‘Alone in the Wild’ by Kelley Armstrong is the newest in the mystery series about Rockton, the mysterious town for people who want to disappear

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“Alone in the Wild” by Kelley Armstrong, like all the novels in this series, begins with a bang; it involves an infant and a corpse. Casey and Eric, Rockton’s sheriff and detective, a couple who are getting away for a one-night vacation camping in the wild, find a dead woman with a live infant hidden in her clothing. That sets off the mystery of whom the infant belongs to and why the baby was left with a woman who clearly wasn’t the child’s mother.

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‘The Last Sister’ by Kendra Elliot is a nail-biting mystery that pushes all the right buttons

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Kendra Elliot has sold over seven million books, and after reading “The Last Sister,” this first book in a new series, “Columbia River,” her success is understandable. And this is a perfect opportunity to jump into a Kendra Elliot series at the beginning. Main character FBI special agent Zander Wells was introduced in a previous series, but readers “meeting” him for the first time will be charmed and touched by his story.

In this mystery, a man and his wife are brutally murdered in a small Oregon logging town. Emily, who is the first to find the murders, is horrified, especially when she sees that the husband was hanged just like her father when he was killed decades earlier. She also notices a racist symbol carved into the hanging man’s forehead, so when the sheriff declares it a murder-suicide, Emily calls the local FBI office and won’t get off the phone until they agree to send an agent to the scene to investigate it as a hate crime.

Zander and his partner Ava arrive and realize that they may have more than just one crime to figure out. Is there a connection between the current stabbing/hanging and what happened to Emily’s father all those years before? When there is another murder, it seems that everything has to be examined, including where Emily’s older sister went immediately after her father’s murder.

Elliot’s omniscient narrator works superbly in terms of letting us know what the characters are thinking and feeling. We are able to see the night of their father’s murder from both Emily’s point of view and that of her younger sister, Madison. So we know more than they do about what each sister is hiding from the other.

Slowly, clue after clue is uncovered and revealed, allowing us to try to connect the different threads at the same time as the characters in the novel try to put the puzzle pieces in place. We are thinking about the clues, and we are also feeling a genuine camaraderie with Emily as she struggles to keep their decrepit old mansion home in one piece while someone is slashing her tires and harassing Emily and her three sweet great-aunts. Their only source of income is their diner, because the logging operation that financed the opulence that Emily’s ancestor’s enjoyed was long closed.

Readers will find they enjoy meeting the three aunts, who all dress alike, and each of whom is a character worthy of admiration in her own right. When a mystery is certainly thrilling but also a character study of the people inhabiting the pages, readers know that the author got it right. And when the mystery is finally solved, and very satisfactorily, readers will be happy to remember that this is just the start of a series in which Zander, Ava, and maybe Emily will return to entertain us and amaze us.

This review was originally posted on Bookreporter.com.

‘What I Want You to See’ by Catherine Linka is a stunning story of talent and loss and imperfection

what I want you to see

“What I Want You to See” by Catherine Linka is a story about Sabine, an art student whose life has been anything but ordinary and privileged — and is about to get a lot more difficult. Sabine had lost her mother the previous year, and while she lived with her best friend for a while, she was also homeless for part of that time.

Now she’s won the Zoich scholarship for merit, so she’s able to attend CALINVA, the California Institute for the Visual Arts, but she works part time jobs to pay for her rent and food and art supplies.

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‘The Hollows’ is the sequel to historical fiction mystery ‘The Widows’ by Jess Montgomery

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“The Hollows” by Jess Montgomery follows the characters from her first novel, “The Widows,” as Lily Ross, sheriff after the murder of her husband who was the sheriff, and her friend Marvena Whitcomb deal with the murder of an elderly woman, which has possibly deadly implications for those who are trying to find the truth.

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‘The Wives’ by Tarryn Fisher is a twisty psychological thriller

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In this clever and very twisty psychological thriller, we learn about the life of Thursday, which is the day of the week she gets to see her husband. We learn that her husband has two other “wives.” Thursday insists that she is the legal wife and explains that each wife gets to see Seth, the husband, for one day a week. Thursday lives in Seattle while the other two wives live in Portland, and they don’t know each other.

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‘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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‘The Hand on the Wall’ is the last novel in the ‘Truly Devious’ trilogy by the truly devious Maureen Johnson

hand on wall

“The Hand on the Wall” is the last book in the trilogy of “Truly Devious” novels by Maureen Johnson. Once begun, this series of mysteries is addictive. The setting, a prep school in the mountains of Vermont, is perfect for a murder mystery, and in this brilliant trilogy, there are multiple murders taking place over almost a century.

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‘The Family Upstairs’ is a taut psychological thriller by Lisa Jewell

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Lisa Jewell is no stranger to bestseller lists, and with this new chilling novel, “The Family Upstairs,” her bestselling streak will surely continue unabated. This mystery features several narrators, but only Henry, the son of the wealthy Lamb family, is a first person narrator. Libby Jones, the main character, was adopted as a child and finds out when she turns twenty-five that she is the sole heir to a huge mansion in a posh part of London where horrible events took place when she was a baby. Continue reading

‘Blind Search; A Mercy Carr mystery’ by Paula Munier is the second in this delightful dog-filled mystery series

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With her “Marcy Carr” series, including the new “Blind Search,” Paula Munier checks all the boxes as to what makes a successful, gripping mystery. First and foremost, the main character, Mercy, and the former military working dog, Elvis, are likable and realistic. Elvis was her fiancee’s military working dog, and when he was killed, both his fianc√© and his dog suffered greatly. Mercy is far from perfect, and she admits that the issue preventing her and Elvis from becoming search and rescue dogs is that they both sometimes¬† lack warmth when dealing with people. Continue reading

‘A Better Man’ by Louise Penny is a lovely story about both the beauty and the bestiality that exist in the hearts of men

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In “A Better Man,” author Louise Penny shares the stories of several men, some of whom strive constantly to be better men, others who should be striving for betterment, although they are not. The main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is the main character in these novels, and he is a striking man. Not only does he command the respect of those he leads, he commands their affection and admiration.

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‘Winterwood’ by Shea Ernshaw is a bewitching young adult fantasy

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“Winterwood” by Shea Ernshaw is about witches. Specifically it’s about Nora — daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and more — descended from a long line of witches who live and practice their magic along the shore of Jackjaw Lake and in the shadow of the forest outside the town of Fir Haven.

The Walker women came out of the forest back in the days when Fir Haven was a small gold mining town, and ever since, they have lived in a log cabin between the summer cabins and the dark forest. Nora lives there with her mother, now that her grandmother has died, leaving Nora with her moonstone ring. But Nora’s mother has left to sell her honey (charming bees is her particular magic), and Nora is alone in the cabin with only her wolf, Fin, to protect her when a blizzard envelopes the town and cuts off electricity and the roads.

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