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Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Tag: murder (page 1 of 3)

City of Endless Night (Pendergast #17) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose–one responsible for the young woman’s death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.
D’Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer–or killers–as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D’Agosta’s intelligence and strength simply to match wits–let alone stay alive

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

This installment fits firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to enjoyment value. Pendergast is always wonderful to spend time with, but in this book he seems psychically disturbed somehow, not the invincible man we are familiar with. His conversations with D’Agosta are nebulous, even distant, and there is no chemistry between them. Perhaps this is what the authors intended to create, given the final chapter’s activities. In any case, there are murders, bad guys, and beheadings, with plenty of gory details that Pendergast devotees are familiar with.

Some other reviews have stated that they could see the plot twists coming; I could not. Mostly I spent my time mentally urging the characters to make better choices and communicate more.

Some of the more enjoyable parts: having Pendergast battle things out in the abandoned mental hospital (I am an urban explorer and love hearing about places, even if I can only be there vicariously), and some of the dialogue is utterly delicious. Case in point – as Pendergast is trying to get into an office without an appointment:

“An appointment was merely a courtesy,” he said, allowing a little iron to mingle with the butter. “As a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, looking into an active homicide, I go where I please, when I please, as long as I have reasonable suspicion to do so. Now, I suggest you speak to your minders and arrange an audience….without delay. Otherwise, there might be unpleasantness in store for each of you, personally.”

This is the kind of dialogue I live for in a Pendergast book.  Often there are hidden gems like this, bright spots among dull moments in the plot. Perhaps these books are like pizza – as the saying goes: even if it’s done bad, it’s still good. Despite the characters not having chemistry, it was still great to spend time with them. Perhaps the next installment will show a happier Special Agent, given the plot twist at the end. I miss his smooth arrogance and confidence, and I’m sure you do too.

Summation: great characters behaving in ordinary ways. Pendergast is not shown in the strongest light, and there isn’t any real furthering of the big picture. However, it’s not the worst P&C book ever written. Let this book tide you over until the next one comes along.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1455536946″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished

 

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

FINAL GIRLS is a book that reads a little differently from its description. It wasn’t much off – but off enough that I wished the blurb was more accurate.

Quincy starts out as a sort-of-sympathetic character, then becomes annoying and confusing. Understandably she is happy with her food blog and her ineffectual boyfriend, but somehow changes persona 180 degrees when fellow survivor Sam comes into the picture. Together they become a two person mini-mob, stealing things and causing trouble.

Sam is a character that is not only unreliable, but unhinged. Her motives seem to be clear one minute, then murky the next. I wasn’t very fond of her at all and wondered how mealy little Quincy could enjoy her company. I also wondered how some of the things they did escaped unnoticed. In any case, the plot advances until the house of lies they built comes crashing down. Then follows a plot twist that I hadn’t seen coming (always a good thing) and the story abruptly ends.

Despite all the activity and violence, I wasn’t truly engaged in the story or the characters. I read through it halfheartedly hoping it would get better. I felt that I had to suspend my belief a few times and I struggled to care about the outcome. Perhaps if the story was a bit shorter, or there was less instances of Quincy’s monologues, and baking, and flashbacks (which had no detail, really), and love-hate interactions between Quincy and Sam ……. I’m not sure. Is it possible to call a thriller “dull”? It was certainly true in this case. I’d say without a doubt FINAL GIRLS is an instance where the plot holds great promise but the writer doesn’t deliver. Maybe this would have been better as a movie, given that the backdrop was similar to those silly-but-not-really 80’s horror flicks. Some things just don’t transition well from screen to page.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1101985364″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

THE PARTY by Robyn Harding

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.
One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.
Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?
But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.
Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

Many thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

 

THE PARTY is a roller coaster, unputdownable book where all the characters are despicable. It’s the story of a sweet 16 birthday party gone horribly wrong, with consequences that will last a lifetime. Hannah, the daughter, is just trying to be more popular. Kim and Jeff are her parents, with the trope of “strict goody two shoes mom” plus “emasculated father trying to be cool”. The events of the fateful night are told over flashbacks, over the course of the story; which kept me interested and hungry for more detail.

The complex and turbulent relationships between the characters are drawn well and evoke a great deal of emotion. Everyone is manipulating – or manipulated by- someone else. There are multi layered agendas. There are mean girls. There is isolation, greed, and shallowness.

I literally could not wait to get back to the book, and thought about it while I wasn’t able to read; I just had to see what was happening next. It’s the kind of book you read with incredulity, wondering if there is going to be a happily ever after despite knowing another crash is coming.

The author exposes the ugly side of relationships with adeptness, even glee (if you read between the lines). Just when you almost start feeling sorry for someone, they expose their seamy side and you go right back to sneering at them. Delicious!

Do people really behave this way now, or is it just something that takes place in fiction? I am glad I don’t have to navigate the treachery of high school, where Facebook posts are created to hurt, and cliques do a lot more than name calling.

No one escapes unscathed from THE PARTY – it’s the kind of story that you will think about for days after you finish the book, considering all the wrong choices every character made and how it affected their lives.

Want our own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1501161245″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett

will to live

Reputation is everything.
When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.
As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.
With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.
When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him…

 

Many thanks to the author for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review!

Rachel Amphlett is a master at starting a story off by grabbing your attention, and this one is no exception. A horrific murder takes place on the railroad tracks and intrepid detective Kay Hunter is tasked with finding the killer.

WILL TO LIVE has two strong female characters: Kay and her coworker/sidekick Carys. Together they support each other and race against the clock to find the murderer before he kills again. I’m happy to report that the killer’s identity was not evident until nearly the end; and there were some delightful red herrings and twists along the way.

I can’t recall many murder mysteries taking place in railway yards, so I’m giving kudos to Amphlett for creating suspense in a creative location There is always a great opportunity to make death by train gory, and those who like a bit of gore will not be disappointed.

This installment delves a little deeper into the secondary plot of Kay’s personal mission – she is trying to find out who removed evidence from a previous investigation, causing friction between her and DCI Larch,a superior officer. Some hints are dropped but that part of the plot doesn’t have a lot of forward motion, much to my chagrin. I really want to find out who the guilty party is!

Kay Hunter’s character is completely human, which makes the book a good read. One reason is that she is not one of those perfect cops that never make a mistake; plus she has stress and self-doubt and guilt. She also has people on her side, which tempers Larch’s dismissive and possibly abusive attitude towards her. I so cannot wait for him to get his comeuppance in a future book!

The only thing that I would question is the mention of “antidepressants” used to drug the victims. Without any drugs being named, I was hard pressed to figure out what drugs were being used that could cause a reaction like that. I’m certainly not an expert, but that was a small detail that seemed out of place to me. This could be entirely my ignorance and not the fault of the author. Otherwise, the story moved along at a rapid pace. The ending wrapped things up neatly, leaving me both satisfied and ready for another round with Kay.

Amphlett is a writer that I would always say yes to. Her style is polished and realistic without being overly heavy on either dialogue or description – it’s a perfect blend of both along with plenty of suspense.  If you haven’t read any of her work I absolutely recommend it!

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B06XZHB17C” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

the marriage pact

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .           
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
           
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
And then one of them breaks the rules.
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Many thanks to NetGalley for this ARC given in exchange for an honest review!

Unfortunately, this book was a DNF for me. I was not interested in the characters at all, and the pace was very slow. Great idea, poorly conceived. That’s pretty much all I have to say about the book; I gave it two separate tries before I finally gave up about 25% of the way through.

You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”0385343299″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link], in case you want to try it for yourself.

The Child by Fiona Barton

the child

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

 

Many thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for a review!

The Child brings back journalist Kate Waters, first seen in Fiona Barton’s The Widow. When a baby’s skeleton is found at a construction site, the lives of three women are affected. Kate Waters seizes the story and tries to figure out where the tiny body came from.

 

Delightfully British with well written characters, The Child is another treasure. Kate’s interaction with her coworkers are dead on, as Barton illustrates how print journalists must cope with 24 hour online news media. The women’s family dynamics are integral to the story; giving the reader the backstory slowly and tantalizingly. Each woman gets to tell her story – there are changing points of view throughout and we see firsthand what Kate, Emma, and Angela are going through. Emma’s mother, Jude, is also part of the dynamic. I found Jude to be annoying and narcissistic; she was easy to loathe. Emma and Angela were both dealing with their own mental issues as well, and at times all of the angst became overwhelming. That didn’t deter me from continuing to read – but at times I wished there was a bit less whining and a little more action.

Kate is an expert reporter, adept at the art of manipulation to get her story. As a matter of fact, almost every character manipulates someone in some way. Barton is a master of keeping a dark story hovering just above the despair line, tempering the distress with hope.

Some reviews have noted that the plot twists were easy to spot- not for me! I had a feeling that these women were going to be intertwined somehow (for plot purposes, of course), but could not predict what was going to happen until Barton gave the Big Reveal. I was appropriately shocked and enthralled. Everything came together in a satisfying way and I felt that there was room for Kate’s character to grow, possibly to be featured in another book.

Barton’s insight into the female psyche is peerless, and knows how to illustrate the seamy side of the human condition perfectly. I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next work.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1101990481″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Dearly Ransomed Soul by April Taylor

dearly

Georgia Pattison, an early-music soprano with a nose for a mystery made her first appearance in the introductory novella Whistles After Dark. Now she is in action again in the first full-length mystery, Dearly Ransomed Soul.
Georgia finds herself in Worcester as a last-minute substitute soloist in the prestigious Three Choirs Festival. She also finds the body of Ariana Staithes, murdered in the cathedral immediately after her superlative performance as the Angel in Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.
The method of murder speaks of deep hatred, but who would want this fantastic emerging talent dead? A lot of people as it turns out. And not just the musical ones. Her estranged husband? Her rival? A jealous wife? One of her blackmail victims? Is there anyone this woman has not alienated?
Superintendent Hamilton knows nothing of the musical world, but she does know this murder was planned and, Georgia, being a latecomer, is innocent. Hamilton is also desperate. The festival is world-renowned and she is in the spotlight and under pressure.

Against every regulation, she persuades Georgia to help her. For Georgia, the investigation starts as something of a crossword puzzle game, but soon she finds herself floundering in a mesh of confusion with suspects at every turn as the mystery deepens and her position becomes fraught with danger. Can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

 

Many thanks to Publishing Push for this review copy!

The world of murder mysteries can get a bit weary as the same-old continues. Not so in this unique story! The backdrop of choir singers makes it a fun and educational read.

The plot seems simple enough – a drama loving diva is murdered immediately after giving the best performance of her life. Almost everyone surrounding her has a motive, making the case rather difficult for the local police. Our heroine, Georgia Pattison, is willing to help out any way she can, like an operatic Nancy Drew. That is where the fun begins! Many characters provide red herrings galore, while the author gets to show off her considerable knowledge of choir singers and music. Georgia is no shrinking violet, and takes to her role like a duck to water (soprano to a solo?).

The descriptions of Worcester cathedral and musical terms force you to slow down and truly enjoy the writing. The author is keen to display the surroundings, along with Georgia’s inner monologues in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Definitely not the same-old here!

Best of all, Georgia is not one to hold back, either in word or deed. She plunges into the fray wholeheartedly, disregarding any danger she may encounter along the way. Other gifts for the reader are the many composers and songs noted as the book progresses. There are links provided in the e-book (quite thoughtful) so the reader can listen and learn to the songs mentioned. I thought this was an impressive way to make the experience multi-dimensional; as you listen to the music the story comes alive.

Brava! to the author for giving us a great start to this brand new series. You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IBCI4QA” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Escape Clause by John Sandford (Virgil Flowers #9)

escape-clause

The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others — as Virgil is about to find out.
Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.
“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”
“She carries a knife?”
“No, but I do.”

Forget a storm – this one’s a tornado.

Many thanks to NetGalley for this review copy!

Seeing a new John Sandford book on the shelf is always a thrill, and even more so when it’s a Flowers outing. Sandford’s Davenport character is well written, but Flowers is truly a joy to experience. It seems to me that the author permits himself to really cut loose in writing about Virgil’s exploits; his writing seems to mirror Carl Hiaasen’s more than his own.

That being said, I love Carl Hiaasen. His character development ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, and so it goes here with ESCAPE CLAUSE.

The main bad guy is a disgraced doctor who pops Xanax like M&M’s. The other bad guys are truly caricatures of villains, even down to how they meet their untimely demise. In fact, I would say that this book by far is the most gory and strange Virgil story yet.

It starts out normal enough: our hero is asked to track down two missing tigers from the Minneapolis zoo. Once he starts shaking the tree, all sorts of things start falling out. We learn about the dark side of traditional Chinese medicine, and also experience a sub plot with wild characters as well – Virgil’s girlfriend has a sister named Sparkle who is dating a priest.

Don’t let the rollicking crazies fool you – this is a serious mystery that will keep you turning the pages. Even though we know whodunit already, seeing them brought to justice (or not) is captivating. Virgil is getting tired of handling animal cases (remember the dognappers from a previous book?) but he throws his all into tracking these rare tigers down with a fervor that will delight the most sensitive animal lover. He truly has fun while on the job, and it shows.

ESCAPE CLAUSE can be read as a standalone novel, but fans of Virgil will delight in all the in-jokes and references to previous adventures. Sandford keeps getting better and better. This was one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”0399168915″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

The Ripper Awakens by Ellie DeFarr

ripper

Six women dead at the hands of a brutal killer, and she’s next on his list!

Hurting from the death of a good friend, PI Hera Hunter has taken up residence in the mountain village of Rosewood. There, within a cabin owned by her foster parents, she finds solitude and peace. But not for long. After a local barmaid is murdered, Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Haygarth concludes it’s the work of a serial killer who’s been terrorizing a small town thirty miles away. The killer has a taste for victims who share Hera’s physical traits. On a dark night thick with fog, the killer crosses Hera’s path, setting in motion a cat-and-mouse game between two dangerous adversaries. Both are accustomed to violence. Each is determined. But only one will survive.

Many thanks to the author for gifting me this ARC!

Our favorite private investigator is trying to find peace and quiet after the brutal murder of a good friend. All she wants is to be left alone with her thoughts, as she mourns and heals. However, her sense for justice is awakened as she learns of a serial killer targeting women in a nearby town.

Hera’s erstwhile companion Lucky is still sniffing out danger and giving comfort to those who need it. One of my main reasons that DeFarr is one of my favorite authors is her ability to make Lucky come alive in his actions. He is always polite as Hera brings him along to a restaurant or a bar, yet never hesitates to jump in with a growl if Hera is threatened.

RIPPER has a few plotlines happening at the same time; there are a few shady characters that Hera needs to get to know better; she is also back in contact with people from her past, causing an emotional reaction; and the body count is increasing as the murderer continues his spree.

The mayor of Rosewood is especially interested to have Hera solve the murders – but when she starts looking into his background she finds a few unsavory things! Almost all the characters in the book have skeletons in their closet – and it’s only a matter of time until Hera uncovers them.

She is still emotionally unstable due to the loss of her best friend – she is feeling both guilt that it was her fault, plus she is trying to deal with the sense of loss. As a result, Hera is somewhat different in this installment, personality wise. She is off her game, so to speak – but this makes her a kinder, gentler person. This is purely inadvertent on her part, and I’m curious to see if this changes in the next book. She lets people speak without interrupting them, she appears to be listening, and she keeps her temper in check. You can definitely tell that Hera is not herself. This is not to say she is a pushover. She continues to be fearless, sneaking into houses and searching for clues despite the constant threat of danger. Hera is awesome that way; she will take up for the helpless and hopeless and try to find them justice. She may be in need of help herself, but puts others first.

One thing of note that stuck out in my head; one of the murder victims is a girl from Hera’s past. She and Hera were involved in a fist fight years ago, yet everyone remembers the victim as a sweet girl and Hera as the bully. I would have liked to hear more (even as a flashback) of how this disparity came to be. Hera expresses dismay and confusion every time she hears others reminisce about how the victim was such a wonderful person, but the whole backstory really never gets fleshed out.

Otherwise, THE RIPPER AWAKENS is another well written, easily devoured book by Ellie DeFarr. I am curious to see if DeFarr brings Hera back to Centreville or if she will travel off to a new town and new adventure. No matter where she goes, I know she will be seeking justice for someone!

Want your own copy? You can pick it up[easyazon_link identifier=”B01KNFD2Z6″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

Murder on Moonshine Hill by Joan C Curtis

murder on moon

When Jenna decides to go to a friend’s wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts, and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.
Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.
Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina, Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

 

Thanks to the author for gifting me this review copy!

One of my favorite things about this book is the extensive cast. From ex-best friend to spoiled trophy wife, author Joan Curtis displays her masterful knowledge of character development. Everyone has an agenda – some are selfish, some are hidden, and one in particular is the thing that Jenna is trying to discover.

Imagine getting a wedding invitation from your best friend – the one that broke your heart when she dropped you like a hot potato after a death in the family. Would you turn a blind eye to the snub to see her on the happiest day of her life? Reluctant at first, Jenna decides to go after a hidden plea for help drops out of the invitation envelope. She becomes immersed in the extensive family drama swirling around the joyous (or not) event, and soon it is up to her to save her friend’s life. Even if her friend doesn’t want to be saved.

Curtis enjoys the setting of North Carolina; it’s evident in the loving and descriptive way she describes the scenery. When a book is written in a way where the setting complements the plot, that adds another level of enjoyment to my reading.

Jenna’s friend Quentin is adorably protective of her, often deflecting her overbearing mom’s attention away from her and onto himself, using tried-and-true methods that had me laughing. What girl doesn’t need a Queer Eye For The Straight Girl BFF?

Another hallmark of Curtis’ writing is that the villain is not always obvious. My mental finger was pointed at quite a few people before the troublemaker was finally exposed. I love when a book is written in this manner; my interest is held all the way until the end, no early boredom sets in!

Jenna’s character is not without flaws – she is a strong woman with feelings that can be hurt, as demonstrated in her internal dialogues detailing her confusion and sorrow after her childhood girlfriend suddenly vanishes from her life without an explanation. Most of us have been there in some way or another – but we may never get the chance for closure like Jenna does.

I strongly recommend picking up this book; it’s an easy, well written mystery that will keep you entertained all the way through. You can pick up your own copy [easyazon_link identifier=”B01HWOR4J6″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

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