Publicat în Nina Laurin

The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

Synopsis:

„Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.”

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.

My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static.

When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. „Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

Review:

Oh, how confused I felt during the reading of this book…

It starts as a classic family thriller, with a growing feeling of unhappiness, in contrast to the dreams of joy that the main character had when she got married to the one who looked like the ideal husband. And then, slowly, things start to change and you get the feeling that something is wrong, although you cannot really put your finger on what exactly it is. The heroine starts acting weirder than the situation would ask for, normal things begin to look shady, the characters keep changing colors from white to black and vice versa from one chapter to another.

At some point, I was annoyed with the heroine, thinking she’s overreacting and going paranoid for absolutely nothing. Because we’re getting the whole story from her point of view, for a while things don’t seem to make sense, everything is foggy and unclear.

Not until the perspective changes and all of a sudden, boom! Here comes the shocking truth and after that, everything is spiraling out of control, all the puzzle pieces start falling in the right places and you discover a whole new story, in a way you couldn’t have predicted in a million years.

Publicat în Stephen Edger

Till Death Do Us Part by Stephen Edger

Synopsis:

The wedding vows are exchanged, then the nightmare begins…

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life…

Alice Tandy has dreamed of her wedding since she was a little girl. The perfect venue, the perfect dress, the perfect groom. It’s all going exactly to plan.

But then her whole world comes tumbling down. Just as she and her new husband Ben are cutting their wedding cake, three policemen storm in and arrest Ben. Alice looks on in horror, unable to comprehend what is happening. Did they say murder?

The next day, Ben is released on bail, but for Alice, the nightmare is only just beginning. And as more details about the murder of Kerry Valentine emerge she starts to realise that everyone around her is keeping secrets. Can she trust anyone? And who really killed Kerry?

Review:

This book might not be the kind of thriller that leaves you completely breathless, but the writing itself might be the best that I’ve encountered in a while. Don’t get me wrong, there’s mystery and tension and I did appreciate the scenario. I’m just saying that the way the author dug into the characters minds and relations simply eclipsed everything else. And in no way this is an issue.

What we know from the synopsis and from the first pages of the book is that on their wedding day, Ben, the groom, is taken by the police and accused of murder.

So naturally, this introduction already makes you imagine that Alice, the bride, which will start doubting her new husband as soon as she finds out the details that led to this terrible situation. This is what would happen in any good thriller, right? But if you think about it, this wouldn’t happen in real life. In reality, if you’re choosing a person to be your lifelong partner, you will trust that person to the deepest. And this was the most surprising part for me. That Stephen Edger chose to work with a more realistic version of the characters’ reactions rather than the one you’d expect from a book and that would probably increase the suspense even more. I absolutely loved the trust between the two main characters, the way they cling to each other at any given time and don’t let go easily, no matter how difficult the situations might be, no matter how many doubts and questions their minds would create. Because every new detail that shows up during the development of the investigation, every new untold truth that comes up later has a high potential of destroying their relationship. And despite that, Alice doesn’t end up giving up on Ben, she doesn’t share her fears with anybody else outside of their new family, she keeps fighting every urge to feel uncertain about him. And with all the lies that unclock day by day, that’s a really tough thing to do.

As I said earlier, the whole story is definitely gonna keep you hooked from the beginning till the explosive ending, even if it’s not really the kind of book that makes you forget to eat and sleep just to get another chapter done. The rhythm is not rushed, some chapters are slow paced, but overall, you will die of curiosity to find out what really happened. But definitely, the best and most amazing part of the book is the way the characters deal with the nightmare they woke up into.

Publicat în A.S. Hatch

This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch

Synopsis:

How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.

Review:

We’re leaving in an era where information is available so largely, so easy and in such quantities that it created a downside. Our attention span is way shorter than it used to be, we’re losing our patience to concentrate for long and our interest is hooked only for a limited period of time. Therefore, as a reader, when you are choosing a certain type of book that is promising to offer you a quick gratification, like a thriller or a horror or a YA book, you’re definitely not expecting a very slow action, tons of descriptive paragraphs, either on the surroundings or on the characters feelings.

When I rated This Little Dark Place, I browsed a bit through other reviews and as I was anticipating, a lot of readers were disappointed by how slow this book is. Of course, if you’re reading a family drama, a decades saga or whatever book that obviously has an imminent unhurried rhythm, this wouldn’t be a problem. But the story A.S. Hatch creates is centered around not one, but two mysteries, one in the past and one in the present and it starts building the suspense from the very first pages. So when it continues to develop the storyline is a painfully slow pace, I cannot imagine how any reader would feel other than frustrated.

The whole plot of the book is not bad at all. But there are so many unnecessary descriptions that it’s difficult to get past this annoyance and not lose your interest until the end.

Despite this issue, I did enjoy the story and I did like the characters. With so much insight that the author offers on the characters, it’s easy to see their evolution, to understand their actions, even if some of them are negative, to feel their fears, their struggles and their hesitations. You get to know them so well that you can even anticipate their future moves and you might get frustrated when the main character himself still acts surprised or is unable to predict what comes in his way.

Despite suspecting what the outcome of all that suspense will be, I still couldn’t hold myself from hoping that I’m mistaken, mostly because of one of the characters involved, which seemed to be the most interesting of all and have the most potential to spice up the story and the lives of the ones around her.

Even if it was definitely not a WOW read, This Little Dark Place cannot really be thrown in the „bad books” basket, as it has an equal amount of positive and negative parts. I wouldn’t rush on recommending it to the people looking for a very thrilling experience so as long as you keep in mind that the action develops in a slow rhythm, you might find it pretty satisfying.

Publicat în Ann Aguirre

The Third Mrs. Durst By Ann Aguirre

Synopsis:

Some people just need killing.

Marlena Altizer Durst lives in her husband’s shadow. He controls her every move—what she wears, the food she eats, and the friends she’s allowed to make. If she disobeys, there are… consequences. And he has all the power, so nobody would believe her.

Her Cinderella story has been well-documented and it seems that she leads a fairy-tale life. But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince. Marlena has traded freedom and safety for luxurious imprisonment, and most days, that seems like a bad bargain. Death may be the only exit she’s allowed. Just like his first wife. And his second.

Unless she flips the script.

And gets away with murder…

Review:

This book was very far from what I was expecting when I first read its description. It sounded like it will be another domestic thriller where the wife is a powerless, weak victim of a manipulative husband, the kind that keeps the illusion going for a long while before showing his true character. So imagine how surprised I was when I discovered that the roles might not be so clear as they seemed and when the story turned into a real action movie! And no, I’m not exaggerating. One evening, when I was browsing Netflix for something interesting to watch, I remembered that there was a movie or a TV series that I didn’t finish yet and kept me hooked. It took me a few seconds to realize that what I was actually thinking about was the book I was reading and not a screenplay! But the whole story turns into a movie in your mind and trust me, in a very good one!

In the same time, the fact that the book is so visual, it means that somehow, it doesn’t have as much depth as other books. The accent goes more on the action, on the details that create visual scenes instead of the characters motivations. Yes, we do know something about the heroine’s reasons, but no other characters’ motives are really exploited. Not the bad ones, not the good ones either. We just get some very general ideas, like love or egocentrism, care for the family members, an abnormal wish for control or revenge and that’s pretty much all. Because of that, the secondary characters look more like chess pawns, moving on the board automatically, along with the heroine and not because of their own will.

But overall, The Third Mrs. Durst is a quick, easy and full of adrenaline read and I doubt the readers will have any complaints. It keeps you hooked and curious to find out what other crazy turn things will take and leaves you with a satisfied smile when you turn the last page.

Publicat în Carissa Ann Lynch

Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Synopsis:

Lily’s gone.

Someone took her.

Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

Review:

Now thiiiiis was what I call a perfect thriller! I finished this book in just two sessions and the only reason I took that break between them was that I needed to catch a few hours of sleep before going to work. I honestly hadn’t have a single clue of what the hell was really going on until the big reveal from the end. Usually, even if you’re maybe mistaken, you at least suspect a character or another of being the bad guy, the one that organized the whole crime or kidnapping. Contrarily to most of the thrillers or detective stories, where almost all the characters might give you at some point the impression that they are guilty, in Without A Trace, nothing seems to link properly in order for you to honestly suspect any of them. All of them seem, if not likeable, at least innocent enough and incapable of doing the amount of harm that seems that was done. Even after I finished the book, I still needed some time to digest what I just read, to absorb how wrong I’ve been while going through the story.

Another thing that surprised me was how little I cared about each character, despite of how captivated I was by the story itself. I did not relate to any of the characters, I didn’t feel that the insight that the author gives is enough to make the reader connect to the characters. Most of them look more like sketches instead of full, complete portraits. Despite this, the whole plot is so twisted and surprising that I haven’t felt the need to know them deeper.

Even the rhythm of the storyline is accentuating the addiction that you grow for this book. It jumps from a few slow paced chapters to old memories that might seem useless at that certain moment, only to fall into a sudden waterfall of events that takes you rolling down without any warnings.

Without saying this in a negative way, I have a feeling that Without A Trace might be that kind of book that you’ll forget pretty soon after you finish it. You know how some stories just don’t last long in your memory, that all the details get blurry and disappear after a very short time? But what does stay in your mind is the awesome feeling that you had while reading it and the excited alarms that start in your brain whenever you’ll see the title or the cover on a library’s shelf. And sometimes, that’s all you need from a book: a few hours of excitement and the deceiving lie that we always use on those late nights when we’re so caught up in a story „I’ll just finish this page and then sleep”. We all know how that works…