audioblurb · serial killer · suspense · thriller

Audiobook Review – Catch Me If You Dare (Jake Mathews #2)

Catch Me If You Dare

Book 2 in the Jake Mathews Series)

by Tobin Michael

Narrated by James Romick

Notorious mass murderer Max Baxter escapes from federal prison and has struck again. Three young women have gone missing from malls across the Midwest and are feared dead. But Max wants to play. He has challenged the best of the best, modern day United States Marshal Jake Mathews, to find and kill him within forty-eight hours or the girls die a horrible death. Deputy Mathews is plunged into a nightmare of treachery, violence and non-stop action until one of them is dead.

My Review

4/5 stars

Max Baxter is free, having escaped from prison. It’s no coincidence then that three women have disappeared too. Is the sociopathic serial killer up to his old tricks? Of course he is. But this time the stakes are higher still, since Mr Ego himself has challenged the country’s top Marshal to catch him before the women die.

Aided by his brother Frank, Max is convinced he has everything under control, and there is no way that Marshal Jake Mathews can catch him. The two men have history – and only one of them can survive this encounter.

Yet, he has seriously underestimated Jake, and not only him but the three women too. This is a fight to the end, with shocking twists at every turn.

The story alternates between Jake and Max as each man battles with his own desire to survive: Jake, so that he can save the women, and Max, so that he can kill them.

The women, too, are strong characters, brought to their knees at times, yet with such a desire to live that they find find an inner courage to keep going. Even Max’s brother, Frank, realises that helping Max escape from prison had not been his best decision.

Thrilling, tense and action-packed, the story is addictive, even more so because of the narrator, who has captured the essence of the suspense while not diminishing the emotional aspects the characters have to deal with.

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I received a free Arc in audiobook format and have reviewed this voluntarily.

 

As always,

 

 

Audiobook · medical thriller · serial killer

Audiobook Review – House Call

House Call

by Darden North, MD

Blurb

As young Dr. Knox Chamblee struggles to establish a medical practice in a southern town, both his social and professional conquests are derailed by a psychotic killer. In House Call no one connects the first victim, an attractive hospital nurse discovered floating in a bloody bathtub, to the near-frozen body of Dr. Cullen Gwinn, Chamblee’s mentor and chief proponent, found at the base of a deer stand. The primary police suspect is Dr. Aslyn Hawes, Chamblee’s female senior partner and overbearing nemesis, whose jealousy of the victims cloaks her in suspicion. In fact, Hawes resents virtually every non-patient resident of the town with the exception of the teenage ambulance driver who becomes a fixture in her Jacuzzi. That same young man sexually tempts Jay Rutledge, the conniving hospital administrator and the killer’s next target. As the murder investigation unfolds around him, Knox Chamblee evolves from potential suspect in the nurse’s murder to victim of a totally different crime – career sabotage due to reverse sexual discrimination. By squelching his own resentment and fulfilling his medical obligations, Dr. Chamblee overcomes his mentor’s death and the resulting career threat caused by a killer who has slaughtered out of mistaken identity.

Narrated by Michael Robbins

My Review

4/5 stars

From the start, this story demands your attention. As Dr Knox Chamblee takes up a position at an obstetrics/gynaecology practice, across town a young nurse is found brutally murdered in her home. Yet, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is just another police procedural. In facts, the individual stories of the doctors at the practice run alongside the police investigation. 

Most interestingly, the author delves into the harsh reality of the medical profession in the US, where the almighty dollar rules, and productivity is more important than ability when it comes to keeping your job, as Knox soon discovers.

More deaths occur, and we are kept wondering who the killer is and why is he murdering these medical professionals? The intertwining lives of the doctors continue to unravel, with secrets galore coming out of the woodwork. Not all of the doctors are likeable, and they strive to keep their messy, personal lives private from their colleagues. 

There are a lot of characters and side stories, and the switching of POV mid-chapter is a bit jarring as a listener; I was constantly waiting to put a name to the character after an abrupt change of scene. Some of these subplots slowed the story down, heavy as they were in detail. I imagine some of those scenes could have been removed easily without impacting the overall story. That said, the extra detail does mean that each character is well developed and fully fleshed-out, even if not all of their daily habits are necessary. 

The narrator does a good job at conveying the varied emotions experienced by these people giving them clear and distinct personalities, and the accent portrayed the right tone for the setting (as far as I can judge on that anyway – it came across “Southern” to me, 😉 but what do I know as a Brit?)

This is an entertaining murder-mystery story which highlights the strains of the medical practice and the professionals therein, mixing in political and social issues to further mirror reality.

About the Author

Darden North’s mystery and thriller novels have been awarded nationally, most notably an IPPY in Southern Fiction for “Points of Origin.”

“The Five Manners of Death” released June 15, 2017, joins his other novels “Wiggle Room,” “Fresh Frozen,” and “House Call.” Darden has served on author panels at writing conferences including Killer Nashville, Murder on the Menu, SIBA Thriller Author Panel, and Murder in the Magic City. To book Darden for a book club, book signing, or presentation contact: Darden@DardenNorth.com.

A board-certified obstetrician-gynaecologist practising at Jackson (MS) Healthcare for Women, Darden North is Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation and member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Mississippi Medical Association. He lives in Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife Sally and enjoys family, travel, and, outdoor activities. The Norths have two adult children, who also work in the medical field.

Darden invites his readers and friends to visit his author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DardenNorthA…

As always, 

Audiobook · book review · cosy · mystery · serial killer · series

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – Scarlet Oaks and the Serial Caller (with giveaway)

Audiobook Series Blog Tour: Scarlet Oaks Mystery Series by Michaela James

Author: Michaela James

Narrator: Kimberly M. Wetherell

Length: 10 hours 25 minutes

Series: Scarlet Oaks Cozy Mystery Series, Book 1

Publisher: LW Media Group Ltd.

Released: Nov. 9, 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Is it possible Scarlet Oaks, the reluctant new host of a men’s call-in show, inspired the first serial killer San Francisco’s seen in some 40 years? Struggling to pay the rent after her boyfriend’s sudden departure, continue her role as mediator in an unconventional family, and feed a micro pig who appears less micro by the day, Scarlet’s life is far from perfect. But when an eerie sounding caller is identified as the bay area’s latest serial killer, it appears her life will never be the same. With the killer continually calling into Scarlet’s show, while managing to stay one step ahead of the San Francisco police, Scarlet begins to fear she’s his next victim. Enlisting best friends Niles and Tom and their often-hilarious help, Scarlet sets out to find the elusive Serial Caller…before he finds her. Root for Scarlet during this heart-pounding and alternately humorous mystery thriller. Fall in love with unforgettable characters, recognize familiar family members, and hold on tight for an adrenaline-filled ride. If you’re a Stephanie Plum fan, make room for Scarlet Oaks! This is the first book in the Scarlet Oaks series.

Michaela lives near Reno, Nevada, where there are lovely walking trails and lots of sun. She was born and grew up in Hampshire, England, where there is less sun, but better chocolate! A professional voice over artist and the voice of a local radio station, Michaela enjoys watching great movies with her husband and grown sons, playing tennis and and drinking lots of tea.

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Narrator Bio A bright, versatile, broad-next-door type, Kimberly M. Wetherell is rapidly becoming a sought-after talent in the voiceover market, specializing in audiobooks, commercials, and animation. Kimberly has worn multiple hats in the entertainment industry for over 30 years. A graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, Kimberly has been an actor, a singer of musical theatre, director of both opera and film, and producer of opera, film, and most recently, commercials. She speaks French, Italian, and German (all thanks to her 15-year career in opera), and, as a lifelong lover of language, has a large catalogue of dialects and accents from around the world at the tip of her tongue. Equally active in the literary world, Kimberly is a published essayist and contributing editor of The Nervous Breakdown. She founded and hosted DISH, a monthly food & drink reading series at SoHo’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, as well as having hosted other reading series around NYC, such as NPR’s Dime Stories at Brooklyn’s Barbès and TNB’s Literary Experience at Chinatown’s Happy Endings. Voiceover artistry is the perfect marriage of her life’s two passions, and she couldn’t be happier with this new career pursuit.

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4/5 stars

As a fan of cosy mysteries, I had an inkling that I was going to enjoy this audiobook. I was right 😉

Firstly, what a great title – perfect for a cosy. It was off to a great start. Secondly, Scarlet is a DJ, now that’s original. Even more so when she’s taken off her successful Top 40 show and given a new slot hosting  “Mending Men”, a late-night show for men. Most have sporting stories and gripes to share, but occasionally a caller is looking for advice. Scarlet is well out of her comfort zone, and the building is an eerie place at midnight when she finishes her shift.  Thirdly, and here’s where the mystery kicks in – a caller with the slowest of slow drawl has a problem with his wife. He likes Scarlet’s suggestion, and calls back a few days later to thank her and let her know he is much happier now. Yeah! Read into that what you will; don’t dismiss him too easily. The narrator is fabulous, especially with this caller.

Outside of her job, Scarlet has a dysfunctional family whom she adores, but who bring a plethora of drama to her life. Her best friends are a marvellous gay couple who care a lot about her, and enjoy entertaining. But the absolute star of Scarlet’s household cavalry is Prudence her not-so-micro micro pig.

Back at work, Scarlet finds flowers on her car windscreen. The same flowers found at the scene of a murder. Are they connected? Is Scarlet in danger? When Stu, the slow drawl caller, rings again, his messages seems more threatening and infinitely personal. But as she hasn’t seen him, only ever heard his voice, she has nothing to go on in terms of tracking him down.

Until …it’s apparent that he has been watching her, and together with her friends she builds a picture of him. But the police can’t find him, and the man’s wife has been murdered. See! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

As New Year’s Eve approaches, Scarlet’s friends decide to hold a masquerade ball … Uh oh – you can see where this is going, right? Well, now might be the time to get the book and see if your hunches are correct 😉

This is a hugely entertaining story. The narrator, as I said previously, is wonderful. She injects great personality into the characters, and it’s very easy to follow …and get totally drawn in.
As the end approaches, there are some tense moments, but the resolution of the mystery falls a little flat in its delivery. Overall, though, a great story with highly likeable characters and plenty of scope for more mayhem. I’m ready for more from Scarlet Oaks. Bring it on!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Michaela James. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

Giveaway

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

The Scarlet Oaks Mystery Series Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

View the full 14-day schedule here

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Sign up as a tour host here.

As always,

book launch · cover reveal · DM Wolfenden · justice · psychological suspense · revenge · serial killer · short reads · short story

Book Launch – Joanna

Joanna

by DM Wolfenden

Well, hello, Sugar, my name is Joanna…
That’s the introduction that all my victims get. It’s nice to be polite.
Even serial killers have manners.
I know what I do isn’t normal, but I also know that I do the country a service.
And the world is better off with me in it. You will understand.

See, I was once the victim.
Hurt by the one who should have taken care of me.
Let down by the system that should have protected me.
Now I vow to help others, and if I have to hurt people to do it, I will.

WOW! Did you read that hook? This jumps off the screen to me, and I cannot wait to get my copy.

Sounds like another fascinating read from my favourite short story author. I have a ‘source’ that tells this is not the only story in this series – The female of the species – and I’m super excited.

DM Wolfenden is an author with a dark side – she can spin a tale, fill it with humour and emotion and then … wham, the twists are truly shocking.

Are you ready to one-click right now?

Well, hold your horses. It will be released on 3rd August – but, fear not, I have the pre-order link already.

If you’ve hit that link, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. I’ll post my review if you’ll post yours 😉

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

blog tour · book review · novella · serial killer · thriller

Book Review ‘n’ Blog Tour – Go Home, Afton

Go Home, Afton

by Brent Jones

 

Go Home, Afton

Genre: Serial Thriller/ Novella

Series: Afton Morrison, Book 1

Release Date: June 25, 2018

Format(s): eBook

eBook Price: $0.99

Tagline: We all wear masks.

We all wear masks, and Afton Morrison is no exception.

A small-town librarian with a dark side, Afton, twenty-six, has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life. Impulses that demand she commit murder.

Blending her urges with reason, Afton stalks a known sexual predator, intending to kill him. But her plan, inspired by true crime and hatched with meticulous care, is interrupted by a mysterious figure from her past. A dangerous man that lurks in the shadows, watching, threatening to turn the huntress into the hunted.

Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

My review: 4/5 stars

Afton Morrison is a librarian in a small town with an itch to scratch – or rather, a serial rapist to kill.

We first see Afton, by no means your stereotypical librarian, as a young, intelligent woman with a smart mouth and heaps of attitude. She has a goal: to kill Kenneth Pritchard.

She is spurred on by Animus (an evil twin type of character) whose mocking voice often riles Afton into venting her anger – and, boy, does she have some pent-up anger to offload.

Unwilling to be seen as a victim herself – always a survivor – she cannot let Kenneth harm another soul. Something she seems to agree about with Animus.

Afton is a complex character. Full of spirit, angst and fear. Her most pressing fear is that the Man in the Shadows – the very man she believes made her a ‘survivor’ – is back for her. She is spooked by every shadow at every opportunity, imaging him to be there, watching, waiting for her.

When the times comes for her to make her move on Pritchard, it seems the Man in the Shadows is one step ahead of her. And now, he has Kim, the sweet young girl who volunteers at the library, in his clutches. Of course, the reality is that Afton is his real prey …and the story continues in Book 2.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Afton is just out to kill Pritchard. There’s a lot more to her character, and the author seamlessly weaves in elements that show her softer side – much to the displeasure of Animus.

A fun read, with some unexpected twists along the way, all leading to a mahoosive cliffhanger and an absolute need to add book two to my reading list.  Thankfully, the wait is not a long one.

On a side note, I – naively – read this book with no prior knowledge of the author, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the story was set in Wakefield. As a Brit, I love a homegrown story. Except … it wasn’t Wakefield in West Yorkshire.  Hey ho – an honest mistake to make. I should have read the bio below first 😉

About the Author:

From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.

Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | SmashWords

 

While I’ve got your attention, why not check what other readers have to say?

Schedule

June 25th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

Book Wonderland (Review) https://bookwonderlandweb.wordpress.com/

Down the Rabbit Hole (Review) http://meggydowntherabbithole.wordpress.com/

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review) https://touchmyspinebookreviews.com

June 26th

Book Dragon Girl (Review) http://www.bookdragongirl.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com

The Scribblings (Review) https://thescribblingssite.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Reviews (Review) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

June 27th

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

June 28th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) http://jbronderbookreviews.wordpress.com/

Just 4 My Books (Review) https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com

June 29th

Kim Knight (Review) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Port Jerricho (Review)  http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com

Errin Krystal (Review) https://errinkrystal.wordpress.com

Blog tour organised by:

books · Contemporary Romance · cosy · historical fiction · murder mystery · mystery · recommended · serial killer · thrillers

My Best Books Calendar 2017

It’s been a wonderful year for book-lovers like me, so I thought a post about my favourite reads for 2017 would be appropriate. I had a real struggle getting this down to just twelve – still, that’s because I wanted a calendar style, so I have only myself to blame for the self-imposed limits. Doh! I’ll get on with, shall I?

It’s an eclectic mix from cosy mystery to serial killers, romantic comedy to historical fiction, legal and medical thrillers to contemporary women’s fiction. But, variety is the spice of life 🙂

Links to the books are below, and I’ll vouch for every single one of them. Not that I’m alone though, many of these have dozens – if not hundreds – of five star reviews, so if you choose any, you’ll be sure of a great story.

January – Winters Day – DM Wolfenden

February – Finding Miranda – Iris Chacon

March – The Seven Year Dress – Paulette Mahurin

April – The Devil’s Prayer – Luke Gracias

May – The Girl from Berlin – Ellie Midwood

June – Forbidden Colours – Nicole Fitton

July – The Wind in the Embers – Malcolm Logan

August – A Patriot’s Act – Kenneth Meade

September – Mirror, Mirror – Jessica Jesinghaus

October – Murder by the Book – Brigitta Moon

November – Plus Size Goddess – Cathy McGough

December – In the Best Interest of the Child – Felicia Denise.

So, feel free to go and fill your Kindle, your Nook or even your bookshelves.

As for me, I’m currently reading The Green Pearl Caper by Phyllis Entis, before settling down with a boxset of the 12 Slays of Christmas featuring Amy M. Reade – as you can see, my reading year is not yet over 🙂

The great news is that there are so many more fabulous reads to come.

Happy Reading everyone!

By the way, if you choose to read any of these wonderful books, please consider leaving a review.

Reviews keep writers writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Happy New Book Year x

serial killer · thriller · translation

Journey’s end (still on the bus!)

The final journey for today takes us to France. It’s an international bestseller and another fast.paced crime thriller.

The 7th Woman

by Frédérique Molay, translated by Anne Trager

Summa7th womanry: There’s no rest for Paris’s top criminal investigation division, La Crim’. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky—a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son and a budding love story—races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure?

My thoughts: Nico Sirksy is the kind of cop that gets things done. Sleep is overrated and even the onset of a nasty stomach ulcer does not slow him down. He has a complicated family set-up, but is clearly devoted to his son, sister and mother. A serial killer has come to Paris and is killing women of a certain type – 30ish, brunette, successful and pregnant. Their deaths are gruesome, as the killer engages in a cruel and sickening process of torture, pain and humiliation. When the killers actively seeks out Nico and threatens to hurt the women in his family, Sirsky ups his game in order to catch the murderer before the seventh victim – potentially one of his own family – falls victim.

Unfortunately I worked out who the killer was quite early on, but still had to keep reading to confirm my suspicions. There were even times that I thought I had got it wrong, leaving me more intrigued and keen to read on. Molay creates plenty of tension as the plot builds, the desperation of the officers is clear to see and the emotional pressure they are under is beautifully depicted. As with many books that are not written in English, there is a definite style difference in that there are many long descriptive passages. In this case, the author clearly feels the needs to make sure that the reader understands the procedures and the mindsets of his characters. I particularly enjoy these ‘info dumps’ and want to know as much as I can about the setting, the scenery, the history. I appreciate that many others will find this a little excessive, but this is definitely not a case of style over substance. The plot flows very well, the characters are fully developed and the reader is invited into their world, warts and all!

I’ve read many books by foreign authors and this one, from Le French publications, is by far one of the best so far. I’ve come to realise that I prefer the style of European writers and will actively seek out these authors from now on.