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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

To say that Kate’s divorce had been acrimonious would be a laughable understatement. In Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Eleanor Kelley, Kate’s ex-husband Harry has taken his money, the loyalties of their adult children, and Kate’s sense of worth regarding the past 25 years of her life. When Harry suddenly passes away after a debilitating stroke, Kate hopes to finally put all that hurt behind her. Instead, the arrival of an oddly familiar new “friend” and a series of bizarre events leaves Harry at the forefront of her mind. Did he fake his own death, or were there reasonable explanations for everything? Was Kate possibly going crazy? And how did Ettie, who breezed into town as all of this was starting, fit into the puzzle? Kate couldn’t stop until she knew.

As Kate tries to remain positive and live her life, she ruminates on all she’s lost- not only the years of her marriage and all that it meant but, more recently, the death of her beloved mother, which made Kate a relatable character. Yet, even at times when it all seems too much, Kate knows that the support system she has in the way of family and friends helps tremendously.

Kelley’s writing style is warm and engaging, making the characters feel like old friends. Although some of the characters could have been more developed, Kate’s relationships with her family and friends provide a comforting and grounding force throughout the book. The story itself is intriguing and full of twists and turns, with enough suspense to keep readers on edge. I found this book to be a page-turner that is hard to put down. The book is well worth the read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery with plenty of intrigues. I couldn’t put the book down because I couldn’t wait to find out more, but by the end, there was so little explanation for anything it just left me wanting more.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrilling and engaging read. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Eleanor Kelley is deep, filled with dark family secrets, odd happenings, mystery, and intrigue; readers will keep guessing until the end.

Pages: 240 | ISBN : 9781639887972

Beyond the Shadows

Claire McKenzie is an intrepid news reporter on a mission to make her city aware of the ‘Smiley Face Murderer,’ unaware that she might be the target herself. The clock is ticking, and the body count is rising; Detective Lance Harris leads an intense investigation to catch the murderer, all while trying to save the woman he loves from becoming the next victim. A thrilling story of life and death saved by love. Beyond the Shadows by DeAnn Daley Holcomb is a murder mystery novel that takes the reader on a journey of twists and turns as the detective tries to uncover the killer’s identity before they strike again.

One of the strengths of the book is the well-narrated and suspenseful plot. The author does an excellent job of building tension and keeping the reader engaged. The characterization is also well-done, with fully-realized and multi-dimensional characters that are easy to connect with and root for. The setting of the book is another strong point. The small-town atmosphere is well-described, and the author does a great job of creating a sense of place and community that is both eerie and endearing. This setting adds to the flavor of the story, as well as the character development, making the book feel both grounded and otherworldly. The murder mystery is well-executed, with plenty of red herrings and false leads to keep the reader guessing. The author does an excellent job of weaving together multiple plotlines and tying them together satisfactorily, making for a gripping and emotionally impactful finale.

Beyond The Shadows by DeAnn Daley Holcomb is a well-crafted murder mystery that will keep readers on edge from start to finish. With a nail-biting plot, well-realized characters, and a richly described setting, this book is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Pages: 242 | ISBN : 1639887210

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The Shut Out

In The Shut Out, Ron Raye weaves a compelling tale that draws readers in and keeps them hooked until the end. The story follows the lives of Ollivierra and Big D, two characters facing unique struggles. Ollivierra finds herself pregnant with twins, unsure of who the father is, while Big D is grieving the loss of a loved one and struggling to make a name for himself as a writer. This riveting book is set mostly in Japan, where Big D is seeking feedback on his work-in-progress novel set in Nazi Germany. Along the way, he encounters various obstacles and personalities, including his mother-in-law, who seems determined to sabotage his career and life.

Author Raye does an excellent job of creating a sense of tension and danger that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. One of the most interesting aspects of The Shut Out is Raye’s inclusion of a book-writing protagonist. This adds an intriguing layer to the story, as readers are able to compare the content of The Shut Out with the fictional novel that Big D is writing. The book is also unique in its structure, with a back-and-forth timeline between 1930s wartime and present-day Japan. However, despite the book’s many strengths, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with. With over six hundred pages, the narrative flow can feel overwhelming, especially with the multitude of characters, timelines, and struggles. However, once readers get a feel for the author’s style of writing, this novel becomes an immersive experience.

The Shut Out is a complex, dynamic tale with deep emotional draws. This thrilling book is a combination of drama, crime, and speculative fiction that is sure to fascinate readers. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a compelling read, and I eagerly anticipate the next installment in Raye’s series.

Pages: 686 | ASIN : B0BRJX8VKN

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Manifesto for a Serial Killer

Wealth, thrill, the net closing in around a somewhat likable protagonist, and the gamification of murder come together in Brian Parkin’s Manifesto for a Serial Killer. Jessica Harper, a wealthy 23-year-old Australian socialite, has killing as her major hobby. A formidably intelligent and driven woman, self-taught in coding, hacking, and various other useful skills, Jessica designs an app, the Manifesto, to generate a series of random targets, murder weapons, locations, murderer characteristics, and budgets for each kill such that the cases are wholly unconnected. Detective Inspector Rob Franklin and Detective Sergeant Leanne Wilson stumble onto her trail and attempt to prove her guilt in over twenty cases of serial killing that have occurred in the entire continent of Australia.

This thrilling book is single-minded in its description of Jessica’s meticulous habits and preparations for each kill and the many aliases adopted by Jessica (the middle-aged builder, the grunge university student, the businesswoman, the inconspicuous everyday persons, the housekeeper, the photographer) are always described as separate characters. Following both the police in their hunt for the serial killer’s identity, as well as Jessica in her methodical erasing of her trail, leaves the reader almost rooting for both sides, certain that, as with most thrillers and mysteries, the police will prevail.

Manifesto for a Serial Killer by Brian Parkin, while it is an engrossing and quick read with a purposeful narrative style matching Jessica’s single-mindedness, her character does fall flat sometimes, leaving the reader wishing for a more nuanced perspective. However, Jessica remains a protagonist that the reader surprisingly finds themselves rooting for. The author’s knowledge and research of Australian geography, locales, and slang (doona being my favorite) are insightful, and a sequel to this book would definitely be a good addition!

Pages: 185 | ASIN : B00QHRCWE2

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Hidden in the Shadows

When Evie returns to her idyllic hometown for her grandfather’s funeral, the last thing she expects is to be dragged into a decades-old mystery. Instead, she finds various sinister clues aInstead, among her grandfather’s possessions, such as a haunting photograph and a bloody knitting needle. Teaming up with figures from her past, such as an old flame, Luke, and a friend from school, Azlinn, she uncovers a deep and twisted conspiracy. The closer they get to the truth, the more sinister and expansive it becomes – and the nearer the threats come to the home.

Hidden in the Shadows by A. D. Vancise is a tale of conspiracy and power. Told through interweaving storylines that slowly connect, the novel explores themes such as greed, lust, and belief in the supernatural. In this book, Vancise skilfully intertwines the magic of cozy small-town charm with the horrific acts those in power can do.

A. D. Vancise makes a sharp delineation between good and evil in her portrayals. Many of the characters, Evie included, are relatable, and the reader can empathize strongly with their journey. The story is filled with heartwarming portrayals of people with nothing but good intentions. On the other hand, the book also depicts people committing heinous acts with no remorse. The author does a beautiful job of depicting both sides of the spectrum and presenting the extremes of human intention.

Hidden in the Shadows by A. D. Vancise is a thrilling mystery that keeps readers in suspense from the first clue until the end. Vancise manages to tell a compelling and imaginative story with a tense and coherent plot within a very atmospheric setting, keeping the reader hooked until the end. The prose is well-written and a joy to read. However, the book contains some very distressing and graphic scenes that are unsuitable for children or the weak of heart. Overall, I would strongly recommend this book to those who enjoy mystery and horror novels.

Pages: 353 | ASIN : B0BNCHMFBP

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A Colossal Injustice

Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr. does it again with another heart-pounding ride along with the incomparable Detective Griffin Knight. A Colossal Injustice, a sequel to his first story Do Nothing, Griffin takes a trip to Seattle to help out Kalyx, the anonymous hacker who helped him to solve his last murder case. Kalyx’s fiance, Dylan Walker, was murdered after discovering someone stole money from his high-profile tech company. 

Kalyx sets Griffin up with the tools and access he needs for his investigation and with help from two sidekicks, Felix and his sister Aurora. Felix was a close friend of the murdered Dylan Walker and a personal bodyguard. Aurora, his sister, is Seattle PD and helps to ensure that even though Griffin is outside of his jurisdiction and only acting as a civilian, he has police backup. Together, and with the assistance of information cleverly left behind by Dylan Walker, they discover who stole millions of dollars from the company and what other crimes they were using the money for.

The plot twists and turns as they first confront a mob boss, only to find they are following a dead end. The novel concludes in an epic way you will have to read to find out about. Hernandez keeps the door open to a follow-up story and leaves us wondering if justice will be served in the end. 

I genuinely enjoy reading about Griffin Knight. He is part detective and part superhero, which is both realistic and fun to read. These two stories from Hernandez Jr. have been easy to follow without being boring or predictable. They are a proper mix of suspense and are easy to read. I would like a little more background on Griffin. We learned a little more about his life in this book, and I will be soaking up the more Hernandez Jr. can deliver!

A Colossal Injustice is a fast-paced and exciting murder mystery. While short in page count, there is no lack of thrills and suspense in this story. Readers are given a compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction in their crime mystery, leaving them wondering what could possibly happen next.

Pages: 94 | ASIN : B0BLT6VB3N

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Killer Clones

CIA Tech Manager Getty Pokem is a separated father of four kids, and while he doesn’t mind his job, he wishes he could spend more time with his family. Getty’s life is suddenly turned upside down, however, when one of his daughters dies in a mass shooting during a protest at a mall. No longer allowed to visit his kids, and while dealing with his grief, Getty is thrust into a world of death and danger as he tries to live in a world where death seems inevitable.

Killer Clones by WLVE is a futuristic and almost satirical novel that deals with politics, murder, pandemics, and everything in between that hits a little too close to home. Many prior and even current political figures are scattered throughout this book—some mentioned by name, and others not. Some of these figures act just as the reader may expect, while others’ stories play out with a twist.

The political side of this book is apparent from chapter one, and if you disagree with Getty’s point of view, you might have a difficult time reading this book. It is a graphic story that wastes no words, describing every death and value in great detail. It forces you to look at what’s happening in America, really forces you to look, and if you’re queasy about these sorts of things or have had traumatic experiences, then this book may not be for you. The characters that we get to meet along the way are diverse and full of personalities, but there are times when I wonder if they knew what they were thinking.

Killer Clones is a thought-provoking political and science fiction work that stems from our current reality. With a unique and honest look at topics on people’s minds and a warning about mass complacency, this story will stay on readers’ minds long after the book is finished. This novel is for you if you love a good conspiracy theory and science fiction action story.

Pages: 262 | ASIN : B0BJD5DZFS

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Stalking Throckmorton 

Stalking Throckmorton by Gary F. Jones is the story of Chris Throckmorton, an accountant in the town of Rockburg, who is struggling to find a way to finance an experimental treatment for his son’s leukemia. One day he gets a letter from his ancestor Otto Kessler, who has left the remaining Kesslers in Rockburg assets hidden in a safe in an office in a tunnel beneath the brewery. The only problem was that the brewery was demolished, and the tunnels were sealed. To find it, Chris must navigate the intricacies of this small town’s residents. Unfortunately, Chris soon learns there’s another player in this hunt, a long-lost relative, Carl Kessler, who is willing to kill to get a particular object from those assets.

This was a fun read. From the get-go, this treasure hunt was set into motion and held onto you until the very end. I loved this small town with its quirky characters; they were vibrant and really added flavor to this story. There was great humor that I found ridiculous at times, and I enjoyed that. The romance I feared at first was out of place, and the story soon fused beautifully with it. Although I like it wasn’t this perfect romance either, it had embarrassing moments and times of imperfectness that made it golden. The ending was humorously perfect. It was a good laugh, so brilliantly done.

One part of the novel did confuse me; it reads like Carl goes back and forth between knowing and not knowing about Chris. I felt like we needed a clearer introduction to the fact Carl knows of Chris. Nevertheless, if you love a good treasure race in the ordinary spaces of life, I highly recommend this book.

Stalking Throckmorton is a humorous and thrilling mystery novel with a treasure hunt and a bit of romance. This is the perfect book to sit down with and unwind after a long day if you want to escape into a realistic adventure where the untold treasure may or may not be everything you dream of.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09YVJSCWG

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