Review: Things We Have In Common

Book Title: Things We Have In Common
Author: Tasha Kavanagh
Reviewed By: Mary
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, YA, Mystery

Date Read: 03/20/17
Pub Date: 01/31/17

3.5 STARS

 

Reader beware: You’ll think you know what’s happening, and you’ll think you see what’s coming next… But you’ll be very, very wrong.

Fifteen-year-old Yasmin Doner is a social misfit—obese, obsessive and deemed a freak by her peers at school. With her father dead and her mother in a new relationship, Yasmin yearns for a sense of belonging, finding comfort only in food and the fantasy of being close to Alice Taylor, a girl at school. Yasmin will do anything to become friends with pretty and popular Alice—even if Alice, like everyone else, thinks she’s a freak.

When Yasmin notices a sinister-looking man watching Alice from the school fence, she sees a way of finally winning Alice’s affection—because how this stranger is staring is far more than just looking, it’s wanting. Because this stranger, Yasmin believes, is going to take Alice. Yasmin decides to find out more about this man so that when he does take Alice, Yasmin will be the only one who knows his name and where he lives…the only one who can save her.

But as Yasmin discovers more about him, her affections begin to shift. Perhaps she was wrong about him. Perhaps she doesn’t need Alice after all.

And then Alice vanishes.

Being a teenager is hard. It was a whole lifetime ago and I still remember how hard it was and I had a relatively easy go of it. Every fleeting drama with your friends feels like the end of the world. The hormones, the crushes, the pressures of school, the crushes, thinking about college, the crushes, it was madness and we didn’t even have cell phones! I cannot even imagine being a teenager in the age of social media. #TooMuchPressure I’m breaking out just thinking about it. It’s a lot to handle for an average, mostly well-adjusted teenager.

Yasmin Doner is not your average teenager. Aside from being overweight as a result of her grief from the death of her father, Yasmin is rather socially inept. When she feels uncomfortable or gets stuck in a train of thought she whispers to herself. It doesn’t help her social status in the slightest. While Yasmin certainly doesn’t enjoy being called a freak or a fatty, it’s hurtful and lonely; she’s grown accustomed to such cruel behavior from her peers. As a coping mechanism Yasmin retreats within herself and fantasizes. She fantasizes about being thin and popular or at least having one special person with which to share her hopes and dreams, secrets, fears and more than anything, time.

But those fantasies turn to obsession when it comes to her classmate Alice. Alice embodies everything Yasmin wants, she’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s a gifted artist, she’s popular, she’s effortless, in Yasmin’s eyes, Alice is perfection. When Yasmin sees Alice being watched by a predatory older man, she knows his intentions are sinister. She knows, because she recognizes the desire to encompass the perfection, to hold it, to have it. But in the end…no one is perfect.

THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON does a wonderful job at giving the reader an outside looking in perspective. Allowing the reader to see things through Yasmin’s eyes, watching as she distorts reality so that it becomes what she needs it to be in that moment is an eerie experience. I went from feeling pity, to befuddlement, to concern, to fear in the span of 2 pages. The range of emotions this character feels all at once are dizzying. Loneliness, sadness, disappointment and despair, then changes to delusion, elation and hope in a whisper.

As Yasmin’s lies and half truths start revealing themselves, the ability to change her emotions based on her interpretation of reality becomes a survival tactic, as well as a way to protect her ever evolving fantasies, without which she would come undone entirely.

I give THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON 3.5 stars. It’s a fast, compelling read that gives a chilling look into the mind of a very misguided, if not sociopathic young girl. While the suspense level lays low in this one, the creep factor is ever present in the peculiarity of the main character. It pairs well with a bottle of Murphy-Goode Cabernet and a walk down memory lane to visit your teenage self.

*Many thanks to the author and publisher for my copy; it was a pleasure to provide an honest review.

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Review: A Twist of the Knife

Book Title: A Twist of the Knife
Author: Becky Masterman
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Brigid Quinn #3
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Goodreads

Date Read: 03/18/17
Pub Date: 03/21/17

4 STARS


Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, now happily settled in Tucson, doesn’t go back to visit her family in Florida much. But her former partner Laura Coleman, whose life she has saved and who saved her life, is living there now. When Laura calls about a case that is not going well, Brigid doesn’t hesitate to get on a plane.

On leave from the Bureau, Laura has been volunteering for a legal group that is trying to prove the innocence of a man who is on death row for killing his family. Laura is firmly convinced that he didn’t do it, while Brigid isn’t so sure—but the date for his execution is coming up so quickly that she shares Laura’s fear that any evidence absolving him from the crime may come too late.

For those new to the series, you need to know something; Brigid Quinn is one hard core senior citizen. Basically, because I’m an old soul, she’s my spirit animal and I connected well with her right from book one. Who doesn’t like to go hunting for peculiar stones and snuggle their pet pugs during retirement? We’ve followed Quinn from her first moments in being dragged out of retirement from the FBI (Book #1), to taking down a silent killer (Book #2), and now on to assisting in the case of a death row inmate. I had no idea what to expect this go around, as the third book in a series tends to be the “make or break” point on whether I’ll continue to put in the time and effort to carry on reading, but I’m really pleased with the direction Masterman chose to go here. Also, is it coincidence that autocorrect keeps trying to change Masterman to Mastermind? I think not.

“Revenge, Revenge,
See the furies arise.”
-John Dryden

 We lead off in the prologue witnessing a man being executed on death row via the electric chair in the 1980’s. One of the things I love about the author is how she puts so much careful consideration into making sure her descriptions of procedures via law enforcement are detailed and as accurate as possible. This was a chilling scene; I felt like I was in the room watching alongside young Brigid and got a glimpse of one tiny fracture in the full blown chasm that has shaped who she became. In fact, the first half of the book is mostly dedicated to personal characterization of Brigid and her immediate family. There isn’t a lot of action during this section; we are introduced to the case she will be helping on and are able to catch up on how Laura Coleman (remember her from Rage Against the Dying?) is healing from the trauma she previously faced alongside Quinn. We are mainly focused on Brigid’s private life, something we haven’t been privy to much of in the past; her father is very ill and she travels over to Florida to visit, which happens to be where the case is concerning the death row inmate petitioning for a stay of execution. Two birds with one stone, right?

“Sentences weren’t as stiff in the nineties for that kind of thing, and the guy would have gotten out of jail in another two years if he hadn’t died. I’m sure you’ve already heard what happens to child molesters in prison. So I know what you can do with fingerprints to convict a guy. That’s me, and that deed I did once was not lawful but it was righteous. I bet you would have done it, too. Right?
PS: I followed the life of the daughter, and she’s okay. She’s okay.”

 The above describes Brigid to a T. She is ruthless, devouring anything deemed evil in her path, while ironically could be called evil herself. She’s so concerned about getting the proper outcome she’ll do it by any means necessary. This is no surprise for those who have read the series up until this point; we know of her past transgressions and what she’s capable of, but this book let’s us in to see a whole new side of Brigid, one that’s frankly a little terrifying and haunting. While the pacing was slow up until about the 50% point, I think it was necessary to give us that deeper insight into Quinn and understanding her and why everyone in her family is so hard. I also loved the parallels between Brigid and Laura that show how we can watch someone start down the same path we went and what lengths we’ll go to protect them from the same outcomes.

If you enjoyed Quinn’s snarky attitude and potty mouth before, don’t worry, it’s still evident here. I spent most of my time reading this one on the elliptical and I swear people think I have some weird snorting disease. Yes I can’t seem to make myself go to the gym unless I’m reading, sue me. I missed having her husband Carlos being a central focus of the book, but I understand why he had to take a backseat in this installment to let Brigid shine on her own. There was definitely a more intimate feel to this book than the previous two; the focus wasn’t on the action and the individual case, so it gave it a tender and heartfelt atmosphere. If you have been following the series and waiting for the book that contains more backstory into Brigid, this is it baby. I can’t wait to hear what other’s think of this one. I feel if people keep an open mind and appreciate this for what it is, an insight necessary into connecting deeper with Brigid Quinn and her crew, they will enjoy savoring this book and be very pleased with their new understanding of our retired heroine.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a delight to post my honest thoughts in a review here.

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Review: Follow Me Down

Book Title: Follow Me Down
Author: Sherri Smith
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Goodreads

Date Read: 03/20/17
Pub Date: 03/21/17

 

Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the North Dakota town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their small town, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his high school students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect.

All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run?

As Mia reevaluates their difficult, shared history and launches her own investigation into the grisly murder, she uncovers secrets that could exonerate Lucas—or seal his fate. In a small town where everyone’s history is intertwined, Mia will be forced to confront her own demons, placing her right in the killer’s crosshairs.

I’m fully confident this will be one of the most talked about book of the Spring 2017 season, and why shouldn’t it be? It was a deliciously compulsive read, has an attention grabbing cover, and even the title hints at dragging us down the rabbit hole of deceit and despair alongside the characters. It’s almost as if it taunts the reader to come along for the ride, if you dare. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love dark and twisty psychological thrillers, yet it’s been really hard to find ones that tickle my fancy since the Gone Girl frenzy of the 2010’s. RIP unique and original books. While I cringe at even making this comparison, I must admit this book is the first in awhile to give me the same feeling I received when stumbling upon Gone Girl many years ago. The plot is entirely different; it had that dark feeling of spiraling down a funnel where you start out slow and steady on the wide brim and gain momentum as you draw closer to the grand finale. I love stories that are structured this way and think they are a staple in suspense fiction; while it seems mostly police procedurals are tailored this way, I found it refreshing to happen across the formatting in Follow Me Down without all the cumbersome details from the law enforcement side of things.

“The past was crammed down your throat everywhere you turned here; you could never escape it.”

The entire premise and plot surrounding this story is dark. The characters are unlikeable and there are copious amounts of drinking alongside the recreational use of prescription drugs. Without getting spoilery, there are dark subjects riddled throughout this book from just about every angle imaginable. My point is, many times I just can’t connect with a book that has so many unlikable and heavy aspects; most books that sound similar from the points mentioned above I have ended up not finishing due to the distracting nature of being bombarded with so many unpleasant details. Not so with this book! Even though she was flawed and highly irritating at times, I found myself cheering Mia on in the search for answers regarding her brother and poor Joanna. Smith infused just enough snarky attitude and dark humor into the narrative to lighten the mood where I could fully relax into this mid-western world that almost featured a noir-like atmosphere. I think Mia was purposefully written this way to give her flesh and bones, allowing her to come alive and walk alongside us instead of just sitting as another two-dimensional wilting flower we want to throw a book at. Maybe also a shoe. My point is, these characters are massively flawed and highly dysfunctional and all my dark tingly recesses LOVED IT.

 “Mimi would go around, ice clinking in her glass, saying she was estranged from her family, drawing out the word “estranged” like it was a sophisticated, glittery term.”

I completely and unashamedly adored Mimi’s character! I know she was rotten and all kinds of screwed up (and clearly a full on narcissist as gleaned from above), but there’s something refreshing about a character who takes her issues and plays them up for the sheer drama of it all. While there is the overall big mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lucas, there were tiny nugget mysteries as well surrounding Mia’s mother, Mimi, and the question of who the twin’s father really is. I’ve always enjoyed novels that contain a family tree of secrets, so when this one revealed itself as such, in part, I became elated at the possibilities of the who’s, the why’s, and how it would pertain to the bigger picture. I really enjoyed how everything wrapped up in the end; the major questions were answered, but things were left a little messy in places and everything wasn’t magically fixed to perfection.

Again, I truly believe we’ll be hearing lots of buzz surrounding this debut throughout 2017. What more do you need besides an endorsement from both Chevy Stevens and Diane Chamberlain on the front cover? I’d highly recommend this to fans of the psychological thriller; this truly had the feel of a classic whodunnit while adding in fresh, modern, and unique traits to separate it from the traditional suspense novels that are being touted left and right. I want to emphasize that while there are twists and turns, the brilliance of this novel isn’t based on a single plot element; this was a well rounded read that is fully capable of standing on it’s own without being compared to other books or marketed as the next (fill in the blank). The cover only begins to touch at how haunting and disturbing of a read this was; you’ll want to go ahead and snag your copy to discuss with your friends so you aren’t the last one in on what a highly delectable book this was.

*Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing my copy; it was a delight to review my honest thoughts on my blog. 

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Review: The Cutaway

Book Title: The Cutaway
Author: Christina Kovac
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Goodreads

Date Read: 03/16/17
Pub Date: 03/21/17

4 STARS

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

I kept questioning why I was holding off on reading this one; I’ve had it on my shelf since November and it kept feeling like it just wasn’t the right time to read it. Now I know why; somehow my subconscious knew I needed to push pause until after we moved to Virginia! Come to find out, I’m practically neighbors with the author and I couldn’t have been more pleased to read a novel set in my new surroundings of D.C. I think the timing was everything; the setting in this book was like an entirely real, additional character and completely enhanced my reading experience. It’s clear from early on in the story that Kovac has in depth knowledge of the world of journalism; the flow and attention to detail made this a crucial read for my spring list.

“Be careful what your eyes take in. What you see becomes a part of you.”

I honestly wasn’t sure what to think of The Cutaway before going in; it had been ages since I’d read a book from a journalist’s point of view which made this a unique and eye-opening experience. This had the feel of a police procedural but with fresh eyes. There weren’t as many details from the law enforcement side, and while the pacing was a slow burn, it was filled with a sense of urgency and efficiency that can only come from a hectic newsroom constantly on deadline. We get a peak into not only what goes in to running such a busy joint, but much of the heart behind what makes a journalist tick. I found myself thinking how we tend to label most new reporters as “ravenous, hungry, and unscrupulous”, but this gave me fresh eyes on what drives these professionals to get the latest scoop and help law enforcement in solving some really tough cases.

I rather enjoyed Virginia as our lead; she’s a bit of a mystery for the first half of the book. Some readers have claimed this made her difficult to connect with until it was too late, but I didn’t find this to be an issue. She’s a strong, capable, independent woman who knows what she wants and gets it. I found this to be an attractive quality in the midst of all the weeping willows and damsel in distress types we typically find in suspense novels today. I can’t say I was swayed by the small amount of romance either way; it was nice having a bit thrown in but it wasn’t by any means a large part of the narrative. The key to the characterization here was really more in the occupations than the people themselves, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I figured out a few pieces of the ending, but I never had it all correct and was excited when all the details were finally revealed. This was the type of story that felt like comfort food; while it wasn’t flashy or riddled with outrageous twists and turns, it was highly enjoyable and one I didn’t feel inclined to rush through. The satisfaction is in the fine details here, and while it wasn’t a light and fluffy read, it did give me some of that same feeling of easy consumption that I crave between the really gory, gritty thrillers. I can easily see folks wanting to bring this story along on vacation or curling up by the fire with a cup of your favorite beverage; wherever you choose to read it you’ll want to snag your copy as quickly as possible to have at the ready.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a delight to review it on the blog!

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St. Martin’s Surprise!

Since moving for my husband’s job back in February I’ve been struggling to get used to the new mail delivery schedule. Back in Georgia, our USPS arrived in the morning and most packages were delivered via UPS or FedEx by 3pm at the latest. I was so excited to find a copy of It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell on my door that I didn’t even register the giant box below it. Mr. Humphrey was expecting a work package so I didn’t even check the label. Right before bed he came in and said “So what’s in your giant package downstairs?!” I rushed down and opened it; to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement! Here’s what was inside:

Exciting right?! This is clever marketing right here. The reason I have 4 copies is because the wonderful Katie and Jessica had a copy on the way for me to review and I think it’s magical that both packages arrived on the same day. What am I going to do with 4 copies of the same book you ask? Well, the letter inside suggests a ladies night bookclub to share the snacks and wine with, but I’m also toying with the idea of a giveaway on the blog. I’ll keep everyone posted and can’t wait to read what sounds to be St. Martin’s most buzz worthy suspense novel of 2017!

 

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Review: Unwind

Book Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Unwind #1
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Goodreads

Date Read: 03/13/17
Pub Date (Reissue): 06/02/09

5 STARS


In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called “unwinding.” Unwinding ensures that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child’s body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

I’ve been letting this book process in my mind for many days now and I still don’t know where to start. This is an older book, one that has been held in highest regards by many for almost a decade now, so whenever I read a book like this I feel awkward and useless writing a review. What could I possibly say to do this book justice that hasn’t been said yet? I’m not even sure there are words to describe just how undone this book made me feel. It’s rare that I find myself emotionally involved in a book these days; I mainly read mystery/thrillers or YA sci-fi/fantasy and neither of those genres tend to hold deep, moving stories of this kind. The only way I know to describe how this book made me feel is that it wormed it’s way so deep inside my body that it touched my soul. My brain felt so jumbled it didn’t know whether I should cry, vomit, or give a standing ovation, so it just kind of snorted. If you read the tiny blurb above then you know that there isn’t much given away of what this book really is, other than touching on the fact that it’s premise is truly horrifying. While I’m not planning on giving away any major spoilers or plot points, if you’re wanting to go in completely blind, I recommend stopping right here and grabbing the book. If you are wanting to get a little more of a feel of what this is before you dive in, keep reading on.

” The Bill of Life”

The Second Civil War, also known as “The Heartland War,” was a long and bloody conflict fought over a single issue.

To end the war, a set of constitutional amendments known as “The Bill of Life” was passed.

It satisfied both the Pro-life and the Pro-choice armies.

The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen.

However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively “abort” a child…

… on the condition that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end.

The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called “unwinding.”

Unwinding is now a common and accepted practice in society.

 Wow. It’s a little hard to swallow, yes? When I initially saw this page I thought “Geez, a little dramatic. I’m not sure how he’s going to make this seem realistic, but I’ll follow along and keep an open mind.” He made it realistic people. When I think of how utterly disturbing an “unwinding” would be, I found myself riddled with all types of questions. What happens in an unwinding? Will we be privy to a procedure? Is this going to be highly graphic and full of blood and guts? How is this being marketed as a YA novel? This book is recommended for ages 12 & up. Here’s what I found out after reading this book; yes, we find out what happens specifically in an unwinding and are privy to one, but just one, and it is highly disturbing in the most subtle way. What surprised me the most though was the lack of graphic violence (aside from one major scene near the end). The reason this book is so utterly brilliant is due to the fact that the author has left most of the highly disturbing factors vague; he knew for each reader, what would move us the most, would be different and has given us the opportunity to let our imagination carry us where he couldn’t take us with too much structure and detail.

“I was never going to amount to much anyway, but now, statistically speaking, there’s a better chance that some part of me will go on to greatness somewhere in the world. I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”
-Samson Ward

 This book is structured so well; it has all the elements of a complex, highly intelligent read while also being written in a way that is easy for anyone to connect with and understand. The story is divided into seven parts, each told from multiple views, but mainly from three. Connor is a trouble maker from Akron, OH that becomes AWOL while running away from his impending unwinding. Risa is a ward of the state and is set to be unwound due to the lack of space in the institutions housing orphans. She is a musician but not deemed talented enough to be considered cost effective in keeping around. Lev is a tithe; these are children conceived and raised specifically to be unwound once they reach the age of thirteen. These three lines converge at a specific event and begin what I like to consider the first part of our journey. I won’t give away anything else, but we ride lots of ups and downs with these folks. The ending was satisfying in the sense that it clearly is left with the assumption of a series following, but there isn’t a giant cliff hanger where you feel pressured to pick up the next book immediately. In fact, I’ve seen most people choose to read this as a standalone and not continue on. Either way, this is a book that is worth your time; it’s far from your typical, sometimes flimsy YA novel. There was actually a good bit of “real life” research that went into this story; Shusterman found various news articles surrounding stem cell research that helped form a base for his fictional story to be crafted around. I know this because I took the time to look up each link he provided and, by George, they are real! And horrifying!

 “You can’t change laws without first changing human nature.”
-Nurse Greta

“You can’t change human nature without first changing the law.”
-Nurse Yvonne

Words can’t convey how important this novel is. Yes, it’s highly disturbing, horrifying, and a place our mind doesn’t even want to venture to, but this book touched on so many issues in our current state of affairs world wide and is surprisingly still relevant after nearly ten years. Stem Cell Research, Cellular Memory, Reproductive Rights, the afterlife, faith, and morals; it’s all discussed in this book. I found myself constantly pondering all of the above and how it relates to humanity. As a parent, this was a hard book to stomach. It brought an all-too-real sense of terror over me that I couldn’t shake, and still haven’t. The Roland scene was one where I had to put the book down, wipe the tears from my eyes, and process before I could continue on to finish. The reason this book can even have the potential of being beloved by so many is this: amidst all the horror and unspeakable evil the plot is founded on, there is a constant glimmer of hope in the horizon. It’s a beautiful thing folks. Change. Community. Forgiveness. It’s all there, and that’s why I’m going to recommend this book to literally everyone I come in contact with. I could ramble on for weeks about this book, but I think it would be better if you just read it for yourself. I’m also planning on continuing the series, so I’ll try to provide insight into whether or not it’s worth investing in the long haul or just soaking up this treasure by itself.

*I’d like to thank The Literary Box for providing my copy; it was an absolute pleasure to return an honest review.

*In case you missed it, you can find my full review and unboxing of the subscription this book was included in HERE!

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Review: The Lost Woman

Book Title: The Lost Woman
Author: Sara Blaedel
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Louise Rick #6
Genres: Crime Fiction, Nordic Noir, Mystery, Suspense
Goodreads

Date Read: 02/07/17
Pub Date: 03/10/17

3.5 STARS


A housewife is the target of a shocking, methodical killing.

Shot with a hunting rifle through her kitchen window, the woman is dead before she hits the ground. Though murdered in England, it turns out that the woman, Sofie Parker, is a Danish citizen–one who’s been missing for almost two decades–so Louise Rick is called on to the case.

Then the police discover that the woman, Sophie, had been reported missing eighteen years ago by none other than Eik, Louise Rick’s police colleague and lover. Impulsive as ever, Eik rushes to England, and ends up in jail on suspicion of Sofie’s murder. Unsettled by the connection, and sick with worry for Eik, it falls to Louise to find the killer in what will become her most controversial case yet…

I haven’t seen much in the way of the original series covers, but the book jackets for Sara Blaedel’s US books are fantastic. They draw you right in and have a clean feeling that is extremely appealing to the eye, while also containing fantastic stories inside that have you hooked throughout. Blaedel is a pro at not only including a fantastic case (usually some form of murder mystery or missing persons event) but drawing you in with her reoccurring characters and their personal lives as well. While I believe this is her most gorgeous cover to date and this entry had a lot of things going for it, The Lost Woman wasn’t quite up to par with what I have come to expect from a Louise Rick book.

Once again, the author has created an atmospheric and almost cinematic backdrop for our story; it’s one of the things I love most about reading her books. I always feel like I’m immediately consumed by another world, and there is always a dark and heavy oppression that is commonly felt with these nordic noir novels. I was lucky enough to have a chunk of time to pick this up while my kids napped on a day with nasty weather; talk about a perfect time to read noir! Three hours later, my kids were waking up and I had finished the entire book. I can’t speak for everyone, but my problems did not lie within the pacing or the ability to hold my attention throughout.

If you are a fan of the series, you will likely still find these components in tact and enjoy the comfort and familiarity of Louise as a professional, but my problems mainly stemmed from her relationship with Eik. I found many of the same issues with this section as my friend Melissa (find her review HERE), mainly in the lack of credibility given to L & E’s relationship and the issues that arise. Here we have a couple who the author has slowly brought together and are currently in a happy, healthy relationship. After a turn of events in this book however, it made me wonder how happy and healthy it truly could be after the actions and reactions surrounding their personal relationship here. I understand people hide secrets and that some books focus on unearthing those, but that wasn’t the set up for this situation; it was more just a lack of communication between the two that felt, well… awkward.

The case and mystery surrounding “the lost woman” was fairly strong in my opinion, and while I felt the ending was slightly underwhelming, it was well written and riddled with emotion and some seriously thought-provoking content. Those with a trigger for things related to suicide may want to skip this one, although it’s not overly graphic as a topic. Even with the issues I had relating to this story, I still feel Blaedel is a strong author that I will continue to follow, as I love this series dearly and want to see where she takes it. Fans of the series will still find a comfortable familiarity with Louise in this book and will appreciate some of the loose ends from previous books being wrapped up. Overall, really glad I read this one and did enjoy it; I just wished for more dialogue between Louise and Eik (as Melissa mentioned above) and hope to see some sort of progression in their personal life moving forward.

*Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Abby @CrimeByTheBook for putting this one on my radar!

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