Chasing the White Lion

white lionAuthor: James R. Hannibal

Series: Talia Inger #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With lots of action and gallivanting across the globe, Chasing the White Lion will leave readers on the edge of their seat!

Talia Inger has had to come to terms with the man that killed her father. As a CIA officer, Talia sees a lot and has learned to put up with a lot, which has helped her to be able to work with this man. With him and the help of his friend, Valkyrie, Talia is going to try to infiltrate the Jungle, a crowd sourced crime syndicate that is involved in trafficking of children. Each step Talia takes moves her closer to the top of the food chain in the Jungle and to the White Lion. With her team to watch her back, she goes full force into the Jungle to save lives and take down the White Lion.

The follow up to The Gryphon Heist picks up right where readers left off with Talia and her crew. The overall story is very enjoyable, but I have had a hard time connecting with the characters. I liked the story arc of Talia trying to rescue the abducted children. That particular part of the novel really pulled me in, as for the rest I just couldn’t connect and didn’t feel as if I had a vested interest in the characters. When Talia was working towards that goal, I could feel the passion coming from her and her crew. She had a really good dynamic with Val and the way they played off of each other helped to move the story along. I’m intrigued enough to continue with the series to find out who the ultimate “bad guy” is and what the end game will be. So much of the novel is spent in so many different settings the reader will feel like they are going on a trip across the world. This is one that readers will need to sit down and take their time with, not one to read if you are going to rush through and not pay close attention to detail. One of the things Hannibal is best at is the detail he puts into each scene; each change brings about a new picture in the mind of the reader, which I greatly enjoyed. Readers that love mystery thrillers will want to be sure and check this one out, after reading the first in the series.

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

One Little Lie

One little lieAuthor: Colleen Coble

Series: Pelican Harbor #1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

By far the best Colleen Coble book I have read yet! With engaging characters and a story line that will draw readers in from the very beginning, Pelican Harbor promises to be an amazing new series!

After her father’s sudden retirement as police chief of Pelican Harbor, Jane Hardy is appointed chief to follow in his footsteps. She has no time to adjust to the position before her father is arrested and accused of a recent murder. For the last fifteen years, it has just been Jane and her father after they escaped from a cult. Since that time, Jane has been searching for her mother and answers to her past, like what happened to the baby she had that her father said died the day they left? As she is appointed chief, Reid Bechtol arrives in town for a documentary he is doing about Jane becoming chief. Reid follows her around town as she tries to solve the crimes plaguing their town. His calm demeanor helps her in the most stressful situations she has faced in a long time. Coming for the documentary isn’t Reid’s only reason for arriving in Pelican Harbor; he has his own secrets and once everyone’s secrets collide none of them will ever be the same.

Colleen Coble is quickly climbing her way up the ladder as one of my favorite Romantic Suspense authors. One Little Lie is her best book yet! I loved Jane as the protagonist. She is a strong character from the very beginning when readers meet her as a young girl going through a trying time and continue to see her grow into a strong capable woman. She doesn’t try to ignore the hard things she went through, which still come back to haunt her, but she uses that to help deal with what she faces each day. I loved the mystery of what happened and how it was written. I do still have a lot of questions that weren’t answered and am hoping they will come in the next book. Reid was an interesting character to say the least. If readers pay close enough attention, they might be able to figure him out before it is revealed. I was not the biggest fan of Jane’s dad as he is gruff, tough, and not very paternal, but I really think that is how the author wants readers to feel towards him. If you have never read anything by Colleen Coble, this would be a perfect time to grab the first in this new series and get drawn in by a great author. I recommend this book to fans of Romantic Suspense that are looking for a story with little fluff and a whole lot of heart, drama and an overall great story.

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

Before She Knew Him

Before she knew himAuthor: Peter Swanson

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

One of the first books that kept me guessing and surprised until the very end in a very long time. I didn’t see that twist coming and I loved it! Before She Knew Him is one that will keep readers up at night!

Henrietta has had a troubled past, especially after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She finally feels like she has her medication in order and her life in control until she and her husband meet their neighbors next door. She starts to suspect the husband, Matthew, might be a killer when she recognizes an object in his office that belonged to a murdered man who lived close two years ago. The murder was never solved, and she has been fascinated by it ever since. Hen (short for Henrietta) wonders if Matthew could be the killer, and if so, has he only killed once? Or is there a string of bodies hiding in his past? As her fascination with him grows, she follows him and tries to figure out if he is planning another murder. Hen tries to tell someone, but with her troubled past no one believes her. Hen knows she can’t let him kill again without doing something. She vows to stop him, hopefully without becoming his next victim.

Before She Knew Him starts strong and ends even stronger. Even though Hen has a troubled past, she doesn’t let that keep her down. Her strength is what makes her a strong protagonist and kept me rooting for her throughout the entire story. I am happy to say that I didn’t see the twist coming until seconds before it was revealed. The story was written so well I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out if I had been looking for it. One of the first times this has happened in a very long time. When it was revealed, I just got a big smile on my face for how well Swanson pulled it off. Readers will find this somewhat similar to Hitchcock; you think you know what the mystery is early on but really there is so much more to it. There is a little bit of harsh language throughout, something readers that don’t prefer in their writing need to be aware of but it could have been so much worse. If you are someone who enjoys a great psychological thriller you will definitely want to add this to your list!

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

Hide Away

Hide AwayAuthor: Jason Pinter

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: March 1, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Jason Pinter has just made his way to the top of my list with Hide Away, an action-packed thrill ride with one of the best protagonist characters I have read in a long time.

Rachel Marin is working her hardest to lead a normal life with her two children while trying to keep the rest of the world unaware of her deepest darkest secrets. When a violent crime shatters her life, she takes her children and changes all their identities to start a new life in a small town in Illinois. Even though she is trying to lead a normal life, trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes. Once in her new town, the previous mayor is discovered dead. At first it is considered a suicide until Rachel finds clues the department missed. She gets involved in the case deeper than intended and finds herself in danger. Can she help the detectives solve the case before it is too late? Or will her hide away no longer be a safe place?

Hide Away is easily one of the best books I have read all year. The action, drama and suspense were all top notch and exactly what a great suspense thriller is all about. I loved Rachel as the protagonist; she may have gone through a horrible ordeal, but she doesn’t let that define her and keep her down, she uses it to drive her and she becomes so much stronger because of it. She knows she must keep her children safe and there are a lot of monsters out in the world. The only way to keep her family safe is to be on the lookout for the monsters and stop them whenever possible. It could be argued that she puts herself and her kids in harm’s way at times, but everything she does is to protect them because she loves them so fiercely. Sometimes that does lead to reckless thinking, which can be dangerous, but her intentions are always good. I loved that the layout of the book and they way her past wasn’t given to us upfront, instead it was sprinkled throughout at just the right times. She might not have been a detective and the way she went about solving each piece of the puzzle could be seen as too convenient, but for me it played out just right as there was an explanation for every time she knew something and a reason she would be able to figure it out. It takes a very talented writer to be able to craft out a story that ties everything together so well and is also entertaining. This was the first book I have read by Jason Pinter but will certainly not be the last. I would even go so far as to say he ranks close to Robert Dugoni on my list of favorite suspense writers. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy an excellent suspense thriller but know that there will be a small amount of harsh language throughout.

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

A Cold Trail

A cold trailAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #7

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: February 4, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Dugoni has done it again with the newest edition to his Traci Crosswhite series! Fans will not want to miss this latest thrill ride!

Tracy Crosswhite hasn’t been to her hometown of Cedar Grove since she came for the retrial of her sister’s murder. When her husband, Dan, wants to com back to vacation in his parents’ old house while their home in Seattle is getting remodeled, she thinks it might be a nice little rest for them and their new baby. Upon her arrival back in Cedar Grove, she remembers the memories of what the town means to her and the history she will never be able to escape. While Dan is representing a local merchant in town trying to keep his business, Tracy is asked by the local department to look into a new case that has ties to a decades old cold case. The more Tracy looks into the case, the more entangled it gets stirring up feelings of her own haunted past and the hard times Cedar Grove has had to endure. Things are not as simple as they once were for Tracy; now she has her baby to consider and how far she is willing to go to protect those she loves.

Robert Dugoni is being called by some as one of the best crime novelists in the market and for good reason. His Tracy Crosswhite series is by far one of my very favorites and this latest installment ranks right up there. It is going to be next to impossible for him to top the first in the series, which hasn’t happened yet, and I just don’t think any will ever beat it. That being said, this is an excellent addition to the series. I love seeing the dynamic of Tracy and Dan change with the addition of their baby, Tracy loves being a new mother but she can’t put her instincts and love of being a detective behind her. When she is asked to look into this case, it brings up all the old memories of what happened to her sister. If she can help bring closure to a family, then she has to go for it because she knows what it feels like to go for years wondering if you really know the truth or not. Dugoni has found a way to write characters that never make me question if they are doing the right thing; how he writes them is exactly how I picture them. I loved the addition of the Irish nanny, she had just the right amount of spunk to brighten the room in the tense moments. Even though this story is set in Cedar Grove, Dugoni has managed to bring in a few of our favorite characters from Seattle.

This may be the 7th in the Crosswhite series but I for one hope there are many more to come. If this is your first time to pick up a Dugoni book, it can be enjoyed without reading the others but I would highly recommend starting with the first in the series to know the full back-story with all of the characters to get the most enjoyment. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a great suspense thriller with great characters, a tight story, and an ending that will leave you thirsting for more.

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

Collision of Lies

Collision of LiiesAuthor: Tom Threadgill

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 4, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

One of the best thrillers I have read in a very long time. It’s hard to call a book unputdownable, but that perfectly describes Collision of Lies.

When detective Amara Alvarez overhears an argument between a couple on her day off, she feels compelled to see if she can help. She quickly discovers it is much more than a disagreement between a husband and wife. Their son was on a bus hit by a train three years ago. He and everyone onboard was killed and they have had to live with the loss for the past three years. That is until they received a text from someone claiming to be their son needing help. With these new clues, the authorities try to open the case without getting many others involved. If this was no accident, then whoever was behind it had to have help from people on the inside. Time is running out as Amara rushes to convince others of her theory and save the lives of as many as she can to reunite families with the ones they lost.

Tom Threadgill is a fresh new voice for me in suspense writing. Collision of Lies started with a bang only to pick up speed and not stop until the final pages. I loved so much about this book. The story was compelling, the characters were relatable and easy to like and cheer for, the pace was fantastic, and the overall plot was unique and exciting. I was surprised how well Threadgill wrote a female lead protagonist as he captured Amara beautifully. I felt like I was right there with her at the office or in the field trying to solve the crime. Her interactions with others played out seamlessly; it didn’t matter if she was having a family dinner or dealing with her boss at work. I believed every interaction and her behavior added up exactly how I pictured her in my mind. It is so hard in the age of movies, television, video games, apps and so forth to read something and be able to picture the scenes in your mind as vividly as I did here. Most of the time it is easier to watch something than read to get the mental image, but for those readers that love to see it play out in their minds, this book will be a welcome addition to their shelf. This is the first book I have read by Tom Threadgill but will for sure not be the last. I recommend this book to readers that love a great suspense read, but make sure you don’t have any plans for a few days because you will not want to put this one down.

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

Cross Her Heart

Cross her heartAuthor: Sarah Pinborough

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Cross your heart and hope to die can be a very serious pact to some. Cross Her Heart shows just how dangerous breaking that kind of promise can be.

Lisa’s life was going great, things with her job have never been better, and although her relationship with her daughter Ava is not at its best, she wouldn’t trade it for the world. A new client at work has started showing interest in her and she wonders if maybe it is time to explore that part of her world she has shut off for so long. Secrets she has kept locked deep inside have kept her from venturing out and letting others in too close. Even her best friend Marilyn doesn’t know all her secrets. Things all come unhinged when Ava rescues a boy from drowning at the lake and they all get their picture in the news bringing her past to light. With her world crumbling and not knowing who she can trust, Lisa has to figure out who is behind the horrible events in her life and how she can stop them before Lisa and Ava pay the ultimate price.

This is the first Sarah Pinborough book I have read and I have to say I was most impressed with her character development and the way she kept the secrets hidden for so long into the story. I put the pieces of the puzzle together just before all was revealed, but that isn’t because it was easy to figure things out. I am just a huge fan of thrillers and pride myself on figuring things out and not getting surprised. I loved seeing things unfold and the back and forth dialogue to reveal the story little by little. A lot of time, the dialogue between the past and present can be confusing and pull readers from the story. It takes a very skilled writer to be able to pull that off and I am happy to say Pinborough is one of the best I have read at this. Lisa was a very complicated character, and with a past as complicated as hers, she is one that readers will enjoy getting to know. Ava is a typical teenager and was written as such. One of the nicest things about this novel was the fact that even the secondary characters were relevant at every moment they were written. The language and themes throughout make this for a mature audience only and did turn me off at times. Overall I recommend this for a mature audience that loves a psychological thriller.

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

For more information of this title, please check Harper Collins.

The Way of the Brave

Way of the braveAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: Global Search & Rescue #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Wow! Wow! Wow! Susan May Warren has started her new series off with a bang. The Way of the Brave will take readers on a chilling ride with so much action, adventure and just the right amount of romance sprinkled in they will be aching for more.

Orion Starr is trying to put his past as a pararescue jumper and the last rescue that went wrong behind him. He is finally recovered from his injuries and living alone in Alaska. He still has nightmares about his time in Afghanistan and when his buddy Hamilton Jones ask him to join his rescue team, he wants to tell him no, but deep down he still wants to help others. When a group of climbers gets lost on Denali, Orion can’t not help, especially when he finds out that someone from his past that he thought he would never see again is with the group.

Jenny Calhoun is a former CIA profiler and psychiatrist who has been climbing mountains every year trying to get away from the guilt she feels for a top-secret mission going horribly wrong. With two of her friends on this climb, she hopes they can prove they are stronger than they think and become closer to one another. The last thing she expects to see when she gets to Denali is the man she was falling in love with when her world fell apart. When the climb goes horribly wrong and they are trapped on the side of the mountain, Jenny prays that Orion will keep his promise from Afghanistan and find her no matter what.

I have been a fan of Susan May Warren for a long time. This book is very different from any previous books of hers I have read, but in a very good way. The action and suspense here aren’t focused on a villain chasing someone, instead readers see the characters trying to survive the dangerous mountain and elements they are in. In this story, the main characters are Orion and Jenny with many supporting characters on each side that will shine in the upcoming sequels. Orion and Jenny both have a difficult past and are using their time climbing to work through their issues. I am not a climber and much of the book is about the actual climbing experience. Some of the terms and technical aspects were unfamiliar to me but written in a way that made it easy for me to follow along with the story even though I haven’t been on a climb or had these experiences myself. The research that went into this made the story flow brilliantly and kept me engaged with what the characters were going through. It is hard to write a suspenseful story with no real bad guy to move the action along, but Warren has done just that with The Way of the Brave. That said, there is a minor villain involved and I am curious to see how that will be played out in the next installment of the series. This is a wonderful start to a new series and I for one can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead for us. If you are a fan of Romantic Suspense you will not want to miss this one. And if you have never read anything by Susan May Warren this is the perfect one to start with.

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

End Game

End gameAuthor: Rachel Dylan

Series: Capital Intrigue #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With danger around every corner, every clue brings more trouble! End Game is a non-stop suspense ride that readers will have trouble putting down to do anything else!

FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan finds herself partnered with NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini when several members of elite military members are murdered on the streets of Washington DC. Even though their evidence leads them to a Navy SEAL sniper, Bailey has doubts he is the one behind the murders. Each new clue that brings them closer to the truth also brings them closer to danger. Bailey has several attempts made on her life as she gets closer to uncovering the truth and Marco realizes his feelings for her go far beyond that of a fellow agent. Whoever is behind this is willing to kill anyone that gets in their way and Bailey and Marco must do whatever they can to stop them before anyone else gets hurt.

End Game is the first in the new Capital Intrigue series by Rachel Dylan and she has started this new series off with a bang. I loved the main characters. Actually, I loved all of the characters. Bailey and Marco have a great chemistry from the start. They are from different agencies and are a little hesitant of each other at the beginning but quickly learn that in order to solve the case they are going to have to trust each other. The way that Bailey became a target as Marco’s feelings intensified made my connection with both characters that much more involved and kept me with a vested interest in what was going to happen next. The only downfall for me was the fact that the romance aspect outweighed the suspense at times. Being in an intense situation can make feelings run high but some of the dialogue seemed a little out of place at times. Fans of romantic suspense will surely want to add this to their list. If you have never read anything by Rachel Dylan this is the perfect time to get started with this intriguing new series.

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

Collateral Damage

collateral damageAuthor: Lynette Eason

Series: Danger Never Sleeps #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Lynette Eason keeps getting better with each new novel and fans of her work will absolutely love the start to this new series.

Brooke Adams thought she left the danger behind after being honorably discharged from the army as a military psychiatrist. She still has nightmares about the explosion that nearly killed her while trying to move on with her life at home. When a stranger from her past shows up in her life, things get complicated and she finds her life in danger once again. Sergeant First Class Asher James may be out of the army, but he is far from danger. When he closes his eyes, the terror he faced comes back full force. After a bad family encounter, he decides it is time to see someone for help. When he sees a picture of Brooke in the paper from their time together overseas and learns she is now counseling close by, he makes an appointment hoping she will be able to understand and help him. He arrives at her office hoping to see her and finds a dead body instead. Brooke walks in moments later and is as shocked to see him as she is the dead body on her floor. It doesn’t take long for either of them to realize Brooke was the real target and now they are both in danger. Asher promises to protect her and get to the bottom of who is after her and what they want.

With each new book, Lynette Eason is developing stories that are fresh, feel real and will leave readers wanting more. I am falling more and more in love with her writing as she releases each new book. Brooke and Asher were a great lead couple in this series; I loved the way their relationship started and the fact that none of the romance in this novel felt forced. Sometimes in a romantic suspense novel, the romance can feel forced and take away from the storyline for me. Here readers get to see it all flow as it naturally should. I have to say there were a few moments I was caught by surprise with a few of the characters and their actions, a job well done. Even though part of the story takes part overseas with the fighting it was never difficult to follow who was where and keep up with the different story lines. This book has a good number of characters and I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop with the next in the series. My only complaint would be the ending fizzled just a little bit when I was hoping the tension would be ticked up an extra notch or two. Still, it was an overall wonderful read and I highly recommend it to fans of Romantic Suspense and especially fans of Lynette Eason’s writing.

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