Categories
Crime Suspense Thrillers

Book Review: I Know Where You Sleep by Alan Orloff

Thank you so much to Ellen at Books Forward for the review copy of I Know Where You Sleep by Alan Orloff!  The book published in February through Down & Out Press so pay attention if you enjoy private investigators and crime solving!

I don’t read a ton of private investigator novels but I love The Rockford Files.  Any time I read a PI story I am picturing Jim, and when the author mentioned The Rockford Files not once, but TWICE in the press release interview, I said “OK sign me up!”  I will elaborate on this at the end of the review as well but I have a guest post from Mr. Orloff coming on Thursday!

Here is the description from the rear cover:

“I know where you play,” rasps an ominous voice on the phone at Jessica Smith’s gym. “I know where you pray,” whispers the same voice at her church. The police are no help, so Jessica, tired of fleeing and unwilling to be cowed into hiding, turns to her last resort — P.I. Anderson West.

West dives into Jessica’s case, pro bono. With some overzealous help from his loose-cannon sister Carrie, he unearths a horde of suspicious men in Jessica’s life — vindictive ex-beaus, squirrelly co-workers, skittish boyfriend wannabes. But are any twisted enough to terrorize her?

After the stalker breaks into Jessica’s bedroom — “I know where you sleep” — and she goes missing, West must find her before the stalker does.

Anderson West seems to be a moderately successful P.I., running a firm with his otherwise unemployable sister as his office manager.  When Jessica Smith starts getting progressively creepier and more frequent phone calls from a stalker, she turns to West for help.  With perfect chapter length and easily flowing language, I managed to get sucked right into the story and finish the book in a day.

West is a likeable enough character. He is in decent shape for chasing and intimidating suspects when needed, but he seems to prefer a more intellectual approach.  Carrie, his sister, drove me absolutely nuts as a vigilante type character who abuses Megan’s Law and breaks into people’s houses, getting West in trouble multiple times with various suspects.  She was almost comically terrible and should probably have shown some gratitude that she’s still employed while risking her brother’s license on a daily basis.  My favorite character might have been their mom, a selectively deaf momma-bear who keeps the family together.

The pacing of the book was perfect for me.  There were plenty of suspects including a few red herrings, well spaced clues and investigation, some interrogations, and just enough action and truly suspicious activity that I always wanted to keep reading.  One thing that drove the story was Jessica playing an unreliable victim – as readers we know that she’s hiding her past and won’t come clean about it, so we get to watch Carrie & West run down a bunch of false leads while the past catches up to the present.

The action heats up as this meshing of storylines occurs, and does get a little breakneck after the stalker breaks into Jessica’s house.  I think that I would have liked to spend some time inside the stalker’s head but his viewpoint was not included.  I did like how the reveal was done, even if the whole story got a little muddled at the end with a LOT of new information coming out.  A good mystery crime reader might have guessed who the stalker was based off a clue or two but I definitely didn’t.

I would definitely recommend the book to any fans of P.I. novels, thrillers, crimes, and stalker type bad guys.  I’m sure there are some girl-power type readers who will love Carrie too, but she just seemed perpetually ungrateful to her family and broke some pretty vulnerable laws.  I will 100% recommend any book I am compelled to read in one day though, and I really do hope to see more of these characters in the future!

Last but not least I have a guest post coming up from the author!! It will post on Thursday so that everyone can be looking out for it!  Alan Orloff talks about his time spent at citizen’s police academy, including a ride along and an incident with rifles!  The guest post can now be viewed at https://onereadingnurse.com/2020/03/20/alone-under-the-lights-guest-post-by-author-alan-orloff/

Categories
Fiction Suspense Thrillers

ARC Review: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Thank you so much to Harper Books and GoodReads for the giveaway win of The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine!

Here is the description from GoodReads:

Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

The Constantine sisters are back with another psychological thriller! Joanna is aggressively forced out of her family life by Leo’s new love interest, Piper, who has a shady if not murderous past. Joanna will do anything to protect her children from this monster, and the story unfolds.  I think the jacket description of the book is way too wordy, it would have thrown me off of the book if I wasn’t familiar with the author duo.  If it sounds flaky just give the book a chance anyway!

The characters are likeable enough.  I love big Greek families and it was fun to see Leo’s  interact a little bit.  Joanna seems like a dedicated enough parent, Piper seems crazy and entirely insensitive, and what is going on with Leo? He seems like a total ass with how he treats Joanna.  Leo’s kids are fun too, they seem realistic for their ages and I enjoyed reading Stelli’s antics.  Evie’s love for books and Nancy Drew is something I can all relate to!  Joanna carries the first person POV, which alternates with Piper’s chapters told in the third person.

Some parts of the book do feel like “too much” even after all the facts. There is no way someone would get a child abuse citation just for swatting a kid’s butt. People are so crazy (but that’s the point of the book)!  I found myself thinking back on the Joanna butt-swat  episode and I think it’s supposed to reflect back on Piper, who is the one supposedly hurting at least one of the kids.  The whole thing feels extremely unfair to Joanna.

This entire book lives for the twist. I was a little dumbfounded and confused until it hit me that … no spoilers but let me just scream UNRELIABLE NARRATORS at you!! They are my favorite psychological thriller trope and the last couple chapters, especially the last sentence of the book, had me shell shocked!

I read the entire book in two days then went back and re-read some parts to see if I missed any obvious clues.  The twist & reveal were sudden but well done, and the answers aren’t necessarily given so I got to make my own conclusions at the end.  I kept looking for redeeming characteristics for certain characters and really just…well… the character changes at the end were just too little too late for me. I’d love to discuss my conclusions with anyone that’s read it.  I appreciate the open ending though and wish those children the best!

There isn’t much to have a OneReadingNurse Medical Rant about.  The only bit that shocked me was… so the father is going to freak out over a slight fever (not really a fever) but not be concerned when everyone says Stelli looks pale?  When he’s constantly complaining of stomach aches?  Wouldn’t Leo start suspecting something?  It could have been a false lead in the book (I honestly don’t know) but I imagine Stelli’s complaints would have been taken more seriously especially since Leo knew Piper had started dosing him with something “natural,” and Leo said multiple times that the kid was a trouper and only complained when things got really bad.

Anyway anyway, I enjoyed the book quite a bit.  The Wife Stalker reads quickly and I think it is a great summertime novel for anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.

Thank you again to Harper Books for the giveaway ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.

Categories
Science Fiction Thrillers Young Adult

The God Game by Danny Tobey

Thank you so much to St Martin’s Press for the ARC of The God Game by Danny Tobey! This is a technological thriller with mythological and sci fi elements, read on to find out why I’m recommending this book!

Synopsis from GoodReads:

You are invited! Come inside and play with G.O.D. Bring your friends! It’s fun! But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then th threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

If cool rainbow-reflective lettering on the cover wasn’t enough, this book was completely addictive as well. The premise is that a group of five high school friends (but is this really a YA book? I think all ages will enjoy this with no problem) stumble upon a chatbot that claims to be G.O.D. This moral experiment has tons of players all over the world and attempts to crowd surf morality.

All five students have their own secrets and family issues. At this point they are trying to get into college, or just survive. The game puts each teenager against them self, each other, and the community, causing them to make choices and understand that each action has a consequence.

I think these are important topics for teens to read about. Themes about lying, bullying, suicide, child abuse, religion, and taking responsibility for your actions are all included in the book. Some are discussed thoughtfully and others less so. My favorite part was seeing how each teen reacted once they learned that their choices, actions, and decisions all had very potentially harmful flip sides for someone else.

“Donald Trump is a shape shifting lizard”

The other part I enjoyed was the humor! Isn’t it great that we live in a country where we can publish “Donald Trump is a shape-shifting lizard?” I did something similar to that to George Bush and it was made clear to me by the teacher that I should be thankful I didn’t live in a country where I could be imprisoned or worse for writing bad presidential poetry. Just saying. That part had me absolutely rolling though, but then The God Game got more intense and progressively darker to the point where I wasn’t laughing anymore.

I also enjoyed that progressive descent into ruin. It made the book so hard to put down. The end got a little bit convoluted and murky which is why I dropped the rating to four stars. The other part that threw me was some of the talk about code, I don’t know anything about coding and although it didn’t throw me off too hard – I just had no idea what they were talking about during those passages. The hacking parts were still interesting.

I thought after they had been though that the characters deserved a nice wrapped up ending after the game answered it’s biggest question of morality…. but that’s not how G.O.D. works.

The book releases on January 7th, 2020, mark your calendar if The God Game sounds up your alley!

Categories
Paranormal Suspense Thrillers

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp

Thank you to Orbit Books via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp is a fairly long book at 496 pages, but it reads super quickly. Kate meets Scott on Tinder and then at a social media retreat, and their relationship takes off running. It seems idyllic but rushed, and 4 months later Kate is moving in with Scotr…but he is gone. His stuff is gone. His phone was left behind. So the mystery of “where did Scott go” ends up entirely consuming Kate, and gets progressively weirder as ghosts and murderers and strange entities get involved.

At first I thought it was just going to be a mystery, then there were thriller elements introduced, then the addition of ghosts and a horror/supernatural element made it all seem a little bit weird. I did like how everything was mostly tied together at the end, although I won’t pretend to fully understand what happened with that cell phone! No spoilers though, that’s rude!

One fun part was reliving through Kate all of the silly social media things, like OK Cupid, Tinder, Whatsapp, etc. I don’t remember what it was called, not sickfuxx, but there WAS a site we used to dare each other to go to as teens that showed everything from gunshots to porn, and I wonder if that’s what Arnopp was nodding to. We are totally obsessed with our phones as a society and the book offers a really scary example of media addiction.

So yes, the book was long but I would still recommend it for fans of thrillers and light paranormal elements. I gave it 4 stars as I was personally not so much into the paranormal part, but 100% hooked while reading it anyway. The book releases 10/22 so check it out if it sounds up your alley!!!

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Categories
Paranormal Suspense Thrillers Young Adult

The Furies by Katie Lowe

Thank you SO much to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! Here is the first part of the Goodreads summary:

In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

The Furies by Katie Lowe is an atmospheric read set in a small coastal town at the end of the line. All the lines. Literally. It seems like a very depressed area that has a history of witch hunts and unexplained deaths/murders. At the heart is a school for girls, where Violet is a new student and she ends up falling in with an odd group of girls that are part of a secret society. The past is mixed with the present as Violet recalls the events of her first year at the school.

So the good things first: I really did enjoy Lowe’s writing style. Violet had a detached voice that kind of mirrored the….. ….hell, I’ll say it, she’s a bit of a sociopath. The whole book had a creepy, depressed, airy tone that her voice did a good job imparting.

The other voice that we hear a lot of is the secret society/art teacher, Annabel. She gives us some interesting discourse on the history of the town and school, as well as a critical view of some mythological and literary classics through a feminist lens. The only parts that really lost me were these discourses – yes it is cool to have mini lessons on Chaucer, Dante’s Inferno, and others, but it was a bit of a sidetrack. And extensive. Very occasionally it was hard in other places to understand what was happening, but the storyline would pick back up quickly enough.

The girls might have been abused by the men in their lives, and then had good reason fo seek revenge, but they took women’s empowerment to a scary level! They attempted – attempted? to summon the mythical furies as had their study group’s members in earlier years, evoking their powers. Violet was an at risk teen to start but she seemed way too eager to start smoking, drinking, doing drugs, losing weight, and contemplating murder…just to fit into this group. None of those girls were healthy.

Otherwise I really loved how the witchcraft, history, and mythology all tied together in the book. I don’t think anyone could have possibly seen that end coming. I would definitely recommend the book if atmospheric, spellcrafty, spooky and slightly psychopathic reads are up your alley!

The title releases on 10/8 and is available for preorder!

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Categories
Suspense Thrillers

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan!!

Hi guys, I hope everyone is loving their summer so far! Originally someone from Meryl Moss media had reached out about their blog tour for this book, and told me to post on today, July 26th!! I said awesome! I never heard back from her after that, never got a banner or links or anything else to post, and she didn’t respond to an email about it! Anyway…I am still going to post about this amazing book today! I say amazing because it’s rare that I remember a thriller after a few months!

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the early read, and also to Meryl Moss media for originally reaching out about a blog tour. I can party on my own🐲🐉🌼

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan is the perfect summer read. Three couples rent a beach house in the Hamptons while their kids are off at camp, hoping for a quiet vacation getaway. Good idea, right? When tensions go through the glass ceiling and one of the wives ends up murdered, it turns into …quite the clusterf*ck.

This isn’t a particularly difficult read, although I had trouble keeping all the names apart at first. The chapters alternate between the day before, the day of, and the day after the crime… This makes sense as it reveals bits and pieces of the before and after and lets us guess at what happened. I took the obvious suspect and guessed wrong, darn it. I liked the fast pacing and was about to read this in two days, finding Jenny’s line to be the most interesting. The detective was a little annoying and I felt like she didn’t really back Jenny up, despite the terrible situation she was in. Come on women, stick together.

So what I really liked was that there was a lot of tension between…everyone…and even though the action was contained to one area like a Clue game, there is still a feeling of danger to one character that I felt kept the plot moving. These are rather rich couples but the dialogue felt right, at least for the medical aspects. I know how doctors (and nurses) tend to either draft towards or away from medical conversations, and it was funny listening to Louis boast. I would have liked to spend more time inside the murder victim’s head, instead of seeing her through the other’s eyes only.

This was an absorbing and quick read and I easily rate it 4*. I can also remember the book fairly well, even though it’s been two months since I read it, so it has some staying power! Definitely recommend to all fans of musteries and thrillers.

Content warnings for alleged rape, spousal abuse, and drowning.

I will search for author links and add them to this post!!

Categories
Crime Mysteries Thrillers

The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman

Title: The Wedding Guest

Author: Jonathan Kellerman

Release Date: 2/5/19

Rating : 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis are at it again, this time solving the murder of a lovely young woman at a wedding reception. The problem? She wasn’t invited, and none of the guests knew who she was.

This book had plenty of friendly banter between our long running characters. Characterization is one of Kellerman’s strongest writing points, but I felt like the villian was totally disconnected. I never felt the psychological pull, the urgency, the fear for the next target. The detectives seemed almost lackadaisical when the action finally happened, and the bad guy flopped out of the blue.

There are plenty of misdirections and wrong turns, although the detectives never had to get too frustrated.

Will you read it if you are a long time Kellerman fan like myself? Absolutely. Objectively, was it one of his best? No, but I would still recommend it to fans of his style. I enjoyed it as a quicker, easy read, but it is not the most gripping of his thrillers.

Thank you again, so much, to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the chance to review The Wedding Guest!

Categories
Suspense Thrillers

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Title: Her One Mistake

Author: Heidi Perks

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: 1-8-2019

Rating: 5 stars all day long

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Gallery books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! If I am being honest – I LOVED and was slightly obsessed with this book. Read on to find out why!

Here is the blurb per NetGalley and Amazon:

What should have been a fun-filled, carefree day takes a tragic turn for the worse for one mother when her best friend’s child goes missing in this suspenseful, compulsively readable, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

The plot:: I normally put in the whole synopsis but I feel like it is a little bit misleading – it is probably supposed to be! The book started out normally enough but quickly had me entirely hooked, and ended up restoring my faith in thrillers. Long story short: Charlotte and Harriet are best friends, and Harriet trusts Charlotte to take her daughter Alice to the school fair. With three kids of her own to watch, plus Alice, the young girl just vanishes.
Enter a large-scale search, ruined relationships, and one total psycho. As soon as I got my first hunch of who did it, I read the rest in one sitting. Absolutely could not put it down, it just kept getting darker and more exciting as it went.

The style: the point of view switches back and forth between the two main women, moving the story along. It went from the present to the past and back again, painting a larger picture of Harriet and Alice’s lives. I loved the dual POV this time because two totally different stories were being told, and it kept me just itching to find out what happened next.

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The characters: I did like both women and their kids. They are likeable enough and although they stay fairly one dimensional, the unfolding relationships are important and there is good dialogue. I honestly don’t have much to say about the characters, the relationships are well described though and the strain is real. There were a lot of random female names thrown out at first that was a little confusing but did not distract.

General impression: This is such an easy 5 stars. I felt the end coming about three separate times, and wasn’t right any of those times. If I wanted to put it down after about 50%, I couldn’t have. It was truly an exciting and compulsive read, and anyone who likes thrillers and suspense NEEDS to read it. This is a debut novel too and I am so impressed!!

Categories
General Fiction Thrillers

Vendetta by Iris Johansen

Title: Vendetta

Author: Iris Johansen

Release date: 10/23/18

Pages: 413

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Rating & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 yes to fans of the author and genre

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for the opportunity to read the eARC of Vendetta in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

This was an honor!

In the 5th Catherine Ling thriller, a team of intelligence operatives must work together to locate and bring down the Red Star terrorist group before they wreak havoc on the west coast. I was expecting to see more of Catherine, but she plays a supporting role to Rachel Venable (Carl’s daughter) and they make a strong female team. Brandon, Hu Chang, Nate, Monty, and Cameron make up a great supporting cast of characters. I found the characters to be one of the strong points in the book – their relationships and access to international intrigue.

Johansen’s writing style is absorbing and easy to read.  My one qualm is that she used “jerkily” and “dryly” quite a few times- strong or distinct words like those stand out FAR too much to be used as frequently.  I know that Johansen has a vast vocabulary to pull from and likely she didn’t realize she was doing it. Speaking of oddball items – Cameron threw me off as well, where does one supernatural(ish) man fit into the world? He really does not and I feel like he takes away from the book, but just ever so slightly.

The plot and story itself are amazing. I love the deep level of intrigue between the CIA, Red Star, Nemesis, and the various other groups trying to vie for information and results.  At times there was too much talking, sitting around the house, chatting on the veranda…. The background is interesting and important but there is just too much of it, then the action came and went rather quickly. Very awesome and intense action though, I couldn’t stop reading once it started heating up.

Overall I would recommend it to Johansen fans and fans of action. It does work as a stand alone novel but doesn’t do Catherine a lot of justice so I wouldn’t start with it.

Again, thank you NetGalley and the aforementioned, I really was thrilled to be able to read and review this!

Categories
Suspense Thrillers

Review: Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

Hello and welcome to my first review! 100% unsolicited, I obtained this book from Kindle (a new venture for me)!

I really enjoyed this for a few reasons:

1) The book was not predictable. I could not guess what was coming next, and was surprised at least four or five times by plot twists. It kept me engaged and was never boring – In fact I switched it to audio when I couldn’t read so I wouldn’t miss the next chapter.

2) The dialogue was believable and natural between characters. When a large portion of the book is dialogue, I had better feel like I am there among them!

3) The point of view stayed consistent, but hopped around more towards the end. The end felt a little forced but tied the story together nicely, filling in the few missing pieces and tying the story up neatly.

The downside for me as an American reader is that it is hard to be a grammar freak when the UK English dialect is different. A very few passages felt poorly edited but it may simply be the dialect. I did enjoy looking up pictures of places and things that occur in the book though, and even with no understanding of Europe I had no trouble following the story.

Overall, I give it 4/5 stars and recommend Follow You Home to anyone who enjoys a good thriller! Not for the faint of heart or those who are easily offended by language or grisly descriptions of scenes!

Thank you for reading!