The Jerusalem Assassin

jerusalem assassinAuthor: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: Marcus Ryker #3

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Marcus Ryker is back in another thrilling, action-packed novel that is sure to keep readers turning the pages!

Marcus Ryker has led anything but a normal life. He spent years in the secret service protecting the president. He was an accomplice for the assassination of the Russian president. He helped stop North Korean warheads from being deployed by the Iranians in the South China sea. Shouldn’t he take a break? Apparently not. As part of his deal to be allowed back into the US after the Russia incident, Marcus now works for the state department. President Andrew Clarke is set on starting a middle eastern peace summit in Jerusalem and Marcus couldn’t disagree more, but no one wants his opinion. He is placed on an advance team to promote the message to Muslim leaders prior to the president’s arrival. But a new terrorist organization known as Kairos is beginning to strike fear into the world. They take out one of the top leaders in a church shooting in Washington DC and then astound intelligence agencies when they manage to detonate a body cavity bomb on the steps of 10 Downing street. With time working against him, Marcus must work to find out who is behind this new organization before the world ends.

This has become one of my favorite series by Rosenberg. Each series has a unique set of characters with a very flawed protagonist who takes on multiple antagonists across several books. Marcus has had his share of trials and tribulations. Everyone around him seems to die including members of his own family. He perseveres through each trial, but he has to have help from friends and family. This book centered almost exclusively on Marcus the entire time. The previous two books had some other characters fleshed out more, but this one is mostly continued development on Marcus. I feel like there may be a fourth book based on the portion with the Russians in the earlier part of the book. At least I hope so!

I like that Marcus has a strong faith in this book. I also like that his character grows to realize that his life may finally be worth living after the death of his wife and son from the previous books. I hated that some of the characters from the previous books were killed off, but that is what keeps the momentum moving in the right direction with this type of book. It is good that there is a current events thriller series that is clean and fun to read at the same time.

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

Flight Risk

flight riskAuthor: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With sharp characters and a story within the story, Flight Risk is a perfect blend of excitement, adventure, romance and suspense.

Savannah Daniels has had her share of troubles in the past. Her ex-husband left her after going off to war and when he came back, he had a baby with her sister who struggles with substance abuse. Being there for her niece is one of the most important things in her life right now, along with building her law practice. Finding love is one of the last things on her mind, especially after her ex-husband is in an accident and winds up dead.

Jett Glover is a reporter who has been working all his life to get over finding his father dead of suicide by reporting the truth. When he comes across the story of his career, he can’t pass it up and spends months doing research to make sure he comes to the right conclusion. His story is an expose that features a celebrity baseball player and a group of men involved in sex-trafficking; one of the men happens to be Savannah Daniel’s ex-husband. When Jett releases his story, it leads to a chain reaction of events, an airline crashes, the men connected to the sex-trafficking start to mysteriously die, and Savannah’s new clients are implicated in the crash. Together Jett and Savannah work to figure out what is fact and what is fiction with his story and all they have been told before one or both of them wind up dead.

Cara Putman is fantastic at writing romantic suspense. Her main characters as lawyers are totally relatable and easy to cheer for. I particularly enjoyed Savannah and her relationship with her family, it was messy but so real. Even though she doesn’t want reminders of her failed marriage, she also wants nothing more than to be there for her niece who is a shining jewel to her in the chaos of her life. She realizes her sister isn’t the greatest mother, and no matter how much she has tried to help, Savannah realizes she can’t make her sister change if she doesn’t want to. The only thing she can do is be there for her niece and make sure she feels loved. Jett could have been a difficult character to relate to but Putman writes him in a way that even when it is shown that he made a mistake, he tries so hard to make it right you can’t help but cheer him on in the process. Almost every aspect of the story is well thought out and written perfectly except for a few scenes that had me scratching my head by the end of the book as to why they were necessary. I don’t want to say too much about them and give anything away. If you take those out of the equation there is nothing at all for me to complain about. I would recommend this to fans of legal thrillers with a hint of romance, fans of Putman’s previous work will thoroughly enjoy Flight Risk.

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

Silent Shadows

silent shadowsAuthor: Natalie Walters

Series: Harbored Secrets #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A story with a lot of heart, suspense and relationships that demands the reader’s attention and love. Such a great combination!

Pecca Gallegos moved to Walton, Georgia to start a new life with her son and try to escape his father and his gang. She has worked hard to become a nurse at a Home for Heroes and loves her work and the community she has found in the small town. Her newest patient, Captain Colton Crawford, comes with a disorder that hasn’t been diagnosed yet and is making it hard for him to function and find a purpose for his life. At first, they clash but it doesn’t take long for Colton to find a connection with Pecca’s son who had to have a leg amputated when he was a baby and just wants to be able to play sports like the other kids his age. The more time he spends with the two of them, the more Colton’s heart aches to be able to find love and have a family. But the life Pecca left behind comes back and puts their lives in danger. Colton wants to protect them but is afraid he won’t be able to with his disability. With each passing day, the danger becomes greater and their feelings for each other grow stronger. Will he be able to help them or put them in more danger?

The heart of this story is Pecca and her relationship with her son; that is what drew me in and kept me going. There are so many more great aspects that will keep the reader turning the page as well. Pecca’s number one goal is to keep her boy safe, and that has been hard with the hand she has been dealt since before he was born. I love the fact that even though she has been through a lot of hardships, she never once tries to throw herself a pity party; instead she focuses her energy on helping others which helps lift her own spirits as well. Colton on the other hand has no faith that his life can turn around and almost gives up trying. It will be easy for readers to find someone in this book to relate to, whether it be Pecca, Colton or even one of the other minor characters throughout. I will say I didn’t see the twist coming towards the end and loved how that played out. This is the third book in the series and readers will enjoy the addition to the series or even as a stand-alone. The romance plays out as well as the suspense in this book and that is a hard dynamic to pull off, but Walters was able to do that here. I would call this her best book yet. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good, clean romantic suspense read with lots of heart.

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

The Traitor’s Pawn

traitors pawnAuthor: Lisa Harris

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A quick intense thriller with plenty of romance and characters for readers to swoon over!

Detective Aubrey Grayson is trying to relax after a stressful time at work when she finds herself in even more stress and danger. She is staying with a retired senator who has always been more like a father to her than her own family when he is shot, and she is kidnapped. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to get involved leading her to reunite with her former best friend and the man she never told she loved. As Jack Shannon is called in to help find Aubrey, he feels all his old feelings resurface and can’t let anything happen to her. Once she is found safe, they realize this is all tied to her father, who she hasn’t seen in years. He has been suspected of selling government secrets to foreign countries. Aubrey doesn’t want to believe the worst of her father, even though they haven’t been close in years, but the more they search the worse the situation becomes for all of them. As the investigation gets more involved, Aubrey and Jack can’t deny the feelings they have for each other.

This book started out with a bang and kept up until the very end. I loved the way Lisa Harris introduced these characters and immediately put Aubrey in a tight spot, which gave me a solid reason to be invested in her as a character for the rest of the book. Jack and the way he cared for her after all these years made me want to cheer for them to find a way to be together. This was probably the best book I have read by Lisa Harris! She developed a connection that was able to make me bond with the characters from the very beginning and continue to care what happened to the all the way through. There is a theme of forgiveness and redemption throughout that was written in a way that the reader can relate to without feeling like they are being preached to. We all have people in our lives that we need to forgive for one reason or another, maybe it isn’t as big as what Aubrey is going through, but if we think about it we can find someone that has wronged us at one time or another and we need to think about forgiving, for ourselves not just for them. That can be a hard concept to get across to readers, but it is nice when an author such as Harris can write it in this way. I recommend this book to fans of Harris’ writing and that enjoy romantic suspense, especially when there is more suspense than romance. If you have never read anything by Lisa Harris this would be a perfect one to get you hooked on her as a new author.

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

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.