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.

The Mountain Between Us

the mountain between usAuthor: Charles Martin

Publisher: Broadway Books

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A suspenseful tale of survival with a twist of fate like no one but Charles Martin can achieve.

Ben Payne is a gifted orthopedic surgeon from Jacksonville who is attending a medical conference in Colorado Springs and must take a return flight through Salt Lake City to get back home. While in the airport, he meets Ashley Knox, a budding young magazine writer who is trying to get home for her rehearsal dinner in Atlanta.  The airlines are trying to beat a blizzard out of the airport, but as the they wait for deicing, the airline cancels the flight and brings them back to the terminal.  Needing to get back home to perform a surgery, Ben decides to charter a flight to Denver and invites Ashley along so that she can make her wedding.  But things go wrong mid-air in flight.  Their pilot has a heart attack and crash lands the plane high in a mountain pass.  The pilot is dead and Ashley has suffered a broken femur.  Now caught in the blizzard above 11,000 feet in elevation, it becomes a matter of survival for one or both of them to get back home.

I have rapidly become a fan of Charles Martin and when I saw that this book was available for review, I quickly grabbed a copy. The story picks up tempo quickly and before you know what has happened, you’re stranded on the snowcapped peaks with Ben and Ashley.  The story is told from Ben’s perspective in both present time and reliving memories with his wife on a voice recorder as well as telling her about their current perilous situation.  As he reflects on fifteen years of marriage, Ashely wonders what her marriage will be like.  She loves her fiancée, but not with the kind of love that Ben has for his wife.  Can she make her relationship work if she even gets married in the first place?  There is a twist in the end that some readers will have figured out.  It is sad, but happy at the same time.  Highly recommended read!

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.

Blind Spot

Blind SpotAuthor: Dani Pettrey

Series: Chesapeake Valor #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When reading a Dani Pettrey book ,you know what you are going to get: a thrilling suspense story with a romance that is destined to take place. Blind Spot is spot in keeping with the formula that Pettrey’s fans have come to love.

When FBI Agent Declan Gray is caught up in a case that has him hunting terrorists, he isn’t sure what his next step should be. He knows something horrible is about to come. His investigation leads him to Tanner Shaw and the immigrant community she has been working with.  Tanner is now with the FBI as a crisis counselor and knows she is bound to butt heads with Declan.  Even though they fight and have trouble getting along, there is a spark between the two of them that can’t be denied.  They have to set their personal feelings aside and focus on the looming terrorist attack and try and save the thousands of lives that could be affected by what is to come.

While this is the third book I the Chesapeake Valor series, it can easily be read on its own. It might be helpful if you have read the first two before starting this one for some background on a few of the characters but isn’t fully necessary.  The relationship between Declan and Tanner develops quickly from them butting heads to seeing an obvious attraction.  I like the way they came together but felt at times a few things were forced, Declan tended to call her “Honey” far too often and far too soon in the relationship.   I have seen that in a lot of books recently. If a relationship is going to develop it needs to happen naturally and without terms of endearment when they aren’t warranted.  That is one of my only issues I had while reading.  The writing is tight with the tension at the right places and the story leaving the ending open just enough to leave the readers thirsting for more with the next book to come.  I recommend this book for readers that enjoy a good Christian romance with just the right amount of suspense sprinkled in throughout to keep the story flowing at nice pace.

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.

The Day the Angels Fell

The Day the Angels FellAuthor: Shawn Smucker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Unique, supernatural, and a twist on a tale we have all heard!

The summer that Sam was twelve years old changed him forever. His mother was killed in a terrible accident that left him without knowing how to grieve and a father who didn’t know how to either.  But then the strangers showed up.  First was Mr. Jinn, a neighbor who he had never seen, comes to his house to discuss what happened and if Sam would do anything to bring her back.  Then Mr. Tennin shows up asking Sam’s dad about work and suddenly is living with them.  Mr. Tennin tells a very interesting story about the tree of life that dates back to the Garden of Eden and the two cherubim who were put in place to guard the tree.  The tree of life has the power to bring someone back to life, but the power should not be used as death is a gift.  Sam becomes consumed with bringing his mother back no matter what it cost.

This book was definitely unlike anything I have ever read before. It centers around Sam and is inability to grieve for his mother’s death and how he feels responsible for it.  His father is no help to him and he begins to cut himself off from his only friend.  This book may be difficult for people who have lost someone close to them to understand that death is a gift to leaving this world and the pain that comes with it.  Those that are left still have the pain and it is hard to see through what it will become.

The story bounces between present day elderly Sam and twelve year old Sam. We see that he develops several habits based on the events of this summer; habits that aren’t good to keep.  Ultimately, the supernatural story within this book is what really keeps it moving.  Bringing the story of the Garden of Eden and intertwining it with present day is a fresh way to look at this aspect.  Be sure to grab a copy of this one!

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