Book Review: Thriller & Suspense

Book Review: Justice for Belle by Didi Oviatt

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Justice for BelleJustice for Belle by Didi Oviatt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Justice for Belle is one fast-faced novella! But in truth, I wouldn’t expect any less from author Didi Oviatt whose thrillers and suspense novels I’ve read in the past always get your heart racing and your mind flying. Another fantastic release showing why she’s on the rise as an amazing storyteller who will gut-punch you with twists and shocks when you least expect them.

The story: Ahnia did something wrong. We don’t know what it is, but it was bad. Very bad. Only one person knows. Or so she thought! The problem, other than what this other person might do to Ahnia, is that Ahnia seems to only be able to write when she’s coming off the high of doing something awful. A best seller as a teenager / early 20s young woman made her popular, but now, can she live up to that expectation? Several years later, she’s intrigued by a guy who makes an offer, but then she finds out what’s really going on behind the scenes. Who should she trust?

GIRL – no one! Never trust anyone once you’ve done what you’ve done. Poor Belle… will there ever be justice? Interested in the novella yet? The premise is outstanding, and the best part, we really don’t ever know why something happened in the past. We get bits and pieces, but it’s not really important. It’s the psychological FREAK-OUT we go thru wondering what happened that revs our engines. That’s a great author… now… the ending?!? I don’t ever expect Oviatt to do what you think she will, and that’s an amazing thing. She likes to make you wait just a bit longer, then pops you one with a doozy of a shock factor. Nothing personal, but I’m staying away from her in a dark alley!

Less than two hours, this is a wild ride… it slows down for a few chapters to let you catch your breath, but don’t be fooled. You’re not getting a break again after that first pause, so relish the hunt and figure out who’s behind the games in this great novella.

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It’s my latest author alert and today we’re revisiting Didi Oviatt, a past spotlightee (is that a word… wait, I’m a writer — should I know?), to reveal the cover of her newest book. I’ve read and loved two of Didi’s other books, Search for Maylee and Aggravated Momentum. Check out her dedicated profile page on my blog too! But today… it’s all about ‘Justice for Belle’ which drops on May 15th, 2019 and is available for sale NOW!

Pre-Order/Purchase Link

Book Quote:

***Call me weird, obsessed, paranoid, twisted or whatever, but I have this nasty little habit of trying to guess what kind of killers people would be… if they were actually killers, that is. Whenever I see someone in a crowd who stands out among the rest, I see it. It all depends on their size, the way they move, the look in their eyes. Everything plays a part, and the image is usually fairly detailed. Then, I jot down my observations for future use.***


Ahnia, has a very dicey past, one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out. She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone and left to question her own sanity. Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous business move be a success? Or, will Ahnia find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin? In this nail biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem… and no one is truly safe with those they trust.


Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, Justice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle. 

Didi can be found on her Website/Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly AMAZON

Excerpt #1:

“You get lost?” Mac’s voice rings loudly at my side.

I jump, knocking a cold glass bottle of booze over with my arm. I grab it back up with trembling hands. I straighten myself to a stand and hand it over before grabbing two more for myself. Mac takes a step closer to me no sooner than the fridge door shuts completely.

The scent of him is just as fresh as the first day we met; only tonight there is a muskier underlining. The delicious smell of his natural skin, no doubt. My knees weaken, and I take a step back. The center of my back touches the counter causing me to reach back with my free hand and grab ahold of it for balance.

“What are you doing?” I ask desperately under my breath.

“You were taking a while, so I thought I’d check up on you.” His voice is wanting and raspy.

“I’m fine.”

I duck and spin, maneuvering my body around him. I’m careful not to brush our flesh together. He props himself against the exact spot of the counter that I just left by the hip, his gaze fixated on me. I look away, twist the top off of my first drink and guzzle the entire thing as if my life depends on it. He, too, takes a drink, but barely a sip. The serious clench of his jaw tells me that he means business. My chest tightens.

“Why are you really here?” I ask.

“A few reasons, actually.”

“Which are?”

“I’m trying to decide which one I wanna tell you first.”

He takes another sip and continues to stare. I toss my empty bottle into the trash can, and twist open the top of my next. It’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Aside from my own heavy breath, I hear only haunting silence.

“Start with whatever it is you’re so afraid to say.” I breathe, my heart quickening another pace.

Mac takes a few quick steps forward, again closing the gap between us. The wildness of his eyes and his hair reminds me of a lion, ready to pounce. Soon I’m backed against the wall, with our chests pressed together. I stare at his mouth. His lips are the perfect shade of pink. I want to lick them. I tuck my own in and bite the insides lowering my head…denying him access. He places his palms against the wall, beside my shoulders, and lowers his forehead to mine.

“You’re not who I thought you were,” he says, the hops in his breath mixing with my own.

I close my eyes tightly and breathe him in. The image I once had of his fists closing in around the neck of an unknown man as he shook the life from him is all I can think about. God, I wish I could stop enjoying the thought of death. I can feel his heartbeat through my shirt and my nipples harden. The heat from his body screams danger, and the pool of nerves between my legs wants it.

“Mac,” I whisper, our foreheads still together.

I try and lift my arms to push him away, but can’t. Like dead weight, they stay motionless at my sides. I shake my head against his. This is wrong.

“Ahnia, I know we can’t do this. I just… I…”

Mac slaps an open palm against the wall. It’s an angry, powerful blow a mere foot from my face. I jump, feeling the vibration of it against my entire body.

“F**k!” He shouts, and pulls himself away.

He runs a fist through his hair and storms off. After helping himself to another beer from my fridge, he disappears back into the living room, leaving me behind to gather myself. I take a couple deep breaths and run my shaking hands down the front of my shirt a few times.

I’m scared to death of him right now, but I don’t want him to leave either. I can’t kick him out, what if he comes at me? Or worse, what if I wind up throwing myself at him. I don’t trust me at this point, any more than I don’t trust him.


About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


Book Review: Blood Rain in Trieste by George Henry

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Blood Rain in TriesteBlood Rain in Trieste by George Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blood Rain in Trieste is a thriller written by George Henry and published in 2015 by Creativia. I saw the book available on Amazon at a discounted price last month and picked it up. I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for future discounts or heading to the site to grab a copy now. What a roller coaster of emotions, battles, and intense drama.

I am a frequent thriller reader, but it’s usually psychological or medical. I’ve read a few international ones (mostly series) about various historical time periods that I love, but this was a new kind for me. The story mostly takes place in Italy but there are American, Canadian, and Afghani components that created a much larger cultural and religious read than I’ve devoured before. Not a worry, I found it all easy to follow and quick to suck me in.

Milo is a former… well, I’ll let you be the judge of how former his job really is, hit man. His Muslim wife was murdered. His Canadian CIA-equivalent boss seems to be responsible. A lookalike shows up begging for his help. And that’s just the beginning. Milo’s life explodes in the dirty and wealthy streets of Trieste where he beds hookers, murders mafia folks, falls in love, gets injured, and learns many secrets of the underworld (not Hell, although it certainly could feel like it at some points). Author Henry has a powerful voice in his protagonist, one who I loved in many scenes and wanted to sucker punch for being stupid in others. But that’s real life, we don’t always make the right decisions. And talking about real life, while I’m sure some people might experience similar things to Milo, this was about as far removed from my cozy little world as one could get. But I loved it!

George Henry is a new author to me. I’ll read his work again. He’s created memorable characters and settings. He’s unfolded layers of drama where no one stays on one side forever — there are secret allies, promises, and vengeance that must be fulfilled. Just when you think you know who’s behind it all, or which character is double-crossing another, one of the nuts in this cast releases a flame thrower, and readers, you better watch out! You won’t see it coming, but it makes sense when it glides past you and singes the hair off your arms. If you don’t have any, maybe just your shirt sleeve!

This is the kind of book that is consuming. While a few sections were overly detailed, the majority was a perfect balance of dialog and narrative that kept me coming back for more. My favorite scenes had to be between Mohammed and Milo. There is a tension not unlike father and son, but of two men who could kill each other or promise to protect one another forever at given times. There is anger but respect, admiration but pain, love but frustration. The author has done a phenomenal job at creating the tentative bond between these two characters, then tossed Mohammed’s greedy and sinning children in the mix.

Take a chance on this new author… especially if you like a raw, sometimes explicit but tasteful, and challenging read full of spider webs and multi-level dimension.

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Book Review: One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

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One Little SecretOne Little Secret by Cate Holahan
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

One Little Secret is the second novel written by Cate Holahan that I’ve read. Part mystery and thriller, it tells the story of six neighbors (three couples) who rent a house on the eastern shores of Long Island for part of the summer. As each chapter unfolds in third person perspective, we learn of the drama transpiring in their individual and combined households.

This book was a very easy read. I devoured it in two chunks over a twenty-four hour period, finding myself unwilling to put it down except for meals and priorities that I couldn’t skip out on. The characters are vivid, realistic but with a slight caricature-like tendency, and will clearly show their motivation for each move they make. Holahan has weaved clever tension beyond just the normal marital problems of infidelity and monotonous boredom. At times, I thought these people were all horrible, yet at others, I saw moments of intimacy and pain that provoked sentimental feelings for them.

Given where they rented a summer home, it’s obvious they came from money, though some try to indicate they do not. Doctors, lawyers, tech start-ups, and sports reporters earn a lot in this world, so be prepared for a high amount of affluence and the drama that comes with it. From the start in the prologue where someone is being pushed under water, you know there is a secret worth protecting, but which of the six is the victim and which is the murderer is the game you’ve signed on to play when you picked up this book. Love it!

By 15% in, all the major clues are dropped. We know the victim’s hair color or body type, then one by one the author described the six people so that it became obvious who died. The detective from the Suffolk County police force is also a key focus, as she’s called to scene of this crime and another one which has a connection we’ve yet to realize. It’s also personal for the detective given her young daughter was innocently sucked into a party gone wrong, and that party was attended by one of the six house guests.

My favorite aspect of the book is how the story alternates across three days–day before, day of, and day after. There are flashbacks, and information dropped about the past, but the critical elements are what’s not being said in conversations and which neighbor has a connection we don’t understand to someone else. I adore that suspense, especially trying to guess not only who but what happened.

Overall, I waffled between a 4 and 4.5 stars, but settled on the higher rating. There were a few items that needed a better closure or clarity, so I couldn’t give it a perfect rating. The ending was apropos, but I felt like the detective lingered in the story and made too many mistakes. I didn’t always believe she was smart enough to solve the puzzle and felt like a distraction to the story. It was minor, but enough that I noticed it. Also, we didn’t get enough time with the victim to understand exactly who (s)he was as a person and parent. I felt bad for the death, but one or two more scenes to show the vibrant life and charisma once held would’ve made it pop even more.

Holahan’s writing style is engaging and has a stellar fluidity that makes you believe you’re standing in the rental house or on the beach as everything occurs around you. I look forward to her next book as it will be at the top of my reading list.

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Book Review: Chaos by Patricia Cornwell

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Chaos (Kay Scarpetta, #24)Chaos by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chaos is the 24th book in the ‘Kay Scarpetta’ thriller and suspense series focusing on a medical examiner’s investigations. It is currently the last book Patricia Cornwell has written in this series as of 2016 as well as serves as the third issue in an arc about serial killer Carrie Grethen.

The novel is a slower read than usual. We spend a lot of time in Kay’s head worrying about things that we don’t know a lot about yet. For the most part, the book takes place in just a few days. Several odd deaths occur, and little by little, Kay, Marino, Benton, and Lucy connect them together with the help of various staff. It seems like Carrie Grethen has found another accomplice, and she’s sought revenge on Kay. Unfortunately, someone close to Kay pays the price in this installment. We also end the books with an incredibly concerning secret reveal about a new character who was introduced a couple of books ago. What drama!

As a three-book arc, it was definitely interesting to see the progression of the serial killer’s mind. I almost wish we had chapters from Carrie’s perspective, so that we fully appreciated her psychotic need to get revenge. That’s my biggest concern in this series right now… if an author wants to build up a huge nut as the crazy killer, we need to know why not just through other people’s views, but through the killer’s mind, too. We get that only if they provide messages in writing, make phone calls, or interact in scenes with dialog. That hasn’t much happened in this arc, so I struggled to really understand ‘why’ it was so important to hurt Kay.

As a standalone book, other than being a little too slow of a read, it was fascinating to learn all about the technology and weapons being used. It’s probably one or two levels above my knowledge base and capability of understanding the detail, but not so much I felt removed. It clicked, but I found myself skimming on occasion when we got into paragraphs about exactly how it came to be in the hands of the serial killer. The best aspects were seeing Kay’s connections with Marino and her staff. She shines with them. Not with Benton. He’s a bit too boring for her. And Lucy has been too far removed for a boatload of books, so I’ve kinda lost any interest in her. The new girlfriend and son angle is interesting, but I wish we’d met them sooner.

That said, it’s a fine ending for the arc. I’m left wondering where the books go next… she’s due for one this year, but I can’t find anything about it. I’ll get it when it comes out… this installment was a 3.5 for me.

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Book Review: Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Blog Tour Stop)

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Welcome! I’m a stop today on the blog tour for a new book titled Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins. A few key facts about the book before I share my review and other information about the blog tour:

Cozy Mystery

1st in Series – An Ancestor Detective Mystery

Minotaur Books (March 19, 2019)

Hardcover: 336 pages

ISBN-10: 1250189039

ISBN-13: 978-1250189035

Digital ASIN: B07D2BJ2JT

*** Purchase links ***

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S.C. Perkins’ Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.


My Review

Murder Once RemovedMurder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Sometimes I get so busy that I don’t catch all the books flying at me for giveaways, ARCs, or blog tours. Other times, I’m lucky to have friends who know me incredibly well. Nina (@TheCozyPages) privately messaged me to ensure I saw this book was available for a blog tour. I hadn’t caught it, but then I immediately signed up for a read and review. I have limited time while I’m writing my own books to allow me to take on anything more than a regular read / review, but this was one blog tour I didn’t want to miss. My post isn’t for another 7 days, but I’m writing the review now while it’s fresh in my mind! Then I’ll add in all the graphics and other content to lure the readers in! What a funtastic read… I’m glad and grateful for the opportunity. Where to start?

A genealogical mystery? Hmm… three of my favorite things include genealogy, mysteries, and book series. It’s a setup, I was bound to love it. S.C. Perkins’ debut in the ‘Ancestry Detective’ cozy series, Murder Once Removed, is a strong lead in for the future. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading it. For instance, would the murder occur in history or in something more current? Would it potentially contain murders in both as well as flip between time periods so we know what happened years ago? Possibly… I can’t give away all the secrets, now can I? Ultimately, I was quite happy with the structure, story, and approach.

Lucy Lancaster, a ~30ish genealogist in Texas, is hired to trace the family tree for a wealthy family whose son is running for office. It seems the opponent is someone who has it in for the family, too. When the patriarch also asks the protagonist to prove someone murdered a relative in the mid/late 19th century, Lucy digs up photographic evidence that it wasn’t just an accident. But when she traces a long-lost journal that identifies the initials and a few facial features of the killer, it can only be referring to a handful of people from that period. And one of them is related to the opponent. How deadly will this secret be to keep? Quite deadly if you don’t watch you back. Someone wants Lucy to stop her research, but she’s passionate about solving her cases.

What a different way to tell the story! From reading land records to tracing family trees, the various suspects are revealed along with the usual motive, opportunity, and means thrown in by the pesky police. Yes, if you’re not a fan of genealogy, you might not love the frequent references to “third cousin once removed” versus “great great great this or that…” but for me, it was a thrilling ride. I love this type of stuff and truly connected with the characters and the investigation. A few folks might notice some minor liberties with what documentation or artifacts were available specific to that region or time period, but ultimately, this is fiction… and it will always have some level of exaggeration to fit the plot. I read a book for the story and the beauty in how it comes together, not to find an exact perfect replica of reality. I already have that am trying to escape it! 🙂

I will definitely continue with this series and can’t wait for the next one!

View all my reviews


About the Author

S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Author Links 







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Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who Else is on the Blog Tour?

The tour has fourteen (14) days of stops and you can see the blog names listed below. Stop by to check out everyone’s opinions or to enter the giveaway contest and win a free copy…

Main Book Tour Page

March 5 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

March 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 6 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW*

March 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

March 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

March 10 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW*

March 11 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT

March 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 12 – This is my truth now – REVIEW


March 13 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, RECIPE POST

March 14 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*

March 15 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW *

March 15 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

March 18 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW*

March 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW


I hope you enjoyed stopping by my blog to be part of this fun tour. Many thanks to Lori Caswell (Dollycas) @ Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for including me in this opportunity. It’s been a blast… can’t wait until my next tour with them. Tell me what you thought of the blog tour, the review, and whether you’re gonna read this book! 
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Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

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Depraved Heart (Scarpetta, #23)Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Depraved Heart is the 23rd novel in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. It is also the middle novel in a three-book arc focusing on a common villain who’s resurfaced from the past. To be honest, I don’t recall whether we read about Carrie Grethen in one of the very early novels, but I believe she was mentioned at some point given the books began in 1990 and the time period referenced was 1995 thru 1997 when the criminal interacted with the main characters. Sorry! After this many books read and this long of a period passing by, my mind isn’t 100% certain on everything I read (without a refresher); and I’m too lazy today to verify. Ha!

Depraved Heart was a strong book for me, although others didn’t love it as much. It’s hard to keep momentum in a series, especially when they are technical and detailed. Most of the plot of this book takes place over a 24-hour period when we focus on the legal aspects of what the FBI can and can’t do to Lucy based on a tip they’ve received and an inkling they have about what really happened in the last book in Florida. While we do have a body and an autopsy, Kay isn’t doing it herself, and she only comments on what she’s seen or heard from others. We’re not even certain who killed the woman as it could be a couple of people, but we’ll be sure in the next book when the arc concludes.

Overall, this was the kind of book where I couldn’t stop flipping pages to see what the key characters would learn about Carrie Grethen, the criminal FBI mastermind who’s been stalking them for years in the background. She’s a formidable villain and can hold Scarpetta AND Lucy at bay for their actions in the past and currently. We see very little of Benton in this book, and Lucy is only there for a few conversations. We’re almost entirely witnessing a few hours of time between Kay and Marino as they investigate a potential homicide, receive a video about Carrie and Lucy’s former friendship, and realize the crime is connected to the past.

For suspense and thrills, it’s top notch but not in terms of a chase. It’s a methodical look at how Carrie could pull off such actions from the dive ‘accident’ in Florida to the copper-mining to the murder of the starlet’s daughter in the initial crime that we think is unrelated. Watching the drama unfold was fantastic, but I like this sort of novel. If you’re looking for detailed medical procedures and analysis, this book strays from the norm. If you like connecting prior events we’ve seen bits and pieces of to something current and crazy, you should love it.

View all my reviews

Book Review: A Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter

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A Mersey Maiden (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #3)A Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Mersey Maiden is the third book in Brian L. Porter’s clever and complex ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series set in England in modern times. I’ve read all six novels that have been written to date and am looking forward to the seventh when it’s published in the near future. While the books focus on Detective Inspector Ross and his special investigation team in and around Liverpool and the River Mersey in England, this story takes us from the end of WWII to modern Germany and the USA, covering at least 4 murders that happen during the crux of the story. (There might be others in history, but those are not the direct focus, and I’m not giving everything away!)

What stands out most in this book is the sheer volume of research and planning that went into the story’s production. Of course, there are the normal red herrings, clues, and interesting twists, but the details are intensely thorough and well-plotted above his norm (which is quite high). To develop a story of this caliber, Porter had to carefully lay small and discrete elements that collide together like a fireworks explosion near the end. But it’s not just once or twice…. the levels and layers keep popping in the last 10% showing what we think we understand isn’t fully fleshed out until the finale and then some. It’s like a wonderful roller coaster ride where you think you’ve hit that last and final mega-drop, but then you get the jaw-dropping surprise of yet another one!

From the precise use and design of submarines to life-threatening diving techniques, Porter challenges readers to navigate the murky English Channel and how it’s changed in the last ~70 years. What if a small watercraft was sunk but never found? What if it contained secrets Hitler wanted to keep hidden? What if information had been passed through generations until love was questioned between people who knew nothing of the past? Porter handles it all adeptly and provides a bevy of side stories about each of the detectives or investigators working on this case. Many of our favorites have big steps in their personal lives or moments that clarify how good they truly are.

This was a very well-rounded and easy-to-read installment in the series. It might be my favorite, but I’m neck-and-neck with another that also gave me all the amazing reader feels. Looking forward to the next one with great excitement.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.