thriller

Book Review: Sea Scope by Debbie

Posted on Updated on

Sea ScopeSea Scope by Debbie De Louise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sea Scope is the first book I’ve read by Debbie De Louise. It’s a mystery / suspense / thriller novel with a bunch of light moments and several page-turning-gotta-find-the-killer moments. I enjoy books with a great balance, especially when the author also throws in fun facts about the history of lighthouses. I should also mention, a small portion of the book takes place on Long Island, not too far from where I grew up. Of course, I have to read it, right?

Let’s pique your interest a little… someone died in a lighthouse ~20 years ago. All but one member of the family left town. An aunt stayed behind and recently reopened the lighthouse as a bed and breakfast. Before inviting paying guests, she convinces her family and a few friends, who’d been around at the time the man previously died, to visit for a few days again. Although that long-ago death had been ruled a suicide, the facts never quite lined up. A drunk mother. A dead father. A peculiar maid. Her estranged daughter. A recent accident. A marriage falling apart. Rekindled sparks. Another death. We’re all too smart to believe in coincidences like those, so what really happened at Sea Scope ~20 years ago, and how is a dead guy leaving behind phone messages and cryptic notes with crayons, his calling card in his younger (and more alive) days?

At first, I was intrigued by the plot but it was a slow burn. We had hints of an unnatural death, but nothing concrete. We were being led to believe one thing about the victim only to learn many other peculiar things that didn’t fit together (until later on). I started to really engage in the story at about 40% and couldn’t put it down until the very end. I love when books creep at you for a bit before drop-kicking you into their clutches. From a character perspective, I found flaws and potential reasons why they’d all be responsible for the previous murder and the current shenanigans. No one was completely good in my eyes, even the primary character, Sarah, had some curious moments. I like when an author keeps the main players in a gray space.

From a plot perspective, De Louise took us places I hadn’t expected. I knew two characters were ‘involved’ somehow, but when the chips completely fell, the alliances and ties and relationships were far deeper than I imagined. What a family! What an imagination! Kudos to De Louise for pushing the envelope a bit without going into specific details. We get a clear picture of the truth, but we also have a nice layer between us and the impacts it’s left behind. It made for a great story with a ton of red herrings and a brilliant confrontation in the end. There were complex layers, which made some characters see one thing, and others see another thing. Who do you believe? Although we get an ending, it’s the type of novel where you walk away thinking… I’m not sure the story ended there. What sorta tricks does this author have up her sleeve for the future!?!? I’d be thrilled with a follow-up, so no complaints here.

I’m glad I took a chance on a new author… and I look forward to more things to come from her future!

View all my reviews

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 four 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.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz

Posted on

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5)The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My reading style is eclectic, and I’d probably use the same term to describe this series and book. I first picked up the ‘Millennium’ series when I saw all the hype and read the description of the published novels. I particularly love genealogical mysteries, and when you toss in some thrills and suspense, it’s likely a good fit for my reading preferences. I absolutely adored and rated The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in my top books of all time. I read the next two in the series and was saddened over the author’s death but excited to see another writer’s take on the characters and setting.

Lagercrantz is a worthy successor, and someday, I will read one of his prior books too. I’m troubled when reviewers complain about the choice of a new author to to continue writing a series because all they do is compare the two and start out with a pessimistic attitude. I prefer to have some sense of an open mind and look for the positive in a new take on an old favorite. I’m also an optimist and respect an author’s efforts and talent and find it difficult to give something a poor rating unless it was absolutely ridden with errors and issues. Hence… for Lagercrantz’s versions, I enjoy the style, writing quality, different views, and continuation of a fantastic concept. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye is the second of his in this series that I’ve read, and while it was a good read, there were a few items that didn’t work in totality for me. I ended up at a 3.5 rating, comfortably rounding upward to account for all the effort that goes into a series and taking over another author’s work.

One of my favorite aspects was the revisit to Lisbeth’s childhood when abuse formulated her outlook on life. In an earlier book, when we learned the extent to which she’d been attacked and damaged, I felt horrific sorrow for her. Seeing what else happened, via this book, I’m even more devastated. Initially, I thought… wait, is this a history rewrite? I didn’t go back to compare the timelines and actions, as I’m sure the editors and author’s did their justice… but I did find myself wondering how this aligned with Zala’s influence on his daughter, Lisbeth. I’m kinda hoping to get a book dedicated to Agneta, Lisbeth’s mother, as there is a bigger story there – I’m certain! For me, these characters are so flawed, yet so lovable (not in a cozy way, but in an ‘I want to help you’ way). Learning what they went through and what forced them to become the people they are today… that is excellent character development. Possibly over-the-top in a few places (not unlike the whole series… just a bit more in this book), I put aside my ‘hmmm…’ attitude and focused on what bond must exist between Mikael and Lisbeth to support each other through these tragedies. These are two friends we should all have. I particularly enjoyed the Muslim-focused story-line, and I was irate over the way these men treated their sister (and in general how certain attitudes still prevail).

The translation (actually, was it translated? The originals were, but I’m honestly not sure about these ones. Did the author write originally in his own language? I checked and the Swedish and English versions came out on the same day.) was good and offered new vocabulary for me to learn. I found some of the individual scenes a bit repetitive, but they moved the story forward. The end was satisfying in terms of catching the bad guys (sort of), but I wanted it to be more of a showdown. The sixth book in the series comes out later this year, and I’m going to try to read it relatively quickly close to this one, as I suspect some of the ending components will continue into it. What did everyone else think of this book?

View all my reviews

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 four 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: Cold Woods by Karen Katchur

Posted on Updated on

Cold Woods (Northampton County #2)Cold Woods by Karen Katchur
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cold Woods is the second book in the Northampton County series by Karen Katchur. I read the first book last year because it took place not too far away from where I’d gone to college years ago. When I stumbled upon the second book in the series on NetGalley last week, I immediately requested the book as I’d really enjoyed the first one. While the two book are part of a series, you can easily read them separately, but as I always recommend, read them in order to have the best possible experience.

The weather is often not a friend to crime. Sometimes it distorts the time of death or covers a body for decades, but at others, it can be helpful for preservation of clues. Katchur latches on to this theory and shares an explosive suspenseful thriller about a ~30-year-old murder. Everyone assumed the victim had just run off, but the truth was hidden in the deep snowy woods… along with two key clues and a myriad of problems. Three women each with a daughter. Their husbands or fathers left years ago for various reasons. The women helped each other, but their daughters weren’t sure what to do. One escaped. Two stayed. Of those two, one accepted her fate, and the other fought it. Fast-forward to the present when one of the mothers has passed away. Then the dead body is discovered in the woods. Who is he? Who killed him? What secrets are these six women hiding?

The connection between the books is Detective Parker. In the first book, he fell for a witness and compromised the case. Now, they’re together, but something isn’t working out properly. He’s afraid of screwing up again. His new partner doesn’t want to let it happen, but she’s got her own baggage. As they investigate the case and learn to trust one another, history might repeat itself somewhere along the way… and it’s usually not a good thing. Wow! What a roller coaster ride where I truly couldn’t decide which of the six women killed the victim. Even though one has recently died, the story is told in two different time frames, so we have a stronger picture of what happened ‘back then.’

All I can say is my gender is full of creeps! I know stuff like this happens in reality, and often it’s so fictionalized we don’t quite know truth from lie, but honestly… why are men often drunken idiots? I’m a happy drunk. Not that occurs frequently, but still! I felt for the women in this story. A single man had an effect on so many lives, any one of them could’ve been the culprit and I would believe it. Ultimately, the truth comes out, but not necessarily to the right people. I love those kinds of dramas — when someone confesses to protect someone else, and it may or may not be true. When we finally get the full story, it was highly satisfying… kudos to Katchur for delivering a palpable sequel that kept me guessing the entire time I read the book.

There better be a third installment. I’m not hugely fond of the detectives, but the author’s writing style, connections between characters, minute focus on details, witty yet troubling dialog, and innate understanding of why people do the things they do… all coagulate as a riveting story I couldn’t put down. I read it in three hours without taking any breaks longer than a few minutes to refill a water glass or nod when someone asked me a question in my house. “Leave me alone, I’m reading a good book,” I once countered. When that happens, you know it’s solid writing and story development. When’s the next one?

View all my reviews

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 four 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: Justice for Belle by Didi Oviatt

Posted on Updated on

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.

View all my reviews

***

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.***

Blurb:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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 four 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

Posted on Updated on

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.

View all my reviews

Author Alert: Justice for Belle by Didi Oviatt (Cover Reveal)

Posted on Updated on

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! I’m reading it now, stay tuned for a review next week.

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.***

Blurb:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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 four 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: One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Posted on

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.

View all my reviews