Death on Tap

death on tapAuthor: Ellie Alexander

Series: Sloan Krause Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The newest series by Ellie Alexander is as fun and entertaining as the quaint town and pubs it is set in.

Sloan Krause has everything she has ever wanted with the family she married into. Growing up an orphan didn’t leave her many people to count on and she has grown to love and depend on her husband and his family. Everything changes the day she walks in on her husband having an affair. She leaves him and inevitably leaves the family brewing business.  It doesn’t take long for her to get connected to the newest brewery owner in town, Garrett Strong. As Garrett and Sloane get in a rhythm of working together, things get interesting when a body is found in one of the fermenting tubs. Her husband is the lead suspect and when she finds herself being followed, she wonders if there was more going on under the surface than she ever knew.

As the first book in the newest series by Ellie Alexander, readers can expect to find all the fun, humor and mystery they have come to love from Alexander and her series. I love the way Alexander weaves the mystery together with humor making the story light and fun. There is nothing particularly difficult to figure out with the mystery of who the killer was or any of the secondary mysteries throughout the story. With that said, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story.  These are not supposed to be, at least in my opinion, edge of your seat, who done it mysteries that leave you guessing till the very end. Garrett and Sloane develop a good relationship but Garrett himself needed a little further development. Even though a lot of details are repeated and can be glanced over, the story itself is fun and an enjoyable read. I recommend this to readers that are a little older and might enjoy the brewing scene along with the fun humor of a cozy mystery.

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

The Enoch Effect

The Enoch EffectAuthor: Rick Acker

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun blend of murder mystery, science, and legal thrillers that will give the reader a wild ride full of creative supporting characters that bring the novel to a riveting conclusion.

Leigh Collins has built up her career on being able to turn up the key pieces of evidence at just the right time in order to sway a jury. When Dr. Elijah Rhodes and his life’s work are lost in a lab fire, and Biosolutions looks to cash in on a $100 million dollar insurance policy. Her advisory is Daniel Rubinelli, assistant general counsel for the biotech giant. As soon as the case begins, Leigh and Daniel Clash causing a grueling case.  As they continue the case, they realize that the doctor might have found a “kill switch” for cancer cells and others are willing to kill to get their hands on his research. Leigh and Daniel have to find a way to work together and stay alive in order to solve the case that could affect many.

Rick Acker has delivered another intense and exciting read. I read this after reading Death in the Mind’s Eye and was not disappointed. His style of writing is very different than most I read. The combination of legal thriller along with the murder mystery and psychological aspect of the book makes it so different from others on the market.  It is obvious he is very knowledgeable in what he writes about, but the nice thing is he doesn’t get so technical that the reader gets lost in the technical jargon and loses sight of the real story. Leah and Daniel were destined to be against each other from the beginning but came together to help solve the case when it really mattered. There is a slew of minor characters that contribute to the story making it flow and providing a little bit of a lighter aspect to the story at times.  I am finding that he is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and can’t wait to see what comes next.  I highly recommend this to readers that enjoy a great legal thriller with plenty of mystery and intrigue throughout.

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

Death in the Mind’s Eye

Death in the minds eyeAuthor: Rick Acker

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Release Date: October 25, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A combination of a legal and psychological thriller, the perfect read for anyone wanting a book that will keep them on the edge of their seat.

Mike Webster has built his legal practice winning medical-malpractice cases. His reputation is outstanding but his faith is put to the test when he defends Dr. Johanna Anderson. Dr. Anderson is a psychologist that has been accused of killing a senator’s son, whom she was treating with her revolutionary technology called the Mind’s Eye. She has been able to look into a patient’s mind and see what they are thinking and feeling to determine if they are telling the truth. If her technology is as good as she says it is, it should have been able to prevent the suicide of Seth Bell. The case becomes more and more complicated as the financial firm Horizon Finance wants to take control of her technology and is willing to do anything in order to get what they want.  As things intensify, Mike and Jo feel a mutual attraction towards each other that can’t be denied. Mike’s paralegal digs deeper and finds evidence that could change the case and Mike’s personal feelings as well.

Death in the Mind’s Eye is the best kind of book, explosive drama with twists that will keep the reader engaged and guessing until the final page. Rick Acker uses his legal expertise to put on the page everything needed to make an exceptional read. The combination of the legal drama and the psychological aspect brought the book to a whole new level. Mike and Jo had a relationship that progressed nicely and had a natural arc to it. I enjoyed the pace of the book, the chapters were short and concise going back and forth with several different viewpoints that provided a depth to the story it would have been lacking had it stayed in one point of view.  With the way the world is going and technology advancing, the use of a machine such as this is very believable. There could have been more depth in the technology part but it would have taken the book in a different direction, I liked the way Acker stayed with the legal drama. It can be hard to make a legal thriller very thrilling, I know a few authors who have been able to do it and I am now adding Acker to that list.  I highly recommend this book to readers that are looking for an edge of their seat thriller with a deep connection to the characters you want to cheer for.

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

Deadly Proof

deadly proofAuthor: Rachel Dylan

Series: Atlanta Justice #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When a pharmaceutical company is at the middle of a major lawsuit, Kate Sullivan knows she has her work cut out for her in order to prove they are covering up the dangers of their new drug. Kate will have to do all she can to get justice for her client and keep herself from harm as the company comes after her.

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. I enjoyed the dynamic between the characters, especially that between Kate and Bonnie. The tension between the two of them helped the story immensely. There was a romance aspect to the story, but I was happy to see it wasn’t pushed as a main plot point. Of course Kate and Landon are going to find an attraction to each other with what they are going through, it’s inevitable.  Dylan did a nice job of keeping that thought in the background until just the right moment for the romance to develop further and be a natural flow of events. I felt that toward the ending the tension could have been played out a little longer and harder when Kate was in such a tough spot, but that is also personal preference.

It is nice to see a broader selection in the Christian market for readers. Most people may not realize you can get a great legal thriller with good Christian writing that isn’t preachy and still get a really great story. It is hard to know who to read and who might just be a waste of time. Of the almost 100 books I have read this year, I must say that Deadly Proof is not a waste of time and readers will find it an enjoyable work of fiction.  Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to readers that are looking for a tight, tension filled story that will keep them guessing until the very end who to trust.

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

Justice Buried

Justice Buried.jpgAuthor: Patricia Bradley

Series: Memphis Cold Case #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fast-paced romantic suspense with a tough female lead and a mystery brought back from the grave makes for a combination that can’t be missed!

Kelsey Allen has decided to start her own security business. In an effort to prove herself, she has been scaling buildings and entering through windows to show local businesses the vulnerabilities they have and how she can improve their security.  When the Pink Palace Museum calls asking her to test their security after they have several important artifacts disappear, she poses as a conservator and sets to work.  Her investigation quickly turns from looking into the disappearances of artifacts to finding a murderer.  Kelsey suddenly finds herself in more danger and knows she needs help. Brad Hollister is a detective she has known for years and when he is put in her path Kelsey finds that she herself is vulnerable of falling for Brad, hard and fast.

With the second book in the Memphis cold case series, Patricia Bradley has crafted a tight fast paced story that will leave readers guessing as to who the killer is and what their possible motive could be. The relationships that developed were very natural and played out well.  Kelsey is shown to be fearless and on top of everything she faces, even when she finds herself in a bad spot without any foreseeable way out. The only issue I had was at the very ending, I don’t want to give away anything but the last few pages and the way the relationship between two characters progressed was not at all reasonable for me. I enjoy books with a strong female lead and Kelsey was a great one to add to my list of favorite female characters. The relationship between her and Brad was enjoyable to watch play out. I liked how there was another woman in his life and he had to decide what to do, which wasn’t made out to be an easy decision either. Other than the one problem at the very end the book, it was very enjoyable and I will recommend it to readers that enjoy a good clean suspense read with a mystery that is deep and not will keep them guessing until the very end.

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

Close to Home

Close to HomeAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #5

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Robert Dugoni delivers the next series installment getting Tracy involved with the Navy in a case that could sink more than one career, and life, if she’s not careful.

When Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to the scene of a hit-and-run death, she doesn’t expect the case to lead her to the Navy. The suspect is a serviceman at the local base, which causes the local Judge Advocate General Corps to get involved.  The case is then transferred to the military court where the key piece of evidence goes missing.  Tracy has made a promise to the family of the victim that she will make sure justice is served for the death of their son, giving her no other option than to pursue the case. The further Tracy digs into the crimes, the more connections pop up to recent heroin overdoses.  With each new clue, Tracy, and those around her are put in danger and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive.

The Tracy Crosswhite series has become one of my absolute favorites. I love the way Dugoni has taken this character and made her someone the reader wants to cheer for and strive to be like in so many ways. Close to Home is the fifth in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  There are references to the first book in the series, but nothing about this book makes it necessary to have read the entire series.  For me, this was more of a mystery than a suspense thriller.  There was not the usual edge of my seat, can’t wait to see what is going to happen next moments.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from the way Dugoni has written these books in the past.  I enjoyed the way he spent extra time building up a few of the secondary characters we have seen throughout the series.  I really enjoyed the different tone to the story with incorporating the military and JAG lawyers.  I am a big fan of military shows and novels and thought this fit in so well with the writing of the characters already established in the series. It will be interesting to see if any of the new characters introduced here make it to the next in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for an excellent mystery that will leave you guessing and cheering with the way the story comes to an end.

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

Portrait of Vengeance

Portrait of VengenaceAuthor: Carrie Stuart Parks

Series: Gwen Marcey #4

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: August 8, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Things get personal for Gwen as she finally unravels some of her own history.

After returning from her previous assignment in Kentucky, forensic artist Gwen Marcey is looking forward to some vacation time with her new romantic partner Blake, whom she also met in Kentucky on the previous case. However, a new case so close to her own childhood story has struck a nerve that she can’t refuse it, which may jeopardize her relationship with Blake for good.  A double homicide and a missing four-year-old girl on a tribal reservation in Idaho echoes a memory of when she was fourteen.  But as she investigates the case, memories from her past begin to unravel and she starts to realize the truth she has held onto may be all lies.  With her best friend, Beth, and trusty dog, Winston, Gwen sets events that started over thirty years ago, back in motion.

This was another exciting story that landed the main character in continual peril. Gwen finds her share of hardships in both her professional and personal life.  This book gets really personal for Gwen as it deals with the death of her parents and her life in-between.  There is a lot of irony in that the people she meets are somehow all connected to her past, but that may happen more often than it gets credit for.  Even so, there is a lot of area history included in this book that made it interesting to account for the current murders in the area. And as in previous books, Ginger and MaryAnn come to her rescue again, although likely for the last time.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you need to read it to find out.

I was a little disappointed that the after the connection that Gwen and her daughter made in the previous book, there was little this book built on that. Her ex-husband is still a piece of work that shows up with the occasional phone call and in her thoughts.  Other than seeing Gwen continually build up her esteem, it’s almost like the last book didn’t happen.  I hope to see more of what went on previously show up in the next installment.

If you enjoy a good mystery with some humor and history thrown in, grab a copy and enjoy!

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