Hangman by Daniel Cole

Hangman (Fawkes and Baxter #2) Published: July 24th, 2018

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 373

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon 

Rating: 4/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

How do you catch a killer who’s already dead?

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings.


 

Note: So this has been sitting in my draft folder since I finished the book in September. Nice job Stephanie, nice job. 

Hangman by Daniel Cole is the follow-up to Ragdoll and takes place 18 months after the bizarre series of murders. I like to keep my reviews simple and without to many details as to avoid spoilers. However, to be safe, if you have not read the first book then skip ahead or better yet, just put off reading this review until you have.

This book takes place in London and New York as a pattern begins to emerge between gruesome murders happening in both cities.

Baxter is asked to travel to NYC to help the FBI and NYPD track down the person responsible for the murders which leave behind bodies scarred with the words “PUPPET” and “BAIT”. She is teamed up with Rouche and Curtis from the FBI and they struggle to work together as a team and to get any closer to answers. After a catastrophic failure to prevent an attack that makes the body count jump to a staggering amount, Baxter returns to London to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen there.

The pacing of this book was much slower than the first and gave off less ‘Seven’ vibes that I had loved so much, but I still enjoyed it. It’s another compelling read for those of us who enjoy things more twisted and don’t mind bodies piling up. I still don’t love Baxter but I really love her friendship with Edmunds! Edmunds is my favorite character and would love to see book three follow him as a lead detective, if he ever gets the balls to quit Fraud and return to homicide…he’s brilliant and fascinating.

Speaking of book three, I was quite pleased to find out that Daniel Cole is working on a third book! I’m really looking forward to see where Cole takes the characters next. Who brings back, who he doesn’t…I can’t wait!

Thank you again to Ecco books for sending me a copy of this book! I truly appreciate it and can’t wait to see what Cole delivers next.

Happy Reading!

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The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

The Lies We ToldPublished: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Genre: Thriller

Buy: Amazon

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy from the Publisher through a Goodreads Giveaway that I had won. 

When Clara’s boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he’s left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he’s been kidnapped. Then Luke’s older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened — even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke’s mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected. 


I love dark, psychological thrillers so I was pretty excited when I received a copy of this in the mail. Camilla Way is a ‘new-to-me’ author so I wasn’t sure what to expect having not read her previous novel, Watching Edie. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the kind of fast read that’s impossible to put down.

Clara is hanging out at the flat she shares with her boyfriend Luke Lawson, waiting for him to return home from work, but he isn’t responding to her texts. When she notices that he’s left his phone at home, she checks to see if he’s contacted her through email. She notices that he has emailed her, telling her he’d be home at his normal time.

As the time passes and a heavy feeling grows, Clara contacts Luke’s family, friends, and the police. Upon some digging of her own she discovers that Luke had a stalker, and a darker past that Luke had never mentioned. Luke’s sister Emily disappeared when he was just a kid, and the family completely erased her from their life. As if she never existed at all. Soon the police investigation gains nationwide appeal and Luke’s sister, Emily, reaches out to Clara eager to assist with the search but unwilling to see her family.

The only reason why I didn’t give this four or five stars is because the plot itself is nothing new or unique to the world of thrillers, however, it’s cleverly written and very entertaining. The cast of characters are all really unlikable as well and there’s so much deceit flying about it makes your head spin! Nonetheless, this novel is worthy of adding to your TBR pile for a quiet night on the couch and a cocktail.

Have you read Watching Edie or The Lies We Told? What’s the best thriller you’ve read recently? Tell me in the comments!

Happy Reading!

 

 

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of HerPublished: August 21, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Paperback

Pages: 480

Genre: Thriller

Order: Amazon

Rating: 5/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never had any more ambition than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life.

But one day, a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

Twenty-four hours later, Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder whose spent thirty years trying to track her down. Now Andrea must go on a desperate journey to follow the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. If she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either of them.


Happy Publication Day to Karin Slaughter! Her new book “Pieces of Her” is available to purchase today so do yourself a favor and get your copy now!

Pieces of Her is a beefy book coming in at 480 pages of character and relationship exploration. It’s a departure from Karin Slaughters typical style but I liked it just as much.

Andy Cooper lives with her mom Laura in the small apartment above her garage. For a 31 year old woman, she doesn’t have much going for her: she dropped out of school, works as a 911 operator and hardly speaks to anyone. She’s actually a really annoying character who seems completely incapable of managing the most basic of things like packing an overnight bag or having a real conversation with either of her parents. This didn’t make her a very likable character but I think it was key to her development you see happen throughout the story.

One afternoon she’s having lunch with her mom in the cafeteria when everything changes. A man walks up and begins to open fire. Andy freezes but Laura takes action and pulls out some fancy assassin-like moves and now Andy finds herself staring at a woman she thought she knew.

While in the hospital Laura tells Andy it’s time for her to leave; not tomorrow, or next month, but right now. Without any explanation from her mother, Andy leaves and begins a journey for answers. Who is her mother? Why won’t she talk to the police?

The narrative switches between current Andy and that of another woman from thirty years before whose story line is even more suspenseful and exciting. The two narratives eventually collide together in a action packed ending that will make your head spin!

I enjoyed watching Andy stumble and grow along the way and appreciated the way Laura and Andy ‘find’ themselves in each other at the end. This was definitely a story about relationships and the bond a mother and daughter have. As a mother myself I know how easy it is to want to coddle and protect your baby but just as easily,  that can become the very thing that burdens them.

A great big thank you to Karin Slaughter and William Morrow Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this book tremendously!

#SlaughterSquad forever!

Happy Reading!

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Good SonPublished: June 5th, 2018

Publisher: Penguin Books

Format: Paperback

Pages: 309

Genre: Fiction, Thriller

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Rating: 5/5

Who can you trust if you can’t trust yourself?

Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s alright at home – he missed a call from their mother in the middle of the night. Yu-jin soon discovers her murdered body, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs of their stylish Seoul duplex. He can’t remember much about the night before; having suffered from seizures for most of his life, Yu-jin often has trouble with his memory. All he has is a faint impression of his mother calling his name. But was she calling for help? Or begging for her life?

Thus begins Yu-jin’s frantic three-day search to uncover what happened that night, and to finally learn the truth about himself and his family. A shocking and addictive psychological thriller, The Good Son explores the mysteries of mind and memory, and the twisted relationship between a mother and a son, with incredible urgency. 


This book popped up on my radar during Jimmy Fallon’s search for the perfect summer book club read. I immediately placed it on hold at my library and patiently waited for my turn. My patience paid off because I absolutely LOVED this book.

This was such a chilling and heavy book to read. It’s written in the perspective of a young man named Yu-jin who wakes up one morning to the smell of blood. He is confused, disorientated, and unsure of the events from the night before.

The smell of blood woke me. It was intense, as though my whole body were inhaling it. It reverberated and expanded within me. Strange scenes flitted through my mind – the fuzzy yellow light of a row of street lamps in the fog, swirling water below my feet, a crimson umbrella rolling along a rain-soaked road, a plastic tarpaulin shrouding a construction site snapping in the wind. Somewhere a man was singing and slurring lyrics: a song about a girl he couldn’t forget, and about her walking in the rain.

Other reviewers had called this a slow-burn but I have to disagree. I could have easily read this all in one night because I couldn’t stop turning the pages. However, there is no real mystery to solve here, you’re simply following the path of one man’s mind as he figures out the events of the last three days and reconciles with himself who he really is. The writing is perfect and it’s a brilliant character study that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This story will captivate you but only if you give it a chance and give yourself completely to Yu-jin.

Can’t wait to see what’s next for this author and I will more than likely listen to the audio of The Good Son as well because I think it would really add to the dynamic of the story.

Have you read any of Jimmy Fallon’s summer book picks?

Happy Reading!

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter, #1)Published: April 4th, 2017

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 374

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon | Book Outlet

Rating: 4.5/5

One body. Six Victims.

William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after months of psychological assessment following allegations of a shocking assault. A veteran of the force, Fawkes thinks he’s seen it all. That is, until his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims sewn together like  a puppet –  a corpse that becomes known in the press as the “ragdoll”.

Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them. The final name on the list is Fawkes. Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. 

But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him – and his past – than anyone realizes. 


Have you ever watched the movie Se7en by David Fincher? It features Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the two detectives and Kevin Spacey played the psycho mastermind behind the seven deadly sin killings? Anyway, it’s one of my favorite movies and Ragdoll by Daniel Cole draws a lot of parallels to it in such an awesome way.

Detective William Fawkes is recently brought back onto the force after almost losing everything after he knocked out a high-profile suspect at the end of his trial when he was found ‘not-guilty’. The case nearly destroyed him and he served time in a psych ward only to be release when that same ‘innocent’ suspect killed again and Fawkes was vindicated.

Fawkes and his former partner Baxter are called onto the scene of a most gruesome crime – a body comprised of sewn together body parts hanging from the ceiling. The head belonging to the same man that Fawkes leveled in the courtroom.

To add icing to the cake, Fawkes’ TV journalist ex-wife gets involved when she receives a package containing photographs of the body and a list of the next victims, which includes Fawkes himself.

Phew this book. So much drama and craziness, it really is a thrilling ride! There’s also this strange sexual tension between Baxter and Fawkes that leaves you wondering if you should be routing for the two of them or not. Even his ex-wife believed the two were having an affair which played a big part in the falling apart of their marriage. Generally I don’t find that there’s room for romantic relationships in books like these but Cole does it really well (it’s subtle) and to me, it really helps you get to know the characters. They feel more human.

So there’s this personal drama that sort of unfolds between the lines of the gruesome Ragdoll case, which begins to play out like a bad reality show thanks to the ex-wife who uses it to leverage her career. It’s a race against the clock, and the media, for the team to figure out how these victims are connected and track down the killer before Fawkes becomes the final victim.

Oh and that ending! Wow!

This book is fast-paced, full of great characters and even some British dark humor for good mix. I really enjoyed this book and rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I can’t wait to start reading the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series which supposedly picks up right where Ragdoll leaves off.

Happy Reading!

 

Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell

Somebody's DaughterPublished: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: eBook

Pages: 448

Genre: Thriller / Suspense

Rating: 4/5

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica’s nine-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price – the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity’s safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is the kind of book you pick up when you have a whole afternoon or evening to read completely uninterrupted because once you start, you’re not going to want to put it down. The chapters are short and leave you with a sense of urgency to keep going which makes this a quick read.

The story is told from multiple perspectives: Michael (the potential baby-daddy), his current wife Angela, and Detective Erin Griffin (who sadly felt a little under developed as a character). Multiple POV’s can sometimes be difficult to follow and/or be a little distracting but I felt it was really done well here. Kudos to Bell.

Given the speed of the book, the characters aren’t overly deep but that didn’t really bother me here. The story was so gripping and interesting that I just wanted to know what was happening. The only character that I felt totally disconnected from was Detective Griffin, I even wanted to skim over her parts at times because she just wasn’t very interesting.

As a whole though, this book was a really fun read and the perfect summer thriller! Not every book has to be super deep with over developed characters. Sometimes we just want a show-gun plot that keeps us burning for more and that’s exactly what this book delivers!

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Releases | June – October 2018

 

My TBR is longer than I know what to do with (which is an excellent problem to have in my opinion), but here’s a look at some upcoming releases that I’m really excited about! Now if I can just get Mo Hayder and Paul Clave to release something new, I’d be the happiest little reader on the planet!

The Cabin at the End of the WorldExpected Release Date: June 26th, 2018 (ahem, TOMORROW!)

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 288

Genre: Horror

“Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

I’m pretty sure that right there is a sure sign that something terrible is going to happen you guys. A cabin in the woods with no one around? Classic horror.

Your dads won’t let us in, Wen. But they have to. Tell them they have to. We are not here to hurt you. We need your help to save the world.”

Somebody's DaughterExpected Release Date: July 10th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Thriller

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing – and Michael is the father.

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and how is hiding the truth…

I just started reading the ARC of this and I’m really enjoying it so far. David Bell is a new-to-me author so I’m not very familiar with his other novels however I do love a good gut-wrenching suspense novel!

Pieces of HerExpected Release Date: August 21st, 2018

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 480

Genre: Thriller

What if the person you though you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all…?”

“Pieces of Her” follows Andrea Cooper and her mother, Laura. Andrea thinks she knows everything there is to know about her mother. But after a trip to the mall ends with violence, Andrea realizes that there is a completely different side to her mother. Because it turns out her mother wasn’t always Laura and for nearly thirty years, she’s been hiding from her previous life hoping that her past won’t find her. Now that it has, the police want answers and Laura won’t speak to anyone, even her own daughter Andrea.

I’m a big fan of Slaughter’s work, especially the darker novels because my soul itself is a little dark. I’m really looking forward to this new standalone novel even though I keep hearing it’s not a typical ‘Slaughter novel’. My guess is it’s a slight departure from the darkness but because I really love her writing style, it’s bound to be awesome.

The CraftsmanExpected Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive in. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered.

But now, decades later, he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened…it gets personal.

You guys, I LOVE Sharon Bolton and this sounds like one of her creepiest novels yet!!  I am so excited about this release I can’t even begin to tell you! Whoever got there hands on advance copy of this, I’m so jealous!

The Witch Elm

Expected Release Date: October 9th, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 528

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

I’ve read all of Tana French’s books, most I’ve really enjoyed and others I didn’t like as much but regardless, I never fail to miss one! She writes beautifully – the prose, the characters and ingenious plots, she always finds a way to surprise you. Really looking forward to this one!

So there you have it! Some great new releases coming out this summer and fall be sure to have star status at the top of my TBR pile.

Any new releases you’re looking forward to?