Book Title: Her Last Day
Author: T.R. Ragan
Series: Jessie Cole #1
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pub Date: 10/24/17
Ten years ago, PI Jessie Cole and reporter Ben Morrison each suffered a tragedy that changed their lives—and now these two strangers are about to share a nightmare.
For Jessie, who makes her living finding missing persons, no case has consumed her more than the disappearance of her younger sister, Sophie. But left alone to raise Sophie’s daughter, she realizes that solving the case has become an unhealthy obsession.
For Ben, a horrific car accident resulted in scars both physical and emotional—and amnesia that has made his life a mystery. But curiously, out of his shattered memories, there’s one person he recognizes without a doubt: Jessie’s sister. He just doesn’t know why. Yet.
But Sophie isn’t the only phantom drawing Jessie and Ben together. An elusive serial murderer known as the Heartless Killer has reemerged from the shadows. His next move will cut even deeper into Jessie’s worst fears. And for Ben, what happens this time is going to be unforgettable.
Oh, don’t mind me—I’m just trying to pick my jaw up from the floor as we speak. Her Last Day by TR Ragan is just a whirlwind of everything I love in an action-packed thriller. I’ve never read anything by TR Ragan before, but you have just earned yourself a new fan. Her Last Day is the beginning of Ragan’s Jessie Cole series, and can be compared to notable works like UNSUB by Meg Gardiner or the upcoming Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna. The story starts off with tragedy as private investigator Jessie Cole and crime reporter Ben Morrison both suffer major losses that will ultimately affect them in the future. Unbeknownst to either of the two, this tragic event will intertwine them forever. As Jessie juggles her life as a private investigator, she also has the responsibility of raising her niece Olivia, while also navigating her relationship/non-relationship with Colin who she’s shared a difficult past with. Set in Sacramento, California, the media is in a frenzy over this Heartless Killerthat nobody can seem to get any dirt on. Who is this killer? Why doesn’t he have a set pattern like other serial killers? And why does he get a kick out of torturing his victims in such vindictive, sadistic ways? As Jessie gets roped into a missing person’s case, Ben tries to get to the truth of their shared series of unfortunate events 10 years ago. Who would have thought everything has a connection?
I knew that I’d love Her Last Day from the moment I got to Chapter 2—SERIOUSLY! This book alternates through different plot twists and turns while not being too over the top for a 300-page read. We not only get into the perspective of this Heartless Killer, but we also see how these characters struggle through various levels of conflict. We see secondary and tertiary plot developments grow and hinder Jessie and Ben, while also providing a catalyst for the main overarching story. I think this is a type of read that you really need to go in blind to truly enjoy. It’s wickedly smart and super immerse and I guarantee that you’ll be on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Thank you Wunderbooks PR for my copy. It was a pleasure to read and review this story!
Book Title: Stillhouse Lake
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Stillhouse Lake #1
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 07/01/17
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.
Sometimes the hype can ruin a book for you (my review for The Chalk Man was less than stellar) and sometimes the hype can be right on the money. Well..with Stillhouse Lake IT WAS SPOT ON! I am so glad to confirm that the hype is real here folks! So, let’s dive in!
Have you ever wondered how people like Casey Anthony or anyone who’s been acquitted of a crime (although guilty by the court of public opinion) are able to hide in the shadows of society without being traced? Well, insert Gina Royal—stay-at-home mother, two kids, and a loving husband. That is, until one day when police arrest her and her husband after linking her husband, Melvin Royal to vicious and sadistic crimes sprouting out around the area. Melvin Royal is tried and convicted of the heinous crimes that were brought up against him. Gina however, is acquitted and maintains her innocence. The Internet was not havin’ it. As usual, trolls began to harass and torment Gina and her two kids so she goes under the grid. New identities, new lives, and a fresh start. Gina Royal is now Gwen Proctor and she does freelance work in her new home in rural Stillhouse Lake, Tennessee. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, Gwen can now rest assured that her family’s new start will be just what they need. It isn’t until dead bodies begin sprouting around town that Gwen starts to panic. As things begin to crumble, Gwen must do what it takes to protect her family at all costs.
Stillhouse Lake was a fantastic read, people! At first I was skeptical because it’s been hyped since its release this past summer and I really didn’t want to get my hopes up. It started a little slow for my liking and the chapters are off unbearably long at first, but as I kept reading I felt invigorated, worried, excited, and exasperated at the same time! How does that happen? Rachel Caine (real name Roxanne Longstreet Conrad) expertly pulls on the reader’s heartstrings without it being too over the top. You begin to fall in love with Gwen and her children, while still maintaining skepticism over what is really happening. That craft can’t just be pulled by anyone—that’s talent. As I kept reading, my questions grew while others were answered in inconspicuous ways. This isn’t the same ole generic thriller that you may think (i.e.: Jennifer Lopez’s Enough doesn’t hold a candle here). The book successfully builds on anticipation with a phenomenal ending. I’m ordering Killman Creek (the second book in this series) as we speak. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.