Tag Archives: mystery crime thriller

Ten Days Gone (An A.L. McKittridge Novel) by Beverly Long Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two detectives must race against the clock as a serial killer closes in on their next victim in author Beverly Long’s “Ten Days Gone”, the first book in the A.L. McKittridge Series. 

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The Synopsis

They know exactly when he’ll strike… They just have to find him first.

In all their years working for the Baywood police department, detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have never seen anything like it. Four women dead in forty days, each killed ten days apart. With nothing connecting the victims and very little evidence, the clock is already counting down to when the next body drops. A.L. and Rena will have to act fast if they’re going to find the killer’s next victim before he does.

But identifying the killer’s next likely target is only half the battle. With pressure pushing in from all sides, a promising breakthrough leads the detectives to Tess Lyons, a woman whose past trauma has left her too damaged to appreciate the danger she’s in. Unwilling to let another woman die, A.L. and Rena will put everything on the line to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s deadly spree once and for all—before time runs out again.

The Review

I was hooked from the very first page of this addictive thriller. The shock and intrigue the author created in the book’s atmosphere early on was spot on, and the mystery surrounding this serial killer’s actions was phenomenal to see get fleshed out as the story progressed. What made this such a unique story was how the author utilized multiple perspectives, and yet kept the killer hidden in the shadows until the final pages of this book, never giving them a voice and keeping the focus instead on the investigative process instead. 

The character development was superb. The relatability of the detectives and their camaraderie was fantastic to see unfold and to see a realistic perspective that shows both detectives working together without any sexual tension between them, instead of focusing on mutual respect was a nice change of pace from other novels. Getting to see each detective’s home life mixed into the narrative put the mystery and their detective work into perspective greatly, and putting the story in a small town setting raised the fear factor of the people they came into contact with. 

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Beverly Long’s “Ten Days Gone” is the perfect first novel in a brand new mystery and thriller series. The suspense and action feel natural to the narrative being told, and the edge of your seat adrenaline readers will feel as the killer’s identity is revealed and the race to save the latest victim becomes perilous will have readers hooked on this author’s incredible star power. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Beverly Long had written over twenty suspense and romantic suspense novels. Readers will not want to miss TEN DAYS GONE and NO ONE SAW, the first two books in a new suspense series featuring Detective A.L. McKittridge. Please visit her website at http://www.beverlylong.com and sign up for her quarterly newsletter for the latest news and opportunities to win free books. Like her on Facebook @BeverlyLongAuthor.

http://beverlylong.com/

Lethal Waters (The Gift Legacy Book 4) by J.P. McLean Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

After a series of events forces her to take on the role of an undercover agent, a young woman with extraordinary gifts finds herself in the midst of a drug investigation that includes murder, all while trying to keep her gifts hidden from the world in author J.P. McLean’s “Lethal Waters”, the fourth book in The Gift Legacy series.

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The Synopsis

A body in the water. A vast ocean. A killer on the loose.

In the midst of a bloody rebellion, Emelynn Taylor exposes her gift of flight to save a man’s life. Now International Covert Operations knows her secret. The powerful organization is willing to cover up the carnage and protect her secret—in exchange for her services.

Her first assignment, a drug case in the coastal city of Vancouver, soon reveals a grisly murder that implicates one of her own kind.

Stalked by the ancient Tribunal Novem and vilified by a distrustful team of detectives, Emelynn takes on a perilous undercover role embedded in a drug ring where anyone could be the murderer.

Intrigue and danger lurk in the cold Pacific, challenging Emelynn’s unique gift and pitting her loyalties against her honour. And her choice is guaranteed to hurt someone.

The fourth book in The Gift Legacy series, Lethal Waters is a thriller that skirts the edges of reality in a world within our own. Don your life jacket and escape the ordinary: take flight with Emelynn Taylor.

(Lethal Waters was previously published as The Gift: Penance)

The Review

I am a massive fan of this series. I always love seeing the author naturally blend the events of the previous books and the events that individual characters have undergone into the narrative without feeling like a summary and instead more of a natural progression of the modern story. The characters continued to evolve the history and mythos of those with her gifts while turning more into the mystery aspect of the narrative. Emelynn’s turn as an undercover agent of sorts, brought in unexpectedly into an investigation after a series of synchronicity style events puts her in the investigation’s path, added a depth of intrigue and mystery that readers are going to absolutely love.

The descriptive narrative the author utilized here really brought this world to life in the reader’s mind. The action and suspense of who the main players in this investigation were and who could be trusted added a burst of adrenaline as the events began to pile up one after the other for Emelynn. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, heart-pounding, yet highly thoughtful in its approach to the mystery, author J.P. McLean’s “Lethal Waters” is a must-read novel and the perfect addition to this growing series. The action and mythos really will keep readers on the edge of their seat, while the new direction the author takes the protagonist will breathe new life into this fantasy universe, making this a book in the series that is not to be missed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honorable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.

JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.

Visit her at https://jpmcleanauthor.com

Mine (A Deadly Sins Novel Book 3) by Rachael Tamayo Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A drunken night of debauchery in Vegas leads one man into a marriage he never wanted, and into a deadly world where no one is who they claim to be in author Rachael Tamayo’s “Mine”, the third book in the Deadly Sins series.

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The Synopsis

What happens in Vegas just might kill you.

When divorcee Justin Gray wakes up next to a beautiful stranger in Vegas on his birthday weekend, he assumes it’s just a drunken mistake. When he discovers that he’s married to said stranger in her early twenties, he insists on an annulment and assumes his life will return to normal once he gets back home.

He assumes wrong.

As the shapely blonde refuses to give him an annulment and insists the marriage continue, what was a wild weekend turns into a deadly mistake.

Murder is only the beginning.

Get ready for a tale of greed so twisted you won’t know what’s on the next page or who anyone really is until the…

very…

last…

page.

The Review

I was absolutely enthralled by this mystery. The narrative took so many twists and turns throughout the novel that everything readers suspected throughout the narrative would prove true for a while before another curveball completely changed the game forever. The way the author layered mystery upon mystery on top of one another kept the intrigue and suspense prevalent throughout the entirety of the novel, and the theme of truth versus lies really played a pivotal role in the story for all of these characters.

I loved seeing the character growth here, as many of the twists came from the revelation of these characters themselves. There were so many characters that kept so much mystery and underlying motives about them that the only characters who felt authentic throughout the novel were Justin and his daughter Abby, who became pawns in someone’s twisted game. The multiple POVs really enhanced the narrative and kept the mystery alive and well up until the final chapter of this novel.

The Verdict

Engaging, shocking, and absolutely gripping, author Rachael Tamayo’s “Mine” is a must-read suspense thriller of 2022. The twisted motivations and shocking revelations these characters share as the plot moves forward will keep readers on the edge of their seats, as will the shocking alliances and partnerships that arise from these revelations. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on February 26th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Rachael Tamayo is the Best-Selling Author of the Deadly Sins books, among several other titles. Including multiple award-winning and award-nominated titles. Former 911 operator, a twelve-year veteran with slight PTSD now pens psychological fiction. Her 911 service gave her a unique insight into mental illness, human behavior, and the choices humans make when faced with bad, bad things that she weaves into her characters and plots. 

The Houston, Texas native lives with her husband and their two children. 

https://rachaeltamayowrites.com/

Breaking the Weak Link by Gary Westphalen Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A real-life crime begins and subsequently inspires the story of a spur of the moment theft of an armored car in broad daylight that turns into a edge-of-your-seat thriller involving crime rings, tourists, the destruction of a national monument, and a fiery romance in author Gary Westphalen’s “Breaking the Weak Link”.

The Synopsis

When an undocumented immigrant in New York City happens upon an armored truck whose guards are simply not paying attention, he seizes the moment and casually walks off with $1.6-Million dollars in pure gold. That true-life event forms the basis for Breaking The Weak Link. But the story is just beginning. Before it’s over, an international crime ring will have attacked many more armored trucks and destroyed one of America’s greatest landmarks. Along with the way, a television reporter, a gold dealer, numerous armored truck guards, uncountable tourists, many of the criminals, and even the FBI Agent chasing them will have their lives hanging by a thread. Top it off with a blazing romance so hot the pages might catch on fire, and this book is a must read.

This fast-paced thriller by Author Gary Westphalen (Plan A Never Happens, Murdered For Nothing) twists and turns through every page, leaving the reader begging to know what happens next. The story travels from New York City to Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and many other points, even as far as Nicaragua and Russia. The colorful detail woven into this non-stop story will make you believe you have been transported right into the scenes. It’s as if you are the unseen bystander in every locus of the plot.

Get comfortable, because once you start reading Breaking The Weak Link, you won’t put it down until it’s over. 

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The Review

What an incredible whirlwind thriller! The amazing thing that always entertains me when I read a Gary Westphalen book is a natural way the author ties into the narrative a true crime that the fictional narrative spirals out of. The way a split-decision from one man can spiral out of control and create a cascading series of events that destroy lives was so expertly crafted and explored in this novel, balancing the action and suspense of the novel’s crime element with the mystery and intrigue of the characters and the masterminds behind this criminal organization.

The character growth really was the heart of this narrative. They brought the crimes themselves to life so vividly and chillingly, and the author did a great job of showcasing that crimes are rarely about “good and evil”, but instead reside in a cascading series of shades of grey. As the “criminal” who began this journey was a simple man who took an opportunity and made a series of bad decisions as a result, to the mastermind behind the subsequent crimes, who readers would never have seen coming a mile away, each character feels well-rounded and realistic, while also drawing upon the genres to create entertaining and visceral reading experiences.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and hauntingly-adventurous crime drama, author Gary Westphalen’s “Breaking the Weak Link” is a must-read drama of 2021. One of the fall’s best new crime dramas, the author has brought to life a gripping thriller that will have fans on the edge of their seats and the twisted finale will leave readers totally shocked. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gary Westphalen has spent most life in pursuit of the truth. First as a journalist working for local television stations, then moving on to work for national news organizations, eventually finding himself as part of the White House reporting teams for a major television network, where he engaged in verbal sparring with every President from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.

He also found time to work as an independent documentary film-maker, garnering numerous major awards for his work. He went on to NASA, where he produced several major documentary productions for the space agency.

Gary’s next journalistic adventure was as publisher of a major motorcycle magazine.

Now, Gary finds himself living on a Pacific coast beach in Costa Rica, where he has reinvented himself yet again as as an author and audiobook narrator. His first two books have received great critical acclaim and the pipeline is full of upcoming books.

https://www.facebook.com/gary.westphalen

A Death in Bloomsbury (The Simon Sampson Mysteries #1) by David C. Dawson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A renowned BBC Radio host and investigator must put his loyalty to the King of England to the test in 1930’s London as a plot to assassinate the King forces Simon Sampson to investigate, but at the risk of exposing his secret life as a gay man in a time when being gay meant facing prison time in the country in author David C. Dawson’s “A Death in Bloomsbury”, the first in the Simon Sampson Mysteries series. 

The Synopsis

Everyone has secrets… but some are fatal.

1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.

But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.

This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem. 

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The Review

This was such a captivating and thought-provoking read. The author’s utilization of mystery and historical fiction was superb, showcasing a clear understanding and attention to detail historically that showed the amount of research that went into this narrative. The balance the author found with the history behind this intriguing mystery and the LGBTQ cast of characters that made up the novel’s main cast was so refreshing and fantastic to read.

What stood out to me was definitely the emphasis on the LGBTQ narratives, not only the characters as a whole but their experiences and the amount of secrecy that went into leading what was considered back then to be a “double life”. The way this mirrored so much of the novel’s noir and espionage elements within the mystery unfolding around the characters was perfect, and the emotional ups and downs the protagonist, in particular, went through all the way to the book’s final pages was so emotional to read.

The Verdict

A thoughtful, gripping, and entertaining read, author David C. Dawson’s “A Death in Bloomsbury” is a must-read mystery and historical fiction thriller this fall! The representation within the cast of characters and the struggles the LGBTQ community faced nearly a century ago was perfectly balanced the twists and turns in the book’s mystery, and the cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager to read more of this exciting new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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A Death in Bloomsbury - David C. Dawson

David C. Dawson has a new gay historical crime thriller out: A Death in Bloomsbury. And there’s a giveaway!

Everyone has secrets… but some are fatal.

1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.

But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.

This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem.

About the Series

The Simon Sampson Mysteries start in London 1932 and continue through the 1930s across Europe. Set against the rise of fascism in the continent, the series features a man who does his patriotic duty to fight the enemy, even though as a gay man he’s an outlaw.

Amazon | Goodreads


Giveaway

David is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47212/?


Excerpt

Simon arrived at Piccadilly Circus at ten minutes to eight that evening and waited to cross the road to the statue of Eros on its traffic island. This part of London always gave Simon a thrill of excitement. It buzzed with activity, like a giant beehive. There were swarms of people hurrying from work, or strolling towards a restaurant, theatre or bar. The metaphor was apt, because within fifty yards of where Simon stood there were so many queens.

Across the road was The Trocadero. Its Long Bar was always guaranteed to provide a gay evening for gentlemen in search of pleasure. A little farther on was the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square. Its Upper Gallery was popular with painted boys and men dressed in smart suits who spent an evening either exchanging acid-tongued witticisms or seeking a friend for the night.

Even at that time of the evening the traffic on Piccadilly Circus was almost stationary. Simon stepped off the pavement and wove his way between taxis and omnibuses queuing to drive up Shaftesbury Avenue or down the Haymarket. Cameron was waiting for him, and Simon was pleased to see he was once again soberly dressed in his immaculate black coat. This time with a grey scarf and black leather gloves. Young men of a similar age to Cameron were also standing on the steps of Eros, and they wore far more flamboyant clothing. Simon preferred to be inconspicuous when out with a gentleman friend. There was less chance that they might draw the attention of the police, or busys as his friends in the Fitzroy Tavern would call them.

“I do hope you’ve not been waiting long.” Simon took Cameron’s outstretched hand and squeezed it firmly. “It’s getting awfully cold. I think it might snow this Christmas.”

Cameron reached out his other hand and rested it on Simon’s hip. Simon pushed it away. “Best not here, old chap,” he whispered. “Awfully public you know.”

He released Cameron’s hand and pointed across the road. “We need to head towards Leicester Square. The Lily Pond is two roads up. And we can walk past the Trocadero on the way and see who’s out gadding tonight.”

“I’m glad I’m wi’ ye,” Cameron replied. “I’m still finding ma bearin’s in London. I’ve nae come down to this part of town since I moved to York House.”

“Oh, you should.” Simon led the way through the still stationary traffic to Coventry Street. “It’s frightfully exciting. And you can always be sure of meeting someone interesting.” He pointed to the corner of Glasshouse Street. “That’s the Regent Palace Hotel. Awfully good bar. Perfect place to meet gentlemen from overseas, and they can hire a room for you by the hour if that interests you.” He grabbed Cameron’s arm and pulled him to safety as a motor car attempted to circumvent the traffic jam and drove up onto the pavement.

“Try not to get yourself killed, my dear.”


Author Bio

David C. Dawson

David C. Dawson is an award-winning author, journalist and documentary maker. He writes gay romance and contemporary thrillers featuring gay heroes in love.

His latest book The Foreign Affair was published in 2020. It’s the third in the Delingpole Mysteries series.

The first in the series: The Necessary Deaths, won an FAPA award in the best suspense/thriller category.

David’s also written two gay romances: For the Love of Luke and Heroes in Love.

He lives near Oxford, with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

Author Website: https://www.davidcdawson.co.uk

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/david.c.dawson.5

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/pg/davidcdawsonAUTHOR/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/david_c_dawson

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidcdawsonwriter/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7244384.David_C_Dawson

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/david-c-dawson/

Author Amazon: https://geni.us/DCDawsonAmazonAuthor

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Shooting Star: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery Book 5 (The Nikki Latrelle Mystery-Thriller Series) by Sasscer Hill Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A job to protect the horses and people involved in a Hollywood shoot forces heroine Nikki Latrelle to face off against a mysterious sniper in author Sasscer Hill’s “Shoot Star”, the fifth book in the Nikki Latrelle Mystery-Thriller series!

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The Synopsis

When Nikki’s ex-lover Will hires her to protect the horses used to film a movie at Santa Anita Racetrack, she learns evil is alive and well in Hollywood.

Keeping Thoroughbreds safe from a director who doesn’t know a horse from a hamster is tricky. More difficult are the unresolved feelings between Nikki and Will, especially when sexy, young movie star, Jamie Jackson, sets his sights on Nikki.

But when a sniper’s bullet shatters the brain of a cameraman close enough that she can smell his blood, Nikki’s need to protect overrides everything. Her sleuthing unearths a trail of corruption and when she must lie to Will to protect his life, she’s on her own. Can she identify the evil behind the scenes before she and Will become the next victims?

Shooting Star is the fifth rocket-paced story in the award-winning Nikki Latrelle mystery series. If you like protagonists with heart and courage, unexpected twists, and a thrill ride to the finish, you’ll love Shooting Star.

Find out why this series has so many fans. Buy Shooting Star today! 

The Review

This book starts off quite literally with a bang. The shocking murder of a cameraman shocks readers with a quick introduction to the setting followed by the harrowing events that spark this mystery. Now although I am a newcomer to the Nikki Latrelle series, the author did an amazing job of crafting a narrative that felt self-contained enough to stand on its own while still touching upon scenes and experiences the character had in previous entries in the series. 

The balance the author found between the pacing of the mystery and the character arcs of not only the protagonist but of the supporting cast as well as brilliantly written. Each clue and twist in the narrative was delivered naturally and kept the reader invested, while the characters kept you on the edge of your seat as readers tried to solve the mystery themselves. Add some unique and original storytelling elements involving horse racing and the treatment of animals in Hollywood productions overall, and you have the recipe for a highly engaging thriller.

The Verdict

A high octane, adrenaline-fueled, thought-provoking mystery thriller, author Sasscer Hill’s “Shooting Star” is a must-read thriller of 2021. A brilliantly original and heartfelt look into the world of horse racing and the treatment of animals in general blended with a heart-pounding murder mystery and complex character development, readers will not be able to put down this amazing story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’ve never wanted to write the “Great American novel.” I believe my job is to entertain with stories about chasing a dream, fighting the odds, and helping the helpless. I want to create a world that’s a bit scary, sometimes funny, always informative, and a reliable destination for escape.

Sasscer Hill’s books have won the $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Award for Best Book in Racing Literature (FLAMINGO ROAD.) They have also garnered a Carrie McCray Award and been nominated for Agatha, Macavity, and Claymore awards. Her second book in her two-book “Fia McKee” series, THE DARK SIDE OF TOWN, received a Booklist Starred Review and was an Editor’s Pick in the Toronto Star.

Her newest title, TRAVEL’S OF QUINN” (out March 2010) is a mystery-thriller based on the con artists known as the Irish American Travellers. A novel of deceit, murder, greed and hope,

Currently, Sasscer is writing SHOOTING STAR, her fifth novel in the “Nikki Latrelle” mystery series.

Sasscer was a breeder, owner, and rider of race horses for over 30 years. She lives in Aiken, SC, with her husband, a dog named Rosco and a cat named Lola.

https://www.sasscerhill.com/

Serpent Loop by Lynn Lipinski Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A brother is pushed to the limits when a murder at the carnival he is working at opens up a twisted mystery his younger sister is caught in, and as the investigation ramps up and she disappears, he must decide how far he is willing to go to protect the family he has left in author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop”.

The Synopsis

Sometimes new beginnings come from destruction.

A man is murdered at a carnival. For Zane Clearwater, witnessing the crime is a dark reminder of a violent past he had hoped to put behind him and his teenage sister Lettie. But the fear on her face tells him one thing: she’s somehow involved and as her guardian, he must protect her at all costs. Even if it jeopardizes his future as a police officer.

Zane has a lot of questions, but so do the police…and the FBI. Zane had seen his sister’s genius computer skills as an asset to get her into college and out of the hand-to-mouth life he was living as security guard and janitor. But Lettie had decided to use those skills in some questionable schemes on the dark web. And now trouble had come looking for them in real life.

When Lettie takes off for California, Zane embarks on a journey of discovery that even unbreakable bonds may have their limits. Can he stay one step ahead of trouble and protect Lettie? Or has trouble finally caught up with them for good? 

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The Review

The author did a fantastic job of grabbing the reader’s attention with a gripping opening scene. While this book seems to be a continuation of the author’s first book, Bloodlines, this narrative does an amazing job of connecting the two books while still allowing new readers to jump into the story headfirst without having read the first book. The suspense and atmosphere are adrenaline-fueled as the reader is treated to twists and turns galore and the original crime spirals into something the protagonist could not have seen coming.

What was captivating the most was the balance the author found with this twisted narrative with the emotional and realistic journey the protagonist went on. Between trying to solve the mystery of what caused this violent altercation to turn into murder, to trying to bond and figure out the complicated issues his little sister has gotten into in her teenage years, and the struggle to find his life’s purpose all at the same time is something many readers are going to be able to identify with and makes for truly engaging reading overall.

The Verdict

A marvelous, entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thriller, author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop” is the must-read crime thriller you have to be reading this fall. Beautifully written and highly creative, the author has delivered a narrative that feels real and magical all at once and brings a true depth of emotional development for these characters that readers won’t be able to help themselves from feeling a bond with them. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lynn Lipinski is a writer who channels an overactive imagination into fictional worlds where justice rules, karma is real and the good person comes out on top. Her second book, “God of the Internet,” was named to Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2016 list.

Her first book, “Bloodlines,” is set in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which also happens to be her favorite place to write about even though decades of living in L.A. have worn away the Okie accent. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2018.

http://lynnlipinski.me/

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A college student and diagnosed psychopath taking part in a psychological study of other psychopathic students is caught in a game of cat and mouse when one of the other students is murdered, and she must uncover the murderer’s identify before she is next in author Vera Kurian’s “Never Saw Me Coming”. 

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The Synopsis 

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

The Review

This was such a fantastically written and gripping thriller. The author takes the classic balance of whodunnit mystery storytelling and haunting thriller vibes and flips the script by having the targeted victims in this case diagnosed psychopaths. This is so unique, as it explores psychopathy as a diagnosis and mental health condition rather than a term just for unhinged criminal minds, while also exploring that facet of the general public’s thinking with morally corrupt characters that fit this description. The layered and complex nature of the character development is what really invites readers into this narrative, delivering shocks and twists not seen since the revelations of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. 

The atmosphere and tone were what really captured my attention as a reader. The author perfectly found the right blend of chilling personality traits from not just the mystery “killer”, but the protagonists of this narrative as well, and the dark humor that readers can’t help but shakily chuckle at. Readers won’t be able to help to get chills as the author delves into the mindset of these characters, and you won’t be able to help to imagine how many people you know or walk by every day, harboring these thoughts and mindsets. That’s always a good indication of a successful thriller.

The Verdict

A masterful, haunting, and engaging mystery and thriller read, author Vera Kurian’s “Never Saw Me Coming” is a must-read thriller of 2021. The unique character perspectives and chilling atmosphere are incredible driving forces to keep readers invested, and the shocking twist revelation of the killer and their motivation will leave readers falling off their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vera Kurian is a writer and scientist based in Washington DC.  Her debut novel, NEVER SAW ME COMING, is forthcoming from Park Row Books (US) and Harvill Secker, Vintage (UK)  in Fall 2021. (more on that here). Her short fiction has been published in magazines such as Glimmer Train, Day One, and The Pinch. She was born and raised in the mid-Atlantic region, before stints in NYC and LA returned her to her rightful home of DC where she’s lived for most of her adult life. She has a PhD in Social Psychology, where she studied intergroup relations, ideology, and quantitative methods. She blogs irregularly about writing, horror movies and pop culture/terrible TV. She enjoys existentialism and puppies. 

https://www.verakurian.com/

Unfurling: A Tale of Friendship, Love, Mystery & Mayhem by Tia Ray Dhar Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A medical graduate settling into her life working in residency and feeling the lack of a zest for life finds her world rocked when a new friend is found murdered. With suspicion falling on her as they attended a conference together, she must find a way to discover what happened to her friend and clear her name in the process in author Tia Ray Dhar’s “Unfurling: A Tale of Friendship, Love, Mystery & Mayhem”. 

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The Synopsis

Can an unexpected turn of events, including a mystery, guide you towards a sense of purpose in your life?

Mandira Sharma (Mandy) is a recent medical graduate, feeling extremely jubilant that she will no longer have to study diligently for exams and can now start earning. She is not passionate about her residency in internal medicine and feels devoid of a general sense of purpose in life. Currently, her happiness revolves around making new friends and spending time with them, be it at her place of work or outdoor venues.

Her general sense of isolation and disinterest in her medicine residency accentuates when her two close friends go overseas, and someone she loves and cares deeply about decides to part ways.

Trying to cope with the current painful scenario — she navigates through her daily routine devoid of zest or enthusiasm.

During an endocrinology key opinion leader profiling assignment, Mandy meets Latika, a psychology Master’s Student. A friendship develops between the two ladies, stemming from shared interests. Latika invites Mandy to attend a workshop titled “What’s Your Attachment Style,” which piques Mandy’s interest. However, tragedy strikes again, when during a desolate blackout at the workshop venue, two attendees find Latika’s body floating in a pool on the premises. Inspector Geetika and her team launch an investigation into the crime’s motive and modus operandi, and the cohort of meeting attendees, including Mandy, come under the lens of suspicion.

Mandy confronts the grief of yet another loss. She decides to endeavor to assist the inspector in unraveling the solution to the mystery and bringing her friend’s killer to justice.

The plot of this novel is an amalgam of elements of friendship, love, mystery, suspense, and the unfurling of finding solace and fulfillment in a purpose or goal.

The Review

A truly unique and heart-pounding thriller, author Tia Ray Dhar has crafted a wholly original story that blends themes of isolation and loneliness with the mystery and suspense genres. The author does a great job of establishing character growth not only for the protagonist but those she builds bonds with along the journey. The themes of loneliness, depression, and sadness that so many people struggle with for a lot of different reasons felt so relevant and needed, not only to reflect the need for mental health awareness overall but to showcase the depth of the protagonist overall and their struggle to find purpose and meaning in life. 

The mystery and the clues that unravel that mystery little by little were so engaging and entertaining. The shock at the criminal’s identity will be a pleasant surprise for those who enjoy comfy mysteries, and the unique setting and character roster really brought a new level of culture and inventiveness to the narrative. The only suggestion I’d have for the author would be pacing, as the background being established felt like it took up more than half of the book, which made the mystery feel a bit rushed at certain points. Allowing for more time to let the suspense and mystery grow will greatly increase the already staggering heights of creativity the author achieves in this fantastic read.

The Verdict

A remarkable, inviting, and heartfelt mystery and drama, author Tia Ray Dhar’s “Unfurling” is a must-read novel. The suspense the author builds and the effortless way the author delves into these important themes to build their character’s growth was fun to see unfold and will have readers truly invested in Mandy’s journey as a protagonist. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Tia Ray Dhar grew up in Canberra, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, and has over 15 years of experience in content creation for biomedical and healthcare communications across India, the US, and New Zealand. The mystery and suspense genre has always enthralled her. She started her fiction reading journey with novels by renowned authors like Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Shari Lapena, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, and CL Taylor, to name a few. After years of reading, she decided to embark on a fiction writing journey of her own! 

She is a Goodreads author and has two published books in two different genres: A murder mystery novel titled “Unfurling: A Tale of Friendship, Love, Mystery & Mayhem” and a short self-help book called “Don’t Let Your Break-Up be Your Break-Down.” 

Her upcoming plans include publishing a romance novella, followed by few novellas and short stories in the mystery and suspense genre.

She has just started her writing journey and knows that there’s a long way to go. The creative landscape of writing is a space where we continually aspire to learn, engage, enthrall, entertain, and motivate the reader audience. 

Besides being an avid fiction reader, she loves public speaking, photography, rock music (especially from the 80s and 90s), films, theatre, and world history. One of her favorite places anywhere in the world is sitting at a window-side table in a cafe and sipping an Americano, long black, or flat white coffee while reading or writing. 

She enjoys connecting with other readers and writers and participating in social and cultural events for all age groups. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tia.ray.1848

https://www.instagram.com/tia_writer1980/