Death on Tap

death on tapAuthor: Ellie Alexander

Series: Sloan Krause Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The newest series by Ellie Alexander is as fun and entertaining as the quaint town and pubs it is set in.

Sloan Krause has everything she has ever wanted with the family she married into. Growing up an orphan didn’t leave her many people to count on and she has grown to love and depend on her husband and his family. Everything changes the day she walks in on her husband having an affair. She leaves him and inevitably leaves the family brewing business.  It doesn’t take long for her to get connected to the newest brewery owner in town, Garrett Strong. As Garrett and Sloane get in a rhythm of working together, things get interesting when a body is found in one of the fermenting tubs. Her husband is the lead suspect and when she finds herself being followed, she wonders if there was more going on under the surface than she ever knew.

As the first book in the newest series by Ellie Alexander, readers can expect to find all the fun, humor and mystery they have come to love from Alexander and her series. I love the way Alexander weaves the mystery together with humor making the story light and fun. There is nothing particularly difficult to figure out with the mystery of who the killer was or any of the secondary mysteries throughout the story. With that said, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story.  These are not supposed to be, at least in my opinion, edge of your seat, who done it mysteries that leave you guessing till the very end. Garrett and Sloane develop a good relationship but Garrett himself needed a little further development. Even though a lot of details are repeated and can be glanced over, the story itself is fun and an enjoyable read. I recommend this to readers that are a little older and might enjoy the brewing scene along with the fun humor of a cozy mystery.

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

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.

Assassin’s Code

Assassins CodeAuthor: Ward Larsen

Series: David Slaton #4

Publisher: Forge

Release Date: August 22, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fast paced, suspenseful, and thoughtful! My favorite kind of story.

Former Mossad assassin David Slaton has been off the grid in the Philippines for eight months with his wife and son. When his wife is approached by a young mother scared for her missing husband, David agrees to go out to an abandoned government vessel to search for him.  Instead of a missing man, he finds for armed French Nationals intent of killing him.  After eliminating all threats, David finds a flash drive with his name on it in the pocket of one of the thugs.  What he finds is unexpected, a photo of Zavier Baland, the deputy direction of France’s antiterrorism division.  Only one problem enters his mind, he killed this man fifteen years ago by the name of Ali Samir.

This book was a fast paced cat and mouse game where part of the time the reader is sure who the cat and the mouse are. Although it is the fourth in a series, it has no problem being read as a standalone.  There is some history between a few of the characters, but it still plays out really well.  David Slaton is a very clever and shrewd character, but to be a Mossad assassin and still alive, I suppose that you would have to.  It reminds me of watching a Jason Bourne movie and watching the main character’s plan unfold out before your eyes.  I will definitely be on the lookout for future books in this series.  Might even have to go back and read some of the previous installments as well.  Good clean stories are getting harder to find, but if you like a good spy novel that will leave you second guessing throughout, this is the series for you!

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

The Divinity Bureau

Divinity bureauAuthor: Tessa Clare

Publisher: Asset Creative House

Release Date: September 21, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A love story put in danger by a government group set on controlling the population grown out of control by any means necessary.

The Divinity Bureau is a government agency that selects who lives and who dies. The world has become over populated making it unlivable with so many people and too few resources.  Roman Irvine works in the IT department and has always been complacent about his job and what it all means until he sees a name on the list he didn’t expect.  April McIntyre is too young to be selected, but her name winds up on the list anyway and Roman decides he can’t overlook this time.  He wants to know what kind of a person she is like.  After an initial meeting, Roman quickly finds himself falling for April and wants to do anything he can to save her live.  Roman finds the task of saving April’s life more difficult as someone else is determined to see April dead.

The Divinity Bureau reminds me of a cross between The Hunger Games and any number of love stories.  With the danger that Roman and April find themselves in, it is no surprise that their feelings for each other grow.  That part of the book, the romance, was inevitable and played out nicely.  A few of the characters got on my nerves including April’s mother, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as these characters were meant to be written that way.  There were a few instances of language that didn’t work for me, particularly the vulgar language.  The way that the book ends leaves it open for another to follow shows potential for it to continue.  I think there is more story to be told. For a debut novel, I think Clare did a great job with the story and keeping the suspense up throughout. There are a lot of dystopian books on the market out right now but this one has a different spin to it making it stick out.  I recommend this to readers that are fans of the dystopian novels on the market and also enjoy a technical aspect to the story.

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

Close to Home

Close to HomeAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #5

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Robert Dugoni delivers the next series installment getting Tracy involved with the Navy in a case that could sink more than one career, and life, if she’s not careful.

When Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to the scene of a hit-and-run death, she doesn’t expect the case to lead her to the Navy. The suspect is a serviceman at the local base, which causes the local Judge Advocate General Corps to get involved.  The case is then transferred to the military court where the key piece of evidence goes missing.  Tracy has made a promise to the family of the victim that she will make sure justice is served for the death of their son, giving her no other option than to pursue the case. The further Tracy digs into the crimes, the more connections pop up to recent heroin overdoses.  With each new clue, Tracy, and those around her are put in danger and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive.

The Tracy Crosswhite series has become one of my absolute favorites. I love the way Dugoni has taken this character and made her someone the reader wants to cheer for and strive to be like in so many ways. Close to Home is the fifth in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  There are references to the first book in the series, but nothing about this book makes it necessary to have read the entire series.  For me, this was more of a mystery than a suspense thriller.  There was not the usual edge of my seat, can’t wait to see what is going to happen next moments.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from the way Dugoni has written these books in the past.  I enjoyed the way he spent extra time building up a few of the secondary characters we have seen throughout the series.  I really enjoyed the different tone to the story with incorporating the military and JAG lawyers.  I am a big fan of military shows and novels and thought this fit in so well with the writing of the characters already established in the series. It will be interesting to see if any of the new characters introduced here make it to the next in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for an excellent mystery that will leave you guessing and cheering with the way the story comes to an end.

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

Ferocious

FerorciousAuthor: Paula Stokes

Series: Vicarious #2

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Winter Kim is back and ready for revenge in this explosive follow up to Vicarious.

Winter Kim is on a mission. After her sister was murdered and the only ones she loves were taken from her, she finds out she has a brother she never knew about.  His life is in danger if she doesn’t travel to South Korea and confront Kyung, the man responsible for all the misery in her life.  Helping her along the way are her friends, Jesse and Sebastian.  Together they gain access to Kyung’s corporation and try to gather as much information as possible to get her brother to safety and get out alive herself.  Winter must decide if the revenge she is seeking is worth risking everything or will she be able to release the darkness within her.

The follow up to Vicarious picks up right where things lift off in the first one. Vicarious was very action packed and moved at a quick pace, Ferocious takes things down a notch and moves slower for several different reasons.  The main point of this story is the revenge Winter is seeking.  Revenge takes planning, planning takes time, which ended up making the story less action packed and slower.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the set-up of what Winter was going to do was well laid out giving the characters more depth.  Even though I can’t call this as action packed as the first, there certainly were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.  As far as I can tell, there isn’t another book to follow in the series.  I can see the story mostly wrapped up here but there are still a few threads that could be played out further if the author decided to pursue the storyline further.  I recommend this book to an older YA audience that enjoys thrillers with plenty to keep them guessing.  It is marketed as a YA but I don’t think a few of the themes would be appropriate for the younger YA audience.

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