotlight and the investigation when it is revealed by her TV rival, Sally Justice who has a show called “The Sally Justice Show”, that Anna and Russ were having an affair. Anna has also been getting phone calls from an unknown number and the caller says that they know what happened that night and that Anna murdered Courtney. What happened to Courtney? Can Anna piece together the events of that night and prove she is not a murderer?

I liked Anna. She is a flawed character (Hello! She is having an affair with a married man. LOL), but she was also a sympathetic character. Her older brother Stu ran away when Anna was a teenager, the following year her father was arrested for insider-trading and killed himself in jail, and when Anna was a junior in college, her mother died in a car accident. She is all alone trying to figure out what actually happened the night Courtney went missing. With the help of Sally Justice’s daughter, Taylor, Anna has sessions with a psychotherapist, who through hypnosis is helping Anna remember. I don’t want to say what came from these sessions, but I will say right from the get-go I did not trust the therapist or even Taylor.

Anna lived on a floating house on Lake Union, and I love how having the majority of the book take place there really gave this book a creepier atmosphere, especially at night when Anna is in her house and outside is just black and anyone could have been out there on the water watching her.

There is so much I cannot say about this book because I don’t want to give anything away. I loved all the twists and turns as the story unfolded. Near the end I did figure a few things out and while I am not 100% on board with the who-dun-it and why, I really enjoyed the journey to finding all the answers. 3 ½ stars