‘Problem Child’ by Victoria Helen Stone is a thrilling, chilling continuation of the series about Jane Doe, sociopath, lawyer, and righter of wrongs

Both “Jane Doe” and the sequel, “Problem Child,” by Victoria Helen Stone are chilling novels. Chilling but also thrilling and — ironically — touching. Because while the main character Jane admits she’s a sociopath and doesn’t have the emotions and feelings that “normal” people have, in both books she’s out there doing good things and righting wrongs.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s also having a great time screwing over the associate lawyer she works with and having lots of sex and eating scrumptious food, but the associate lawyer deserves everything he gets. She also gets the benefit of kinky sex with her boyfriend Luke.

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‘Stay’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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How important are the decisions we make almost thoughtlessly on a day-to-day basis? Sometimes they can have life-altering implications, and in this carefully crafted story about flawed characters, Catherine Ryan Hyde shows that sometimes, heroism isn’t made up of bold, brave actions but rather of listening and sharing small moments.

The story is about fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter. He explains, from some point in the future, that during the summer of 1969, his brother was in Viet Nam, and he was trying to help his best friend, Connor. Both Connor and Lucas have less-than-ideal family lives.

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‘Takes One to Know One’ by Susan Isaacs is a mystery/thriller and a page-turner

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When a new Susan Isaacs novel comes out, her fans take notice. She’s not an extremely prolific writer; instead, she takes her time and writes a book every few years. But every one of her books has been a New York Times bestseller. She says she writes the kind of books she’d like to read — and she succeeds in writing books people love to read.

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‘A Sudden Death in Cyprus’ by Michael Grant is about “What ifs” and the power of believing

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Michael Grant’s first adult novel, “A Sudden Death in Cyprus,” is a convincing demonstration of his unique skill in creating prose fiction of virtually any genre or targeted age group.

In this novel, Grant creates a protagonist who is very much like the author himself. Like Grant, David Mitre (just one of his aliases) dropped out of high school, started a life of crime, and met that perfect woman in the window. Like Mitre, Grant was a fugitive from the law — perhaps that’s why he took a pseudonym as an author. Regarding the Grant/Mitre oneness, Grant explained to me, “Frankly I thought Mitre might be insufferable, so I’m relieved people don’t seem to hate him (me). The Mitre ‘voice’ is a pretty faithful representation of what goes on inside my head.” So it’s not “just” a mystery, it’s also a character study — of the author and what he might have become had he not chosen well in terms of a life partner. Continue reading

‘The Shape of Night’ by Tess Gerritsen

 

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How much does our subconscious control our reality? Do our fears and our regrets shape what we see and experience?

In “The Shape of Night,” Tess Gerritsen most definitely does not answer those questions. When food writer Ava Collette rents an historic mansion on the coast in Maine, she is fleeing a horrible decision she made that resulted in tragedy. She leaves her friends and her family to grapple with her feelings of guilt, and she also needs to finish her new cookbook, which is behind schedule.

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‘Dachshund Through the Snow’ by David Rosenfelt is a doggone sweet thriller with plenty of four-legged love to go around

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Fans of the “Andy Carpenter” series are going to be thrilled. New readers will be charmed. With “Dachshund Through the Snow,” author David Rosenfelt has added a new canine to the regulars. There’s Tara, namesake of the late real Tara much beloved by Rosenfelt and his wife, for whom they began to rescue many, many senior dogs. Then there’s the basset hound Sebastian, whose gait is tortoise-slow. Now there’s Simon, retired (thanks to Andy Carpenter’s brilliance and his handler’s love) K9. He and his handler, Corey Douglas, will be making return appearances. Continue reading

‘All the Flowers in Paris’ by Sarah Jio is a beautiful but heartbreaking combination of historical and current fiction taking readers to Paris now and during WWII

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Paris, ostensibly the most beautiful city in the world, has a checkered past. During the German occupation in WWII, many Parisians collaborated with the Nazis. “All the Flowers in Paris” by Sarah Jio is about a French family with Jewish ancestry that is “outed” by a neighbor, and about a woman in modern Paris who loses her memory and must find out who she is and why she was basically a recluse before the accident that caused her memory loss. What she finds hidden in her lovely apartment gives her a mystery to solve, and by solving that mystery, Caroline not only finds closure for the long-ago Parisian family, but also for herself.

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‘Thirteen’ by Steve Cavenagh is a most unusual procedural/thriller

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Steve Cavenagh’s “Thirteen” is a unique take on the popular genre we generally label the “police procedural.” But here, that label is not an exact fit. For one thing, it’s not the police who do the investigation. It’s a lawyer, the fascinating Eddie Flynn. Eddie is an ex-con artist who has become a terrific criminal defense attorney. As such, he not only helps people rather than cheating them, he also gets to use those old conman skills when the appropriate occasion arises.

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‘The Last Widow’ by Karin Slaughter is the book you don’t want to miss reading in 2019

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“The Last Widow” is the newest book in the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, don’t let that fact stop you from reading this one because it reads like a stand-alone novel. Be forewarned that after you finish it, you will probably want to start the series at the beginning and read all about Will Trent and Sara Linton.

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‘The Chestnut Man’ by Soren Sveistrup: Gory and terrific

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Danish novelist Soren Sveistrup’s “The Chestnut Man” offers us two fascinating protagonists, several gruesome murders, a few puzzling clues, and zero investigative results — through many hours and days — despite a long, grueling search for the perpetrator. Here is an electric police procedural/murder mystery and a harrowing miasma of gritty suspense that builds to a brutal, ugly, and entirely appropriate climax. “The Chestnut Man” is downright perfectly nerve-wracking. Just as it’s supposed to be.

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‘The Murder List’ by Hank Philippa Ryan will keep you wondering

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“The Murder List” by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a mystery that keeps us wondering — almost until the end — who the characters really are behind the narration that we are reading and taking at face value. From the very first page, we know that Rachel North is a law student. Not a fresh-out-of-college law student, but a law student at 36. She’s married to a criminal defense lawyer, Jack Kirkland. Handsome and successful, he’s completely dedicated to winning and making sure that no innocent person gets incarcerated. It’s his passion.

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