Sunday, February 28, 2016

Book Review: "If I Run" by Terri Blackstock

"If I Run" by Terri Blackstock was published February 16, 2016 so it's available for immediate download. This was a really compelling read and I, without reservation, recommend it. It's a strong four out of five. The only reason it lost a star is the ending is a cliffhanger and I was left wanting more. Here's a short synopsis.

Casey Cox has a problem. She just found her best friend murdered in his foyer. Now she's on the run for her life and freedom. The police think she did it, her DNA is all over the crime scene. She tried to revive her friend to no avail and now it looks like she murdered him. When Dylan Roberts, a private investigator hired by the dead man's family is sent to track down Casey, he starts questioning all the evidence the police claim proves Casey's guilt. Dylan asks himself who's lying here and if he continues tracking the suspect, is he putting her life in danger from the real killer? Or is Casey the real killer?

"If I Run" is an excellent thriller that shows the reader just how smart one has to be to run from the law. The author pits Casey's smarts against Dylan's. Both characters are well fleshed out and it's exciting to see the play of one person's intelligence against another's. Terri Blackstock makes is crystal clear that to run successfully you have to think ten steps ahead. I loved trying to outthink Casey's pursuers and see if I could predict what Casey would do next to stay one step ahead. 

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, there's a cliffhanger at the end of this mystery. You're gonna want to read the next book by Terri Blackstock. Let's hope she writes fast as I want to know what's next for her excellently rendered characters.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: "15 Minutes To Live" by Phoef Sutton

"15 Minutes To Live" by Phoef Sutton was an unusual mystery with unseen twists and turns, heartbreak, love and obsession. The book opens by introducing us to our main character, Carl. He lives in his childhood home now that his parents have passed away. One night he hears pebbles scatter across his bedroom window just like he used to more than twenty years ago when his girlfriend would sneak over late at night for a tryst. When Carl looks out that same window he's shocked to see Jesse waiting for him in the back garden. He is both thrilled and flabbergasted when he descends the stairs to find her eagerly awaiting Carl's touch. They rush to the greenhouse under the trees and reenact a nights of passion they used to experience so long ago.

But nothing makes sense to Carl. Jesse seems to think she's still seventeen and she doesn't recognize the changes in Carl like his mustache. The next day Carl finds out that in fact Jesse has been dead for three weeks. How could this be possible? Is she a ghost or is there something nefarious going on here? The mystery starts there as Carl tries to winnow out what has happened to Jesse and why she has so much trouble with her memory.

I have to say that I found it impossible to walk away from this mystery. This shows just what a great writer that Sutton is. I say this because I actually didn't particularly enjoy the read. I found myself disappointed at just how depressing all the characters were. Every character looked at life as something to be endured. I can understand there being some people who feel their lives are tedious but I found the general emotional atmosphere overwhelmingly monotonous. I was disappointed to find myself in this position. It is unusual to both want to read a book but not enjoy the words. The need to know what was happening to Jesse was a magnetic force pulling the reader to the end of the book. But the actual ending was egregiously disappointing.

Part of me wants to give this book a two out of five because it was so frustrating. Another part of me recognizes the excellent writing that made me want to read every word. So, if you can stand depressing characters that don't have any joy of life and you have loved Phoef Sutton books in the past then try this one. On the other hand, if you like some hope or redeeming quality to the relationships in a book and you want an inkling of justice to seep through to the ending then I'd avoid this one, you just may end up as frustrated as me.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review: "Find Her" By Lisa Gardner

"Find Her" By Lisa Gardner comes out February 9, 2016. I've read several Lisa Gardner books including "Catch Me", "Crash & Burn" and "Touch & Go". I've always enjoyed the mysteries by Gardner but my favorite character that she writes is definitely Detective D.D. Warren. Happily, "Find Her" is a D.D. Warren book and I was itching to get into it this weekend. I've read this book non-stop since Saturday evening and I've revealed in each hour. This was such a great book, let me tell you a little about it.

Detective D.D. Warren catches the strangest case. There's a naked, bound and battered young woman standing next to a dead man in an open garage. Who is the victim and who is the perpetrator? To find out what's going on Detective Warren has to learn about Flora, the naked woman in the garage. She has been kidnapped before. Seven years ago she was kept by a predator for four hundred and seventy two days. When she was rescued Flora is not the same woman.

Now Detective Warren suspects Flora has become some kind of vigilante or maybe a predator hunter. Her walls are covered with missing girls from the Boston area. When Flora disappears once again, Detective Warren suspects that there is a very smart serial kidnapper/murderer out there who is stalking young women in Boston. Warren just hopes some of these women are still alive and that Flora has left enough clues in her hunting that D.D. has some breadcrumbs to follow. 

I loved this book. Not only was it a great and exciting read but it had all the psychological angst of what a victim feels in a kidnapping situation. It left my heart both pounding and aching for the main character, Flora. The emotionally rending writing also forces the reader to put herself in the shoes of the victim. What would YOU do if you were at the mercy of a predator? Lisa Gardner must have a terrific imagination or access to forthcoming victims to write such a harrowingly accurate portrayal of the emotions of a kidnapped victim.

The mystery is fantastic, figuring out who is truly running this show was difficult and that made the book even better. When a mystery writer renders such an excellent book it thrills me. I love it when I even forget to eat because all I want to do is read, read, read. It's a rush to fall into a book and be unwilling to crawl back out. This is no cozy mystery, it's raw and meaty. If you haven't read a Lisa Gardner book, start here then work your way back through all the D.D. Warren series. You're so lucky to have found a new and luscious author!!


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