Network of Deceit

Author: Tom Threadgill

Series: Amara Alvarez #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A top-notch thriller with fantastic characters that pull at the heartstrings and keep you cheering them on until the very last page.

Amara Alvarez made headlines after rescuing nearly fifty kidnapped children and is finally getting what she wants, a chance to work in San Antonio’s Homicide Division. With her first case, she is almost in over her head when a teenager dies suspiciously at a local water park. As the investigation picks up speed, Amara finds herself in the middle of the danger by cybercriminals who know her every move. Her leads are few and far between and those above her are threatening to move her investigation to cold case files. Amara resorts to unconventional methods to solve the case and prove herself to those who say she doesn’t belong in Homicide wrong.

The second installment in the Amara Alvarez series starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. This is my kind of suspense novel, a top-notch strong female protagonist that will stop at nothing to do her job and prove others wrong. Amara is a wonderful female protagonist that I love to follow and cheer her on during her journey. Each new chapter led to a new adventure and tension that kept me glued to the page. The family dynamic really helps the story tremendously by making her and so many of the characters more relatable. The story flowed well, and each new twist worked great (especially the one at the very end, made the story ten times better, and it was believable!!) When an author can put an amazing believable twist like this at the end of a book it is something to be celebrated, not a lot of authors are able to write like this.

Amara has a tough time with those she works with but doesn’t let it deter her from accomplishing her goals and helping others and solving crimes. Tom Threadgill is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors, not much about his writing that I don’t enjoy. Even though this is the second in the series, readers won’t have to read the first to enjoy this one. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a fantastic suspense novel that will leave them smiling after turning the last page.

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

A Stranger at the Door

Author: Jason Pinter

Series: Rachel Marin Thriller #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Far better than the first in the series! Readers will not want to miss this spectacular thriller!

It has taken a long time for Rachel Marin to get to a good place. After years of hardships and very difficult situations, she is finally happy adapting to life as a single mom and working alongside the local police department. When one of her son’s teachers is murdered and she is called into help on the case, her perfect little world starts to crumble. After the investigation begins, she discovers an email the teacher sent to her shortly before he was killed. As she is working with the department to find those responsible, an old friend she never expected to see again shows up in her life and threatens to reveal all she knows of Rachel’s past. While she is trying to help determine who murdered her son’s teacher, he is being recruited by someone looking to use her son to keep her in line if she gets too close to discover the truth.

As I picked up this book to start reading it, I thought about the first in the series, Hide Away. It was good, but not that memorable and nothing I planned to really read again. So with that in mind, I decided to give the author another shot and I am sure glad I did. I flew through the pages of this story and loved every minute of it. I had such a connection to the characters and was pulled in quickly. The way Pinter used Rachel being a mother and willing to do whatever it took to protect her family coupled with the antagonists using her son against her was so beautifully written. As a mom, I was drawn into the story by this and couldn’t put it down. The plot was great, characters were engaging, and it is an overall great thriller.

For me, one of the best aspects was the last fifty or so pages, the way the story wrapped up played out exactly as it should, nothing felt forced or unbelievable. The characters had a very natural way of talking and reacting to whatever situation they encountered. Really, there isn’t much negative I can say about this other than I’m sad it’s over, I could have been happy reading more and more. Hopefully there will be another in the series coming out and another after that. There is some harsh language, violence, and sexual content that makes it for mature audiences only. With that being said I would recommend to those that enjoy a fast-paced thriller and a long weekend with nothing to do but sit and read. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A medical/legal thriller that gets darker with every twist and turn!

Caroline Bragg is excited to start her new job as legal counsel for Praecursoria, a research lab working on cutting edge therapy for cancer treatment. Along with the new job, her relationship with Brandon Lancaster has never been better. Just when she thinks things can’t get any better, her world comes crashing around her as the job she thought was so perfect starts to show all is not as it seems and with each new stress at the job her relationship with Brandon becomes more and more strained. Brandon has been running a foster home and one of the kids in his care, Bethany, is very sick and a candidate for the new research. When the treatment doesn’t show the same results for Bethany as others and things don’t add up as they should, Caroline starts to wonder if things in the company are not as good as she and others were led to believe. The more she digs, the more she discovers the danger she and others are now in and wonders how much she might lose to expose the truth.

I have always loved Cara Putman’s writing style. She is a lawyer and her legal thrillers have always been top notch with so much passion, emotion and realistic content the story flies by. Lethal Intent is more of a medical thriller than legal thriller to me; the story revolves more around the sick kids and research than anything legal and I think that slowed it down for me. I didn’t feel any real tension in the story until almost halfway through. At that point though the story did fly by and was much more enjoyable, just not the usual fast paced thriller I am used to from her. The characters each had moments to shine, I enjoyed Caroline’s tenacity and commitment to follow through in finding the truth. Brandon was determined to do anything he could to help those he cared about. This is the kind of story that takes patience and the pay out at the end is good if you stick with it and don’t give up after the slow start. I recommend this to readers that enjoy medical/legal thrillers with a little romance thrown in the mix.

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.

Active Defense

Author: Lynette Eason

Series: Danger Never Sleeps #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third installment in Lynette Eason’s newest series is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Eason just gets better and better with each book!

Heather Fontaine thought she left life and death situations behind when she left Afghanistan, but after she is home she gets the feeling someone is following her and has broken into her house. She finds a threat to her friends and is afraid they will be in danger if she stays in town. Not wanting to be the reason something bad happens to anyone she cares about, Heather takes off with only a text to let them know she is okay but needs to be gone for a while. None of that sits well with her friends and they set out to find her. It doesn’t take long for them to locate her hiding out in a small town and Travis Walker sits back and watches her to make sure she is okay and safe. Travis owns his own security firm and knows how to stay in the shadows and keep a close eye on Heather without being spotted. When the danger follows Heather to the small town, Travis must work with her to figure out who wants her dead and why before they both end up casualties.

Lynette Eason really is getting better with each book and there is no exception with Active Defense. I read this in one day, I read a lot, but it is rare for me to finish a book in one day. The book started with a bang and didn’t let up until the very end. Eason has a way of crafting characters that suck you into their lives and stories and make you feel deeply for them, a brilliant way to write that many authors aren’t nearly as good at. I have found when I read if I can’t connect with a character or feel for them in any way, either nervous when they are in danger or excited when a relationship goes good, I have a hard time staying with the book. In each book that Eason writes, I have found one or more characters that pull me in and don’t let go until the very end. The story was incredibly fast paced, easy to follow and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. A perfect book to start the new year with in a wonderfully engaging series.  I recommend this to fans of romantic suspense. Even if you haven’t read any in the series it would be okay to start with this one as the back story of the other characters does help but it is not crucial to following the story to have read the previous in the series.

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

2020 Top Suspense/Thriller

Another favorite genre of ours is suspense/thriller. Nothing like books that keep you up late at night trying to find out what is going to happen! There were several more fantastic authors this year that narrowing it down was almost impossible. Here are our top recommendations for the year!

Collision of Lies by TomThreadgill

Tom Threadgill is a fresh new voice in suspense writing. Collision of Lies started with a bang only to pick up speed and not stop until the final pages. Readers that love to see a book play out in their minds will find this a welcome addition to their shelf.

Read the full review.

A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

The top suspense/thriller list wouldn’t be complete with a new Tracy Crosswhite novel. As one of the best crime novelists in the market, Dugoni has crafted an awesome protagonist that readers can’t help but fall in love with as she moves across books. All seven books in this series are phenomenal and this is an excellent addition!

Read the full review.

Nine by Rachelle Dekker

This is the book we have been waiting for Rachelle Dekker to write: her own voice and her own story! We loved the story, the style and everything about it. The one thing we didn’t love was not having enough time to sit and read it all at once.

Read the full review.

The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel C. Rosenberg

This has become one of our 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.  This particular book focused on development of the main character, Marcus Ryker, and strengthening his faith. We can’t wait for the next book!

Read the full review.

Hide Away by Jason Pinter

The action, drama and suspense were all top notch and exactly what a great suspense thriller is all about. It takes a very talented writer to be able to craft out a story that ties everything together so well and is also entertaining.

Read the full review.

2020 Top Romantic Suspense

Quite possibly the hardest category to narrow down because there are so many talented authors! Several of our favorite authors made it on the list this year and we hope you see one or two you enjoy as well!

Airborne by Diann Mills

Airborne is by far the best book Mills has written and one of the very best we read all year. The suspense was top notch and the plot concerning a virus outbreak was rather timely. This was an easy choice for our top pick!

Read the full review.

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason

Eason continues to get better at giving readers the story they want! This is likely the best book she has written and we seem to think that every time she releases another book. The connection we felt with the characters made this one of our top books for the year!

Read the full review.

The Escape by Lisa Harris

Action packed with tension at all the right moments that kept us on the edge of our seat until the very last page. There was just the right amount of romance at the right times to keep the story moving and not slow down the pace with the suspense and action. With relatable characters and a story line that keeps readers on the edge of their seat, The Escape was an easy choice!

Read the full review.

The Way of the Brave & The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren really is in a league of her own when it comes to romantic suspense! The Global Search and Rescue series proves that with a shadow of a doubt. Both of these books are packed with action and adventure with the right amount of romance sprinkled in for good measure. Readers will be aching for more!

Read the full review for The Way of the Brave.

Read the full review for The Heart of a Hero.

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

The second book in the Coastal Guardians series will have readers so deeply invested in the characters it will be difficult to come up for air! It also sets up a new storyline for book three that we can’t wait to read!

Read the full review.

Backlash

Author: Rachel Dylan

Series: Capital Intrigue #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second installment in the Capital Intrigue series gives readers all the thrills, chills, and heart stopping moments I’ve come to expect from Rachel Dylan.

Layla Karam joined the CIA as an analyst, she never wanted anything more, especially after she was thrust into a dangerous operation with the DEA against a major drug cartel that puts a target on her back. When one of her team members ends up murdered, she and the rest of the team scramble to stay safe. Along with staying alive there is now an internal investigation against her causing Layla to turn to the one person she never wanted to see again for help, her ex-boyfriend Hunter McCoy. Hunter is a private investigator and uses his skills to try and find out who is trying to sabotage Layla’s career. Together they discover a mole inside the DEA that has given information to the cartel on the team. Layla must do the hardest thing imaginable, put her trust in the man she used to love to keep her alive and keep her heart safe from him.

This is the second book in the Capital Intrigue series and is just as enjoyable as the first. With all the characters in high risk positions, the story starts with a bang and doesn’t stop until the very end. I liked Layla, she wasn’t looking for danger and high stakes missions, she preferred to stay back and do the job she was brought on for, an analyst. However, others higher up had different plans for her though. She could have played the pity card, but she never did, she got mad and fought back. The relationship aspect of the novel was well played, there were several different directions it could have gone but I was pleased with the way Dylan wrote it. Even though this book is mainly about Layla and Hunter I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the scenes with Izzy, (I’m hoping the next book in the series focuses more on her.) There was just something about her story line that pulled me in faster than the others. There are a lot of tense scenes and violence, but it is never written in a way that would turn squeamish readers away. With that being said, the whole story was an enjoyable read, I read it in just over a day. It had been a good while since I read the first one and it didn’t keep me from enjoying any of the story which leads me to say that even though this is the second in the series it could be read as a standalone without any problem. Fans of the romantic suspense will not want to miss this one.

Closer Than She Knows

Author: Kelly Irvin

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: June 9, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A great, clean, action-packed mystery with just the right amount of romance at all the right moments!

Instead of going into the family business of law enforcement, Teagan O’Rourke decides to go her own route and become a court reporter. Listening to hours of real-life murders and dealing with crime scene photos, her life is covered in death and destruction, but she has never been the victim of a crime. Until now. As she is riding in the car with a young police officer, the car window explodes and the officer is killed from a sniper rifle shot. The man responsible starts leaving Teagan notes signed by different murderers from some of her favorite mystery novels. Teagan’s family is in law enforcement and come to her aid along with one of her oldest friends, Max Kennedy. Max wants to be more than friends with Teagan but is afraid his past will keep them apart. Teagan is determined to keep those she loves from being hurt, but with each passing moment, the killer comes closer to her and those she is striving to protect proving he is closer than she imagined and doesn’t plan to stop until he finishes what he started.

Closer Than She Knows was a fun, exciting read that was full of mystery and suspense with just the right amount of romance. I flew through the pages of this one and enjoyed the story. While it was predictable at times, it wasn’t one that I knew everything that was about to happen; I just happened to figure out the bad guy quite a bit earlier before it was revealed. The relationship between Teagan and Max was paced perfectly, while they had known each other a long time, nothing was rushed; but when she was in danger, the feelings they had for each other couldn’t stay dormant any longer. It works perfectly in true fashion that when we are in high stress situations our true emotions tend to surface even if we want to keep them at bay. I enjoyed the rest of the family dynamics, the way Teagan related with her stepsiblings and her father was all very realistically written. The ending was not a big surprise for me, but some might not catch on to the clues early on that I saw. I would recommend this book to those that enjoy a good, clean suspense with romance that brings the suspense up a notch.

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

Outbreak

Author: Davis Bunn

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

It’s almost like this book was written as a precursor to COVID.

Avery Madison, biological researcher, is woken in the middle of the night by the CEO of his company and told to get on a flight to London which will then take him to west Africa.  Once there, he is aboard a research vessel and taken to specific coordinates to evaluate an event.  Suited up in a hazmat suit, Avery makes his way through the water when he discovers several fishing vessels with all the workers deceased.  He quickly realizes that something ecologically damaging has occurred and is moving throughout parts of Africa and could impact the United States once the hurricane season develops.  But there is someone who doesn’t want the world to know about what’s happening in Africa and will stop at nothing to make sure it stays quiet.

An airborne virus that strips an infected host’s immune system so that easily cured diseases can kill said person.  Sound familiar?  That is just want this book is about.  Bunn once again dives into a world of combining thrillers with science and scores another direct hit.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story and probably even more since COVID hit.  The race against the clock combined with unlikely characters thrown together to figure out the answer made for yet another spectacular story.  I love that a family was reconnected and forgiven as a result of this too.  It makes it that much more satisfying.