Her Second Death

Author: Melinda Leigh (Check out the author interview!)

Series: Bree Taggert #0.5

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Release Date: December 7, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fast paced fun prequel to the Bree Taggert series that readers will fly through and enjoy learning more about a favorite character.

Bree Taggert goes to one of her first investigations as a Philly detective with her new partner, Dana Romano, a long-time veteran of the force who doesn’t mess around. A man has been shot in the head and when they go to notify his wife, they discover the couple’s five-year-old daughter was supposed to be with her father. Now they are on the hunt for a missing autistic girl. The case brings back memories from Bree’s own childhood that were traumatic and threaten to cause problems in her new job if she can’t get her own emotions under control.

This was a super easy and fast read. I enjoyed the characters and the mystery they were trying to solve. It is one that could have been fleshed out into a much longer story, but if that had happened, I don’t think it would have been nearly as good and would have lost readers attention part way through. Bree is one of those characters readers have followed and will want to know more of her origin and backstory, which we get in this short story. There is a great dynamic between Taggert and her partner that we get to see the beginning of and how it starts to flesh out. The chapters are just the right length with the right amount of information to give the reader the sense of what is going on without feeling lost. I love these little short stories that give readers a better look at the history of characters and give a better understanding on what they do and why they. I recommend this story to those that have read any of the Taggert Mysteries and want to know more about the characters, and if you haven’t read any yet this would be a perfect introduction to get you set up with a new series.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Want to read it? Click here for a giveaway!

Choose Me

Author: Tess Gerritsen & Gary Braver

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: July 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fast paced thriller that makes it easy to see why it is the number one thriller with a great start and even better finish.

Taryn Moore is found dead on the sidewalk in front of her apartment. At first glance, the police believe she jumped from her fifth story balcony, but the more Detective Frankie Loomis investigates, the more doubts she has that this is a suicide. Taryn is young, attractive, and smart; she had every reason to live, so why would she kill herself? As new evidence comes to light, it becomes clear that this wasn’t a suicide. Now the question is, who would want her dead?

English professor Jack Dorian, Taryn’s professor, thinks she is one of the most talented and beautiful students he has ever had, the fact that she adores him doesn’t hurt. He is in a hard place with his marriage and the attention is nice. But when Taryn turns up dead, he is one of the first suspects and realizes he has gotten in way over his head. Detective Frankie Loomis works to uncover the secrets and solve the case before anyone else gets hurt.

Tess Gerritsen is a good go-to thriller author for me. If I want a good mystery with plenty of suspense, I know I won’t be disappointed with one of her books. The book goes back and forth between before and after giving readers a look at Taryn and what lead to her death. Each back and forth gave me a little more insight into the characters and kept me guessing as to what actually happened. By the time I got to the final few chapters, I was very pleased with how the story played out. Frankie is a great lead character as a detective and gives a sense of purpose in trying to solve the case. Her partner had a hard time believing her instincts, that it wasn’t just a suicide, but Frankie followed her instincts and used every clue she could find to get to the bottom of it. I loved her tenacity and heart for those she was trying to help. Taryn is a very interesting character that I couldn’t help but connect with. In all her struggles, she spirals out of control a little more and with each new struggle she becomes more and more interesting for the readers. I enjoyed this story and read it in a day and recommend it to those that enjoy a good police procedural, crime drama.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Legal Thrillers

Merry Christmas everyone!  What better way to celebrate than to release our top five picks for legal thrillers and crime fiction!

Delayed Justice1. Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

Our top pick centers on speaking out about abuse and not letting others control you.  Quite a bit of a limelight subject this year.

Read the full review here.







Chosen People2. Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

A fast paced legal mystery focused on terrorism in Israel and the US brings in our second pick.  Whitlow has a knack for keeping us glued to the paf Dffge.

Read the full review here.







Lone Witness3. Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan’s background in law makes her work writing legal thrillers the perfect combination.  What could be more fun than a novel about white collar crimes?

Read the full review here.







Justice Betrayed4. Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

With Elvis impersonators, unsolved murders, and an unstable murderer, Justice Betrayed this book is bound to leave readers all shook up!

Read the full review here.







Formula of Deception5. Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

Impersonating a sketch artist seems like a good way to keep a low profile until it leads to a trail to crack open a case colder than World War II.

Read the full review here.


DayfallAuthor: Michael David Ares

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: March 13, 2018

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Interesting concept, but could use more explanation.

Jon Phillips is a small time detective in Ephrata, Pennsylvania who has dreams of becoming a private investigator. He has been profiling a serial killer in Philadelphia, but no one will listen to his theories.  He decides to take measures into his own hands and discovers that his theory is correct and manages to single handedly take down the serial killer, almost at the cost of his own life.  Even though he survives, his career in law enforcement does not.  The Philadelphia chief of police visits him in the hospital to let him know that he can never join the City PD; however, there is another opportunity open to him.  The mayor of Manhattan needs help in catching the Dayfall Killer before Dayfall happens.  Manhattan has been shrouded in darkness for several years as a result of a nuclear winter which also caused sea levels to rise, submerging large portions of the island.  With only hours until everyone is exposed to hours of sunlight, answers are needed to ensure she can control the City and keep Gotham Security from taking over.  Several of the MPD officers are already on Gotham Security’s payroll and she needs someone she can trust.  With little to no options, Jon reluctantly takes on the case in hopes of a high profile takedown that can catalyst his PI career into the spotlight.

This was an interesting dystopian concept. Having the east coast completely covered in darkness and it becoming a norm to the residents so much so that when daylight did occur it started making people go crazy.  I wish that there had been more of an explanation of the reasoning behind it and why it didn’t affect other areas of the US and/or countries.  Even so, the story was still enjoyable.  Phillips partner in the MPD pretty much made the book for me.  The banter, shady dealings, and nicknames brought him to life really well.  The relationships felt a little forced at first, but things seemed to fall into place as the story continued.

There is quite a bit of harsh language as well as implied sex throughout the book mixed with some fairly graphic violence. I recommend this book to mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Babylon Berlin

BABYLON BERLIN AW.inddAuthor: Volker Kutscher

Publisher: Sandstone Press

Release Date: May 19, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Netlflix’s newest crime noir has some deep roots from the base novel!

Berlin in 1929 is a dangerous place to be, but for Gereon Rath, it proves to be even less fun than dangerous. He was a rising star on the police force in the Cologne Homicide Division when one case went sideways and he ended up killing man.  Now transferred to vice in Berlin, Gereon finds himself working to shut down pornography factories as part of the health division’s effort to clean up the city.  Even though his new boss is a great guy and confidant, Gereon still wants back in homicide.  When a car is pulled out of a canal containing a corpse that can’t be identified, Gereon believes that he has found his chance to make is way back into his preferred line of work.  But what he discovers can hardly be what he signed up for!

As far as crime noirs go, this one was spelled out pretty well. The scene was done well as was the presentation of the timeframe of political clashes.  I also thought that the flow was great and pushed the story along pretty quickly.  However, I had trouble relating with Gereon.  I just couldn’t find that connection that made me want to see how things were going to work out for him.  Fortunately, several other aspects of the story keep it moving and I really enjoyed it.

There is a lot of language throughout the book as well as sex as it is dealing with pornography. I recommend this book for mature readers and those that want to compare it to the television series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Unclaimed Victim

Unclaimed victimAuthor: D.M. Pulley

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Pulley dives back into Cleveland to tackle a historical serial killer’s story that’s yet to be solved.

Cleveland in 1938 is a rough place to be. Little work, no booze, and a notorious serial killer that keeps leaving parts of his victims, but never the whole body.  The “Torso Killer” has been active for a while and continues to stump the police.  Most of his victims cannot be identified because he doesn’t leave them anything to be identified with, such as a head or hands.  The targets of his crimes are mainly prostitues and drug dealers that live in the less desireable places within Cleveland.  Once such person is Ethel Harding who never asked for this life, but does what she must to get by.  When a young woman from a nearby mission named Mary Alice convinces Ethel to come to the mission, she finds that her life may not be as bad as she thought.

Fast forward to 1999, Kris Wiley gets a call that her father has been killed and she must identify the remains, which there is only a torso. As she goes through her fathers things, she begins to find that he was obsessed with a serial killer from the 1930s that was never caught.  In fact, there is a whole network of people obsessed with the case.  As she tries to uncover what he was messed up in, she begins to receive threats to stop her search and go home.  Can she unravel her father’s death and solve a decades old cold case at the same time?

Pulley’s historical suspense writing is ratcheting her up to a new level of writers. I was hooked in the old story and had to research parts of it myself.  She placed the names of the officers and investigators at just the right place to match history.  And her depiction of Cleveland in the depression took me there to see it in my mind.  There is no doubt that this is a seedy novel, but it is supposed to reflect that era and way of life.  If you can indulge yourself a little, you’ll find that this story is more than face value.  There is a lot of foul language and sexual content, so it is recommended only for mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Crime Fiction/Legal Thriller

Merry Christmas to all!  And for a Christmas treat, we are releasing our top picks for Crime Fiction and Legal Thrillers!

the-trapped-girlClose to Home











1. The Trapped Girl and Close to Home by Robert Dugoni

Well it happened again.  We love the Tracy Crosswhite series so much that there was no possible way to choose between the two installments released this year.  Dugoni is a master suspense story teller in this series that keeps us begging for more.

Read the full review of The Trapped Girl here.

Read the full review of Close to Home here.

Crisis Shot

2. Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

Janice Cantore is back in full force with one of her best novels yet. We’ve been waiting for her to write this book for a long time.

Read the full review here.







deadly proof

3. Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

When writing a legal thriller, it is the author’s job to find a fine balance between telling the legal aspects of the case without losing the reader in terminology many will have a hard time understanding while keeping the tension tight. Rachel Dylan has done a great job finding the balance between the tension of the case without going too deep into the legal aspect.

Read the full review here.




Deep extraction

4. Deep Extraction by Diann Mills

Another great book by DiAnn Mills that will keep readers guessing and turning the pages well past their bedtime.

Read the full review here.







Beyond Justice

Imperfect Justice











5. Beyond Justice and Imperfect Fustic by Cara Putman

We just discovered Cara Putman this year and her new legal thriller series has us getting all of her previous novels!

Read the full review for Beyond Justice here.

Read the full review for Imperfect Justice here.

Pigeon Blood Red

Pigeon Blood RedAuthor: Ed Duncan

Publisher: Smashwords Editions

Release Date: February 25, 2016

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Different. Interesting.  Reminds me of Tarantino.

Rico and Jerry are enforcers for a crime boss in Chicago’s underworld. They take care of things, tie up loose ends, and when needed, make people disappear.  So when a debt ridden cheat steals the boss’s priceless red ruby necklace, they are tasked with getting it back.  But things are not always as they seem at face value.  He suddenly skips town to go to Hawaii to patch things up with his wife.  She is traveling with a friend and ready to pull the plug on her marriage.  And Rico?  He just wants to get the necklace back and teach the guy a lesson that he won’t need to remember.  But in Hawaii things go horribly wrong and the necklace disappears.  Can Rico find it?  Or will it be his skin on the line if he comes back empty handed?

So, this little story reminded me of Pulp Fiction in many different ways.  John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson open the story as Jerry and Rico.  Uma Thurman shows up as Jean.  And Ving Rames makes an appearance as Litvak.  So, the characters pretty much all fell into place.  However, there were some other stories that make this one a little more interesting.  Don’t think you know the story until you’ve read it, because it will surprise you.

There is some strong language throughout and some implied sex in several scenes, but nothing graphic. Even so, I still recommend this book for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Catching Heat

Catching HeatAuthor: Janice Cantore

Series: Cold Case Justice #3

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: September 1, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As the final installment in the Cold Case Justice series concludes, Abby and Luke look for closure in the case that has haunted them for decades.

It has been 27 years since the deaths of Detective Abby Hart’s parents and she still searches for answers and justice for them. She can’t prove it yet, but she knows the governor’s wife, Alyssa Rollins, is the one behind her years of pain.  She has teamed up with PI Luke Murphy on the cold case squad and together they head to San Luis Obispo to try and solve the cold case murder of a college student.  Their new investigation will put them near the town where Alyssa Rollins grew up. Hoping to find more information that will help put her behind bars, Abby and Luke try to work their cold case along with the investigation into Rollins.  As they continue to work closer together, their feelings develop even further putting a personal stake into all that they do.  Abby goes over the top in the investigation and Luke is afraid her obsession might be too much to handle.

Janice Cantore has become one of my favorite authors. Her writing is clean, and always keeps me turning the page.  With Catching Heat, I was looking forward to a nice conclusion to the Cold Case Justice series.  While questions were answered, I found this to be my least favorite of the series.  It was still a great read, I just found myself bothered by the amount of time spent focusing on the relationship and romance aspect of the story.  There wasn’t as much suspense as I would have liked.  The end took it up to a nice level but throughout there wasn’t the normal suspense Cantore normally provides.  Abby and Luke were meant to be together, that was obvious, they both spent too much time trying to deny their feelings for each other instead of facing it head on.  There was a lot to this story.  Not only were they trying to solve the murder of Abby’s parents, but they were also looking into multiple other cases at the same time.  It seemed as if Cantore was trying to bring up the suspense with the extra cases but instead it took away from the main focus of the story.  Cantore is a great writer of the police procedural if she sticks with the formula that works and doesn’t try to put too much into the story.  Overall my favorite aspect of the whole series was the way Abby was a female but didn’t have to rely on a male to keep her safe or do any of the dangerous work for her.  Just like all of Cantore’s characters she is strong, and capable of handling whatever she encounters.  I look forward to the start of the next Janice Cantore series for another great read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest and thorough review.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.