Blog Archives

Corrupted Souls

Corrupted Souls by Lynn-Steven Johanson is a page-turning police procedural novel that takes readers on a nail-biting journey full of murder and mystery. We begin by meeting Chicago Detective Joe Erikson, who is fighting for a chance to return to duty after a traumatic case. With a new psychiatrist’s approval, he re-joins the force alongside his old partner, Sam Renaldo. Not missing a beat, they begin investigating the high-profile hate-crime murder of 24-year-old Jewish graduate student Daniel Silverman, who was found on the shore of Lake Michigan with a swastika carved into his back.

As it turns out, this initial murder was only the beginning of a fast-paced and unpredictable expedition that would lead to uncovering a dangerous and corrupt conspiracy linked to organized crime led by Vincent Scalise. First, we meet the Fielding family, owners of a large interstate freight company where Daniel Silverman was interning. Next, the detectives unravel an odd array of potential suspects, including neo-Nazi white supremacists tied to the company and members of the Fielding family themselves. This case takes every ounce of Erickson’s skills and intuition to solve, but not before several more murders, risky love affairs, and uncovering unthinkable family betrayals that almost get him killed.

This was one of the best police procedurals novels that I’ve read. It was easy to keep track of the different characters and their roles in the crime and investigation, yet it was nearly impossible to predict what would happen next. As a reader, I couldn’t help but root for Joe as he fought through old traumatic events to move forward with his life and continue the career he was so passionate about. There was even a little love story that’s deftly inserted into the story with his supportive girlfriend, Destiny.

Corrupted Souls is a riveting crime thriller novel that will take readers through an intense homicide investigation. This page-turning mystery will have readers guessing till the end.

Pages: 224 | ASIN : B09TRVW7MX

Buy Now From Amazon

Vindictive

Vindictive by author Ryan Lawrence is a captivating mystery with twists and turns where readers least expect them. This exciting book starts when Jules is eight years old and is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever. That decision sets off a chain of events full of lies, deceit, revenge, and manipulation later in her life. But what if what you’ve thought all along isn’t what it seems? What if you, yourself, have been manipulated for someone else’s quest for vengeance. This is precisely what happens to Jules, who seeks control in every aspect of her life. Often disliked by those around her, she prefers it that way to keep a layer of protection around herself. When a ghost from her past comes back to haunt her, though, Jules feels that control start to falter. The things she built her life upon turns out to be a fabrication of the truth, causing her to question the decisions she’s made as an adult.

Lawrence does not fall short on creativity. The author writes in detail, explaining fully when laying out settings and plots. Readers will recognize that Lawrence did a fair share of research or is a subject matter expert when describing fight scenes. Vindictive has many sub-plots intertwined in the storyline and Lawrence weaves them in flawlessly. The characters come to life with highly detailed back stories allowing readers to get into their mind and understand their actions. Building the back story to set up this stimulating novel allows readers to become fully immersed in the world created by Lawrence.

The characters had similar scheming personalities. Jules, Stella, Joseph, Miles, and even Denise were all brutal in their verbal attacks and only looking out for their own best interest. Phillip was the most tolerable character, seeming beaten down by a swarm of controlling people in his life, most notably Jules. Readers will enjoy experiencing the rekindled friendship between Amanda and Jules. Although Jules used Amanda years ago, Amanda comes through when Jules needs her most. It was nice to see a moment of Jules letting her guard down when having a heart-to-heart with Amanda on why things ended the way they did. It impacted how their friendship can move forward with having a better understanding of each other and their expectations.

Vindictive is a riveting murder mystery novel that will have readers turning the pages to find out what happens with Jules and how the lies she has been told unfold. A fast paced novel perfect for readers looking for action, suspense and thrills.

Pages: 448 | ASIN : B09HFZ4C56

Buy Now From Amazon

They Only Wear Black Hats 

They Only Wear Black Hats by Edward Izzi is a modern crime novel that will grab readers right from the title. The title successfully generates the right amount of curiosity, and relevance while maintaining a theme that can be seen throughout the major sequences in the novel.

This gripping story begins in a high school setting and the language can give readers the illusion of a contemporary breezy read. Soon however readers will realize its anything but a cozy mystery novel. This captivating story wastes no time in lettings the readers know that it’s going to be a dark and intense journey filled with toe curling twists and heartbreaks.

This thrilling story is fast paced with the murders of many young children containing explicit descriptions of their mutilation and death. Detective Palazzola grows frustrated with the lack of convictions on these murder cases yet has no recourse for the problem. One night he learns of the secret group called the Archangels. They step in when the law has failed to enact justice for the victims. A single black bowler hat left at the scene of each vigilante killing, the only clue to what is going on. This vigilante group however has vowed to put an end to anyone that tries to stop them from their mission of enacting justice to the victims.

The plot is enthralling, and the flow is brilliant with concise chapters that keeps you invested and intrigued throughout. The narration is also nonlinear and shifts from the perspective of Detective Palazzola to an omniscient third person narrator. The surprising story gives you small but significant details about each victim in such a way that you feel the sadness and root for justice to happen.

They Only Wear Black Hats will keep readers of suspenseful crime mysteries hooked from the opening lines. Those that want a fast-paced thriller will not be disappointed.

Pages: 333 | ASIN : B09LQ9JPP1

Buy Now From Amazon

Blaze In, Blaze Out

Blaze in, Blaze out by Joseph Lewis is an action-filled mystery crime novel. Two members of a law enforcement task force are the lynchpins to putting away the crime boss Dmitry Andruko. In retaliation Dmitry puts out a hit out on the two officers with the instructions, kill anyone that gets in the way. Following the trial, Eiselmann spends the weekend with his family, and O’Connor heads out on a fishing trip with a friend and his four adopted teenage sons. What should have been a relaxing weekend for both men, turns into a nightmare and a fight for their lives and those they love. Detective O’Connor’s story and attempted murder interlaces itself with Brian and Bobby’s troubled relationship in a world filled with crimes, betrayal and homophobia.

Lewis’s comprehensive writing style makes sure the reader never gets lost in this complex and fast-moving plot. The point of view alternates with the chapters so readers can experience the story through the eyes of all the characters providing them with the full picture of what is occurring and sharing the characters insights and emotions. Care is taken by the author to provide descriptions of every place visited and every clothing item worn by the characters. Readers will become fully immersed into the world created by Lewis.

Besides being a crime thriller, this novel tackles the challenging subject of coming out. Brian struggles with his identity and his relationship with his adopted father due to his sexual orientation. The perspective of a teenage boy coming out to family adds a level of drama to this thriller novel.

Blaze in, Blaze out with its engaging plot and deep themes is a riveting novel and fast read that will keep readers in suspense and hooked till the last page. I recommend this action packed book to any teenager going through a difficult time with their parents and to any reader who loves suspenseful thrillers, and crime novel.

Pages: 321 | ASIN : B09B576BPJ

Buy Now From Amazon

Murder at Macbeth

Murder at Macbeth: A gripping British crime mystery packed with twists and turns (A D.I. Robson mystery Book 1) by [Samantha Goodwin]

A crime has been committed at a theater in the middle of a Shakespeare themed play, embedded in secrets, lies, betrayal, friendship and work, every cast is on the suspect list. How far will they go to hide these secrets? Like a blockbuster crime thriller Samantha Goodwin leads us through a winding mystery of what happened to the lead actress Nicki. Her friends, the cast, all have a dark secret they are not willing to tell. The investigating officers will stop at nothing until they get justice for the victims.

This creative murder mystery that fuels this curiously compelling read is great in a way that every chapter answers one question and leaves you with the next one you have to get an answer for. I appreciated the slow build of the mystery throughout the story. It’s not dramatic, but in it’s down to earth quality it reels you in, and once the twists come their rarely expected and always surprising. Samantha Goodwin has a way of making the whole play inside a play work with ease. Murder At Macbeth is a creative detective mystery that is punctuated with provocative characters. Friends betraying friends, love, jealousy, betrayal and secrets. Each characters life unfolds in new chapters. Reality dawns on each of the cast members, they can no longer protect each other, a life has been lost. Despite going through challenges himself, Detective Inspector Finley Robson with his partner Detective Nadia Zahra are on a mission to crack this case open.

Having friends who have your back, is the best thing to ever happen to anyone, you trust your friends with secrets, you have a past that only your friends and you share but one day your very best friend is too jealous to the extent of plotting harm against you. Reading this is better than imagining how you’d feel, this book will take you right to the center of that drama, it makes you feel part of the cast which is a feeling you only get from a good book. Murder at Macbeth is an emotionally haunting and provocative thriller.

Pages: 375 | ASIN: B07QXGR13V

Buy Now From B&N.com

KILLING YOUR BEST FRIEND: The Mystery of Psyche and Hidden Romance

KILLING YOUR BEST FRIEND: The Mystery of Psyche and Hidden Romance by [VALDA TAURUS]

Killing Your Best Friend by Valda Taurus is a thrilling murder-mystery set amid the rich backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. Set in a rustic and remote small town – the type of place where everyone knows everyone’s business and residents befriend each other not wholly by choice, but by lack of alternatives for companionship. Ivan Kortnev is murdered in grisly fashion, with a screwdriver to the heart, and his best friend Alexander Gray, an ex-convict who spent a decade in prison for murder, is convicted despite his inability to recall events of the night. Detective Andy Mohr is convinced, even with lack of material evidence, that Gray is wrongfully convicted. Led by his unwavering and stubborn sense of justice, Mohr embarks on a journey to weave through the entanglements and secrets of Cantwell’s residents to uncover the truth about Kortnev’s suspicious death.

Detective Mohr is arguably the most dynamic character in the book. He is a clear protagonist, fulfilling the “hero” role in this riveting story. Highly independent, his ways of showing care and regard for others often are interpreted as sterile. A natural-born altruist, he has a penchant for ethics over glory and is resolute in his will to uphold what is just and condemn the unjust. In doing so, he is creative in his problem solving and will explore all avenues possible to prove his case, making him the perfect fit to delve headfirst into Gray’s peculiar case and the ominous secrets it holds.

The most palpable theme in this book is the human threshold for pain – what is a person capable of if pushed to their limits, and to what lengths will they go to gain control over their circumstances?  An internal longing for something tragically unattainable is what motivates each of the characters to pursue their respective courses of action. This creates an interesting call to action; as the characters realize what they have become, they are forced to cope with this new identity, even if that means forging a completely new sense of identity.

The development of events in this book is slow to ignite, reflecting the progression of actual real-life murder-mysteries, many of which are known to span decades of investigation, if solved at all. The chapters are short and digestible, yet still provide important pieces of information that are instrumental in contributing to the greater story. This is the type of story that ages like fine wine – the longer a reader becomes immersed, the more the story is built, complete with plot twists and gripping revelations.

Pages: 298 | ISBN: 1480887382

Buy Now From B&N.com

Miss Morris Must Die

Book Review Icon

Miss Morris Must Die by Val Wilson is a mystery novel set in 1957 in Milford, England. Lady Felicity and Major Reginald Manners-Gore live in a large manor called Fig Tree Hall and they invite several guests for a murder mystery weekend. Their servants are required to take part in the fictional murder and give clues to help identify the killer. Six guests arrive, but shortly afterward, only five guests remain when one of them dies after suffering an unfortunate accident. Was it really and accident? Or was it murder?

I enjoyed the mystery and intrigue in this book. There were several hints that I picked up throughout the story which led me to suspect the answers to various aspects of the mystery before the truth was revealed, but there was enough misdirection that it kept me guessing until the end. All of this made me feel like one of the guests trying to figure out what was going on. The fictional murder mystery was intriguing although the clues sometimes lacked clear connections. However I doubt I would have solved any of the clues if I had been one of the guests, although I didn’t quite understand how the clues were supposed to lead the characters to the ‘killer’ if the weekend had gone as planned.

I liked the characters of Becca and Peter, and the way they interacted together. Several of the women especially were self-centered and cruel. I’m glad that the story ended happily for Becca and Peter.

I enjoyed the overall tension and mystery building throughout the novel. Trying to crack the clues as they came is always a fun logic puzzle. However, it seemed odd that the murder mystery weekend continued as though nothing had happened after one of the guests died. Most of the characters showed little reaction to the death except to worry that it might ruin their fun. And then a murder attempt of one of the other guests was brushed aside.

But these oddities aside, this book is a perfect fit for any mystery aficionado looking for something in the vain of an Agatha Christie novel. This is one intriguing murder mystery I would easily recommend.

Pages: 220

The Monk

Billy has only ever wanted to liberate the oppressed. He worked as a cop for ten years only to leave that behind and join the priesthood. About half a decade since he left the force and last spoke to his ‘brother’, he is called upon to help with the murder of his goddaughter Julia. He can feel the heavy presence of the devil in Capitol Hill Denver. He is determined to fight with prayer. William Yeats Butler is no weak person. He is a worthy opponent. He is a warrior. Will the killers of Julia be brought to justice? Can Billy and Laskey ever get overcome the past?

Set in the 1980’s this book is the first in a two book series. It’s an account of suspenseful mysteries with a bit of a narrative on spirituality weaved in. Written by a cop, you really can feel the intensity of a police investigation. The pain of knowing the victims on a personal level. The valor required just to get out of bed each day and prepare for this job. One can also clearly see the sheer sacrifice that comes with the job. Timony McKeever is a brilliant storyteller who has mastered the art of setting the scene using simple language.

There are so many characters to love. Moving away from the obvious, Billy, one cannot help but admire the double edged sword that is McDuff. MLM can be tough and mean but she can also be sweet and charming. It is so strange yet so compelling to experience. Laskey on the other hand is a faulty human being. He is great at his job and has better fashion sense now but the cracks in his personality make for some comedic relief. The author, it seems, has developed each character for the sole reason of building a rapport with the reader. To invite the reader into Capitol Hill as opposed to just watching events unfold from the sidelines.

The prose is succinct, and the dialogue is engaging because things are kept short. It is especially fun to see Laskey and Billy fall into their old relations so quick after they are reunited.

Be warned, there is quite a bit of profanity. However, it serves to set the tone of the book and is yet another thing that paints an accurate picture of interactions between brothers in arms. This is a book worth reading. If nothing else you will appreciate what it takes for criminals to be brought to justice.

Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1513648349

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: