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!

Gated Prey

Author: Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #3

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: October 26, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Another great installment in the Eve Ronin series; fun, engaging and just the right length!

Eve Ronin is still having to prove herself as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective. Even after solving several cases and working as hard as possible, many don’t believe she deserves her position. Her soon to retire partner, Duncan Pavone, is with her running a sting to try and catch a group of home invaders and thieves in Calabasas mansions. Their trap works a little too good, leaving the thieves dead and almost costs Eve and Duncan their lives. Even though the case seems closed, Eve has many unanswered questions and continues to dig deep into the case to figure out if anyone in the department could have been involved as payback for her takedown of corrupt deputies in the department. Eve refuses to back down puts her in more danger.

The Eve Ronin series is a fun favorite of mine. The characters are fun and realistic with their animosity towards Eve and how she got her position. It wouldn’t be real for me if they all took her in and it was sunshine and roses.  Goldberg did a great job of capturing Eve and her emotions through it all. Her relationship with Duncan is great and the playful banter that they have is fun to read. One of the things I love about these novels is they are just the right length, not too long, not too short. Eve is tough but she also shows emotions when she is by herself and doesn’t just try and play off the hurtful things the others in the department do to her like it is no big deal. Eve’s biggest flaw though is her inability to deal with her issues; she works too hard and tries to do almost everything herself because of her distrust of colleagues. Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, nothing stands out to make it great though. Eve needs to have some personal growth in the next book and I’m hoping that is the direction it will go. I recommend this book to those that like a good mystery that is quick and easy to read but doesn’t mind a little bit of harsh language.

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

The Last Line

Author: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #8.5

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Release Date: October 21, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A great addition to the Tracy Crosswhite series with a focus on Del, one of the detectives working with Tracy and the gang. Fans of the Crosswhite series will not want to miss this great short story!

Del Castigliano has left his life and work in Wisconsin after a failed relationship and other problems and decides to head to Seattle and work as a detective in his new city. He goes to work under veteran detective Moss Gunderson who hands him his first big case, two bodies are found in Lake Union and Del is tasked with finding out who they are and what happened to them. The more he digs into the case, the more questions he has. Del pulls in another rookie, Vic Fazzio, to help him answer he many questions he is acquiring. Together they work to find the missing pieces of information and determine if the answer were kept from him on purpose and who he can trust in the department.

Robert Dugoni is my favorite author for a reason, he is one of the only writers I know that can whip out a 53-page short story and have it read as a novel and keep me aching for more. His Tracy Crosswhite series is my favorite and this was a fun look into the lives and history of some of the secondary characters we don’t know as much about. There is so much more to develop with this series and these characters and Dugoni is just the guy to give us the stories we want. Del is seen throughout the series but this look into how he came to be at Seattle PD helped me understand him better and why he acts the way he does with Tracy and the others in the beginning novels of the series. If you are a fan of the Crosswhite series or Dugoni in general, I highly recommend you adding this to your collection

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

Breach of Honor

Author: Janice Cantore

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: July 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic police procedural that had me hooked from page one with fantastic character connections and an adrenaline laced story!

Oregon Police officer Leah Radcliff spends every day trying to help others when she is the one that really needs help from Brad, her abusive husband. Even though she has helped countless victims of abuse, she has a hard time believing she is a victim. Brad is a fellow officer and a decorated hero; his family is a staple in town and wields a lot of influence causing Leah to keep her abuse to herself. One night though things go too far and ends up with deadly consequences. Leah has all public opinion against her and is convicted of murdering her husband. Officer Clint Tanner is one of the only ones who believes she acted in self-defense. He works with Leah’s attorney to bring to light the darker side of Brad and others in the department to save Leah.

It has been a long time since I have had a new Janice Cantore novel and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. These books are so well crafted with authentic storylines and characters that are so easy to follow and connect with. Cantore’s time as an officer brings her writing to a higher level than most other authors I have read. I connected with Leah right away, something about the way she was written resonated with me, she had so many struggles, yet she refused to give up. She is a strong female protagonist with a great story. Many of the secondary characters were great too; Nora had a real impact on moving the story along, and Vicki, only in there for a little bit still brought great tension at just the right moments.

The romance aspect of the book played out perfectly for me. Sometimes in a romantic suspense novel, the romance can overshadow the suspense and take me out of the story; here though, there was so much tension I couldn’t do anything else but keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen. A lot happens throughout this book but all of it provides substance to the story and left me wanting more. I don’t know if there will be more coming from these characters, but if there is, you can bet I will be checking it out. I recommend this book to lovers of police procedurals and romantic suspense; you won’t be disappointed.

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

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.

Bone Canyon

Author: Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Smart and cunning homicide detective Eve Ronin is back to solve another case and this one puts her up against the most dangerous odds she has faced!

Dealing with the aftermath of wildfires in the Santa Monica Mountains, homicide detective Eve Ronin and her partner are called when the remains of a woman are found. Eve is the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles county Sheriff’s Department and not many are happy with the way she got her position. Eve doesn’t let anyone’s opinion deter her from doing her job and solving the crimes in front of her. The remains turn out to be from a missing person case from over six years ago and each turn in the new case exposes more horrors and more bodies. Eve is now up against the most dangerous odds she has faced and isn’t sure who she can trust.

This is the second installment in the Eve Ronin series and am finding myself more and more in love with this character. She reminds me of Tracy Crosswhite by Robert Dugoni, and that’s a big comparison since that is my favorite series by one of my very favorite authors. More and more male authors are writing lead female detectives and doing a bang-up job of it. Eve is a tough, gritty and determined detective that isn’t afraid to do the hard things to solve a case. Even though she is up against a department that isn’t for her, she knows she is where she belongs and is willing to do what it takes to prove herself. I loved the way she took whatever is thrown at her and get right back up, but also doesn’t pretend to be superhuman and show no pain. The times when she is with her partner and they banter back and forth were perfect, along with the investigation moments with the anthropologist, Daniel. Something about the way those two relationships were written really made the story flow well. I am still not a fan of Eve’s mom, she just annoys me, which I think that is the way she is supposed to be written so in that sense it is a job well done. There is a fair amount of language and sex throughout, none of it graphic, but enough to make me say it is for a mature audience only. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy a fun suspense thriller that will take no time to breeze through.

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

A Bitter Feast

a bitter feastAuthor: Deborah Cromble

Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #18

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fun mystery set in the English countryside.  Does an autumn read get better than that?

Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James have been invited by Gemma’s coworker Melody out to Melody’s parents’ estate in the English country for a harvest festival.  What Gemma hopes to be a restful weekend is abruptly changed when her husband Duncan is broadsided in his car by a local retired hospital administrator named Nell Greene.  Unfortunately, Nell does not survive the crash.  But what is more mysterious is that there was a man in her car who appears to have already died prior to the impact.  As Duncan and Gemma join the local detective investigator to make sense of the situation, another mysterious death occurs.  It will take everyone to figure out what is really going on in the small town of Lower Slaughter and hopefully they can figure it out before more deaths occur.

I thought this book was a stand alone, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that it is actually the 18thbook in a series.  Don’t let that deter you from selecting this title, because it may hook you to go back and read a few of the previous novels.  At first I was a little overwhelmed because there are so many different points of view, several within each chapter.  However, after about fifty to seventy-five pages, the characters voices really fleshed out and the story really took off.  I enjoyed getting to see so many supporting characters build out their flaws and really get developed.  As I said earlier, I’m going to have to go back to some of the previous novels and discover more about these characters.  There is some occasional foul language as well as some implied sex between characters, but nothing graphic.  Even so, I still recommend this to mature readers that enjoy a good mystery with a British setting.

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

The Mystery of Three Quarters

The Mystery of Three QuartersAuthor: Sophie Hannah

Series: New Hercule Poirot Mystery #3

Publisher: William Morrow Books

Release Date: August 28, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Hercule Poirot is back and in top form!

The legendary detective Hercule Poirot was having a normal day when he is suddenly approached by someone who is angry with him for accusing him of murder in a letter. Knowing he has sent no letter to this individual, Poirot is frustrated that someone has used his name to play a prank.  Then someone else shows up with the same accusation.  Soon two more come forward.  The more Poirot thinks about it, the more intrigued he becomes.  All four have been accused of the same murder and all four proclaim innocence.  Some research shows that the victim of the murder is in fact deceased, but the death was ruled accidental as he was ninety-four years old and fell asleep in the bath.  But Poirot cannot help himself.  Someone must believe it is a murder and have known that this act would intrigue Poirot to find out the truth.  So he sets out on an investigation to learn the truth with Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard.  At first, the investigation provides more questions than answers.  In true Poirot fashion, he always figures out who committed the murder, if there actually was one.

I felt like I was reading one of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels through the whole book. I didn’t even know that someone had started up a continuation of the series, but I’m glad that she did.  I enjoyed everything about this book.  The way it was narrated kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.  Each character was solidly developed and played out their parts beautifully.  The connection to Poirot was imminent and carried throughout the story.  I love old mystery novels and that was just what this felt like.  The personalities just clicked like they were supposed to.  It was a clean read all the way through, which is a rare find these days.  I’m happy to say that there is a new follower to this series and I recommend all readers give this a try!

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

The Immortal Gene

Immortal GeneAuthor: Jonas Saul

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

Release Date: July 17, 2018

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A new police procedural series with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

Jeffrey Harris takes families as he needs them, which is every so often. He has been coined as the Blood Eagle killer because of the shape that he leaves the father in when he is finished.  He has never been caught because he is very, very careful.  It’s always the same: take the mother, take the father, and then take the children.  He is very good at what he does, which is why they’ve never caught him in the years he’s been doing this.

Detective Jake Wood has been working with his partner Kirk Aiken for quite some time and have developed a friendly relationship. Jake is shaken when the Blood Eagle killer murders an entire family in his jurisdiction.  While on site, he comes in contact with horses and suddenly discovers that he has an allergy after he goes into shock.  While in the hospital, he comes in contact with an old friend who needs him to come down to Brazil.  He initially declines, but then heads down there after he finds out that it may be life or death.  While there, he gets into some serious consequences that leave him in the hospital for at least 18 months.  Upon release, Jake finds that his fiancée has moved on and so has his partner.  Jake also learns that he suddenly has some new reptilian powers after a dose of snake venom.  When he finds himself under tough circumstances now, Jake can use his powers to help protect himself and others.

This book started out as a typical serial killer novel with a little suspense here and there mixed with a lot of personal troubles for the protagonist of the story, Jake Wood. From there, it begin to mix with some sci-fi and sort of turned into a vigilante/police procedural mash up.  It was definitely entertaining throughout, but had some weak dialogue at points.  There were also times that the serial killer didn’t follow his profile, which makes for an interesting fiction concept, but not so much in real life.  There was some strong language throughout much of the book as well as some sex scenes that make the book more suitable for mature audiences.  I suggest readers give the book a chance before they make final decision.

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

Sunday Silence

Sunday SilenceAuthor: Nicci French

Series: Frieda Klein #7

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A very enjoyable read; however, it is recommended to read the previous installments to enjoy it even more!

Frieda Klein is often consulted by the police for her help in difficult cases, but when a body is found beneath her floorboards, she becomes a suspect in a murder case. While the body appears to have been dead a few months, the main suspect, besides Frieda, has been dead seven years. Is he really dead? Or did he inspire a copycat to carry on his work?  Frieda finds herself, and everyone she cares about, being targeted and in danger. With each day that passes, the body count gets higher and everyone involved wonders who is really behind the death and destruction.  Is anything as it seems?

This started out very promising for me but I felt as though I were missing some key elements to the story part way through. I do believe if I had read the previous installments I would have enjoyed this one much more. But since I haven’t, I’ll say that the story has great potential and fans of the series will most likely find this one more enjoyable than those that haven’t.

French did and incredible job building the setting and the characters did seem to have a bond I could tell has been built up over the series. Frieda is put in a very difficult situation and while she is the one people go to when they have a problem, she doesn’t have anyone to talk to about her problems making it an internal struggle.   Seems to be a common issue for several people that when they need someone, they have no one to turn too.

I recommend this to fans of the series and those that enjoy the mysteries. Also, if readers enjoy stories set in Europe, this is a must read.

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

Purchase a copy of this book at Harper Collins.