Review: Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

Some Choose DarknessAs a forensic reconstructionist, Rory Moore sheds light on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others fail to see. Cleaning out her late father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more.

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing. The predator, nicknamed The Thief, left no bodies and no clues behind—until police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before police could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder—the only crime the DA could pin on him. As a former client of her father’s, Rory becomes reluctantly involved with the killer—though he continues to insist he didn’t murder Angela. Now he wants Rory to do what her father once promised: prove that Angela is, in fact, still alive.

As Rory begins reconstructing Angela’s last days, another killer emerges from the shadows, replicating those long-ago murders. With every startling discovery she makes, Rory becomes more deeply entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell—and in The Thief’s tormented mind. Drawing connections between past and present is the only way to stop the nightmare, but even Rory can’t be prepared for the full, terrifying truth that is emerging . .

Review

This is my first book by Charlie Donlea and I am now a fan! Some Choose Darkness is narrated in two timelines, one is set in 2019 and another one in the late 70s and early 80s.The 70s tells the story of one summer in 79 where women started disappearing. In the midst of this storm is Angela, a woman who started following the case and soon got close to the answers before she disappeared. In 2019, Rory is working as a reconstructionist, she gets a new case but her world is soon turned up and down and she gets caught up in the events that occurred 40 years ago.

This book is super captivating. I knew it would be something special right from the first page. The writing is flawless and the two timelines flowed seamlessly. In cases of dual timelines, I usually find myself more interested in one than the other. However, my experience was different this time. Both timelines were fascinating. I was transported back to Chicago in 79 in the heat of the summer and fear of The Thief. The author set up the setting so well that I could visualize the characters in the dressing and hairstyles that marked the 70s. I could also feel the summer heat and the fear of having a suspected serial killer stalk the town.

Apart from the setting, I think the characters were very well developed. I like how different the MCs, Rory and Angela, were.They were both Autistic(if I am not wrong). I love that they were geniuses who although misunderstood by the world, could understand the world better than most people. The representation of Autism in 2019 and 1979 illustrates just how much time has changed, at least for the better in terms of awareness and understanding.

This book was one twisty, shocking roller-coaster ride. The mystery is multilayered and it took time for all the dots to connect. My jaw drop each time a puzzle piece slid into place. Charlie Donlea is undoubtedly a masterful storyteller. Some Choose Darkness is enthralling, twisty and utterly thrilling.

Review: Dead Inside (Maggie Jamieson #1) by Noelle Holton

Dead InsideWhen three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

Review

So murder is a bad thing? It’s a sin, illegal, morally wrong, evil. Right? Well, reading this book, I found myself wondering whether it can be justified. Four domestic abusers are found murdered. These men were vile, violent, scum of the earth. However, the law is the law and a special unit led by DC Maggie is working to apprehend the vigilante.

This book has multiple narrators and I mean, multiple. It took time to keep track of the shifting POVs but once I did that, it became easier to follow the story. My favorite character was Lucy, a Probation Officer who also happened to be a victim of domestic abuse. She was sympathetic and easy to root for.

Dead Inside is mainly about domestic abuse. Following a number of characters, we get to see different sides of abuse. We even got to hear from the abusers. I think one thing that stood out for me though is the fact that anyone can become a victim. We also shouldn’t judge those who stay in abusive relationships since it’s not always easy to walk out. Reading about the abuse wasn’t easy but I applaud the author for tackling such a hard, sensitive topic.

This ended up being a captivating read. I thought it would be more about the investigation and DC Maggie but maybe that will happen in the next installment. Nevertheless, I enjoyed meeting Lucy and having a Probation Officer as one of the narrators made this a unique read for me. I look forward to the next book.

Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

PassengersEight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

Review

Eight self-drive cars have been hijacked. 8 people sit trapped in their cars waiting to die because that is what the hacker has promised. However, before they die, their secrets are being revealed one by one. Who is the hacker? Why were the 8 picked? What secrets are they hiding?

Intense doesn’t even begin to describe this adrenaline-filled thriller. My heart was racing from the first chapter. Through multiple narrators, we get to see the nightmare unfold as the cars are taken. Who is going to live? Are they all going to die? I had so many questions and most of the answers had my jaw drop.

Fast paced, suspense-filled with such an entertaining premise, I was totally hooked on this one. Like in ‘The One’, Marrs created something different yet realistic. At first, I kept thinking about how cool it would be to have a self-drive car. Imagine being able to read, sleep or simply enjoy the view as your car takes you to your destination. I could picture myself in that world. However, the fear soon became real and the idealistic world with automatic cars became a nightmare. My heart practically raced with each twist. Some were so unexpected that it took a while to recover from the shock.

The Passengers is my fourth book by John Marrs. Each one of his books has been unique and immersive and this one was no different. It was well-written, captivating and quite twisty. I can’t wait to see what else Mr. Marrs comes up with. What an entertaining read!

Review: The Woman Next Door by Sue Watson

woman next doorLucy has a lovely husband, a job she adores as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue that she’s decorated just the way she wants – from the floaty curtains and the softest bed linen, right down to the perfectly-chosen velvet cushions on their comfortable sofa. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close.

She’s also got Amber. Her newest friend and neighbour. They’ve got so much in common. Even if Amber’s life sometimes seems a lot more glamorous and exciting, she shares Lucy’s down-to-earth sense of humour, and Amber seems so interested in Lucy and her life, it’s like they never run out of things to talk about.

But then Amber starts acting strangely, claiming her life isn’t all it seems, talking about how she thinks she might be pregnant, and confiding in Lucy that she’s started getting threatening messages.

She’s scared, and the only person she can turn to is Lucy. She wants to stay at Lucy’s house until things calm down.

Lucy wants to protect her friend. But can she really trust Amber? Because sometimes other people are not all that they seem. Sometimes they have secrets. And they’d do anything to keep them…

Review

I can’t resist a good story about toxic friendships. Amber is Lucy’s new neighbor. She is a TV star who lives an exciting, glamorous life.  Amber is exactly what Lucy needs to liven up her mundane life.  However, Lucy soon realizes that Amber isn’t the friend that she thinks she is. Wait a minute though, is Lucy also who she says she is?

I think I’d describe this one as a quiet story. Reading the story was like watching the sun go down, you know how light fades and darkness falls slowly until it suddenly engulfs everything. The story was the same way. I was slowly drawn in and soon found myself completely lost in the unfolding drama. I could see all the red lights that the characters couldn’t so I waited with trepidation for the reveals.

Although I knew that the friendship was toxic, there are certain things that I never could have predicted. The final twist and ending had my head spinning. I thought I knew who the baddie was but I clearly had no idea. In addition, there was an anonymous character who narrated a few chapters. I thought it was obvious who the person was but oh boy, I was wrong! I love how this book ended up surprising me.

The Woman Next Door by Sue Watson is a story about lies, obsession and toxic friendships. It is an entertaining read with well developed characters and an entertaining story-line.

Review: The Women by S.E. Lynes @bookouture

WomenSamantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.

Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.

But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her. And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?

You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.

Review

I am pleased to say that I have read and enjoyed every book by S. E. Lynes. The Women is another twisty, captivating read by the author which cements her place in my list of favorites.

Sam meets an older guy, Peter, who seems like a dream come true. He is charming, intelligent, sophisticated, drives a flashy sports car and lives in a huge house. She quickly falls for him but is Peter really the prince charming that he appears to be?

The story is narrated from Sam’s POV. We learn of her relationship with Peter and the nightmare that followed. As much as I don’t agree with all her decisions, I understood her actions even when they were unreasonable. I understood the decisions that she made especially at the initial stages of the relationship. Her character was very well crafted and she was relatable in many ways.

I enjoyed everything in this story even the little details such as the literature pieces mentioned. Without going into details, one of the characters taught an interesting writing class that I wished I could join. I was invested in the lessons and actually learned something new. This was quite a treat and it made me enjoy the story even more.

The Women is a story about secrets, lies, manipulation and vengeance. As always, Lynes’ writing is flawless and enthralling. I was pulled in right from the prologue to the last page. There were moments of frustration when certain characters didn’t behave like I wanted them to but that is just a testament of how well the story and characters were developed. The prologue created such suspense that I couldn’t wait to see how the story would unfold. What a captivating read!

Other titles by S.E. Lynes that I have read and enjoyed include: Valentina, Mother, The Proposal and The Pact.

 

 

 

Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

night beforeLaura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Review

I guess everyone has heard about this book by now. There has been quite a buzz surrounding it. I tried to ignore it despite all the glowing reviews from my favorite bloggers. However, curiosity finally got the better of me.

The story is narrated through two POVs by sisters, Rosie and Laura. Laura went on a date with a stranger that she met online.  Rosie started panicking when Laura failed to get back home after her date. She was worried about her sister. Who is the stranger that she went out with? Why is her phone off? Is she safe? And interestingly, given Laura’s history, is the stranger safe?

The Night Before is a suspenseful, well-crafted read that will have your head spinning. I didn’t know where the story was going. I couldn’t even guess since my mind was working too fast trying to keep up with Laura and Rosie’s narrations. The pacing was well-balanced with no dull moments.  Laura’s narrative explained the events of the night; naturally, this POV interested me more because that is where the answers lay. The red herrings in Rosie’s story had me turning pages faster in search of answers.

What an intense, thrilling, captivating read! I can’t wait to read more books by Wendy Walker.

Review: The Woman I was Before by Kerry Fisher

the woman I was beforeA new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Kate Jones is running away. She has left her old life behind, changing both her own name and her daughter’s. No-one must ever connect Kate with the mistake that destroyed her life.

Starting afresh on Parkview Road – a brand new street full of newly built houses – Kate looks at the other women on the street with envy. They seem to have it all: Gisela with her busy life, full house and successful children, Sally with her exciting spontaneous marriage, her glamorous holidays, her high-flying career. The pictures that Kate’s new friends post online confirm their seemingly perfect existence, whilst Kate hides from the world at all costs.

Review

Kate, Sally and Gisela are neighbors. Gisela is living a seemingly perfect life as a stay-at-home mom. She loves her family and loves to entertain. Her social media accounts are full of photos of her perfect family and the numerous gatherings that she hosts. On the other hand, Sally has a glamorous career. She travels the world and has the most supportive, loving partner. Her social media accounts are full of her photos at exotic places and others of her darling, perfect husband. Well there is not much to say about Kate. She is a paramedic with a dark secret that makes her want to keep to herself but she still befriends Gisela and Sally.

I loved everything about this book. I took quite a lot of time with it because it was so relatable and I didn’t want to rush through it. The social media angle struck a chord with me. It reminded me of a time in my life when social media almost sent me into depression. This was right after undergrad. All my friends were landing major jobs and making way more than what I was making. Social media was full of new cars, houses and trips. Then everyone was getting married and having kids while I was sitting alone in my small apartment, barely making ends meet. I thought everyone had made it apart from me but years later, I found out that social media is full of liars and hypocrites. It is mostly about presenting only the best to the world.

The three women were very realistically portrayed. The author developed their characters in a way that made them identifiable. Their issues could be any woman’s. Their friendship was so precious and I was rooting for them all the way. I sympathized with them through the hard times and cheered for them in their moments of triumph. I can’t even pick a favorite since all three were different but strength is what they had in common.

The Woman I was Before is a story about female friendships, family, betrayal, motherhood and second chances. It’s the kind of story that is bound to stay with you because of how realistic it is. It is a compelling, drama-filled domestic thriller with very realistic characters and themes. A very entertaining read.

WWW Wednesday #May 15th

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I Finished Reading:

 

The Kind worth Killing by Peter Swanson ***** – You can read my review here.

The Woman I was Before by Kerry Fisher ***** – Please look out for my review this Friday.

 

What I’m reading now:

 

The Passengers by John Marrs – I love everything about this story. It is intense and super gripping. I have less than 100 pages to go but I don’t want it to end.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper – This is my second book by Harper. Still in the early pages and the story is moving slowly but it looks promising so far.

 

What I’ll probably read next/soon:

 

All Her Secrets by Sue Watson

The Night Before by Wendy Walker – So many good reviews for this one. Luckily, I managed to grab a copy of the ARC on publication day.

Have you read any books on my list? What are you reading now?

Happy Reading!

Review: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

worth killingOn a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

Review

There has been quite a buzz around Peter Swanson’s newest book. I haven’t read any of his books yet but I had a copy of The Kind Worth Killing so I thought it was a good place to start.

This ended up being such a good, twisty read. I was hooked right from the first page and the first twist actually left me breathless. It’s the kind of thriller that gets you all excited because you can’t really tell what will happen next. Things started spiraling out of control from the first chapter and it ended up being such a crazy ride that had my head spinning.

I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it. Ted meets Lily on a plane and they end up discussing murdering his wife, Miranda. Why would Lily offer to help Ted commit such a crime? What is in it for her? Do they finally get to do it? These were the questions running through my mind as I read the story. I thought I knew where it was going but like Jon Snow, I knew nothing!

The Kind Worth Killing is really a gift to all fans of thrillers. If you enjoy this genre, then you have to read this book. It is fast-paced, shocking, addictive and mega-twisty. The ending is so good but haunting, I feel like I need to track down the author and questioning him. What a brilliant, suspenseful read!

Review: The Dry by Jane Harper (Aaron Falk #1)

DryA small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.

In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier.
But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke’s death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.

Review

The Dry by Jane Harper is quite an atmospheric, enthralling read. The story is set in Kiewerra during a very dry season and I could feel the heat all the way from here. I don’t know whether it’s because of the recent drought season in my country but the weather conditions  stood out for me. I could imagine the harsh sun, dry fields, water problem, heat and the flies.  On top of the harsh weather, there is a triple homicide or a double homicide and suicide depending on who you asked.

Kiewerra is yet another small town that I would never want to visit. Despite the heat, the residents of the town make it an even more undesirable place. These people can hold grudges and have embraced mob psychology. One person hates you, the whole town gets poisoned. They take pettiness to a whole new level and of course, the idea of mind your own business is as scarce as the rain in Kiewerra.

I enjoyed the murder mystery and the unpredictability of the case. This is one case where I thought I had the right suspect but they were cleared and I dropped them and then just as I had found new suspects, it turned out my earlier hunch was spot on. I love how the author managed to make me doubt myself like that. At some point, I really thought I had finally made the right connection and almost executed a fictional citizen’s arrest but I was wrong. I can’t explain just how many times I changed my mind on the unsub’s identity.

In the end, I enjoyed this book with its dual story-line and characters (not the nasty ones). I love how the author brought the setting and its residents alive.  I can’t wait to reconnect with Aaron Falk in his next case. Recommended.