Categotry Archives: Mystery

The Hanging Girl

The Hanging Girl Book Cover The Hanging Girl
Eileen Cook
Hmh Books for Young Readers
October 3, 2017
320

Another unputdownable, twisty, cat-and-mouse thriller by the author of With Malice about a girl who claims to have a psychic vision that could help find a missing teenager.

 

Review:

“The Hanging Girl” is a good read for someone in the mood for a quick and fun young adult mystery.  The plot is entertaining and would come in handy for someone needing a break during the holiday season by escaping for a while.  The only problem I had with it is the main character, Skye.  No matter how much her character’s deeper history was revealed I just could not bring myself to like her.  Recommended for a light read!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

 

Emma in the Night

Emma in the Night Book Cover Emma in the Night
Wendy Walker
Fiction
August 8, 2017
320

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." –Booklist, Starred Review One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

 

Review:

“Emma in the Night” is a taut psychological thriller that kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down.  Not only did I keep second-guessing my theories,  I kept feeling ill-at-ease in my own home.  It’s difficult to say much more than the book synopsis because to spoil it even a little would take away from the fun.  If you like thriller mysteries, you will probably enjoy this.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Little Monsters

Little Monsters Book Cover Little Monsters
Kara Thomas
Young Adult Fiction
Delacorte Press
2017
336

When Kacey moves in with her estranged father and his new family, her new friend goes missing and Kacey finds herself at the center of the investigation.

 

Review:

“Little Monsters” is a young adult thriller that will satisfy both the ya audience and adult readers.  The mystery is well-written and keeps the reader guessing throughout.  Even when you think you know the bad guy, you keep second-guessing yourself.  A very enjoyable read that I recommend to any fan of the mystery and thriller genres.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Poe: Stories and Poems

Poe: Stories and Poems Book Cover Poe: Stories and Poems
Gareth Hinds
Candlewick Press
August 1, 2017
Paperback
120

In a thrilling adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known works, acclaimed artist-adapter Gareth Hinds translates Poe's dark genius into graphic-novel format.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In "The Cask of Amontillado," a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In "The Masque of the Red Death," a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can’t see his tormentors in "The Pit and the Pendulum," and in "The Tell-Tale Heart," a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems — "The Raven," "The Bells," and Poe’s poignant elegy to lost love, "Annabel Lee." The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.

 

Review:

I can’t rave enough about this graphic novel.  The artwork is beautiful and the style changes for each work to perfectly fit the mood.  It’s an excellent introduction to Poe’s works for the younger set and even includes a theme guide at the beginning of each work.  In the back is a piece on each story or poem that gives vital information into both its creation and Poe’s life in general.  I can’t recommend this enough!

Five enthusiastic stars.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Suffering Tree

The Suffering Tree Book Cover The Suffering Tree
Elle Cosimano
Young Adult Fiction
Disney-Hyperion
June 13, 2017
368

"It's dark magic brings him back." Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it's their generations-old land the Burns have "stolen." As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori's shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it's clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter's cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel. As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family's oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.

 

Review:

I am giving “The Suffering Tree” three stars for the sole reason that it had some promise.  2 1/2 would be my preference and 2 seems too low, so I rounded up.

As I said above, there was some promise in the plot and characters.  They were actually developed fairly well and the concept was unique.  The problem is, none of it was capitalized on.  It felt plodding with brief moments of hope, only to have them almost immediately dashed.  And I would be remiss if I neglected to mention this:  There is self-harm (cutting) and it is very graphic.  If this is a trigger for you then avoid this book at all costs.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend “The Suffering Tree.”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Graphic Self-Harm

Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunters #1)

Southern Spirits Book Cover Southern Spirits
Southern Ghost Hunters, Book 1
Angie Fox
Fantasy fiction
January 13, 2015
276

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she's saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick-she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can't refuse from the town's bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with. Ellis Wyatt is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee's finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless-and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there's more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. There's a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

 

Review:

“Southern Spirits” is the perfect cozy mystery for a rainy winter’s day.  There is plenty of humor, a pet skunk, and southern charm, along with the beginning of what promises to be a steamy romance.  Don’t be fooled, though, as there were some legitimate scares to be found.  A really fun adult mystery read!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23)

Turbo Twenty-Three Book Cover Turbo Twenty-Three
Stephanie Plum, Book 23
Janet Evanovich
Fiction
Bantam
November 15, 2016
320

Speed is the name of the game as Stephanie Plum returns in Turbo Twenty-Three--the thrilling, fast-paced new adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

 

Review:

“Turbo Twenty-Three” is another funny and endearing novel in the Stephanie Plum series.  I found myself laughing quite a bit and thrilled at some plot threads  that were explored.  My only issue with it is that it feels like the author knows things need a bit of a shake-up after all this time, and began to go down the road, only to chicken out rather abruptly at the end.  I hope she takes some chances on the next one.

The Lost and the Found

The Lost and the Found Book Cover The Lost and the Found
Cat Clarke
JUVENILE FICTION
Crown Books For Young Readers
September 13, 2016
368

THE LOST
When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister, Faith. Since then, Faith’s childhood has revolved around her sister’s disappearance—from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention, to dealing with so-called friends who only ever want to talk about her missing sister.

THE FOUND
Now, thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the front yard of the Logans’ old house, disoriented and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Can her sister finally be back? Faith always dreamed of her sister coming home; she just never believed it would happen. But soon a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated from her family and paranoid about her sister’s motives. Before long, Faith begins to wonder if it’s the abduction that’s changed her sister, or if it’s something else. . . .

Originally published in the United Kingdom by Quercus in 2015.

 

Review:

“The Lost and the Found” is a contemporary thriller about a kidnapped girl coming home that managed to hold my attention and keep me flipping the pages until it was finished.

The story of Faith and her sister Laurel, who was kidnapped at age 6, revolves around Faith’s feelings after her sister returns home.  I found it interesting to think about how a sibling would feel given the situation.  Faith was both likable and frustrating in the ways that any teenager can be, and it felt like her reactions would be common in the situation.  The book had a steady pace that built up to a conclusion that was both predictable and not predictable.  I only had one problem, and that was with a resolution to a subplot that seemed completely out-of-character and rushed, as though it were an afterthought.

“The Lost and the Found” will be of interest to older young adults and adults who enjoy a quick reading contemporary thriller that has some substance and bite.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Somewhat Graphic Sexual Situations, Violence, Sexual Abuse

The Cabin

The Cabin
Natasha Preston
Sourcebooks Fire
September 6, 2016
Paperback
336

A New York Times Bestseller!

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake

They think they're invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They've left me no choice.
It's time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can't wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead-murdered.

With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn't telling the truth. And Mackenzie's first mistake? Assuming the killing is over...

 

Review:

“The Cabin” was a solid four-star thriller up until the very end.  That doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable in a B horror movie sort of way.

The characters are the stereotypical mix that you come to expect from horror movies and fun, fast reading thrillers.  There were some plot surprises and enough creepy things to give you some chills.  Just.  The ending.  I can’t quite forgive that one.

Overall, “The Cabin” is a fun read for the Halloween season or any other time you’re feeling like a fun and breezy thriller.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Curious Minds

Curious Minds Book Cover Curious Minds
Knight and Moon, Book 1
Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton,
Fiction
Bantam
August 16, 2016
256

Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, teams up with Emmy-winning writer Phoef Sutton for a brand-new series of thrillers featuring charmingly eccentric Emerson Knight and professional go-getter Riley Moon.

 

Review:

“Curious Minds” was a fun, quick read that featured all of the humor and wit for which Janet Evanovich is known.  She and Phoef Sutton make a great writing team.

The new characters of Emerson Knight and Riley Moon are quite a bit different from others we have seen in previous series.  The quirkiness of Emerson is especially intriguing, and I can’t wait to read more about him.  They play well off of one another.  The plot moved fast and it can easily be read in a sitting or two.  There were a few sputters in character development, with few detailed background characters, but all of those can easily be fixed and filled in with the next installment.

I can easily recommend “Curious Minds” for any Janet Evanovich fan or for someone looking for a new humorous mystery series to enjoy.

This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

As this is an adult book, there are no content warnings.