Mini Review… Wednesday?

Well guys, it’s not Monday but at least these reviews are getting posted! I have two fantastic crime fiction novels to talk about today; each is completely different from the other, so I’m hoping there will be a recommendation for everyone between the two. One is the latest psychological thriller from Tom Bale following a single mother, her seven year old son, and one poor decision that will wreck her life as she knows it. The other follows a detective from Chicago who is secretly battling MS and raising her niece as a single woman while trying to solve a seemingly simple case that is much more complex than originally suspected. I highly enjoyed both and hope you’ll give them an extra glance and possibly a place on the ever growing MOUNT TBR. 😉

Book Title: Each Little Lie
Author: Tom Bale
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 07/29/17

One split second can destroy your life forever

Single mother Jen Cornish is just trying to hold things together for the sake of her seven-year-old son Charlie. Until the day when she does an impulsive good deed to help a neighbour, setting off a terrifying chain of events that quickly spirals out of control… When she is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, Jen quickly starts to wonder if someone is playing a cruel game with her – or is she losing her mind? Desperate to clear her name with the police, she must first untangle a chilling web of lies. But someone is watching her every move – and it isn’t just Jen who is in danger.

They’re watching her child as well.

It’s safe to say I was hooked on this story from beginning to end. I have seen lots of reviewers who were wary of the premise; how could anyone in their right mind enter someone else’s house to return their lost keys and think that was the best idea? I’m going to touch on that below, but needless to say since this is fiction, if you can suspend your need for a realistic catalyst, I think you’ll enjoy this story as well. One of my favorite attributes to Bale as an author is how, as a man, he can write such relatable female characters. In each book of his that I’ve read I feel as though he has taken some of my darkest fears and deepest worries as a parent and brought them to life; this could be due to the fact that he was, for a time, a stay at home parent himself and fully involved in child rearing. I always find the tiny details he places in his stories of various emotions and fierce protection of the mothers he creates to be what has placed him in my circle of favorite authors.

I really want to stay away from talking about the plot, but I did want to mention that yes, the premise here is quite out there for most folks. What really got me thinking though was how quick we are to judge what other’s do without thinking of how we might act under similar circumstances. I began pondering how, as a mother of two small ones, I am constantly exhausted and walking around in this state that is relatable to the people in the Claritin commercials before they pull that blurry film off and get to be “Claritin Clear”. I have done more than my fair share of stupid things solely under the umbrella of being depleted. Our main character Jen is a single mother strapped with more anxiety and stress than any one person should shoulder, but unfortunately is rather common these days. Long story short, this train of thought is what initially caused myself to stop and dig deep to feel for this poor woman.

Overall I was really pleased with this one; it was very different from his previous novels I’ve read, but I feel Bale did a fantastic job crafting this slow burning suspense with heightened emotion. If you enjoy your crime fiction focused more on the characters than high action, you may want to give this a go.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.

Book Title: The Lies We Tell
Author: Theresa Schwegel
Series: None (BUT PLEASE?!?!?!)
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Pub Date: 07/04/17

Chicago police detective Gina Simonetti is keeping a secret from the department: she has multiple sclerosis. Raising her young niece on her own, Gina hides her disease; she can’t afford to lose her job. Anyway, she is healthier than most of the cops she knows, and greatly appreciates the responsibility of caring for a child.

But Gina’s secret is threatened when a colleague calls her in to help trace a suspect: Johnny Marble has added to his rap sheet with an assault charge—this time against his mother. When Gina pays a visit to the mom in the hospital and winds up running into—and after—Marble, she finds herself in a physical confrontation she can’t possibly win. He gets away, and Gina is faced with an impossible situation. She has to find him, but knows doing so means turning in the one person who knows the true story of what happened. After all, now that he’s seen her fight, Johnny Marble can reveal her deepest secret to the police department.

Though alone in her struggle, Gina isn’t alone in her search: in addition to a loyal partner, there is a curious detective and an entire force of coworkers on the hunt. And she’s sympathetic to Marble’s mother, a woman who is losing her mind to Alzheimer’s. Still, Gina fears the fallout: she has no idea how will she keep her own world intact once Marble is found and the truth is out.

When I received this one in the mail from Minotaur last month I was mildly intrigued; Schwegel was a new to me author but the blurb on the back caught my attention featuring a main character with MS. I’m always looking for diversity in my books and, up until this book, had yet to read one highlighting the disease and what it looks like. I was incredibly pleased with this book; I truly wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did and had a hard time putting it down when trivial things like “food” and “potty breaks” were necessary. While the writer’s style is completely her own and hard to pin point who it reminds me of, I think this story held an air of that same dry humor used by Harlan Coben and the strong, independent females featured by Alafair Burke. That should be enough to sell you on reading this one alone, right?

As I said above, I was utterly compelled to read this novel as quickly as possible. I loved everything about it; the lifelike characters, the complex relationships, the multi-layered plot and twists, they were all pieces to make this read exactly what it should be-gritty perfection. I was so on board with this book and these characters that I was shocked to find out this is a standalone. You mean to tell me I won’t be seeing these fabulous characters again? I don’t want to imply that there wasn’t closure, simply that the author left many things available to be furthered and the entire structure of the novel felt like a set up for a long running police procedural/crime fiction series. How about the author furthers this into a series and I give you all of my money Minotaur? Quietly chants-series, series SERIES! In all seriousness this was one of the best police procedurals I’ve read this year and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. Highly recommended to all readers who like fast action and relatable characters with a side of witty humor!

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my thoughts here. 


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