Mini Review Monday: 7/31

Welcome to another Mini Review Monday, and one that is actually occurring on a Monday! 😉 Last week we had 5 days of riding in the car while we traveled, so I was able to get a good number of books read. I’m pleased to say I really enjoyed both that I’ll be reviewing today; one is an emotional mystery surrounding the trauma of PTSD and it effects on everyone around them, and the other was the second book in a police procedural crime fiction series that I’ve really taken to set in Minnesota. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on both and perhaps find a new book or two to add to your personal TBR!

Book Title: The Truth We Bury
Author: Barbara Taylor Sissel
Series: None
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Drama, Families
Pub Date: 07/25/17

On the outside, Lily Isley’s life seems perfect: a wealthy husband, a ritzy gated community in Dallas, and a handsome son, AJ—a decorated marine about to be married to his love, Shea. But when a bridesmaid is murdered in AJ’s apartment and he can’t be found, Lily’s world collapses and a long-held family secret is at risk of exposure.

Dru Gallagher’s life took a different course. After her ex-husband, suffering from post-traumatic stress, threatened her and her daughter, Shea, with a shotgun, Dru was forced to leave her marriage and forge ahead as a working-class single mom. Now, the anger she sees in war veteran AJ’s eyes is heartbreakingly familiar—and makes Dru deeply afraid for her daughter’s safety…especially after Shea’s best friend and maid of honor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and time running out, Lily and Dru, two very different women, unite in a single goal: to save their precious children from scandal, even from death. But will the mothers’ protection be enough, or will the fateful secret they expose—and the truth it reveals—destroy every hope of love?

This story is narrated from the perspective of two mothers, Lily and Dru, each having a child marrying the other’s. Lily’s son A.J. is a military hero and Dru’s daughter Shea has experienced a tough life as the child of a single mother with an abusive father. While this story may seem predictable to some readers, perhaps even done over many times before, I felt that aspect didn’t detract from my journey with these characters. There was a comfort and familiarity with Sissel’s writing, and I was so pleased to see the hard topic of PTSD brought to light in this novel. As the story progresses and we try to determine just what happened to Shea’s maid of honor, the ugliness and heartache surrounding those who return from the horrors of war is brought to light in a way that I simply couldn’t ignore. While the story was, at times, heartbreaking and heavy, The Truth We Bury maintained a hopeful and uplifting message that we all could stand to experience many times over. Highly recommended to those looking for an emotional read that portrays some timely issues that the reader will ponder long after that final page is turned.

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

Book Title: Shadow Girl
Author: Gerry Schmitt
Series: Afton Tangler #2
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Pub Date: 08/01/17

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree… 

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again and succeeds in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person and she s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

Once again, this is another book where I don’t want to discuss the plot due to spoilers and all that jazz, but I was once again blown away and think I’ve found a new series to follow! Afton Tangler is different than many female protagonists we see in crime fiction, specifically police procedurals; most books tend to feature females who are either calloused and unfeeling or emotionally fragile. Here, we see an equal balance of both, which gives her a realistic, human touch. Afton is a character I have easily connected with; the feeling I get when reading her stories is that equal to finding a friend and wondering how you can be this close when you’ve only known each other for a few days. Basically, Afton+Chelsea=BFFS.

This book also felt unique by how the atmosphere and writing style was much different than in book one. Where Little Girl Gone was a traditional, contemporary police procedural, Shadow Girl added an air of “nordic noir” which gave it an extra dark, heavy presence. I’m always amazed when I find an author who can change up their writing style to keep each book in their series fresh and in demand, and I have definitely found this in the Afton Tangler series. If you enjoy crime fiction set in the US, give these books a go! I will say that this is a series where I would recommend starting in the beginning and not jumping in with book two; while there aren’t any huge spoilers you’d be missing, the character development alone is worth going back and experiencing the books in order. Highly recommended!

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

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