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Archive for the ‘suspense’ Category

Lady In Black

By Craig Lynn Clyde

IUniverse  March 10, 2003

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Black-AKA-First-Dance/dp/0595264522/

Christmas time in Seattle, Washington; a time of glittering snow, twinkling lights — and murder. It starts with a mysterious phone call, the whispered words, “First, we dance.” From there, it leads to a sexual encounter with the beautiful “lady in black.” It ends with murder. As the bodies begin to pile up, homicide detective Jake Samuels finds himself in a race against time to uncover the murderer’s identity in a killing spree that has become all too personal. With no solid leads and no apparent motive, in order to solve this deadly case, Samuels might have to be the next to dance with the lady in black.

Some books are so engrossing you have to read them from start to finish, even if it means staying up all night. Craig Lynn Clyde’s LADY IN BLACK is definitely one of these books! This fast paced psychological thriller, set forth in short, delicious bursts, grabbed my attention from page one as I immediately began trying to piece together the clues to figure out the identity of the mysterious lady in black. The author’s writing style is almost hypnotizing and I found myself lured deeper and deeper into the intricacies of the story line with every turn of the page. The background info of the main character, Jake Samuels, is skillfully woven in, and the more I got to know and understand him, the more I liked him. Two parts smarts and one part good, old-fashioned luck propel him through the numerous tight spots he finds himself in throughout his investigation. The story was extremely well crafted and I admired the author’s skill in putting all of the pieces together from its opening scenes to its final, shocking conclusion. The author’s bio states that he is a screenwriter and I could easily see this story unfolding across the big screen. I really hope it happens, one day!

The only problem I had with this book was its numerous punctuation errors. I thought they stopped the flow of a plot that would otherwise move at breakneck speed. Even so, I recommend LADY IN BLACK to anyone who enjoys a tantalizing murder mystery that keeps them guessing till the very end.

 –Honeybee

 

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Love’s Road Home

By Lisa Lewis

Black Lyon Publishing – 4-1-2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-25-6

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Road-Home-Lisa-Lewis/dp/1934912255/

Author Website: http://www.lisalewisbooks.com/

Bethany Miller’s life was not going as she envisioned it all those years studying her butt off at Stanford. After working extra hard and earning her MBA a year early an internship with a prestigious accounting firm turned permanent and she landed a great job. However, the older guy that swept her off her feet turned out to be a money grubbing swindler embezzling company funds while framing her. After a trial, threats and a failed romance Bethany grudgingly agrees to do what she vowed never to do again – live the life of a roadie. She finds security with family, but can’t believe she is back on the road for a summer gig with her band manager dad. After the death of her mother Bethany was raised on the road and decided from a young age that she would take a path to a more stable, more settled life. Needing space from recent events and telling herself it was only temporary, she sets out to meet the band and find her place with the crew. She will be cordial, but she doesn’t plan to make friends. Still stinging from lost love and betrayal she plans to especially avoid the male band members including the gorgeous lead guitarist with his crooked grin and boyish charm.

Tom Crowley is looking for a break that will lift his band to the next level.  Music is his passion and after playing small clubs in small cities he is thrilled that his band, Roadhouse is embarking on its first major tour. He wants things to go smoothly and is slightly irritated at the last minute, hiring of a bristly female crewmember he meets the day of departure. She is nice to look at, but that may be a distraction he can’t afford. He vows to focus on music!

It doesn’t take long for the two to become involved. They share stories of their pasts, but Tom senses that Bethany is always holding back. As he is learning of her past hurts and worries, they suddenly come racing to the present when the police inform her that her ex boyfriend escaped custody and may be on the way to carry out some threats he made in the courtroom.

Tom’s jealousy soon fades and he takes on the role of protector. He quickly falls in love with Bethany. She is attracted to Tom and eager for a physical relationship with this sexy band member, but reluctant to declare love or make any lasting commitment. She doesn’t see herself married to someone on the road. That isn’t the life she dreamed of. She doesn’t want to travel full time nor does she want to be a wife who sits home while her husband is out on the road weeks at a time. When she first realizes she is falling in love, she is determined that it won’t work. Tom loves his music and if she loves a musician she can’t ask him to give up his passion or his dream.

The author did her research on bands, touring and life on the road. The language and atmosphere described was very fitting and realistic. The book was a little on the short side making the romance seem a bit rushed. The characters were likeable and well described. The genre is contemporary romance so intimate scenes are to be expected. Those included were fitting to the plot, but to be honest, they’re written in a little more explicit detail than Pearl cares to read.  Pearl feels that some details may be better left to the reader’s imagination. That is just a personal opinion and not a slam against the author or the book. The overall story was well written and the characters were suitably developed.

Both Bethany and Tom are likeable characters. They bring past hurts and struggles to their developing relationship. Tom is sensitive and sexy, eager to protect Bethany and make the relationship permanent.  Bethany is beautiful and determined. She enjoys the attention and craves the physical relationship, but is she ready to commit her heart?  Readers learn just enough of Bethany’s ex-boyfriend Eric Sharpe to dislike him and understand why she mistrusts men. Life on the road includes fans. Readers will enjoy the character of Cassiopeia Sommersby. The waiting, plotting escapades of this crazed fan brought a nice dimension to the story. Her attempts to win Tom’s love go from humorous to alarming to criminal. Her character keeps readers guessing and helps portray the vulnerability of both Tom and Bethany.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. The author did a nice job helping readers get to know them early on in the story. Although not the main focus of the book, I enjoyed the relationship between Bethany and her father. At first I didn’t find it believable that a successful accountant would leave the business world to go on a music tour with her manager father. However, as the story unfolded and the author sprinkled events from Bethany’s past here and there it became a believable possibility. The revelation of childhood events show her vulnerable side and recent tragedy shows her need for protection. Although she hated life on the road, she craved the safety found with her father. She planned to tolerate the roadie job while buying herself a little time. Although she secretly liked to sing she didn’t expect to enjoy the road, the people or the lifestyle. She certainly didn’t expect to find safety or love from a handsome band member.

This energetic contemporary romance by Lisa Lewis will be available in April. It will be her first published book but I dare to say it won’t be her last. Love’s Road Home is an upbeat romance full of fun characters, clear descriptions and realistic dialogue. If you like rock and roll love stories, this book is for you.

 –Pearl

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Whispers in Autumn

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon Publishing, Coming March 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-24-9

Buy Link: Will be added when released

Author Website: http://mjeanpike.webs.com/

I was thrilled when I received Whispers in Autumn for review. I’ve read other M. Jean Pike novels and I’m particularly fond of her paranormal’s. This is the second in the Love On The Lake series and although the paranormal aspect was absent from the first (Shadow Lake), it’s back with this installment.

In this second novel we meet for the first time Emma’s friend, Dove. An expert in paranormal studies and a physic medium, Dove has just helped the Philadelphia Police Department solve a brutal murder and picked up a stalker along the way. This madman believes Dove is a witch and wants her dead. After receiving an invitation to Emma and Shane’s wedding, she decides a sabbatical is in order. She’ll go to the wedding and stay at Shadow Lake where she can enjoy the peace and quiet as well as hide out with the hope her stalker won’t be able to find her before the police find him.

Shadow Lake is everything Emma had told her it would be—peaceful, beautiful, and serene. Unfortunately the spirits haunting the park are not so at peace. They clamor for Dove’s attention, but she’s learned over the years to shut them out when necessary for the sake of her sanity. One thing she hadn’t counted on was meeting Dusty and the immediate passion she feels for him. Dusty is a man with a past; living with the grief of a heart wrenching tragedy he can’t let go of. Although he feels unworthy of loving a woman like Dove, he can’t resist the overwhelming physical and emotional effect she has on him.

Ms. Pike’s powerful characterizations, vivid imagery, and fast pace captures the reader from the first sentence and holds them until the last, making Whispers in Autumn a true winner. This is not a cookie cutter romance; Ms. Pike’s attention to detail and unique storytelling ability sets this one apart. The suspense is nail-biting in intensity at times. The love scenes are beautifully done without being too graphic and the spine tingling ghostly encounters are right on.

All the characters in Whispers in Autumn are vibrantly alive, with their own individual flaws. The main players are likable, even lovable—generating sympathy and a true desire from the reader for them to overcome the many obstacles to their happiness. I appropriately hated the villain, but still managed to feel a tiny drop of compassion for his madness.

This is a shorter novel and can be read in one sitting, which is good because you won’t want to stop reading once you start. But don’t let the shorter length fool you. Whispers in Autumn is chock full of romance, paranormal activity, and suspense. There’s something for everyone and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

–Willow

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com

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Executive Lunch

Maria E. Schneider

Kindle Book

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002M3FL16

Nov 9, 2009

Author Blog: www.BearMountainBooks.com

Sedona O’Hala is an ordinary gal making a living working for a successful but ordinary computer company called Strandfrost. She works in a testing lab, reviewing software, testing computer programs and leading a non-glamorous life. After outwitting three thugs that tried to attack her and a coworker she gets the attention of the corporate board and thus blunders into an undercover assignment. In one jump she goes from a lab worker struggling paycheck to paycheck to a ladder climbing company executive. With this new assignment she is given the chance to live every girl’s dream. She is set up in a luxury apartment with a new wardrobe and a fancy car. She can have what she wants and it’s all paid for. Does it sound too good to be true??? Nothing comes without a price – right? The new lifestyle won’t last forever and while living it she has to try and figure out who is dipping into company funds. She is hired to find out who is stealing from the company and she must find out before the criminals realize anyone is onto them or that their secret computer program is being debugged.

Sedona vows to play her part convincingly as she tries to get information on missing computer equipment and hacked programs. She isn’t always sure if she is dealing with company insiders embezzling money or serious criminals after something more. If she fails, she could lose her job or maybe even her life. While solving one puzzle, others crop up. For a time there seems to be danger and betrayal all around. In the end there is more than one crime to solve and Sedona finds herself in a few dangerous situations.  Along with the danger comes a hint of romance, strengthened friendships, family secrets and personal growth. The author shares ups and downs, frustrations and humor as she describes the escapades of Sedona’s double life. 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this book by self-published author Maria E. Schneider. I work from home and I’ve never been in the corporate world. Mysteries aren’t my favorite genre and I’ve never been much into sleuth capers. So, why did I even decide to read this book? I took a peek at Maria’s blog and online postings at bearmountainbooks.com. After a little reading there I felt like I knew her and wanted to give her book a chance. She is down to earth and realistic. She isn’t expecting her works to be on Oprah’s next book list but rather is writing for the enjoyment it brings to her. She wants to share stories to bring enjoyment to others. I felt that was worth giving her book a read.  It took me a few chapters to settle in and enjoy the characters. The opening scene put me in the middle of drama and action before I knew who the characters were. However, as the book went along and I got to know the characters I enjoyed the mystery solving and appreciated the opening scene more.

There are several characters readers will like and some they will despise. While a few scenes were a bit of a stretch for me and a few dragged along, overall the author presented a believable corporate setting with realistic office banter and a touch of corruption that can seep into any company.  Sedona is witty, smart, and seemingly fearless in the face of danger. The author did a nice job tying up the loose ends in Executive Lunch while leaving open many possibilities for new story lines with this leading lady should she choose to write a sequel.

This is an inexpensive, lighthearted, action filled story that I recommend if you like mystery, humor, and believable characters. As you read you will be given bits of information along the mystery-solving trail. You may think you know whodunit or what is coming next but then again, you may just be surprised.

–Pearl

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scoundrels-kissScoundrel’s Kiss

Carrie Lofty

Kensington Publishing – January 5, 2010

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Scoundrels-Kiss-Carrie-Lofty/dp/1420104764

Author site: http://www.carrielofty.com

 

When I read the synopsis for Carrie Lofty’s ‘Scoundrel’s Kiss’ and saw that the story was set in the year 1201 I questioned whether I was the right reviewer for the book. I have long been a fan of the Historical Romance genre, but since this was a completely new time period for me, I’ll admit to being afraid I’d have to wade through pages of unfamiliar dialects and customs, hence detracting from my enjoyment of the story. I needn’t have worried. From its opening scenes I was completely swept away by this 13th Century tale of addiction and deception, of love and abuse.

In a life she can barely remember, beautiful and intelligent Ada worked as a foreign languages translator for noblewoman, Dona Valdedrona. Due to a case of mistaken identity, she was kidnapped and tortured. She turned to opium as a means of coping with the horrors she endured and the nightmares that would seemingly plague her for the rest of her life. Her need for the drug soon consumed her, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do to satisfy her addiction. In her new life, she lies and steals to obtain what she cannot beg or borrow.

Gavriel, a novice monk in the prestigious Order of Santiago, hides within the hallowed halls of a monastery in Ucles to try and escape some nightmares of his own. A former slave warrior, he took vows of chastity and nonviolence in the hope of atoning for the sins of his past. Healing Ada of her addiction remains his final test before he can become a full-fledged member of the order. What is at first merely a mutual temptation of the flesh soon becomes a battle of wills, but the pair discovers they must unite if they are to survive danger that lurks in unexpected places and defeat enemies neither knew they had.

Reading this extremely well plotted novel was much like watching a really great action adventure movie. Ada and Gavriel find themselves in danger from their first encounter, and things go from bad to worse for them as the story progresses, leaving the reader on the edge of her seat. Add to that elements of betrayal and deception, a few well placed love scenes, and political intrigue and you have a genuine nail-biting, can’t-put-downable reading experience. 

Though the characters are well drawn, I’ll admit it took me awhile to warm up to Ada. Headstrong and tough as nails, she seemed overly nasty at first. But as I journeyed deeper into her past I was able to understand her flaws better and I so loved watching her evolve into the character she became in the end. The equally flawed Gavriel, with his endearing blend of strength and self-doubt, came alive for me from the start. He is one of the hottest heroes I’ve come across in quite some time and I must admit Ada’s was not the only heart he captured! The story is populated with a cast of secondary characters that are no less lifelike than the hero and heroine, and the reader gets a sense of real people with very real struggles and triumphs.

In short, Carrie Lofty has created a dynamite story with interesting, likeable characters and a richly layered plot. By turns scorchingly sexy and tantalizingly tender, Scoundrel’s Kiss not only sizzles, it sparkles.

Honeybee

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2ndChance-JamesPatterson2ND CHANCE

James Patterson with Andrew Gross

(c) 2002 Little, Brown and Company

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/2nd-Chance-Womens-Murder-Club/dp/0446696633

 

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and company, so when I came across 2ND CHANCE, the second book in the series, at a used book sale, it seemed the perfect opportunity to see for myself what the Women’s Murder Club was all about.

The story opens with a horrific tragedy – a shooting spree at a church in a low-income San Francisco neighborhood which claims the life of an eleven-year-old black girl. As homicide detective Lindsay Boxer sorts through the wreckage of what appears to be a racially-motivated hate crime, a second shooting occurs, tearing the city wide open. With the political powers that be putting pressure on the police department, Lindsay decides she is going to need a little help from her friends; Claire Washburn, the city’s medical examiner, newspaper reporter Cindy Thomas, and Jill Bernhardt, Assistant District Attorney. As these four brilliant minds begin to piece together the clues, it becomes clear that the crimes are not just a racially-motivated killing spree, but part of the chillingly calculated agenda of a madman.

I have to say that so far every good thing I have heard about the Women’s Murder Club series is true. The premise is delightful – a city’s best and brightest women working together to get the job done. But far from being Superwomen, Patterson shows his readers just enough of the girls’ private lives and struggles to make them endearing and most of all, utterly human. The chapters are short and sharp, with most under five pages in length, making for quick and easy reading and adding greatly to the aura of suspense. 2ND CHANCE is a nail-biter if ever there was one!

I look forward to experiencing the rest of this wonderful series.

— Honeybee

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gone-by-lisa-gardnerGONE

By Lisa Gardner

Bantam Hardcover, December 2006

Suspense

Buy Link for mass-market paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Lisa-Gardner/dp/0553588079

 

An abandoned car—motor running, door open, purse still on the seat. Sergeant Kincaid of The Oregon State Police has seen it before and it’s never good. It usually means a suicide. But in this case he’s wrong, as the kidnapper contacts the local news with his ransom demands. When ex FBI profiler, Pierce Quincy is called in, it’s not to profile the case, but because the missing person is his wife, Lorraine (Rainie), an ex-cop who now works freelance cases with her husband.

While dealing with an especially heartbreaking case of the rape and murder of a mother and her young daughter, Rainie becomes obsessed with the case, as well as similar ones. This leads to severe depression and a resumption of her drinking problem after fifteen years of sobriety. Quincy loves his wife, but sometimes love just isn’t enough and he moves out in an effort to shock Rainie into coming to her senses. Now she’s gone and he’ll do anything to get her back.

Neither Quincy nor Rainie have led charmed lives. Both have ghosts and enemies from the past. With the kidnapper continually making impossible demands, Quincy comes to believe it’s not about money, but is personal. Has one of the ghosts from Rainie’s past finally caught up with her and is now seeking revenge?

GONE starts with an interesting premise and the plot moves along pretty well for the most part. I read the book straight through, so it definitely held my interest. This was my first Quincy/Rainie story by Lisa Gardner, but I know there are others featuring this same hero/heroine. Perhaps if I’d read those first, I might have been more sympathetic to their plight. Unfortunately I just couldn’t seem to generate a lot of interest in these two. Rainie seemed more pathetic than courageous and Quincy, although great hero material, was just boring. I guessed the kidnapper’s identity very early on, but that wouldn’t have mattered if I’d cared more about the protagonists. 

The story is well written and the suspense fairly high, but I found the characters more boring than interesting and some of the scenes totally unbelievable. When a woman is bound—hands and feet, blindfolded and gagged, it’s just not realistic to believe she could come anywhere near close to besting her attacker. Even for a tough ex-cop, this would be ludicrous, especially after being so apathetic in the beginning. In another scene Rainie moves around and fights like someone in peak fit condition—this after a severe beating, messed up knee, no nourishment for several days and half freezing. Sorry, but I didn’t buy it.

If you love Lisa Gardner and her Quincy/Rainie characters, you’ll probably love this one as well. If you’ve never read any other stories featuring these same people, I suggest you read the other books featuring them before reading this one.

–Willow

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