Out of the Ashes

Author: Kara Thomas

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: May 1, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Out of the Ashes is the epitome of a slow-burn suspense thriller! So much tension drives this story, giving readers a great book!

When Samantha Newsom was only thirteen years old, her family was murdered, and the only thing left of her home was ashes. The investigation into what happened to he family was not handled well and when she returns over twenty years later she is quickly pulled back into all the tragedy she tried to leave behind. Rumors surface that Samantha’s baby sister may still be alive surface, along with other secrets, leading Travis Mecham to investigate the case. The little town Samantha grew up in is no longer a safe place; with every secret she uncovers, the danger increases and this time she might not make it out alive!

Out of the Ashes was a true slow burn thriller that was a quick read and very enjoyable. The only downfall I would say is it’s not very memorable, after reading it and leaving it for a awhile I don’t have much that I remember about the story other than it being a good quick read. For some though that is a good thing, a quick enjoyable read that doesn’t take a lot of mental energy. The characters were enjoyable to read about, and just when I thought I knew who the killer was, there was another twist and turn. For readers that enjoy a good thriller, this is one not to be missed!

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

Broker of Lies

Author: Steven James

Series: Travis Brock Thriller #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 11, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Steven James at his best writing a fantastic suspense thriller that does not disappoint!

Travis Brock works at the Pentagon as a redactor and has an eidetic memory. One night, he wakes up to a fire in his house. He searches for his wife who ends up dying in the fire. The fire is ruled arson and for over a year and a half afterwards he searches for answers that no one else has for him. During his search, he finds himself in the middle of a terror attack and helps a homeland security officer that has been framed for an attack. Together they must work to prove her innocence and stop the attack before others are hurt or worse.

It has been far too long since I have had a new Steven James novel in my hands. He is one of my very favorite thriller writers for so many reasons. He has a way of crafting characters that are amazing, relatable, and so fun to read about. The plot of this book had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning; so much tension on each page making it hard to put down until I knew if these characters were going to come out alright by the final pages. This book is the first in a new series by James and already I’m in love with these characters and what they can do. The ending has a great cliffhanger and twist that brought the biggest smile to my face knowing there is more to come by a master storyteller. I recommend this book to fans of thrillers and a storyteller that will show you what it’s like to read a book that is written by one of the best.

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

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: April 4, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic suspense book from one of the best in Christian fiction. Jaime Jo Wright has out done herself with The Vanishing at Castle Moreau!

Set in two timelines, The Vanishing at Castle Moreau starts in 1870 with Daisy Francois, an orphan who goes to Castle Moreau as a housemaid running from her past. The castle is owned by a very peculiar woman who writes gothic novels and keeps many secrets in her estate, and local legend has girls form the area disappearing in the vicinity of Castle Moreau. In present day timeline, Cleo Clemmons is also running from her past and answers an ad for help at Castle Moreau. She is hired by the grandson of an illustrious billionaire to help his grandmother deal with her hoarding and bring the Castle back to what it once was. Within hours of arriving, she is sucked into the mysteries surrounding Castle Moreau that is not only in the past but still shrouding them today.

Nothing and no one are what they seem when it comes to The Vanishing at Castle Moreau. Jaime Jo Wright has crafted a story with characters so far beyond and better than I could have hoped for. I have loved all I have read by her, and this tops the list. The mystery and story in each timeline will suck readers in and keep them glued to the pages until the very end. Both Cleo and Daisy have great character development and the interactions they have with those at the Castle are mysterious, intriguing, and luring. This book has everything I wanted in a mystery book all while being clean and delivering a good message throughout. Jaime Jo Wright gets better and better with each novel she writes giving readers a story we can’t help but fall in love with and characters we want to see succeed. I’ve found a lot of the books I’ve read lately to just have the same feel and end up being bored with them; luckily, I can say that was not the case here. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great story with mystery and a great lesson of redemption and not judging someone by what others say.

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

Hollow Beasts

Author: Alisa Lynn Valdes

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: April 1, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book surprised me in the best of ways: gritty, action-packed, and just plain good!

Jodi Luna has left her life in academia to return to her home state of New Mexico to become a game warden. Others in her family have followed this career path and after many challenges in the academic world, Jodi leaves with her daughter to start anew. In her first week on the job, she apprehends a poacher who quickly threatens to retaliate. Jodi finds herself and her daughter being stalked and in the middle of a fight with a white supremacy group. The group has been kidnapping women of color and hunting them for sport. Jodi is met with resistance from the local sheriff and turns to his young deputy, Ashley Romero for help. Together the two work to stop the group and keep those in the area safe.

This book started out on the right foot and took off down a path of suspense, tension, and darn good writing from page one. I loved the rugged setting, characters that weren’t afraid to get after the action, and the ones I was supposed to dislike I sure did, all signs of excellent writing. This was the first book I’ve read by Valdes and from the looks of it there will be more to follow with these characters, making me a very happy reader. I loved that there was nothing trivial in the story; all the events as well as the characters involved all felt right and real. As the story came to a close, I was very satisfied with how it was all playing out even though I can tell there is more that could be done with the characters and continue the storyline in different directions. I live in Texas in a town close to New Mexico, so it was fun for me to read about a rugged area so close to where I actually live. I would recommend this book for adults who enjoy suspense thrillers with hard themes that are written well and a story that can be read in a single day.

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

Her Deadly Game

Author: Robert Dugoni

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: March 28, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic thriller from master storyteller, Robert Dugoni!

Keera Duggan wanted to make a name for herself on her own, so she set out in the Seattle prosecutor’s office and worked her way up until a complicated relationship with a colleague messes it all up. Now, Keera goes to work in the family law firm with her father and sisters. When she is hired by Vince LaRussa, she has the chance to show the rest of her family that she has what it takes to try the big crimes and win. Going against her in court is Miller Ambrose, Keera’s ex who wants nothing more than to take Keera down in court. It will take all Keera and her team have to win the case and keep anyone else from getting hurt.

Robert Dugoni is one of the best thriller writers around and this newest addition is further evidence of that. The characters and storyline flow freely with great tension that kept the pages flying and my attention until the last page. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the storyline and characters after the many books in the Tracy Crosswhite series and loving every one of them.

I have found after readomg many books by Dugoni that his writing style is one that readers will find relatable and easy to read. There is something about the way he writes that makes me know with every story I am going to find characters that will be engaging and make me want to see them come out safe and sound by the end of the story. Keera is a great strong female protagonist that I have come to love from Dugoni books. Even when I thought the story was finished there was another fantastic twist that made me smile and know I was reading a book I could easily pull from the shelves anytime and enjoy. I recommend this book to those that love suspense thrillers.

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

The Family Bones

Author: Elle Marr

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: March 7, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When does a psychopath make the jump to serial killer?

Olivia Eriksen is a member of one of the most notorious psychopathic families of the last century.  But more than that, her direct line of ancestors abducted and killed young women and even murdered each other.  Needless to say, the gene for being a psychopath is hereditary, but not everyone makes the jump to becoming a killer.  Olivia is working on her doctorate to prove that is the case.  When she gets an invitation to the Eriksen family reunion in Oregon, her mother convinces her to go so that she can work on her research.  She even takes her fiancé along so that they can begin to introduce their relationship to her family.  However, things at the reunion turn dark quickly as members of the family begin to turn up dead and the evidence points toward Olivia being the killer.  Can she prove her innocence?  Or did she make the psychotic jump without knowing it?

This was definitely a different kind of read where the reader is trying to figure out what is going on with the main character.  Told from Olivia’s perspective, everything seems as if she is being framed.  On top of everything, she is dealing with a lot of pressure from her fiancé to go public.  Truthfully, I couldn’t stand the guy because he was such a whiner about her not wanting to bring their engagement to light when all this death is going on around them.  Aside from that, it is a really interesting concept that makes you think concerning being around a family that has psychopathic tendencies.  There is some strong language throughout and some implied sex that would make this suitable for mature audiences.

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

Under Fire

Author: Lynn H. Blackburn

Series: Defend and Protect #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 7, 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third book in the Defend and Protect series is by far the best and probably my favorite of all the books I’ve read by Blackburn!

Secret Service Agent Zane Thacker is now working to protect the President and even though it’s his dream job, he isn’t fully happy. He is now assigned to go back to Raleigh, North Carolina to help when the president goes on an event there. He gets to work with his best friend, Special Agent Tessa Reed; not only is she his best friend she is also the woman he is secretly in love with. Tessa has been working through her past dealing with her problems with alcohol and healing from her demons. Zane knows her deepest darkest secrets and Tessa doesn’t want to do anything that jeopardize their friendship in any way. She oversees arranging the protection for the President on his trip to Raleigh and every step of the way problems arise threatening the President and those assigned to protect.

This is the third book in the Defend and Protect series and having read all in the series, I am happy to say this is my favorite. Lynn Blackburn is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors and Under Fire lives up to my expectations of what I’m going to get when I pick up one of her books. Which is nice to say after being extremely underwhelmed by most of the romantic suspense books I have read lately. Christian fiction has become a growing market with many more options than in decades past. Blackburn has managed to overcome the typical genre stereotype formula to create a unique series that continues to be interesting. She has restored my faith with Under Fire and kept me on the edge of my seat and loving the dynamic between Zane and Tessa. Fans of the series will not want to miss this one.

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

The Greedy Three

Author: Karen Katchur

Publisher: Podlum Publishing

Release Date: February 28, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A dark and twisted tale of greed and how far some are willing to go for what they want.

Noah has worked hard to build his reputation as a respectable person to do business with, even if that business happens to involve buying and selling babies. His newest clients want a three-week-old baby and he has everything lined out when it all goes wrong.

Hester lives in a cabin in the woods and stays to herself after a restraining order placed against her keeps her from seeing her daughter and family. Hester only wants to help but her actions always seem to be seen the wrong way and she ends up in trouble. One night she hears a knock on her door and opens it to find a young girl holding a baby in need of help. She takes the girl in and tries to help, but it isn’t long before Noah shows up looking for them and money taken from him. Between the three of them things turn tense quickly and no one will emerge unharmed.

This book was not what I expected, but in a good way. After finishing a book that was just so-so, I enjoyed this book more than I expected. The tension throughout was well done and the characters kept me engaged. Hester was the most well written in my opinion, she had gone through a lot, but it was obvious she was just trying to do what she could to help, even if she went about it the wrong way. Each character was greedy in their own way, just like the title suggested. There was more to the story than simply implied at the beginning and I really loved the way that played out. There was some language and darker themes throughout that make it not good for anyone younger to read. I do recommend this book to those that enjoy suspense thrillers.

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

Bright and Deadly Things

Author: Lexie Elliott

Publisher: Berkley

Release Date: February 14, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A strange and twisted tale full of unexpected twists and turns from beginning to end!

Set in a remote mountaintop cabin in the French Alps, a group of scholars go to a retreat where things turn deadly. Emily is trying to find a place for herself after the death of her husband and the secrets revealed at the cabin. With each passing hour at the cabin. things start to feel off and Emily notices behavior changing in her and the others. When one member is found dead, every one is a suspect and Emily doesn’t know who she can trust anymore and who might be out to get her.

Bright and Deadly Things starts out with an interesting premise and readers will have to go into it with an open mind as it goes more from suspense thriller to a psychological thriller. The one thing it is for sure is a thriller; there are twists and turns all over the place and the plot plays out well. I had a little trouble connecting with the characters and wanting to make sure they all came out safe by the end. I just didn’t care that much which is never a good thing when reading a story and wanting/needing to connect with the characters and what they are going through. I would recommend this book to those that really enjoy psychological thrillers.

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

Cold Light of Day

Author: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Missing in Alaska #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 7, 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A great addition for any fans of romantic suspense.

Autumn Long and family moved to Alaska after her mother died in a boating accident. When her father has to retire as police chief of their small town, Autumn takes over and does her best to protect their town. When dead bodies start turning up and crime increases around town, Autumn has to rely on the town’s newest resident, Grier Brennner, to help her figure out who is behind the murders and stop them before anyone else winds up dead.

Cold Light of Day is the first book in the newest series by Elizabeth Goddard. It follows Autumn Long as she tries to solve crimes and keep the job she has grown to love. The added pressure of having her job in jeopardy along with solving the crimes helps to make the story more intense and move at a faster pace. I enjoyed the Alaskan setting and danger the characters found themselves in. I was a little put off by the romance aspect and how fast that aspect of the story moved. That is the issue I have with romantic suspense, if the romance aspect is over done it takes away from the suspense and my enjoyment of the story. It is a fine line for authors to walk getting these characters together in a way and timeline that is believable.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book that fans of romantic suspense will not want to miss. I can’t wait to see what this series has in store for readers in the coming books.

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